Arrest Made in Cell Phone Taping of Saddam's Execution

Iraqi officials says they have made an arrest in the investigation into who recorded a video Saddam Hussein's execution on a cell phone.

The adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, did not identify the person. But he said it was "an official who supervised the execution" and who is "now under investigation."

Cell phones were confiscated before the execution. They believe some were smuggled in by bodyguards of those present.

Munqith al-Faroon, an Iraqi prosecutor present at the execution says he witnessed two observers using their cell phones to take pictures of the execution. He didn't know them by name but says he could identify them.

I saw two of the government officials who were ... present during the execution taking all the video of the execution, using the lights that were there for the official taping of the execution. They used mobile phone cameras. I do not know their names, but I would remember their faces," al-Faroon said in a telephone interview.

The prosecutor said the two officials were openly taking video pictures, which are believed to be those which appeared on Al-Jazeera satellite television and a Web site within hours of Saddam's death by hanging shortly before dawn on Saturday.

As for who was present at the execution:

Al-Faroon said there were 14 Iraqi officials, including himself and another prosecutor, as well as three hangmen present for the execution. All the officials, he said, were flown by U.S. helicopter to the former military intelligence facility where Saddam was put to death in an execution chamber used by his own security men for years.

Also interesting: Who spoke to CNN in the moments after the execution.

Update: The TimesOnline says three people were arrested.

Three people have been detained. They were prison officials," a government official said, requesting anonymity. "Two of them were chanting and one was filming with a mobile."

........The arrested prison officials had goaded Saddam with a chant popular among the followers of radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, which one of them ended by shouting the fundamentalist leader’s name. "They were from Sadr City, but they were not militia men," the official said, referring to the Shia slum of 2.5 million people in eastern Baghdad, which Sadr controls through his Mahdi Army militia.

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    not a cell (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by eric on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 12:00:05 PM EST
    It didn't look like a cell phone video to me.  It did look like a video camera and it also looked like everyone knew it was being shot.

    Video (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by glanton on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 01:51:11 PM EST
    Illegal or not, setup or not, it's a good thing the video has circulated.  

    Lets everyone see the full-on sectarian chaos that this Iraq misadventure brought to a climax. And more importantly, it further deconstructs the myth of the purple fingers (in case there's anyone left who believes in that one); put another nail in the coffin of the  absurd idea that there's some sort of God-sanctioned gift of republican liberty being seized by grateful Iraqis.

    Most of all, let all the people who ate up the 2002 propaganda hook line and sinker, let them see what the billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives has bought:  Not protection of us, which would be a proper role for any moral American government, but rather paving the way for fanatic hooligans to execute a rival hooligan.

    Most certainly there are still some Americans so foolish that they went to bed the night of Hussein's execution saying, Thank goodness, now we're safer.  They're funny.  

    All that being said, those who saw through the sham all along don't really have anything to learn by watching it, should spare themselves the snuff.

    Not as if Bush hasn't been down this road before (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Madison Guy on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 06:51:45 PM EST
    I was wondering, in the aftermath of Saddam's grotesque execution by that gloating death squad, why there wasn't more commentary about George Bush's role the last time he was involved with executions, when he was the Death Penalty Decider for the state of Texas -- in which capacity he had been known to do his own share of gloating. Poking about on the Web, I came across an October 2000 piece about Bush published by Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Globe. It seems remarkably prescient now -- especially the title, "Bush's Death Factory."

    If they want to view the execution in 235:1... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 12:15:56 PM EST
    ...widescreen, Dolby Digital Ex 5.1 Surround sound, complete with soundtrack by the Iraqi Execution Band, I'm sure that bush would be glad to loan them his copy of the DVD he no doubt had made from the closed-circuit video feed to the Whitehouse.

    What a disgusting sham to even CLAIM that the execution WAS NOT filmed in its entirety.

    Bill A - Why cry for Saddam? (1.00 / 4) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 12:37:13 PM EST
    There are enough bad things in the world to cry over, I don't even begin to understand why you would care if his long overdue exeution was filmed.

    Crying for my country Jim.... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 06:24:46 PM EST
    for being party to it.  The whole bloody mess.

    I don't hear anybody crying for Saddam.  


    That's OK, (none / 0) (#7)
    by Al on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 02:38:49 PM EST
    nobody expects you to understand anything, PPJ.

    Personally I think it's good that the execution was filmed, and the video circulated all over the world, so that everyone can appreciate the full disgusting spectacle as it really unfolded, and not the carefully edited official video.

