Archive | December 2006

Hussein Executed

The trial and sentance seemed to go through so quickly! Weird that his reign was so discussed but his death… siilent. Befitting???
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been executed, according to two Arabic language media outlets.
Hussein was hanged before dawn on Saturday in Iraq, at about 6 a.m. (10 p.m. Friday ET), the U.S.-backed Al-Hurra television reported.
Al-Arabiya reported that Barzan Hassan, Hussein’s half-brother, and Awad Bandar, former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were hanged after Hussein. All three were convicted of killings in the Iraqi town of Dujail nearly 25 years ago.
Earlier, Munir Haddad, a judge on the appeals court that upheld the former dictator’s death sentence, and an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki each confirmed the paperwork needed for Hussein’s execution had been prepared late Friday.
"All the procedures have been completed," Haddad said.
At the same time, a U.S. district judge refused a request to stay the execution.
Attorney Nicholas Gilman said in an application for a restraining order, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, that a stay would allow Hussein "to be informed of his rights and take whatever action he can and may wish to pursue."
Haddad had called Gilman’s filing "rubbish," and said, "It will not delay carrying out the sentence," which he called "final."
Haddad also said there is no need for a presidential decree for the implementation of the execution.
He said once the handover is completed, "the sentence will be carried out swiftly, without any delay. God willing."
Haddad, who will attend the execution, said he received a call from al-Maliki’s office asking him and a prosecutor to be ready for it.
Haddad wouldn’t disclose the location of the execution and said it won’t be broadcast live on TV because of human rights issues.
Meanwhile, Giovanni di Stefano, one of Hussein’s defense attorneys, told CNN the U.S. military officially informed him that the former Iraqi dictator has been transferred to Iraqi authorities for his execution and that a "credible source" told him Hussein will be executed "very shortly — in the next couple of hours."
And di Stefano indicated that the move by lawyers in the U.S. court could mean Hussein is in U.S. military custody now.
"The United States may very well have had a cause to effectively take him back in the event" a judge "grants the temporary restraining order, in which case his life would then be spared at least for a period of time or until such further order of the court," he said.
Giving Hussein to the Iraqis despite a temporary restraining order would be contempt of court, di Stefano said.
Conflicting reports These latest developments come during a day of conflicting reports over whether Hussein was in U.S. or Iraqi custody. Throughout the day, U.S. officials have not wavered in their stance that he remains in U.S. custody.
There has been speculation that Hussein would be executed before Eid Al-Adha — a holiday period that means Feast of the Sacrifice, celebrated by Muslims around the world at the climax of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
There is a belief that the execution could be soon because the law does not permit executions to be carried out during religious holidays.
Eid begins Saturday for Sunnis and Sunday for Shiites and lasts for four days. Hussein is a Sunni Muslim.
Baha al-Araji, a member of the Iraqi parliament from the Muqtada al-Sadr bloc, said the government is seeking the "opinion of clerics, both Sunni and Shiite, whether they can carry out the death sentence against Saddam on Saturday since it’s the start of Eid."
"The clerics would issue a fatwa saying that due to exceptional circumstances the death sentence can be carried out," said al-Araji, whose political movement represents Shiite Muslims.
Sheikh Jalaleddin al-Saghir, who is both a Shiite cleric and a parliament member from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said, "There is absolutely no problem from a religious standpoint to carry out the death sentence at the start of Eid."
Baghdad now is in its regular overnight curfew, and Iraqi and U.S. troops are bracing for protests and violence if an execution occurs.
Ministerial aides said government officials have been in "emergency meeting," and al-Araji confirmed that officials were still debating whether to execute the former Iraqi leader on Saturday.
Gallows in Green Zone Al-Araji said the scaffolding where Hussein is to be hanged is in Baghdad’s Green Zone, the center of power for coalition officials.
He said he saw a judge, a cleric and a physician at the site. According to Iraqi law, these people have to be present at the execution.
"These people were told to remain there on standby waiting for orders for the government," al-Araji said.
Al-Araji told CNN that he and other parliament members and government officials have been cleared to attend the hanging.
"I would have wished for this to happen in Sadr City, where he has killed the most people," he said.
If the hanging does occur on Saturday, it will "most likely take place between 6 a.m. and noon," he said. Those hours translate to 10 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday in the Eastern United States.
Speaking from Doha, Qatar, Najib al-Nuaimi, one of Hussein’s defense attorneys, said Hussein’s "fate definitely [is] in the hands of God."
Meeting with half-brothers Another defense lawyer, Badie Aref, told CNN that Hussein met with two of his half-brothers in his cell on Thursday and passed on messages and instructions to his family.
"President Saddam was just bracing for the worst, so he wanted to see his brothers and pass on some messages and instructions to his family," Aref said. The half brothers who visited were Sabawi and Wathban Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, he said.
Another of Hussein’s half-brothers, Barzan al-Tikriti, has been sentenced to death and is being held in Iraq under the same charges as Hussein.
Aref said the U.S. soldiers guarding Hussein on Tuesday took away a radio he kept in his cell so he could not hear news reports about his death sentence, which was confirmed that day.
"They did not want him to hear the news from the appeals court upholding the sentence," he said. "They gave him back the radio on Wednesday."
Aref said Saddam found out about the appeals court verdict "a few hours after it was announced."
Crimes against humanity Hussein was convicted on November 5 of crimes against humanity in connection with the killings of 148 people in the rown of Dujail after an attempt on his life.
The dictator was found guilty of murder, torture and forced deportation.
The Dujail episode falls within 12 of the worst cases out of 500 documented "baskets of crimes" during the Hussein regime.
The U.S. State Department says torture and extrajudicial killings followed the Dujail killings and that 550 men, women and children were arrested without warrants.
CNN’s Aneesh Raman, Arwa Damon, Ryan Chilcote, Sam Dagher, Jomana Karadsheh and Ed Henry contributed to this report.

