Sydney Morning Herald Online
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
..........

Home   >   After Saddam   >   Article

Rumsfeld orders CIA to grill Saddam

December 17, 2003

Printer friendly version Print this article
Email to a friend Email to a friend

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today that the Central Intelligence Agency headed by George Tenet will be responsible for the interrogation of Saddam Hussein.

I have asked George Tenet to be responsible for the handling of the interrogation of Saddam Hussein," Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld said he had requested that the CIA, control the questions, and "the management of the information that flows from those interrogations".

News reports say Saddam has been relatively uncooperative with his US captors during early interrogations since his capture on Saturday.

Meanwhile, tanks rolled out on to the streets of Tikrit today, as a message that the US army would not tolerate shows of support for Saddam Hussein in the captured president's home town.

US troops forcibly broke up at least four attempted pro-Saddam demonstrations and three soldiers were wounded when a bomb went off as their Humvee patrolled the streets.

In response, around 30 American tanks and Bradley armoured vehicles rolled up Tikrit's busy main street as two helicopter gunships buzzed overhead.

Armed troops jumped down from tanks and some used strong language to clear shoppers from crowded pavements in a town smarting from lost privilege after the fall of Saddam.

Tikrit is home to many of Saddam's kinsmen who enjoyed wealth and status under his three-decade rule. US troops found the former president hiding in a pit just a few kilometres from town. A US commander conceded that the occupying forces would never be popular.

"These people love Saddam; that isn't true of other cities," said Lieutenant Colonel Steven Russell. "These people have always hated us in this area. It is not surprising that they hate us."

Some locals backed into shop doorways, many just stood and watched the parade by an occupying army whose temporary base is a sprawling complex of palaces Saddam built for himself and his family on the side of the Tigris river on the edge of town.

An hour later, a handful of military vehicles returned, one carrying the US-backed regional governor Hussein al-Jaburi, while a recording of his voice boomed a warning to would-be Saddam loyalists.

"Any demonstration against the government or coalition forces will be fired upon," Jaburi's voice said, according to an army interpreter. "This is a fair warning."

Demonstrators risk a year in jail and, if they work for the state as civil servants or teachers, they will lose their jobs, the message said. All demonstrations are illegal in the US-occupied province.

"They are not allowed to go around kissing pictures of Saddam in this city," Russell said. "It will not happen."

Afterwards, Jaburi and Russell interviewed a middle-aged man in traditional Arab clothing who they suspect of inciting demonstrations.

"Look me in the eye. Let me make something very clear," the American officer told the man over tea at the governor's office.

"If our ears and eyes see and hear you are connected with demonstrations, and anti-coalition activities you will be going to jail for a very long time."

Russell described the roll-out of tanks not as a show of force, but as a security operation and said a tough approach was needed. "We cannot hand out lollipops, it does not work," he said.

AFP/Reuters

Printer friendly version Print this article      Email to a friend Email to a friend Top Top
magnifying glass Search all Fairfax archives (*Fee for full article)



Iraq: After Saddam

National

World

Opinion

Business