    Apart from my fundamental objection to vile murder in the name of justice, no matter who the criminal is, there is, in Saddam's case, another important argument for keeping him alive and talking, which is what Saddam knew about the deals he made over the years. I suspect this is the main reason why he was snuffed so quickly.


    Al (1.00 / 1) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 07:01:31 AM EST
    I suspect they picked his brain clean of all the information he had that would be useful to the war effort.

    But you, of course, want to pontificate over the assistance we gave Saddam during the Iran and Iraq war.

    Here's some news, Al. We did a good thing when we did it. It stopped Iran's expansion, protected the oil supply for the US and the world, and didn't lose a single US life.


    another GenCon violation (none / 0) (#28)
    by Sailor on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 08:44:33 AM EST
    I suspect they picked his brain clean of all the information he had that would be useful to the war effort.
    it's against the GenCons to question him.

    Of course the whole trial was against the GenCons:

    7. In order to avoid any doubt concerning the prosecution and trial of persons accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity, the following principles shall apply:

    (a) Persons who are accused of such crimes should be submitted for the purpose of prosecution and trial in accordance with the applicable rules of international law; and

    (b) Any such persons who do not benefit from more favourable treatment under the Conventions or this Protocol shall be accorded the treatment provided by this Article, whether or not the crimes of which they are accused constitute grave breaches of the Conventions or of this Protocol.

    Yes, it was officially taped (none / 0) (#6)
    by eric on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 02:02:10 PM EST
    Josh Marshall has been on this story.  In a post, he cites a quotation from Iraq's National Security Advisor:

    the whole process from A to Z has been videoed, and it's kept in a safe place, and there was absolutely no humiliation to Saddam Hussein when he was alive, and after he was executed.

    So yes, it was videoed.  Also, this is the guy who is suspected of making the snuff video that got released.  "[A]bsolutely no humiliation" - what a disgusting liar.  And this is the Iraqi leadership.


    Another lie... (none / 0) (#3)
    by desertswine on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 12:32:04 PM EST
    Apparently Bush doesn't like movies. Or so the WH says.

    WSWS: A sectarian lynching (none / 0) (#8)
    by Andreas on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:02:20 PM EST
    A video of the final minutes of Saddam Hussein, released to the Arab media late Saturday and widely broadcast around the world, demonstrates that the execution of the former Iraqi president was an act of sectarian vengeance by the Shiite Muslim groups placed in power by the US invasion of the country. ...

    Beyond the events recorded on the video, the very fact that Mahdi Army loyalists were among the guards in the death chamber and could record the proceedings without hindrance has enormous political significance. It demonstrates the extent to which the US-backed Iraqi regime has become the instrument of factions in the sectarian conflict raging throughout much of Iraq. ...

    By Monday, with the digital recording circulating throughout Iraq and the entire Arab and Muslim world, it was clear that for the Maliki government and the US occupation regime the execution had become a political debacle.

    Saddam Hussein execution: A sectarian lynching
    By Patrick Martin, 3 January 2007

    Probably the one reason bush ain't braggin'. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:06:33 PM EST
    What were we supposed to do? (none / 0) (#10)
    by peacrevol on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:06:37 PM EST
    Just let the Iraqis keep Saddam where ever they wanted to in whatever capacity they wanted? He might have gotten some sections of Iraq to support a rise back to leadership for him. Or worse, he may have told people about where he got the means to commit some of his biological weapons atrocities. I feel the latter is what prompted the US to put in an express lane to his execution.

    A trip to the Haque would have served justice well (none / 0) (#12)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:16:14 PM EST
    Funny (none / 0) (#11)
    by roger on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:10:56 PM EST
    The execution is not up to international standards, so they arrest the cameraman????????

    Are they looking into who was chanting? Taunting?

    bush loves executions (none / 0) (#13)
    by Sailor on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:56:42 PM EST
    the White House declining to join criticism of the procedure and the State Department and U.S. military raising questions about it.

    Roger (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 07:22:06 AM EST
    Is taunting a cultural thing in the ME??

    Surely we wouldn't want to deny them the simple pleasures of life.



    well (none / 0) (#27)
    by roger on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 07:30:34 AM EST
    It's been known to happen here too, along with other progressive forms of execution, like burning at the stake

    "would have handled it differently" (none / 0) (#14)
    by dutchfox on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 04:40:04 PM EST
    U.S. forces had no role in Saddam Hussein's hanging, but would have handled it differently, a U.S. general said on Wednesday.


