Lawyer: Ex-U.S. Attorney General to Join Saddam Defense

Ramsey Clark, shown on a January 2000 visit to Baghdad, has been an outspoken critic of the war.

Lawyer: Ex-U.S. attorney general to join Saddam defense

Monday, November 28, 2005; Posted: 12:37 a.m. EST (05:37 GMT)

 BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Saddam Hussein's attorneys will ask an Iraqi tribunal Monday for permission to add former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark to the courtroom defense team.

Khames Hameed al-Ubaidi said Clark was in Baghdad and will meet with the defense team on Sunday night or Monday morning, when the trial is scheduled to resume.

If Clark is not allowed to participate in the courtroom, he will act as a legal adviser, al-Ubaidi said.

A U.S. official close to the Iraqi High Tribunal said there have been no motions made by Hussein's attorney to have an international lawyer work on the defense team. But the official said that if the proper motion for that was filed it would probably be accepted.

Clark was attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson and has been a civil rights attorney and activist in recent years. Clark, who opposed the Iraq war, met with Hussein in February 2003, just before the U.S.-led invasion began.

"Our plan is to go to court in Baghdad on Monday morning representing the defense counsel as defense support. A fair trial in this case is absolutely imperative for historical truth to justice obviously," Clark told the Reuters news agency before leaving Amman, Jordan. (Watch Ramsey Clark explain his goals -- 2:23)

Hussein and seven other former regime members are charged with ordering the killing and torture of more than 140 civilians in the town of Dujail, 23 years ago, after a failed assassination attempt.

If convicted, Hussein and his co-defendants would face the death penalty.

When the trial resumes Monday, attorneys will ask for a three-month delay of the trial because the defense has not received some documents, al-Ubaidi said. They include death certificates for the 148 people prosecutors say were killed in Dujail. (Watch Iraqis call for Saddam's execution Saturday -- 2:10)

In addition, al-Ubaidi wants a better quality computer disk with witness statements, and he said he needs the names of witnesses.

Lawyers have said they haven't been able to devote all of their energies to the case because of security fears following recent attacks on attorneys connected with the case.

The trial has been delayed since its opening day, October 19, when Hussein's lead attorney, Khalil Dulaimi, said most of the defense lawyers were not sufficiently experienced in international law and in cases of this magnitude.

He also said the defense team wasn't informed about the start of the trial until three weeks before it began -- which he said was in violation of the tribunal regulations.

Dulaimi has insisted the defense team will not participate in the trial until a solution to protect its members is found.

Defense attorneys killed
Two attorneys working on the trial have been killed in the past two months.

Adil Muhammed al-Zubaidi, who was representing former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, was shot to death on November 8 in an attack that left another lawyer wounded.

On October 20, a day after the trial began, Sadoon Janabi was kidnapped and fatally shot in the head. Janabi had been representing Awad Hamad Bandar, the former chief judge of Hussein's Revolutionary Court.

Janabi had refused any protection from the government, according to an Iraqi government official, and willingly appeared on videotape during the previous day's court proceedings.

The United States is working with Iraq's Interior Ministry to investigate the killings. The Iraqi government insists it is committed to protecting the judges and attorneys in the trial.

On Wednesday, a U.S. official close to the Iraqi High Tribunal said the issue of security for the defense attorneys is expected to be addressed when the trial resumes.

The court is prepared to provide full security to everyone involved in the legal proceedings, the official said.

The court also has acted on attorneys' requests to have multinational forces and the Regime Crimes Liaison Office -- the arm of the U.S. State Department charged with assisting the court -- involved in security operations, the official added.

Security options for defense attorneys "are at least as good as those" being offered to other participants in the trial, the official said.


Fair trial for Saddam will be difficult, says Clark

(Baghdad, Iraq-AP) November 28, 2005 - Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark says it will be "extremely difficult" to ensure a fair trial for Saddam Hussein.
Clark is in Baghdad to give his support to the former Iraqi president's defense team.

In an interview with CNN, Clark warned there won't be peace in Iraq if the public perceives the proceedings as unfair, and he also says an unfair trial will "warp the truth."

But Clark cautions that guaranteeing fairness won't be easy because passions are at a fever pitch.

Saddam and his co-defendants are charged in the killings of more than 140 Shiite Muslims in 1982. The trial briefly resumed Monday, but has been adjourned until next week.

Clark was attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson. He's also a staunch anti-war advocate who met with Saddam days before the 2003 invasion.


 Ramsey Clark said Washington should also be put on trial

Saddam sees lawyer for the first time
Saddam's legal team slams ICRC
Impartial judgement for Saddam?


FLASHBACK: Demonize to Colonize. by Ramsey Clark

"In the determination of any criminal charge ... everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law."

