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Cablegate: Kuwait Special Media Reaction - Saddam Hussein

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 004533

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ARN, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, INR/NESA, R/MR, I/GNEA,
B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD, NEA/IPA FOR ALTERMAN
USAID/ANE/MEA
LONDON FOR POL
PARIS FOR POL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KPAO IZ KMDR KU KUWAIT IRAQ RELATIONS
SUBJECT: KUWAIT SPECIAL MEDIA REACTION - SADDAM HUSSEIN
TRIAL

Ref: Kuwait 4532

--------------------
Front-Page Headlines
--------------------

1. Thursday, October 20, 2005

All five major newspapers carried photographs of Saddam
Hussein in court on their front pages:
-- Al Qabas "Sadam before the mother of trials: I do not
recognize your authority."
-- Al-Seyassah "Saddam faced justice with the delusion of a
desperate despot."
-- Al-Anbaa "Public prosecution asks for Saddam's
execution."
-- Al Watan "Iraq's devil before justice."
-- Al-Rai Al Aam "Saddam Hussein in the trial of the age.
without an identity."

2. Friday, October 21, 2005

Only two of the five major newspapers displayed front-page
coverage of the trial:
-- Al-Anbaa: A caricature of Saddam with a noose around his
neck with a text balloon reading "The inevitable outcome."
Headline: "Saddam asked for black hair dye prior to the
trial. His request for a lawyer means recognition of the
court."
-- Al-Rai Alaam: A photograph of Saddam and Al-Saadoon.
Headline: "Al Sheikh Ali: Al-Saadoon issued execution orders
for 221,756 Iraqis, his seating next to Saddam was
intentional.. The court witnessed the mother of all
farces." Article on page 22.

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---------------------
Coverage of the Trial
---------------------

3. Thursday, October 20, 2005

-- Al-Seyassah pp. 31 and 32 headlines: "Iraq's removed
despot claims innocence of his crimes and refuses to
cooperate with the court"; "American documents describe
Saddam as brutal and evil"; "Raghad is confident of her
father's innocence"; "Those involved in Saddam's
assassination attempt in Dijail did not receive outside
support"; "Tehran: Saddam's crimes against Iran must be
included"; "Saddam's trial is an accountability warning to
other Arab leaders"; "Some Gulf newspapers considered the
trial to be a unique occurrence while others thought it was
a farce"; "Paris: We hope to uncover Saddam's crimes";
"Death of a man who protested the trial"
-- Al-Anbaa pp. 18 and 19 headlines: "Saddam the mouse in
the hole: I do not recognize the authority of the court";
"Saddam in the cage of justice"; "American declassified
documents: Saddam is a brutal, evil, crook"; "Jubilation in
Kurdistan and anticipation in Tikrit."
-- Al Watan p. 26 headlines: "The despot stands before
justice and refuses to recognize the court"; "After the
collapse of the peacock's throne: Saddam's family members
are dead or homeless."
-- Al-Rai Al Aam pp. 18 and 19 headlines: "Saddam.trial of
the century"; "Saddam refuses to identify himself, claims
his innocence, and reserves his constitutional rights as the
president of Iraq"; "Kurdish judge heads the tribunal";
"Strict security measures for journalists and observers";
"International NGOs demand a fair trial"; "Raghad is sure of
her father's innocence but is upset by the conduct of the
trial"; "Newspapers celebrate the trial: Iraqis will watch
their dictator stand before the mercy of justice"; "Jordan's
Baath Party still sees Saddam as the legitimate president of
Iraq."

4. Friday, October 21, 2005

-- Al-Anbaa pp. 14 and 15 headlines: "Public prosecutor:
Saddam killed 148 people because of a rumor surrounding the
assassination attempt at Al-Dijaila." "Kuwaitis see
execution as `not enough.'" "Saddam recognized the court
when he requested a lawyer." "The despot asked for black
hair dye before standing trial."
-- Al-Qabas front page headline: "Why the Al-Dijail trial
first?"
-- Al-Seyassah p. 28 headlines: "Palestinian festival to
support Saddam"; "Saddam wore a $400 suit."
-- Al Watan p. 23: Photograph of a Palestinian boy holding
up a picture of Saddam with the headline "Independent judges
and an Iraq based on the sovereignty of the law."
------------
Block Quotes
------------

5. Friday, October 21, 2005

-- Sayar Al-Jamil wrote in pro-government Arabic daily Al-
Seyassah under the title "Saddam Hussein in the cage at the
criminal court": "I wish Saddam had not run and hid as he
did, but rather that he had stood his ground and fought like
the hero he claimed to be in the streets of Baghdad against
the American tanks as they crossed the bridges over the
Tigris River. Had he done so, it would have been a stance
that history would have remembered for him."

-- Hamza Al-Shmaikhy also wrote for Al Seyassah, "Baathists
remain": "After all the crimes, murders, mass graves, wars,
and corruption, there are still people who defend the Baath
Party; the same party that came to power through a coup
d'etat and ruled Iraq for 35 years. Those who defend the
party today wear the masks of nationalism, pan-Arabism, and
Islam. They themselves have committed torture and
assassinations against all that opposed them."


6. Saturday, October 22, 2005

-- Under the headline "The funny court," Ali Al-Kandry wrote
in moderate Al Qabas: "This cannot be the Iraqis' best work.
Technically, the courtroom's acoustics were so bad there was
an echo, the microphones were not working properly, and
sound was generally bad. How could Iraq with its thinkers,
intellectuals, judges, and engineers produce such a
disappointment? Millions watched what was supposed to be
the trial of the century. Even the judge himself was
inexperienced and decided that he would rather be nice and
forfeit the dignity of his position. He presided over the
court with no gavel and he allowed the defendants to speak
without his permission. The proceedings in general were
disappointingly chaotic."

-- Moderate Al-Rai Al Aam published an extremely sarcastic
opinion piece by Fahd Al-Bassam, "Saddam's trial is
illegitimate": "Saddam's trial lacks the legitimacy that
Arabs are accustomed to--one that must be baptized by
people's blood. That is why this Iraqi government lacks the
bloody legitimacy to try the sedate calf Saddam Hussein who
ruled `legitimately and democratically.' The principle of
an eye for an eye should take precedence during this trial.
Just as so many Iraqis were murdered based on suspicions,
then Saddam should meet his fate as we, quite frankly,
suspect him."

-- Dr. Abdullah Khalifa Al-Shayji of Al Watan wrote in
"Justice and not revenge at Saddam's trial of the age":
"We all want Saddam to be tried for his crimes against us.
We will settle for no less than an execution. Some want it
to happen in public in Al-Safah square, to watch Saddam
receive the condemnation he deserves for what his killing
machine did. We want the Iraqi judiciary to demonstrate its
legitimacy, independence, and honesty so that the decision
made will be a fair one."

-- Al Anbaa published an article by Sami Abdul Latif Al-Nesf
titled, "Spotlights on Saddam's trial": "Saddam's strategy
in the trial is twofold. The first is to busy the court
with insignificant sideshow issues, as occurred when the
attention of the court was diverted from the 143 innocent
people that were murdered to the headdress of the seven
criminals charged with their murder. The second is to
stall; Saddam's lawyer objected to having him be tried on
each charge individually and requested that he be tried on
all charges at once. This would mean that the trial would
drag out and take years. All Saddam needs is two years so
that he can reach the age of 70 because it is said that
Iraqi law does not permit the execution of those 70 years of
age or older."

LEBARON

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