Freedom (sic) in Iraq… and more…

So the US troops are pulling (or have pulled) out of Iraq…? Iraq is back in the hands of the Iraqis…? Think again!!

Robert Fisk in his article The New, Free Iraq published in The Independent, writes:

[…] In his last hours as US proconsul in Baghdad, Paul Bremer decided to tighten up some of the laws that his occupation authority had placed across the land of Iraq.

He drafted a new piece of legislation forbidding Iraqi motorists to drive with only one hand on the wheel. Another document solemnly announced that it would henceforth be a crime for Iraqis to sound their car horns except in an emergency. That same day, three American soldiers were torn apart by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, one of more than 60 attacks on US forces over the weekend. And all the while, Mr Bremer was worrying about the standards of Iraqi driving. […]

Again, in another article published in the same newspaper, Confused? Shadow of His Old Self? Hardly, Fisk writes:

Bags beneath his eyes, beard greying, finger-jabbing with anger, Saddam was still the same fox, alert, cynical, defiant, abusive, proud. Yet history must record that the new “independent” government in Baghdad yesterday gave Saddam Hussein an initial trial hearing that was worthy of the brutal old dictator.

He was brought to court in chains and handcuffs. The judge insisted that his own name should be kept secret. The names of the other judges were kept secret. The location of the court was kept secret. There was no defence counsel.

For hours, the Iraqi judges managed to censor Saddam’s evidence from the soundtrack of the videotaped proceedings – so that the world should not hear the wretched man’s defence. Even CNN was forced to admit that it had been given tapes of the hearing “under very controlled circumstances”.

This was the first example of “new” Iraq’s justice system at work – yet the tapes of the court appeared on CNN with the logo “Cleared by US Military”. So what did the Iraqis and their American mentors want to hide?

The voice of the Beast of Baghdad as he turned – much to the young judge’ s surprise – on the court itself, pointing out the investigating lawyer had no right to speak “on behalf of the so-called coalition”? Saddam’s arrogant refusal to take human responsibility for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait? Or his dismissive, chilling response to the mass gassings of Halabja? “I have heard of Halabja,” he said, as if he had read about it in a newspaper article. Later, he said just that: “I’ve heard about them [the killings] through the media.” […]