Rusty Shackleford Vinnie comes through with the vid. Obviously this wasn’t shot by the official Iraqi cameraman: he was up on the platform with Saddam and using a real lens, not a cell phone. This probably was taken by one of the Shiite witnesses, who passed it along to the Sadrists for dissemination on the web.
I don’t know whose bright idea it was to let three punks in leather jackets and balaclavas take care of business instead of the Iraqi army, but the more I watch it, the more it looks like a hit instead of a state execution. This doesn’t help either:
The room was quiet as everyone began to pray, including Mr. Hussein. “Prayers be upon Mohammed and his holy family.”
Two guards added, “Supporting his son Moktada, Moktada, Moktada.”
Mr. Hussein seemed a bit stunned, swinging his head in their direction.
They were talking about Moktada al-Sadr, the firebrand cleric whose militia is now committing some of the worst violence in the sectarian fighting; he is the son of a revered Shiite cleric, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who many believe Mr. Hussein had murdered.
“Moktada?” he spat out, a mix between sarcasm and disbelief.
You can hear that in the video if you listen closely. It sounds like he laughs after he says it.
His family’s going to bury him in Ramadi, ground zero of the Sunni insurgency, ostensibly to prevent Shiites from desecrating his grave but actually to give the local barbarians a little inspiration. It’ll work, too.
Looks like he went pretty quickly.
Update: Red on red.
Saddam rejected an offer of dinner, a cooked chicken, and asked only for a copy of the Koran. By 1am, all he wanted to do was sleep.
But his guards, all members of the dominant Shia Sciri party, had other ideas. One in particular, nicknamed Ali the Butcher, intended to make a hell of Saddam’s last night on earth. “They were making jokes about Saddam,” another guard who spoke to those on duty told The Sunday Telegraph. “Ali the Butcher had the rope they would hang him with, and he was telling Saddam ‘It’s waiting for you, it’s waiting for you’.
“The guards were dancing in front of him. When Saddam tried to sleep, they were going in, every 30 minutes. They said, ‘We didn’t let him sleep. We destroyed his personality’.”
Update: Degenerate clown George Galloway vows revenge for his old pal.
Saddam, whom Galloway met before he was ousted in the 2003 US-led invasion, “managed quite predictably, if you knew anything about him, to show rather more dignity in these circumstances than those who were hanging him.”…
“I promise you this,” Galloway warned the call-in chat show. “The film of the execution of Saddam Hussein this morning will live in infamy and will haunt those who directed it for the remainder of their lives.”
Update: Like I said: a hit, not an execution.
The building where the execution took place was expressly chosen because it was once used as a detention center by a division of Saddam’s secret police that was focused on the Shiite Dawa party. Some of the witnesses whom the government invited to the execution had themselves once been tortured in that same building.
The Dawa party is Maliki’s party. The symbolic message here won’t be lost on either side, I’m sure.
There’s a map of the execution site at Iraqslogger.
Update: Zeyad has a translation of the video (Saddam’s real last words were the shahada) and comments: “It utterly disgusts me that Sadr’s supporters have infiltrated every level of the state, and that the witnesses, including Iraqi government officials, have made this look like a sectarian issue. They were doomed to repeat Iraqi history by hanging their former oppressor and labeling it as justice. In a perfect situation, Saddam’s execution would have united Iraqis, but thanks to the actions of the new Iraqi rulers, it will only serve to divide further. I doubt any of them will prevail as much as Saddam did, though.”
Update: Never mind the earlier report about Ramadi. They put him in the family plot in Tikrit.