February 28, 2003

Aw, c'mon, that Butcher in Baghdad, he's really a nice guy
Let me get this straight - CBS' "unbiased and balanced" media whores (including Dan Rather) will bend over backwards for an exclusive 'interview' with a known mass-murdering dictator. They'll then pitch a bunch of softball questions at said murderer - who dons a nice suit and tie (as opposed to his usual military fatigues). This monster, responsible for nearly two million deaths, is then given more than an hour of prime-time network airtime to spout lies and retoric. Yet, a White House spokesman (not a known killer or rapist) isn't good enough (in the judgement of the 'fair news editors' at CBS) to represent the U.S. administration's rebuttal to this circus of an 'interview' aimed at snagging big numbers during ratings sweeps week. CBS would accept no less than a Secretary of State's mug on their network - evidently Ari Fleischer's face is too commonplace these days to draw the requisite viewers and ratings. Talk about selling your soul to the devil.

"White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told Reuters the White House had offered a representative to counter what he said would be propaganda, lies and "irresponsible statements" by Saddam in the rare interview. He said CBS replied it was interested only if President Bush made the response himself -- which he said the White House rejected on the grounds that it could imply a "moral equivalence" between the two leaders. CBS made a new offer on Wednesday. "If the president, the vice president or Secretary of State (Colin) Powell would like to appear on the program tonight we would be happy to have them appear on the program," Genelius said."

A Butcher? In who's opinion?
"According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2001, Iraqis have become the second largest group of refugees in the world. Iraqis also top the table of foreign nationals seeking asylum in the UK. Saddam Hussein has been ruthless in his treatment of any opposition to him since his rise to power in 1979. A cruel and callous disregard for human life and suffering remains the hallmark of his regime.

Torture is systematic in Iraq. The most senior figures in the regime are personally involved. Saddam Hussein runs Iraq with close members of his own family and a few associates, most of whom come from his hometown of Tikrit. These are the only people he feels he can trust. He directly controls the security services and, through them and a huge party network, his influence reaches deep into Iraqi society. All real authority rests with Saddam and his immediate circle. Saddam is head of state, head of government, leader of Iraq’s only political party and head of the armed forces.

Saddam has, through the RCC, issued a series of decrees establishing severe penalties (amputation, branding, cutting off of ears, or other forms of mutilation) for criminal offences. In mid-2000, the RCC approved amputation of the tongue as a new penalty for slander or abusive remarks about the President or his family. These punishments are practised mainly on political dissenters. Iraqi TV has broadcast pictures of these punishments as a warning to others.

According to an Amnesty International report published in August 2001, ‘torture is used systematically against political detainees. The scale and severity of torture in Iraq can only result from the acceptance of its use at the highest level.’ Over the years, Amnesty and other human rights organisations have received thousands of reports of torture and interviewed numerous torture victims.

This report, based on the testimony of Iraqi exiles, evidence gathered by UN rapporteurs and human rights organisations, and intelligence material, describes the human cost of Saddam Hussein’s control of Iraq. It examines in turn Iraq’s record on torture, the treatment of women, prison conditions, arbitrary and summary killings, the persecution of the Kurds and the Shia, the harassment of opposition figures outside Iraq and the occupation of Kuwait."

Saddam Hussein’s Regime’s Methods of Torture
- Eye gouging
- Piercing of hands with electric drill
- Suspension from the ceiling
- Electric shock
- Sexual abuse
- "Falaqa"
- Other physical torture
- Mock executions
- Acid baths
[I'm leaving out the gory details here...]

     - from SADDAM HUSSEIN: crimes and human rights abuses, UK gov't

So what?
No matter what your opinion is on the impending war with Iraq, I think it's very clear that giving a man like this so much airtime to spew his lies and deceit is irresponsible. There were no questions about mustard gas, Kurds or torture. No tough quesions about the facts related to weapons of mass destruction. And through it all, CBS smirking all the way to the bank as they throw away any last remaining shred of journalistic integrity they used to have.

The day a major American TV network sells out to a tyrant and then says a White House spokesman isn't important enough in the interests of editorial balance is the day I quit watching that network. Anyone else have a mind to boycott CBS?

- A biography of Saddam Hussein
- SADDAM HUSSEIN: crimes and human rights abuses A report on the human cost of Saddam’s policies by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK government
- Tales of the Tyrant - a fascinating account of Saddam's daily life, a glimpse at the man behind the tyranny.

A Call to Action:
"There must be a law governing humanity and governing relations in humanity, that there should not be an aggressor while others are silent about the aggression. There should not be a killer while those who watch and applaud the killing. There should not be an occupier of the land belonging to others while there are those who keep quiet and never move to remove the occupation"
     - Saddam Hussein in his interview with Dan Rather

Saddam, I agree - and I believe one way or another, whether at the hands of the U.S. and its allies, or at the hands of your own people, you, the agressor, killer, and occupier, will be removed from your occupation of terror in Iraq.

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