    Yeah, right (none / 0) (#16)
    by Sailor on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 06:45:37 PM EST
    The US went after him, they allegedly caught him, they held him and they turned him over to their hand picked puppets ... yep, nothing to see here, just move along.

    An unusual perspective (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:03:57 PM EST
    on Saddam's hanging, but one that from a scientific and psychology view has some good points to make.

    Richard Dawkins
    In executing Saddam Hussein, we have vandalised a unique resource for political, psychological and historical research.

    The obvious objections to the execution of Saddam Hussein are valid and well aired. His death will provoke violent strife between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and between Iraqis in general and the American occupation forces. This was an opportunity to set the world a good example of civilised behaviour in dealing with a barbarically uncivilised man. In any case, revenge is an ignoble motive. The usual arguments against the death penalty in general apply. If Bush and Blair are eventually put on trial for war crimes, I shall not be among those pressing for them to be hanged. But I want to add another and less obvious reason why we should not have executed Saddam Hussein. His mind would have been a unique resource for historical, political and psychological research: a resource that is now forever unavailable to scholars.
    Imagine, in fancy, that some science fiction equivalent of Simon Wiesenthal built a time machine, travelled back to 1945 and returned to the present with a manacled Adolf Hitler. What should we do with him? Execute him? No, a thousand times no. Historians squabbling over exactly what happened in the Third Reich and the second world war would never forgive us for destroying the central witness to all the inside stories, and one of the pivotal influences on twentieth century history. Psychologists, struggling to understand how an individual human being could be so evil and so devastatingly effective at persuading others to join him, would give their eyeteeth for such a rich research subject. Kill Hitler? You would have to be mad to do so. Yet that is undoubtedly what we would have done if he hadn't killed himself in 1945. Saddam Hussein is not in the same league as Hitler but, nevertheless, in a small way his execution represents a wanton and vandalistic destruction of important research data......
    MORE... worth the read

    Edger (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 07:15:01 AM EST
    Nice link. However the very first commentator nailed it:

    redleader wrote:


    the "Great Man" theory of history? Well, it's certainly falsifiable.

    No-one has destroyed the history of Iraq, and the story of the players in that country since Ottoman rule. You should find everything you need to know there.

    For the rest, you may have to wait for a football hooligan to fall into a persistent vegetative state.

    Igor - bring Richard the brain of a criminal!

    An Excellent Hanging (none / 0) (#19)
    by Fredo on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:21:45 PM EST
    I find it quite troubling that some would denounce the proceedings as "barbaric."  Public execution, and the taunting of the criminal as he goes to meet his doom, are storied traditions within the Arab Muslim culture.  Who are we to assert that our own culture is somehow "better" than theirs?  It is my understanding that all cultures everywhere are equal, and that each is entitled to respect from all of us.  Perhaps we have something to learn from the Iraqis.

    Let us keep in mind that the thug who was just executed had invaded two of his neighbors, fired ballistic missiles into four of them, attempted to assassinate a former American president, repeatedly fired upon American aircraft flying lawful missions over the no-fly zones, repudiated his lawful obligation to account for his weapons of mass destruction, and (according to Mr. Blix) refused to cooperate with the UN inspectors.  By contrast, the current thugs pose no threat to the US or Iraq's neighbors at all.

    Still can't quite grasp it, can you Fredo? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:39:57 PM EST
    He was executed by the Bush administration, using their puppet government in Baghdad (which will probably fall now) as the murder weapon. And you obviously have not noticed it, but "the current thugs" pose a threat not only to the US and to Iraqs' neighbors but to the entire world.

    Links ppj, links! (none / 0) (#21)
    by Sailor on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 09:04:36 PM EST
    I find it quite troubling that some would denounce the proceedings as "barbaric."
    Ahh, then this commenter would love this.

    Hanging is barbaric, hanging with out a fair trial is a lynching.


    Another mistake by sailor.. (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 07:08:58 AM EST
    sailor - I never made that comment you quote.

    Apology please.


    Fredo (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 07:17:10 AM EST
    You aren't going to get any kudos for bringing up facts like these.

    But nice try.


    you forgot something Fredo (1.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Slado on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 09:12:50 AM EST
    He also supported suicide bombers in Palestine.  That's why they where so down in the dumps this week after he was hanged.

    Of course this crowd thinks Israel is the most evil thing in the world (second maybe to the US) so they won't see this as a negative.


    nothing (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by soccerdad on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 09:35:31 AM EST
    but dumba** strawmen but what else is new.