Two more reasons to condemn the Iraq hangings

One of them basically because it’s too grotesque for words.

Iraqi officials have shown journalists video footage of the hanging of two of Saddam Hussein’s aides, during which one of the men was decapitated.

The film shows Barzan Ibrahim – Saddam Hussein’s half-brother – and Awad Hamed al-Bandar hanged side-by-side.

Barzan, former intelligence chief, and al-Bandar, former head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court, were convicted over the killing of 148 Shias in 1982.

The government said Barzan’s beheading was accidental.

The latest hangings drew expressions of concern from among the international community.

Speaking on a visit to Egypt, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said while the executions were an Iraqi process, “we were disappointed there was not greater dignity given to the accused under these circumstances”.

The UK prime minister’s spokesman said it was “clearly wrong” if the executions had not been carried out in a dignified way.

The other grotesque things? Auntie Condi’s response, and that of the unnamed aide to Dubya’s poodle. To call THIS undignified is surely the understatement of the year:

The BBC’s Andrew North in Baghdad says the video first shows both men being prepared for execution standing next to each other.

They were both dressed in orange boiler suits.

Executioners in balaclavas placed hoods round both men’s heads, then the noose.

A short while later the footage, which is silent, shows both men fall.

Almost immediately the rope that was round Barzan’s neck flicks upwards, the body dropping below.

The cameraman then shows the pit below and a headless body, bloodied at the neck and what officials say was Barzan’s head still covered by a hood.

Al-Bandar’s body was still hanging above, said one official who was present at the execution.

Our correspondent says officials say they are not planning to release the footage publicly.

That said, I predict it’ll be YouTubed in 48 hours or less.

And I’m sure all the warhawks out there will be salivating over THIS:

Witnesses said Barzan and al-Bandar were shaking with fear as they approached the gallows.

One of those present, public prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi, told the BBC that when the trap door opened, he could only see Barzan’s rope dangling.

“I thought the convict Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti had escaped the noose. I shouted that he’s escaped the noose, go down and look for him. I went down a few steps ahead of the others to see: I found out that his head had separated from his body.”

Dignity? Schmignity. We don’t need no stinkin’ DIGNITY!

By the way, here’s who got decapitated:

Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein’s half-brother, was the former head of Iraq’s notorious secret police.

Known as the Mukhabarat, the intelligence organisation was believed to have tortured and murdered thousands of opponents of the regime.

The Baath party official was taken into custody by US forces in April 2003. At the time, he was described as a presidential adviser with in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Barzan was a leading figure in the Mukhabarat from the 1970s, later taking over as director. A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity at the time of his capture, said that during his time in the secret police, Barzan had played a key role in the Iraqi regime’s execution of opponents at home and assassinations abroad.

The US official said that Barzan was also known for his ruthlessness and brutality in purging the Iraqi military of anyone seen as disloyal.

It’s worth noting that these abuses occurred while the US and Iraq were allies.

So, when will this abuser’s enablers get THEIR day on the gallows?

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