UN inspector paints bleak picture of Saddam's jail

Antony Barnett
Sunday May 22, 2005
The Observer

Dramatic details of conditions at Camp Cropper, the top-secret Baghdad prison where Saddam Hussein is being held, have been revealed by a senior UN weapons inspector.
Dr Rod Barton, former special adviser to the Iraq Survey Group and a leading expert in chemical and biological weapons, was involved in the interrogation of Iraqi scientists at Camp Cropper.

Barton, who gave an exclusive interview to The Observer, decided to speak out to highlight what he believes is the unjust detention of scientists at the Baghdad jail.

Camp Cropper leapt into the headlines last week when the Sun published photos of Saddam in his underpants. The newspaper also ran pictures of 'Chemical Ali' - Ali Hassan al-Majid - who ordered gas attacks against Kurdish Iraqis, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, known as 'Chemical Sally', Saddam's biological weapons expert, both of whom are also at Camp Cropper.

Barton's testimony offers a remarkable insight into the conditions the former dictator and his most loyal lieutenants are being kept in.

He said there were about 100 prisoners kept at the 'bleak' prison, which consists of three rows of single-story buildings with tiny two-metre square cells and no windows. The cells have steel doors with a metal flap a metre from the ground.

He said: 'Sometimes the prisoners would push the flap open to look out into the exercise yard or to get fresh air. The guards could lock the flap as punishment. Exercise was permitted on a rotation basis for half-hour a day though this was increased to an hour after the Red Cross protested in January 2004. Other prisoners shared larger accommodation sleeping on camp stretchers. Many, he said, have spent more than 18 months in solitary confinement.

Barton revealed that three British intelligence officers had been among 45 mainly US interrogators questioning the 'high-value detainees'.

However, last July, when the Iraqi provisional government took over, the British government took the decision it would be illegal to allow their interrogators to question the detainees.

Barton describes how prisoners were brought into the interrogation rooms dressed in orange jumpsuits escorted by armed guards. 'There were about 45 case officers and each inmate had one case officer assigned to him. The idea was that the detainee would develop a rapport with his case officer.'

Barton said he witnessed no physical abuse at the jail, but he believes some prisoners had been 'softened up' before they arrived in an induction process known as 'purgatory'.


Screw him.

The facility does not violate the Geneva Convention. So what? It's not nice. Neither was the Iraq he was the dictator over. he is not a US Citizen and does NONE of the rights we enjoy.

And this is not about the pictures. They were wrong.