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UPDATE: I don't know who is translating for CNN but again, like the Times with the execution video last week, they got most of the conversation in the video wrong. Here is the transcript they posted in their story:

Man 1: "Quickly, quickly please, take one picture."

Man 2: "Yes, I hear you."

Man 1 (raising his voice when the video continues longer than a still shot would have required): "Come on, what's the matter?"

Man 2: "I hear you, I hear you."

Man 1 (to a third man): "Abu Ali, come on and deal with this."

Man 1 (apparently irritated over the length of time Man 2 is taking): "Come on, habibi ... I'll say this one time politely otherwise I'm going to get real angry."

Man 2: "I hear you."

Here is what was actually said in the video:

Man 1: "Quickly, quickly. I'm going to count from one to four. One ... Two ... Ha, Abu Ali. Come on, habibi. Just a moment. Mercy be on your family -"

Man 2: "I'm coming."

Man 1: " ... You're going to bring us a disaster ..."

Man 2: "I'm coming. I'm coming."

Man 1: "Just a moment. One moment. Abu Ali ... "

Man 2: "I'm coming."

Man 1: " ... Abu Ali, you take care of this. Abu Ali."

Abu Ali: "Come on. Come on."

Man 1: "Ya habibi, ya aini (my dear) ... "

Man 2: "That's it. I'm coming."

There's not that much of a difference in meaning, but there was no mention of taking one picture or a guy threatening to get angry. It just looked like they were afraid to get caught.

My whole point is that whoever is translating for CNN and the NY Times is not doing a great job.

# posted by Zeyad : 1/08/2007 03:20:00 PM



Could not agree more with your analysis of the BBC 'coverage'.

I don't seem to recall the same 'outrage' being expressed whenever Iran uses a crane to slowly strangle one of it's 'criminals', even when that 'criminal' happens to be a young girl.

But I probably just missed it. I'm careless that way.

The BBC is exactly the kind of 'news' a decaying civilization deserves. Ain't it grand.


Uh, of course that article doesn't go into his background - it was current news about an execution and its quite possibly dangerous political effects, not a history lesson.

For that, you click on the link on the right labelled obituary, which starts:

"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."

Will East

Andrew - I agree. I think there's another point to make too. If these men had been imprisoned for life rather than executed, then all the reports would have focused on their oppressive actions. Instead we are all focusing on the 'event' of their killing. While Joseph is trying to shift the focus of attention away from this, in the end he is merely contributing to the debate.

I don't support the executions myself for two reasons. Firstly, Saddam's execution gave him an opportunity for one last act of defiance and so he goes down as a martyr. Better to let him live a solitary life in prison, with four blank walls to look at for the rest of his days. Second, the way the executions have been conducted has destroyed the dignity of justice and any sense that the Iraqi authorities themselves are beyond reproach. The lasting impression of Saddam's execution will be the baying crowd, shouting and cat-calling as though they were at a rowdy public execution centuries ago. OK, the BBC may not have provided a balanced report and the rest of the media hasn't covered itself in glory either, but how on earth was this made a possibility in the first place?


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