Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Strange Story of Abdul Amir Hussein

Thnk It Can't Happen Here?

The latest twist in the case came earlier this week. Back in July -- already three months after his arrest -- Hussein was scheduled to have his case heard by the Combined Review and Release Board, a panel made up of American military officials and Iraqi government officials. In preparation for the hearing, CBS News submitted evidence it had gathered supporting Hussein's innocence. But the hearing was abruptly cancelled and his case turned over to Iraqi criminal authorities. They in turn reviewed the case and, in late August, declined to prosecute him.

Once again we see that Iraqi authorities are sovereign only as long as they agree with the Americans actually in charge. This time they didn't agree, so instead of releasing him, the military kept him in jail claiming it had access to classified information the Iraqi authorities didn't. Another hearing with the CRRB was set for September 22. But on September 12, CBS News was informed that the hearing had already been held -- without Hussein, his lawyer, or anyone from CBS News in attendance. Then, on Tuesday, came word that the CRRB had decided to keep Hussein in jail, with no review of his case for another six months.

Arianna refers to this as "Kafkaesque". Franz Kafka was a Polish writer (curiously, he wrote in German) who specialized in bizarre commentary on the human condition in such masterpieces as "Metamorphosis" (A mild mannered clerk wakes up one morning transformed into a cockroach) and "The Trial" (a satire of bureaucracy....see if you can find the Orson Welles film).

Kafka talks about the inevitable hopeless of the individual as a being in a social order over which he exerts little influence or control.

Sound familiar?