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Fear -- Saddam's Chosen Method of Staying in Power

(December 16, 2002) Over the years numerous reports have been published that detail Saddam Hussein's violations of human rights in Iraq. Numerous articles have also been published over the years by International Review, which have detailed Saddam's crimes at home and abroad.

Britain's Foreign Office recently released a 23-page human rights report outlining "the barbarity of his regime." The report says Iraq "is a terrifying place to live" with "fear Saddam's chosen method for staying in power."

The British report also details that not only is torture systematic in Iraq but also that the most senior figures in the regime are personally involved.

Published in December, 2002, this latest report was prepared largely from information already researched by human rights organizations and academics. It summarizes Saddam's "regime of unique horror" - torture, public beheadings, gassing, systematic rapes, and mass executions of the Iraqi people.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told BBC that the report was needed so "people understand the comprehensive evil that is Saddam Hussein."

"He has these weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological and probably nuclear weapons which he has used in the past against his own people as well as his neighbours and could almost certainly use again in the future."

"In addition to that, there's the systematic terror which is perpetrated by Saddam on a daily basis against his own people, which is why there is this most unusual and outrageous political system which simply goes back to one person."

"The only person worth dealing with is Saddam, because everybody else, including his own cabinet, are in mortal fear."

"According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2001, Iraqis have become the second largest group of refugees in the world. Three or 4 million Iraqis -- some 15 percent of the population -- have fled their homeland of Iraq rather than live under Saddam's dictatorship. Those who remain must confront his "cruel and callous disregard for human life and suffering," the report said. In Iraq's northern Kurdish region, 100,000 Kurds were killed or disappeared in 1987-88 alone, as human rights organizations have reported over the years. Many hundreds of thousands of Iraq's Muslims have been displaced internally."

Hundreds of Shi'ite civilians, who make up more than half of the Iraqi population, died when security forces fired on a peaceful demonstration in early 1999.

"In response to attacks on government buildings and officials in southern Iraq during 1999, the Iraqi army and militia forces destroyed entire Shia villages in the south."

"During the 1990s, Saddam pursued a policy of draining the marshes area of southern Iraq so forcing the population to relocate to urban areas where it was less able to offer assistance to antiregime elements and could be controlled more effectively by the regime's security forces. As an UN Environment Programme report put it - 'The collapse of Marsh Arab society, a distinct indigenous people that has inhabited the marshlands for millennia, adds a human dimension to this environmental disaster. Around 40,000 of the estimated half-million Marsh Arabs are now living in refugee camps in Iran, while the rest are internally displaced within Iraq. A 5,000- year-old culture, heir to the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians, is in serious jeopardy of coming to an abrupt end.'"

Political Prisoners
The document listed first-hand accounts by Iraqi victims of torture -- with methods including eye gouging, piercing of hands with electric drills, acid baths, electric shocks to the genitals, extraction of finger and toe nails, and rape.

Political prisoners face "inhumane and degrading" conditions, the report affirms. Some prisons are "cleansed" of prisoners, including the Abu Ghraib prison where 4,000 prisoners were executed in 1984. Other prisons with similar "cleansing" methods are detailed.

Saddam Hussein is accused in the report of initiating punishments himself, such as cutting off of ears and tongue amputation for criminal offences and for speaking out against him or his family, which is a criminal offense.

Public beheadings
According to Amnesty International, in October 2000, dozens of women accused of prostitution were beheaded without any judicial process, as well as men accused of pimping. Some of the victims were reportedly accused for political reasons and had not been involved in prostitution.

Ra'id Qadir Agha, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, recalls vividly the execution of prisoners. "Also, on the day after Udayy (Saddam's son) was shot at, the death chamber section had more than 800 prisoners in it. You could see things for yourself from the rooms which overlooked the solitary section. It happened that the inmates of those two rooms, during that night, would draw a line on the wall for every dead body they saw taken out. Thus that very night more than 2000 prisoners were put to death. For they had brought a guillotine that beheaded 12 by 12, that is, twenty-four prisoners per minute."

