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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Look. Not Everyone Is Having A Merry Christmas

I saw this news story, and I had to laugh. On today of all days, someone's Christmas Wish didn't come true. This, from the TimeOnlineUK today:

A DUTCH businessman was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for helping Saddam Hussein to acquire the chemical weapons that he used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians in the Iran-Iraq war.

The ruling by a court in The Hague — which could have an impact on the trial of the former Iraqi dictator in Baghdad — also said that genocide had been perpetrated against Kurds in Iraq after Saddam accused them of collaborating with Iran.

The court found Frans van Anraat guilty of multiple counts of war crimes, violating the laws and customs of war and causing death and serious bodily harm to the whole or entire Kurdish population, but not guilty of genocide.

Van Anraat, a portly 63-year-old, was not in court to hear the verdict and sentence. He has always maintained that he did not know the chemicals he sold to Iraq would be used to make poison gas. His lawyers said that they would appeal against yesterday’s ruling.

Scores of relatives of victims, some in colourful Kurdish dress, followed the proceedings in a separate room through interpreters into English, Farsi and Arabic. When the verdict was read out dozens danced outside the courthouse. Some held banners reading “Halabja genocide — never again”, a reference to the Iraqi Kurdish town where 5,000 civilians were killed by chemical weapons in 1988.

“I spoke to my family in Halabja and they cried with joy,” said Dana Habajal, who survived the crackdown by Iraqi forces against the Kurdish population. “I’m so happy, I don’t know what to say. I hope Saddam Hussein faces the same.”

The court also awarded damages of £7,000 each to 15 victims. “These attacks were committed with the intent to destroy the Kurdish population of Iraq,” the ruling said. “The court finds the intent of destruction was targeted against part of the Kurdish group as part of a genocidal intent.”

Wow. I'm sure Saddam isn't happy about this turn of events. He may not recognize the authority of the court, or of the new government, but I can assure everyone that there will be one thing he will recognize when this trial is done.

A hangman's noose.

And remember this: Van Araat was not convicted of genocide. He was convicted of supplying the guy in charge of the genocide. He can claim he had no idea what the chemicals were to be used for, but as a person who deals in chemicals, you'd have a pretty good idea what your buyer wants these for. You can't be that stupid. To proclaim that, you'd also have to claim to the be the luckiest man on earth for not screwing up and getting yourself killed; either by your buyers, or your merchandise.

Prosecutors accused Van Anraat of delivering more than 1,000 tonnes of thiodiglycol. It can be used to make mustard gas, which causes horrific burns to the lungs and eyes and is often fatal.

He was also accused of importing chemicals to make nerve agents. The prosecution said that the lethal cargo was shipped from America via Belgium and Jordan to Iraq. He also imported other shipments from Japan via Italy.

Van Anraat was first arrested in 1989 in Italy on a US warrant. He then fled to Baghdad where he lived for 14 years under an assumed name. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 he made his way back to the Netherlands, where he was arrested a year ago.

For those unfamiliar with thiodiglycol, it is a viscous, clear to pale-yellow liquid used as a solvent. It's a scedule 2 chemical under the Chemical Weapons Convention. It's a primary ingredient in the production of mustard gas. Scedule 2 chemicals also have no large-scale industrial uses: however, they may have legitimate small-scale uses. Their production is subject to declaration to the OPCW, (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) as per Part VII of the "Verification Annex", and they may not be exported to countries which are not party to the Convention.

Even if one is to believe that he didn't know, there was no way he could not have known. Small scale uses for 1000 tons of this chemical, anyone? All I hear are crickets. Therefore, Saddam was in possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Chemical weapons are still considered a WMD, and his trial just took a turn for the worse, literally. With one conviction over with, and a few more to come, Saddam had best make peace with his maker; I have a feeling he will visit him soon.

Mistress Pundit


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