Between Punkerslut and the Oregonian
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I saw the headline in the Oregonian today (March 15, 2006). It read something along the lines of, "Hussein Testifies, Urges Iraqis to Attack Americans: Judge silences Saddam Hussein because he refuses to stop his speechmaking."
I didn't pay much attention to his testimony, so I can't really argue on that point. But just look at the way those words are phrased: "refuses to stop his speechmaking." Is that really unbiased? Last time I checked, a testimony is a person's defense against the allegations which have been made against them. A part of the American Constitution and all concepts of political justice entail the right of every human being to defend themselves against the allegations of anyone. It's something that has been forgotten in places like Guantanamo Bay and, apparently, in places like the Oregonian editor's room.
Speechmaking? Wow, that's quite the indictment there. Actually, no, that's a value term. No, no, the judge didn't stop him for "testifying" -- the concept of "the right to testify on one's own behalf" is inexorably connected to the word "testify." No, Saddam wasn't stopped for using his legal right -- he was held in contempt because he randomly stood up in court and started delivering speeches.
Date: Thu Mar 16 14:31:13 2006
Dear Mr. Carloff,
You saw the headline. But did you read the story? "Not once did Saddam address the case at hand, in which he and seven co-defendants are charged with jailing, torturing and executing 148 men and boys from the shiite village of Dujail in the 1980's." Rather, Hussein "delivered an incendiary political diatribe that urged Iraqis to stop sectarian bloodshed and to carry on the war against the United States." Wouldn't you agree that that's a speech, not testimony? Here's the story as it ran on page one in Thursday's Oregonian. Please read it and forward any further comments you might have.
Saddam uses trial to urge war on U.S.
Date: Thursday, March 16, 2006
Naturally one would always call it speechmaking, but at that moment when Saddam Hussein was taking the stand, it was also a testimony. Consider the trial of Francisco Ferrer, who was executed in Spain for a crime that history admits he did not commit. Regardless, the Roman Catholic Church influenced the trial, and the judge wouldn't even allow Ferrer to call defense witnesses. Or, consider Ravachol, the working-class peasant of France who fought against a corrupt government and, in the end, was sentenced to death without even being given the right to testify on his own behalf.
The question here is, what's the real issue? Has Saddam Hussein attempted to rally up military/political/social strength for his side? Or did the court passing the sentencing on Saddam just violate national and international charters on human rights when it comes to due process of law?
This is a political incident, and now it's a news story; everyone's covering it. Which approach to the story do you think gives a more accurate description of how things are going with the US administration's handling of the Iraq situation? An ex-dictator with virtually no political or military power cheering on the destruction of local militias? Or a US court denying constitutional rights and a fair trial to those it has accused?
Thanks for your time,