Updated February 5, 2005









Ramsey Clark May Defend Saddam

Ramsey Clark May Defend Saddam


By Christopher Bollyn



Saddam Hussein may have former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark on his legal defense team, if the former dictator is allowed to choose legal

counsel. Clark explained the deposed Iraqi leader’s predicament in a recently published piece, “In defense of Saddam Hussein.”

Clark traveled to Amman, Jordan, in late December to meet with the family and lawyers of the former Iraqi president. Clark had been told that Saddam wanted him on his legal defense team and traveled to Jordan to offer his legal assistance.

Clark is the son of a former attorney general and Supreme Court justice. After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, Clark was appointed assistant attorney general by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

As attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson from 1967 to 1969, Clark supervised the drafting and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Today, Clark is founder and chairman of the International Action Center, the largest antiwar movement in the United States.

In his article, Clark explained why defending Saddam is “the right thing to do.”

“Both international law and the Constitution of the United States guarantee the right to effective legal representation to any person accused of a crime. This is especially important in a highly politicized situation, where truth and justice can become even harder to achieve,” Clark wrote. “That’s certainly the situation today in Iraq. The war has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and the widespread destruction of civilian properties essential to life. President Bush, who initiated and oversees the war, has manifested his hatred for Saddam, publicly proclaiming that the death penalty would be appropriate. “There is not for sure any defense team,” Clark told National Public Radio (NPR) on Jan. 29.

Hussein has been kept in isolation in a secret location for over a year and has been denied visits from his family and choice of legal counsel, Clark said.


“The intention of the United States to convict the former leader in an unfair trial was made starkly clear by the appointment of [Ahmad] Chalabi’s

nephew to organize and lead the court,” said Clark. “He had just returned to Iraq to open a law office with a former law partner of U.S. Defense Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith, who had urged the United States to overthrow the Iraqi government and was a principal architect of U.S. postwar planning.”


After the first gulf war in 1991, Clark initiated a war-crimes tribunal, which found President George H.W. Bush and generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf guilty, among others. Clark wrote a book, The Fire This Time, describing the crimes he says were committed by U.S. and NATO forces during that gulf war.

Asked why he focuses on the crimes committed by his own country, instead of those committed by Iraq, Clark says that we, as citizens, need to announce our principles and “force our government to adhere to them. When you see your government violating those principles, you have the highest obligation to correct what your government does, not point the finger at someone else.”

American Free Press asked Francis A. Boyle, professor of law at the University of Illinois, about how Saddam was being treated by the United States.

Boyle, a leading expert on the laws of war and the relationship between civilian and military personnel in investigating war crimes, is the author

of Destroying World Order: U.S. Imperialism in the Middle East Before and After September 11th.

“Saddam Hussein is clearly a prisoner of war within the meaning of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949,” Boyle said. “So far we have seen massive breaches of his basic rights under that convention by the U.S. government, which are war crimes. It is clear that ‘the fix is in,’ and [U.S. officials] are planning to kill him no matter what, after a show trial before a kangaroo court, in gross violation of the requirements for a fair trial as established by the Third Geneva Convention.”


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