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Investigators Unearth Grim Clues to Convict Saddam

Old 10-12-04, 05:40 PM
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Investigators Unearth Grim Clues to Convict Saddam

I don't know if this should start here, but it probably would get moved here in short order after a few replies.

HATRA, Iraq (Reuters) - Investigators have conducted their first scientific exhumation of Iraq's "killing fields," discovering hundreds of bodies which they hope will help convict Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity.

They say nine trenches in a dry, dusty riverbed at the Hatra site in northern Iraq contain at least 300 bodies, and possibly thousands, including unborn babies and toddlers still clutching toys.

"It is my personal opinion that this is a killing field," said Greg Kehoe, a U.S. lawyer appointed by the White House to work with the Iraqi Special Tribunal. "Someone used this field on significant occasions over time to take bodies up there, and to take people up there and execute them.

"I've been doing grave sites for a long time, but I've never seen anything like this, women and children executed for no apparent reason," added Kehoe, who spent five years in the Balkans. "It's a perfect place for execution."

The victims are believed to be minority Kurds killed during 1987-88. One trench contains only women and children, apparently killed by small arms. Another contains only men, apparently killed by automatic gunfire.

Kehoe said the women and children had been taken from their villages with their belongings, including pots and pans, shot -- often in the back of the head -- then bulldozed into the trench.

Some of the mothers died still holding their children. One young boy still held a ball in his tiny arms. A thick stench hangs over the site, as well as at a makeshift morgue nearby.

"The youngest fetus we have was 18 to 20 fetal weeks. Tiny bones, femurs, thighbones the size of a matchstick," says investigating anthropologist P. Willey, of California.

KURDISH GENOCIDE?

International organizations estimate more than 300,000 people died under Saddam's 24-year rule and Iraq's Human Rights ministry has identified 40 possible mass graves countrywide.

Authorities hope careful investigations of the sites will provide enough evidence to convict Saddam and other senior members of his regime, now in U.S. detention, of crimes against humanity.

Investigators have excavated smaller mass graves before but never, they say, with such a methodical and forensic focus, aimed at gathering indisputable evidence of who was responsible.

Ahead of Wednesday's expected completion of digging at Hatra, investigators took a pool reporter to the scene, who provided details for Reuters and other media.

"We're trying to meet international standards that have been accepted by courts throughout the world," Kehoe said. "That's our benchmark. One of the reasons why we're going to stop digging now is because we have a lot of work to do back at the morgue.

"That takes time. We're putting a package together on each body removed -- pictures of bones, clothes, a forensic report."

Saddam is expected to face trial for crimes against humanity next year, but no timetable or details of the charges have yet been announced. Investigators are still pursuing evidence.

During his reign, Saddam pushed hundreds of thousands of Arabs into Kurdish areas to force the locals out. He is accused of widespread abuses against the Kurds, including the "Anfal" (The Spoils) campaign in 1988, during which thousands died in a mustard gas attack. Human Rights Watch estimates that more than 50,000 Kurds were killed during the campaign.

"Genocide is the attempt to eliminate, limit or exterminate a religious ethnic national or racial group," said Kehoe. "The Kurds are clearly a different nationality. So could it be considered genocide? It could be.

"Killing, ethnic cleansing, property relocations, all of those were used to try to limit the Kurdish population. What it is, fundamentally, is downright murder.

"Everybody said 'never again' after the Holocaust. The world wasn't listening. That's how it happened again and again and again."
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...iraq_graves_dc

This was always the #1 reason I personally supported this war.
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Old 10-12-04, 06:01 PM
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Re: Investigators Unearth Grim Clues to Convict Saddam

Originally posted by SunMonkey
This was always the #1 reason I personally supported this war.
At the risk of coming across as a left-wing parrot, do you support invasions to remove other brutal dictators around the world?
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Old 10-12-04, 06:04 PM
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Re: Re: Investigators Unearth Grim Clues to Convict Saddam

Originally posted by JasonF
At the risk of coming across as a left-wing parrot, do you support invasions to remove other brutal dictators around the world?
At risk of repeating previous posts of mine, yes, if that is what it takes
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Old 10-12-04, 06:06 PM
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Those bodies were planted by U.N. inspectors. You won't find Saddam's DNA on them. And even if you do, I bet if you try to put Saddam back in that spider hole you suposedly dragged him out of, he <i>won't fit.</i>. This is obviously whitey trying to keep the arab-american down. Er... arab-iraqi down.
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Old 10-12-04, 06:06 PM
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At the risk of coming across as a left-wing parrot, do you support invasions to remove other brutal dictators around the world?
Should we allow the world to suffer their existance? I certainly don't think invasion is needed in every case but shouldn't we (as a world community not just the US) be concerned about anyone living in an oppressive society?
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Old 10-12-04, 07:06 PM
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Re: Re: Investigators Unearth Grim Clues to Convict Saddam

Originally posted by JasonF
At the risk of coming across as a left-wing parrot, do you support invasions to remove other brutal dictators around the world?
I sure do. I don't know where to draw the line as far as what constitutes a "brutal dictator", but it was pretty clear cut with a country that had invaded two neighbor countries, used chemical weapons, and killed hundreds of thousands of its own people.

Arguements about not having an exit strategy and the like seem pretty hollow to me when put in terms of what was going on in Iraq.
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Old 10-12-04, 11:54 PM
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Should we allow the world to suffer their existance? I certainly don't think invasion is needed in every case but shouldn't we (as a world community not just the US) be concerned about anyone living in an oppressive society?
To hell with Saddam. North Korea is where the real crazy messed up dictators are. Oh wait, they have nukes... and no oil. IRAN!!!
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Old 10-13-04, 02:28 PM
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http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...=1097642533116

Kehoe said his team has removed 120 bodies from a trench believed to contain as many as 300 bodies.

He said that because of limited funds and resources, his team could excavate only one mass grave at a time. European teams who worked on Bosnian mass graves are not helping because of their concerns that Saddam could face the death penalty, he said.
I guess those idiots would have sent Hitler to a rest camp if he'd survived and they'd been in charge after WW II.
Sheesh.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:57 PM
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Re: Re: Investigators Unearth Grim Clues to Convict Saddam

Originally posted by JasonF
At the risk of coming across as a left-wing parrot, do you support invasions to remove other brutal dictators around the world?
So in your logic is it should be all or nothing? We invade every dictatorship in the world at the same time or we don't interfere with any of them at all?
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Old 10-13-04, 03:40 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Investigators Unearth Grim Clues to Convict Saddam

Originally posted by Mopower
So in your logic is it should be all or nothing? We invade every dictatorship in the world at the same time or we don't interfere with any of them at all?
Did I take that position? No. I simply asked a question.

What do you tell the victims of the other homcidal dictators? "Sorry, we've met our quote of ousting repressive dictators. You should have had better P.R. for your cause."
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