Chemical attacks
Amnesty International estimates that over 100,000 Muslim Kurds were killed or disappeared during 1987-1988, in an operation known as the Anfal campaigns, to quell Kurdish insurgency and activities.

"The campaign included the use of chemical weapons. According to Human Rights Watch, a single attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja killed up to 5,000 civilians and injured some 10,000 more."

"In early 1998, the Iraqi regime obstructed a UN weapons inspection team which was trying to investigate claims that Iraq had conducted biological weapons experiments on prisoners during the mid-1990s."

Chemical Ali. Known as "Chemical Ali" and "Butcher of Kurdistan."
Ali Hasan al-Majid " "Chemical Ali" "As commander for the northern region, he bears direct command responsibility for the chemical weapons attack on the town of Halabja in northern Iraq which resulted in the death of up to 5,000 people. "

"He also took a leading role in the brutal repression of the uprising that followed the Gulf War in 1991, which included mass executions, torture and widespread destruction."

One state employee, Aziz Salih Ahmed, is described as a "fighter in the popular army." His assigned "activity" is described as "violation of women's honor. (i.e. a professional rapist)." Women in Iraq are raped, tortured and summarily executed when it is in the interest of state security.

"Members of Saddam Hussein's gang have raped women, especially dissident women. The wives of dissidents have been either killed or tortured in front of their husbands in order to obtain confessions from their husbands. Women have been kidnapped as they walk in the streets by members of the gangs of Udayy and Qusayy [Saddam's sons] and then raped."

"Under Saddam Hussein's regime women lack even the basic right to life. A 1990 decree allows male relatives to kill a female relative in the name of honour without any punishment. Women have been tortured, ill-treated and in some cases summarily executed too, according to Amnesty International."

Speaking of "family" connections, the following two brief biographies of family are enlightening.

Uday, Son of Saddam History of extreme violent behavior."
Udayy Saddam Hussein
Saddam's elder son. He has been frequently accused of serial rape and murder of young women. He maintained a private torture chamber, known as "al-Ghurfa al-Hamra" (the Red Room), disguised as an electricity installation, in a building on the banks of the Tigris

He personally executed dissidents in Basra during the uprising that followed the Gulf War in March 1991.

In one infamous incident of mass torture, Udayy Hussein ordered the national football team to be caned on the soles of their feet after losing a World Cup qualifying match.

As a member of the National Security Council, he bears command responsibility for all crimes committed with the authority or acquiescence of that body.

Udsay, Son of Saddam Mr. "Tools of repression."

Qusayy Saddam Hussein
Saddam's younger son. As head of the Iraqi internal security agencies, he has permitted and encouraged the endemic use of torture, including rape and the threat of rape, in Iraq.

Qusay, as heir apparent, oversees all Iraqi intelligence and securiy services -- the Republician Guard and the Special Republician Guard.

He is the first to help Saddam eliminate any real or preceived threat to the regime by using bloody "tools of repression" to blackmail, force confessions, and "eliminate" opponents. He is known in Iraq as the person most responsible for jailing and execution of political prisoners and their families, and for "prison cleansing."

Barzan al-Tikriti
Of course the list of "family" collaboarators could go on and on. But just to end with Saddam's half brother, Barzan al-Tikriti. He is "personally responsible for the detention and/or murder of several thousand male members of the Barzani tribe in 1983. While head of Iraqi Intelligence (the Mukhabarat) 1979-1983, he was responsible for the repression of religious and ethnic minorities, including forced deportation, disappearances and murder. Linked to the arrest of 90 members of the al-Hakim family and the murder of at least six of them." The report concludes by describing the Iraqi leader as "ruthless", adding: "A cruel and callous disregard for human life and suffering remains the hallmark of his regime."
International Review

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