Despite the express wish of the Iraqi Government that the only footage shown of Saddam Hussein’s execution- be limited to the point where the noose was placed over Hussein’s head and tightened around his neck (with no audio), a full, uncut video, including “the drop” is going around the web like wildfire. Taken by a cellphone, it is showing on Netscape, and the story has already been “dugg” in a variety of ways, including how the cellphone was sneaked in.
This video release is likely to further put under the splotlight the editing freedom that web publishers have, with no fundamental accountability. And given the recent legislation proposed by Senator McCain that would help curb such freedoms- the argument is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Clearly, there are both legal and ethical questions raised by the open publication of this video that will need careful consideration. Especially with most of the world standing against the death penalty, most notably in Europe.
Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator who spent his last years in captivity after his ruthless regime was toppled by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003, was hanged before dawn Saturday for crimes committed in a brutal crackdown during his reign.
The execution took place shortly after 6 a.m. (10 p.m. Friday ET), Iraq’s national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, told Iraqi television.
“This dark page has been turned over,” Rubaie said. “Saddam is gone. Today Iraq is an Iraq for all the Iraqis, and all the Iraqis are looking forward. … The [Hussein] era has gone forever.”
Al-Iraqiya state television aired a videotape of Hussein’s last moments several hours after the execution. The video showed Hussein, dressed in a black overcoat, being led into a room by three masked guards.
Rubaie, who witnessed the execution, said the former leader was “strangely submissive” to the process.
“He was a broken man,” he said. “He was afraid. You could see fear in his face.”