The ABCNews political blog has an update on the Hussein execution.
Later this evening, another video of the hanging popped up, this time being shown on Al-Jazeera and Arabiya, two Arabic TV channels based in the Gulf. The new video was of poor quality, was very jerky, and had clearly been shot on a cell phone or some similar device from below by one of the two dozen witnesses to the event. It also had sound. The picture it gave of Saddams last moments was very different from the edited, silent version that the Iraqi government had released earlier.
There are five men in black face masks who are visible on the gallows platform around Saddam, acting as guards. As they guide him towards the trap door and put the noose over his head, they start chanting religious slogans with the names of Moqtada al Sadr (the head of the Mahdi army, accused of organizing death squads against Sunnis) and Baqr al Sadr (the father-in-law of Moqtada). Saddam, a Sunni, is outraged at this last-minute provocation, and tells them to go to hell. This is generally where the two TV stations cut the video, but on at least one occasion that we saw, Arabiya allowed the video to keep rolling: The cell phone camera is jerked down to the ground, as if the person holding it had to conceal the camera, then it is slowly raised up to Saddam again, and suddenly his body shoots down through the trapdoor. At this, the Arabiya anchor came on and made a scissors symbol with two fingers with a mischievous grin on his face, as if to say that they really shouldnt have shown that, but so be it. A cynical voyeuristic ploy, nudge nudge wink wink…
The video from that execution taken by a cellphone and somewhat graphic is here. It appears the hanging was mercifully quick with death by a snapped neck rather than suffocation.