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Article 14(1)

The complete demonization of Saddam Hussein threatens to determine every decision and action affecting not only his future but that of Iraq as well. With U.S. mass media and U.S. government propaganda stripping Saddam Hussein of every redeeming human quality, any act against him or Iraq is ipso facto justified.
This successful demonization made the U.S. unilateral war of aggression against Iraq politically possible. It now makes a fair trial for Saddam Hussein impossible.
The debate about intelligence failures is itself a cover-up of the obvious. Saddam Hussein was demonized to justify regime change in Iraq. It rendered him an evil madman threatening the civilized world. He possessed weapons of mass destruction. He supported 9/11. He aided al-Qaeda. WMDs could be launched within minutes of his order. That Saddam Hussein would use them was clear. He used them "against his own people." Ignored were the facts that under devastating attacks by the U.S. in 1991 and 2003, Iraq did not use any illegal weapons. In 1991, Iraq was the victim of 88,500 tons of explosives (almost seven Hiroshimas) delivered by the Pentagon in 42 days that destroyed its infrastructure: water systems, power, transportation, communications, manufacturing, commercial properties, housing, mosques, churches, synagogues. Food production, processing, storage, distribution, fertilizer and insecticide production, were targeted for destruction. Nearly 150,000 defenseless people were killed outright in Iraq. The U.S. claimed its casualties to be 156 — 1/3 from friendly fire, the remainder accidents.

Sanctions against Iraq from August 6, 1990, into 2003 took over 1,500,000 lives, the majority children under age five. By October 1986, 567,000 children under five were dead from sanctions according to a U.N. FAO report that month. One-fourth of the infants born alive in Iraq in 2002 weighed less than four pounds, a dangerously low and crippling birth weight — symbolic of the condition of the entire country.
During the high-tech terrorism of "Shock and Awe" in March and April 2003, Iraq never used any WMDs or other illegal weapon as some 25,000 of its defenseless people were killed.
At least 35 nations have WMDs in their military stockpiles, the U.S. more than all others combined. The U.S. is planning a new generation of nuclear weapons, tactical weapons that would have been used against Iraq if the U.S. had possessed them in 2003. The U.S. used 4,000 tons, or more, of depleted uranium, super bombs in attempts to assassinate Saddam Hussein and cluster bombs to savage anyone within a large area, usually urban, where they were dropped.

Saddam Hussein was demonized because he refused to surrender the sovereignty and independence of Iraq and its people to demands and plans for U.S. domination and exploitation under its New World Order.
At the very time the Bush administration claims Saddam Hussein committed his most serious atrocities, "gassing his own people," Kurds at Halabja, in March 1988, near the end of the Iran-Iraq war, U.S. support for the government of Saddam Hussein was at its height. Donald Rumsfeld was a principal player. Stephen C. Pelletiere, the CIA’s senior political analyst of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000 and head of a 1991 U.S. Army investigation into how Iraq would fight a war against the U.S., has repeatedly and publicly absolved Iraq from targeting Kurds at Halabja. See, e.g., New York Times, Jan. 31, 2003, p. A29.
A Defense Intelligence Agency investigation and report made immediately after the Halabja incident absolved Iraq. The U.S. continued its support of Iraq with full knowledge of the facts.
The "rogue states" condemned by President Bush are "rogue" because they do not submit to U.S. authority. They include, among others, Cuba, Aristide’s Haiti, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Lebanon, Syria, until recently Liberia and Libya, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela more recently. Some members of the European Union, most notably France and Germany, timorously, have offered some opposition to the U.S., on the question of Iraq. While they are not called rogues, they have paid a price for this impudence. For those who believe both peace and economic justice require "sovereign equality" among nations, a principle on which the U.N. Charter is based, the "rogue states" deserve our gratitude for resisting, often at a terrible cost, U.S. demands for submission. Nearly all the more than 80 U.S. military interventions in the Western Hemisphere in the past century are evidence that the U.S. intervenes in countries that defy its will and resist its exploitation.
"Our SOBs" — the Somozas of the world — who govern for the benefit of the U.S. and their own selfish interests, have caused many more wars, far greater violations of human rights and most deadly, deeper impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people than all the rogue states which most often are struggling for liberation or self-preservation.
If the U.S. can successfully use the demonization of Saddam Hussein to justify his illegal detention and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and consolidate its control over Iraq through the corruption of law and government, the consequences will be more violence against the U.S., more aggression by the U.S. and more misery for the world.
The brazen humiliation of Saddam Hussein after his capture, the former Iraqi President disoriented, disheveled, mouth probed wide open, a helpless prisoner, was shown repeatedly on TV internationally and viewed by more than one billion people. American Indians understood immediately and were angered again: That is the way they treated our captured Chiefs: Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo and many others. Filipinos still wince as they remembered the treatment accorded their President Aquinaldo, captured by U.S. treachery in his hideout in northern Luzon a century ago. The Bush administration appears to prefer a fate for Saddam Hussein more like that of the slave rebellion leader Nat Turner nearly two centuries ago — his head on a post.
Later photos showed Saddam Hussein, humiliated before a rich U.S. Iraqi puppet leader and avowed enemy, who was sitting free and comfortable above Saddam Hussein in his cell, a large picture of President George W. Bush hung on the wall. This conduct advertises to the whole world that the U.S. has no respect for the Geneva Conventions, or mere simple decency.
It must be observed that all the rogue states, the victims of the many U.S. interventions and the U.S. captives mutilated, or humiliated as Saddam Hussein has been, are members of the great majority of the world’s population that has beautiful darker
skin. They are the poor of the planet, being made poorer, dominated and exploited by the foreign policies of the U.S. and its rich allies designed for domination, exploitation and triage.

