BAGHDAD — My latest take on the referendum is “available at Time.com”:http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1119617,00.html now, and readers of B2I will notice that the blog informed a lot of the magazine copy. Plus, we got some more reporting out of Mosul.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if the election was rigged,” said a U.S. Army officer in Mosul who requested anonymity and who worked on security arrangements for the poll with Iraqi security and election officials. “I don’t even trust our election process.”
Secondly, a primer by Elaine Shannon and me on the Saddam trial “is also available”:http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1118387,00.html, and that’s taking up a lot of my time today. Alas, I’m not in the first day’s pool but I’m in the second day — which means I won’t get to see Saddam until January, probably. His lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi is widely expected to ask for and receive some kind of delay, so the first day of the trial will likely be anti-climatic. A little charge-reading, a little delay motions and we’re done.
The security was very tight going in to the trial, according to pool reports. As the journos were bussed in, everything was taken from them — everything. Watches, wallets, even pens and notebooks. (One U.S. soldier told the reporters that the CIA and the KGB have low-calibre pen-guns. Doesn’t he know the KGB was renamed years ago?) The reporters were given pencils and yellow legal pads with which to take notes, although there is allegedly a supply of back-up pens if people get too aggressive with the pencil lead.
So, in the absence of anything actually happening at the trial right now, we’re reduced to a) writing about writing with pencils and b) reporting from pool reports. Eh. It’s a living.