The wheels of justice certainly are moving faster over in Iraq than they are here. Many sources, including MSNBC, are reporting the last steps before former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein’s execution takes place are happening. The US military has received a formal request from the Iraqi government to transfer Hussein to Iraqi authorities, his half-brothers visited him presumably for the last time yesterday, taking home some of Hussein’s personal belongings, and one of his lawyers has said he was told by the US military to pick up Hussein’s personal effects (apparently, the family didn’t take them all). Now, Fox News is reporting that a US military source is saying that transfer will happen today. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, apparently wanted Hussein’s punishment executed last night, but the logistics weren’t ready yet.
Meanwhile, there has been some confusion over the 30-days stipulation. Some have said that Hussein has to be executed within that 30 days. Some have said that he could only be executed in that window with the express approval of the Iraqi presidency (consisting of President Jalal Talabani and 2 vice-presidents, with the anti-death-penalty Talabani routinely authorizing one of the vice-presidents to authorize executions on his behalf), with punishment carried out on the court’s authority beyond that window. Apparently that’s been ironed out, though there is no specific news of that.
There is a big rush to get this done before the 2nd Eid holiday of the Muslim year. That starts at local sunset Saturday, which, depending on whether it’s the actual position of the sun or a standardized 6 pm local time, is
24 or 25 23 to 24 (need to work on the Milwaukee-to-Baghdad time conversion program) hours from now. SWING, Saddam, Saddam, Saddam, Saddam, SWING!
Revisions/extensions (11:05 am 12/29/2006) – Tick, tick, tick. Fox News is now reporting that Hussein is now in Iraqi as opposed to American custody. My guess is he’s already dead.
Further revisions/extensions (12:27 pm 12/29/2006) – Fox News is reporting the State Department is “absolutely certain” (the nameless bureaucrat’s words) Hussein is still in US custody and will likely be so for the next several days. They don’t call it Foggy Bottom for nothing.
Revisions/extensions #3 (1:38 pm 12/29/2006) – The Confederate Yankee is sticking by his story that Hussein is getting the rope at midnight tonight, and it is being collaborated by Reuters. That would be 3 pm here, and that would put a crimp into Mark Belling’s Year-End Current Events Quiz. Oh well.
R/E #4 (3:56 pm 12/29/2006) – AP is reporting Saddam’s lawyers filed for an restraining order to stop Hussein’s transfer to Iraqi custody before DC District Judge (and chief judge of the FISA Court) Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Kotelly was appointed to the bench in 1997 by Bill Clinton, and appointed to the FISA Court in 2002 by William Rehnquist. Never mind that he was in their legal custody since 2004 (we’re the caretakers).
Revisions/extensions #5 (4:15 pm 12/29/2006 – moved to the top of the blog) – Fox News and CNN are both reporting that a top Iraqi official that Hussein will be executed before 6 am Saturday 12/30/2006 (Baghdad time). That’s 9 pm tonight here. I’ll get the beer, who has the brats?
R/E #6 (5:39 pm 12/29/2006) – Drudge is reporting that Iraqi State TV says that Saddam will mount the gallows between 5:30 am and 6 am Baghdad time (he converted to EST). So, between 8:30 pm and 9 pm Cheddar time, Saddam will join his sons in Hell. Good bye and good riddance.
Last revision/extension (7:26 pm 12/29/2006) – Fox News reported that last-ditch legal gambit failed. No web story however. SWING, Saddam, Saddam, Saddam, Saddam, SWING!