The devastating destruction of life and life-supporting infrastructure by the massive aerial assaults of 1991 and 2003, the regular bee-sting bombing of Iraq in between, the vicious armed raids against Iraqis, averaging 25 per day now and constant since May 1, 2003, when Bush claimed the war was over and, above all, the genocidal sanctions strangling the whole society for more than twelve years with virtually no protest in the U.S. mass media, government and political leadership required race-based saturation and demonization to be accepted. Attention must be paid.

Can we remember President Bush’s outrage when Iraqi TV. in March 2003 showed several captured U.S. soldiers being escorted by Iraqis in poor light and at a distance that made identification impossible? We might wonder how U.S. soldiers captured in the future, or other U.S. hostages, will be treated.
The most chilling conduct of the U.S. is the total isolation, complete silence about his location and treatment, and denial of all visitation for Saddam Hussein. The spectre created by Guantanamo says anything goes. But the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.
Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. Article 9(1-3).
It further requires: All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s former Deputy Prime Minister, a major figure in international diplomacy for twenty years, has been held
in secret without reports on his health, or treatment for eight months now. Unnamed prisoners at Guantanamo have been held for two years with only glimpses of unconscious prisoners being carried on stretchers, and semi-conscious prisoners stumbling with leg chains supported by U.S. soldiers as they leave interrogation.

The U.S. cannot use its criminal war of aggression, or its belated designation of Saddam Hussein as a prisoner of war to escape the international standards of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The very detention of Saddam Hussein is illegal. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a war of aggression, an offense called "the supreme international crime" in the Nuremberg Judgment. Prisoners held by the U.S. as a result of this war of aggression
must be released, or turned over to the United Nations, or the International Criminal Court, and not a jurisdiction of its choice.
The U.N. and the ICC are legal, independent, impartial, competent and have jurisdiction to act, all conditions required by international law. The U.N., or the ICC, can make a preliminary determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence of criminal conduct to support criminal charges, the necessity and nature of further detention and whether a legal, independent, impartial and competent court exists with jurisdiction to try the charges.
There is no court in Iraq and no existing domestic law. The U.S. war of aggression and occupation have destroyed both. The present U.S. puppet council in Iraq has no legitimacy and is comprised of sworn enemies of Saddam Hussein, the first qualification for the job. It cannot be foreseen when a new sovereign government capable of creating a legal, independent, impartial and competent court might be formed, but any new criminal code it might enact would be ex post facto for any act committed prior to its enactment.
The Security Council does not have power under the U.N. Charter to create a criminal court and its creation of courts for Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and participation in a court for Cambodia, all under coercion from the U.S. in pursuit of its enemies, cannot create power to do that which its Charter denies it.
Nor are the Security Council’s hands clean concerning Iraq. It authorized sanctions, albeit under U.S. coercion, against Iraq that were genocidal, inflicting infinitely greater injury on the people of Iraq than the worst demonization of Saddam Hussein proclaims he did.

The International Criminal Court is legal and presumptively independent, impartial and competent. Its jurisdiction reaches major international crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but only for acts alleged to have been committed after June 30, 2002.
Most important of all, any court that might consider charges against Saddam Hussein must also weigh charges against the United States, its officials and others acting in concert with them. If equal justice under law is to have any meaning, and equality is the mother of justice, power cannot confer impunity for commission of wars of aggression, the supreme international crime, or the plethora of other offenses the U.S. has committed against the people of Iraq.
For there to be peace, the days of victors’ justice must end.



Clark,  flew into Baghdad on the eve of the trial

When former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark joined the team of Jordan-based lawyers defending Saddam Hussein, he said his principal concern was protecting the rights of the former Iraqi leader.

Mr Clark, who held office in the 1960s under President Lyndon B Johnson, has a reputation for fierce opposition to US foreign policy dating back to the Vietnam War.

