By JOHN F. BURNS, NYT
[..] But never one to understate his own importance, he (Hussein) had told his lawyers for months that the Americans might spare him in the end, for negotiations to end the insurgency whose daily bombings rattled his cellblock windows.
[..] After being roused and told that he was being transferred to Iraqi custody, a task force statement e-mailed to The New York Times a week later revealed, â€œhe immediately indicated that he knew the execution would soon follow.â€
[..] Mr. Hussein was then driven to a waiting Black Hawk helicopter for a 10-minute flight to the old Istikhbarat prison in northern Baghdad, where a party of Iraqi officials awaited him at the gallows. [..]
The time as the helicopter took off was 5:05 a.m., and Mr. Hussein had 65 minutes to live. But as he flew over Baghdadâ€™s darkened suburbs, he can have known little of the last-minute battle waged between top Iraqi and American officials â€” and among the Americans themselves â€” over whether the execution, fraught with legal ambiguities and Islamic religious sensitivities, should go ahead. CONTINUE