Life After Christmas

Ever since Eve gave Adam the apple, there has been a misunderstanding between the sexes about gifts.
—writer Nan Robertson
We spent a rather enjoyable evening out with Sharon and Darryl first for dinner at the "noodle house" and then back to our place for a friendly visit. We left the twins with my mom and took Emanuel out with us. Sharon and Darryl were able to get a sitter for their two so supper was rather relaxing.
We did our weekly shopping – groceries, stopping in at Totem to price out a board for the twins’ train, even stopping at Staples to try and exchange my defective pc game. For once I remembered to take in my afghan pattern to photocopy it again for the outlining. I really need to sit down and work out what I have outlined and what I can do before I spend the big bucks on the specialty threads I need to finish it up. We still need to go to Walmart sometime this week and get Ken new runner, jeans and FINALLY socks. I hate it when he has holes in his socks.
We are slowly moving back towards normal with the twins and their schedule. Emanuel even seems to be settling down. He tried his very first puffed wheat today – it was not a huge hit. I also picked up a soft straw sippy cup for him when he gets a little bigger to start on water. Breastfeeding is still going VERY well thank goodness.
Now we have to start taking down the Christmas ornaments. Mom already had her tree down today – much to Gavin’s dismay! I think we will start with the lights strung around the room and then work our way through the small items. The tree I would like to leave up until after New Years since the twins love it so and the stuff in their room will have to go down when they are not here since it will cause a big stink. Obsessive little buggers.
We are still working on New Years plans, my mom is not sure what she is doing which means we are not sure if we will have all 3 kids to deal with or not. That and I have not heard back from Karyn yet. New Years is just not that big of a thing for us anymore… are we getting that old? or is it mature?
We did get our livingroom cleaned up today, now I need to light a fire under Ken about the bedroom. That is the hardest to clean since Emanuel sleeps there and it is right next to the twins’ room so you have to find time when the twins are dead asleep and Emanuel is awake but happy to play in one space. It does have to be done.
So much to do and Ken only has so many days left off… where does the time go???

We Wish You a Merry Christmas…

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, & tangled Christmas tree lights!
—writer Maya Angelou
Christmas and Boxing Day have come and gone and the kids are many toys richer for it. We spent the morning/early afternoon today over at my mom’s where the twins went through their presents and Emanuel’s and even some of Ken and mine like a tornado. We had appetizers galore for lunch and then the boys went upstairs to play for a while. When we got home there were some arguments about naptime but the boys settled down extremely quickly and then Ken and I followed suit.
Christmas was a total overload for the twins. They actually did very well with only a couple of meltdowns when they were told to stop grabbing presents from under the tree or that they were not allowed to open gifts not for them. When they opened their big trainset there was actual audible WOW’s that I got on video. We did a bunch of 1 min videos on our camera that I will have to get Ken to post online. Emanuel never did figure out how to open a present but had great fun playing with the new stuff and crawling after his brothers. I won’t bore you all with a list of the many gifts the kids received but they were definately happy. I really do need to sit down and fill out my thank you cards this week.
We had a ham dinner, the ham was a type we had not had before and honestly did not overly enjoy but the veggies and such were wonderful. For desert Ken and I had chocolate pudding with cool whip and raspberries mmm. Tonight Ken is making parmesan chesse covered chicken for supper and tomorrow my mom takes the boys but this time right after nap (it is her last day off for the holidays) so Ken and I can go out when it is still light out and do some shopping and maybe even have a nice dinner.
Ken did a great job picking out my gifts, among them a case for my iPod, an iDog, some books, and two computer games (Agatha Christie mystery novels based). Ken was definately surprised when I wrapped a Veggie Tales movie in a giant box. It has a green spine like an xbox game (which we do not have one of) so he was really confused until I brought out his real big gift – Heroscape. We have not tried playing it yet though he has been reading the instructions and checking out the pieces – there are tons of.
The twins are still overly wound up right now but we hope they will be back to normal soon. We all seem to have recovered from our upset stomachs – Gavin was so lucky to be spared and Emanuel is starting to sleep normally though is still wanting to breastfeed way too often at night – more of a big ol’ pacifier than meal at that point. Hopefully he will be back to his old 4-5 hour schedule before Ken is back to work next week. So far we do not have any plan for the rest of the week and New Years looks like we will just be home quietly celebrating while our kids are safe and sound in their beds.
Tomorrow we need to go and pick up a piece of plywood to put the twins’ new Duplo block Thomas the Tank Engine train set on. The carpet is just too soft. I am thinking the trainset will take the place of the tree and the twins’ slide will stay in storage for a while longer. Add to that the fact we are going to have to put the twins into toddler beds in the near future which means moving the toys OUT of their room and moving to a bigger place is becoming a near future necessity. The joys of a growing family.
Well Ken is to start supper as soon as he is back with new eggs (we are throwing out anything we made that meal Saturday night with that was fresh – eggs, chicken) so I should get to work tidying the mess that is Christmas toys. Here are a couple of pictures… I hope to start a little Christmas Album of the best here.