He has described the special tribunal established in Baghdad to try members of the former government as a creation of the US military occupation and argues it has no authority in law as a criminal court.

Some of the political elite back in Washington have questioned the judgment of Mr Clark, now aged 77.

After leaving office in 1969, he became active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, since when he has also offered legal advice to numerous figures at odds with the US government including former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and former Liberian leader Charles Taylor.


Mr Clark was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1927, to a wealthy family of lawyers. His father, Tom C. Clark, was attorney general in the 1940s.

Ramsey Clark served in the US Marine Corps in 1945 and 1946, before going on to study law at the University of Chicago Law School.

From 1967-69, he served as attorney general. He also supervised the drafting and passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

Mr Clark visited Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in February 2003, just before the US-led invasion.

As a member of the ex-leader's defence team, he says he wants a fair trial in order to establish "historical truth".

"It is absolutely essential that the court is legal in its constitution," he told Reuters news agency.

"A court cannot be a court unless it is absolutely independent of all external pressures and forces."

Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state, said Mr Clark should "ask himself the appropriateness of a former American attorney general appearing as a defence lawyer [for Saddam]".

"I could have imagined a better combination," he added, speaking to CNN television.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former US national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter, said he did not object to Mr Clark defending the former Iraqi leader but: "If he's going there to grandstand, then I think it's somewhat embarrassing."


Ramsey Clark
United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark & President Lyndon Baines Johnson

William Ramsey Clark (born December 18, 1927) served as the 66th United States Attorney General under President Lyndon Johnson. He is the son of Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark. He is a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Clark served in the United States Marine Corps in 1945 and 1946, then earned a B.A. degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1949, an M.A. and a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1950. He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1951, and to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1956. From 1951 to 1961 Clark was an associate and partner in the law firm of Clark, Reed and Clark.

Kennedy and Johnson Administrations

He served in the United States Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General of the Lands Division from 1961 to 1965, and as Deputy Attorney General from 1965 to 1967. Clark was director of the American Judicature Society in 1963. From 1964 to 1965 he was national president of the Federal Bar Association. On March 2, 1967, President Johnson appointed him Attorney General of the United States. He served in that capacity until January 20, 1969.

Clark played an important role in the history of the American Civil Rights movement: during his years at the Justice Department, he supervised the federal presence at Ole Miss during the week following the admission of James Meredith; surveyed all school districts in the South desegregating under court order (1963); supervised federal enforcement of the court order protecting the march from Selma to Montgomery; and headed the Presidential task force to Watts following the riots. He went on to supervise the drafting and executive role in passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1968. As Attorney General, Clark also opposed the government's use of wiretaps.

As Attorney General during some of the Vietnam War Clark oversaw the prosecution of the Boston Five for “conspiracy to aid and abet draft resistance.” Four of the five were convicted, including fellow winner of the Gandhi Peace Award pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock and Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin Jr. (who would later officiate at the wedding of Clark's son). Clark believed since Coffin and Dr. Spock were respected, if controversial, public figures who could afford legal counsel to fight back for them, their cases would take a long time and would “focus attention on the problems of the draft.” Clark says that he hoped to show Johnson that opposition to the war wasn’t limited to draft-dodging longhairs but included the most admired pediatrician in America, a prominent and revered patrician minister, and a respected former Kennedy Administration official (Marcus Raskin, who had been a special staff member on the National Security Council).


Following his term he worked as a law professor and was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement. He visited North Vietnam in 1972. In 1974 he was the Democratic Party's candidate for the United States Senate from New York but lost to Jacob Javits.

More recently, Clark has become well-known for his outspoken, far left-wing political views. He has also provided legal counsel and advice to controversial figures in conflict with the US or western governments, including:

  • PLO leaders in a lawsuit brought by the family of Leon Klinghoffer, the wheelchair bound elderly tourist who was shot and tossed overboard from the hijacked Achille Lauro cruise ship by Palestinian terrorists in 1986
  • The state of Iraq, serving as legal counsel for the Hussein regime.
  • Saddam Hussein, former leader of Iraq who was removed from power during a 2003 invasion led by the US
  • Camilo Mejia, a US soldier who deserted his post claiming he did not want any part of an "oil-driven war"

Clark is affiliated with VoteToImpeach, an organization advocating the impeachment of President George W. Bush. He has been an opponent of both Gulf Wars. It is also widely claimed that his association with Lyndon LaRouche in the early 1990s went beyond legal counsel to advocacy. He is the founder of the International Action Center, which has much overlapping membership with the Workers' World Party. Clark and the IAC helped found the anti-war group ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

In December 2004, Clark went to Iraq to join the legal team defending Saddam Hussein before the Iraqi Special Tribunal in a trial expected in 2005.  


The Trial Of Saddam Hussein


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