From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 52 - March 27, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

The evil empire

by Cat Urbigkit

A September 2002 report prepared by the U.S. Department of State details Saddam Hussein's defiance of 16 United Nations Security Council resolutions in the last decade. Among other things, Hussein: continued to seek and develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and long-range missiles; brutalized the Iraqi people, including gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity; supported international terrorism; refused to account for or release prisoners of war and others missing from the Gulf War; refused to return stolen Kuwaiti property; and worked to circumvent the UN's economic sanctions.

The State Department reported that Hussein launched a large-scale chemical weapons attack against Iraq's Kurdish population in the late 1980s, killing thousands. On at least 10 occasions, his military forces attacked Iranian and Kurdish targets with combinations of mustard gas and nerve agents using different delivery devises. The Saddam Hussein regime has reportedly destroyed more than 3,000 Kurdish villages.

Hussein's support of terrorism is well known and includes the 1993 attempted assassination of President George Bush and the Emir of Kuwait.

One entire section of a background paper prepared for President George W. Bush's Sept. 12, 2002, speech to the United Nations General Assembly was devoted to summarizing Hussein's repression of the Iraqi people. The following is a summary of that information.

As a way to control all information, Hussein ordered and is responsible for the killing of more than 500 journalists and opinion leaders in the last 10 years. Hussein does not permit freedom of speech nor of the press and does not tolerate political dissent. In 2000, the United Nation's General Assembly cited Hussein for his "suppression of freedom of thought, expression, information, association and assembly."

Hussein's regime uses rape and sexual assault in "a systematic and institutionalized manner for political purposes," including videotaping rapes of female relatives in order to blackmail oppositionists into future cooperation. At other times, the female relatives of detainees (often wives and mothers) are raped in front of the detainee.

Iraqi security agents decapitated numerous women and men in front of their families, then left the victim's heads displayed in front of their homes for several days.

Routine and systematic torture is a hallmark of the regime. Torture techniques include branding, electric shocks administered to the genitals, beating, pulling out of fingernails, burning with hot irons and blowtorches, suspension from rotating ceiling fans, dripping acid on the skin, rape, breaking of limbs, denial of food and water and extended solitary confinement in small, dark cages. According to the report, evidence of such torture was apparent when security forces returned the mutilated bodies of torture victims to their families.

Hundreds of Kurds have been held for close to two decades without being charged with wrongdoing, and are the test animals for illegal experiments with chemical and biological weapons.

Three years ago, Hussein's regime introduced tongue amputation as punishment for speaking out against Hussein or his family. Such amputations are conducted in front of crowds.

More than 2,500 people were executed from the fall of 1997 to the fall of 1999 for political reasons. Many others were executed for involvement in the Shi'a religious community, including one cleric in 2001 who refused to appear on television congratulating Hussein for the 100-percent vote at the election. One report alleged that the killings may be part of a systematic attack by government officials on the independent leadership of the Shi'a Muslim community.

The report stated that Iraq is involved in systematic "Arabization" of the country, including ethnic cleansing designed to rid the nation of its Kurds and Turkmen from government-controlled areas. Non-Arab citizens are forced to change their ethnicity or identify documents and adopt Arab names or be deprived of their homes, property, food-ration cards and expelled from the country.

Hussein hosts three-week training courses in weapons use, hand-to-hand combat and infantry tactics for children between the ages of 10 and 15. These Saddam clubs operate throughout the country and families lose their food-ration cards if their children are not offered to fill vacancies in the program.

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