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Saddam Hussein

Columnist: Saddam Hussein's "guilty" conviction announcement planned for two days before elections

Thursday, October 19, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: Saddam Hussein, election results, war in Iraq

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(NewsTarget) According to Tom Engelhardt's editorial in the Oct. 18 issue of The Nation, the U.S.-backed tribunal of Saddam Hussein will likely delay its verdict until Nov. 5, which he notes makes it fall on the day of midterm elections.

What Engelhardt finds hard to accept is the fact that many in the mainstream media seem to have put a guilty verdict forward as a foregone conclusion, but almost none of them seem to have noticed the correlation between the verdict's date and the midterm elections.

Engelhardt admits in his article that he had not made the connection himself until he had read an issue of the email newsletter "No Comment" by Columbia University law professor Scott Horton. When Engelhardt found only a handful of stories mentioning the correlation on the internet, he called Horton directly and asked if he thought Karl Rove had any part in it.

"For sure," Horton replied, adding that the date was picked to imply some sort of progress in Iraq. "And the American public will see Saddam condemned to death and see it as a positive thing."

Horton pointed out that three major spikes have occurred in polling figures: the day Hussein was captured, the day of the first democratic elections in Iraq, and the day Iraqi al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed.

"Based on those three, it's easy to project that they will get a mild bump out of this," Horton said.

Horton found it surprising that reporters had not noted the connection between the verdict and election day, but he did not think it was a coincidence.

"In my experience, everything that comes out of Baghdad is very carefully prepared for American domestic consumption," he said.

Horton also noted that he had spoken to lawyers and judges in Iraq concerning the special tribunal for Hussein, and most had a negative view of it. While the vast majority Horton spoke to did not support Hussein, they felt the tribunal is a blot on Iraq due to its lack of independence.

"There is a team of American lawyers working as special legal advisors out of the US embassy, who drive the whole thing," Horton said. "They have been involved in preparing the case and overseeing it from the beginning. The trial, which is shown on TV, has mild entertainment value for Iraqis, but they refer to it regularly as an American puppet theater."

Engelhardt concluded his editorial by criticizing Bush for using what amounts to a public execution to boost polls.

"Virtually all the news in the mainstream media is staged for a political or commercial purpose," said Mike Adams, the creator of the CounterThink political cartoons. "This Saddam event is being packaged, timed and delivered to coincide precisely with the mid-term elections in order to convince voters that America is winning the war on terror. The manipulation is so blatant that it's laughable, yet it still works on gullible voters who seem to have no clue how they're being manipulated."


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