Saddam Hussein Rules Over Cell With Iron Fist

In This Section

Vol 40 Issue 06

That Guy From That One Show In Rehab

GLENDALE, CA—According to nurses at the Rosewater Rehabilitation Clinic, that guy who used to play the fat guy on that one show was admitted Monday for treatment of alcohol abuse and depression. "He looked exactly like he did on that one show, except a bit older and fatter," nurse Christina Prenz told reporters. "I asked him to do that thing he always used to do, but he just stared at me. Then he started crying." Prenz added that, during their group therapy session, she plans to ask him why the show was cancelled.

Household Death Toll Climbs To One

NEW HAVEN, CT—Police announced Monday that the accidental death of 68-year-old Joseph Lang increased the death toll at 320 E. Oak St. to a staggering one. "We retrieved Mr. Lang's body from his bathtub, where it appears he slipped and hit his head," police officer Chris Ramsey said. "Although we don't expect to find any additional victims, we're continuing our 48-hour search of the two-story home, just in case." Lang is survived by his wife Helen, who still resides in the deathtrap.

New Co-Op Airline Offers Cheaper Fares If You Help Fly The Plane

SAN FRANCISCO—GreenWay Airlines, a new low-cost, cooperative airline, offers inexpensive fares to passengers who assist with the flight, an airline spokesman said Monday. "Unlike pricey corporate airlines, GreenWay is run by and for the people," said Brad Olson, a member of the GreenWay elected board. "But, in order to keep our ticket prices low, everyone who wants to fly with us needs to pitch in and help us navigate and maintain the aircraft. All positions, from baggage handler to pilot, will be filled by volunteers who sign up for four-hour shifts." GreenWay will begin taking reservations for daily flights between San Francisco and Austin, TX, as soon as someone can figure out how to use the booking software.

Majority Of Americans Thought We Already Had A Moon Base

WASHINGTON, DC—A NASA poll conducted to gauge support for President Bush's space-exploration initiative revealed that a depressing 57 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. already has a research base on the moon. "We put that international space-station thing up there in the '60s," phone-poll respondent Randy Snow said. "It might be on Mars, but I think it's the moon—wherever they have the golf course that President Kennedy played on. Remember, the Cubans tried to take it over?" NASA officials said they hope someday to make Americans' perception a reality.

Radicals, Extremists Vie For Control Of Iran

TEHRAN—As the Feb. 20 parliamentary election approaches, hard-line conservative religious radicals and fundamentalist Islamic extremists are stepping up their disparate campaigns. "It's up to the people: Does the future of Iran lie in the hands of the far-right extremists or the far-far-right radicals?" said Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the hard-line Guardian Council that recently banned thousands of moderate candidates from the election. "Will the old-school clerics win, or is the country ready for a new stripe of fundamentalists who will take authoritarianism in an entirely different direction?" Jannati urged all of Iran's citizens to get out and make their votes count.

Gay Marriage

Last week, the Massachusetts high court sanctioned same-sex marriages in that state. What do you think?
End Of Section
  • More News
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Comfort

  • Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

    ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Energy

Saddam Hussein Rules Over Cell With Iron Fist

BAGHDAD—Officials overseeing Saddam Hussein told reporters Monday that the detained former Iraqi leader rules over his cell "with an iron fist."

Hussein waves to his legions of loyal mice.

"Saddam is a very powerful man with a larger-than-life presence, and when he's in that cell, there's no mistaking who's in charge," said a special-forces officer who commands the watch of Hussein at an undisclosed location in Iraq. "We gave Saddam a small bag of nuts. While he was asleep, the rats got into the nuts and ate some of them. In retaliation, Saddam caught one of the rats' young, tortured it, and left it strapped to the wall with dental floss for days. Then, after it was dead, he stuffed its severed head with nuts and paraded it around the cell to warn the other rats."

"But Saddam will also be kind to the vermin and occasionally toss them an almond to fight over," the officer said. "In this way, he teaches the rats both to love and to fear him."

According to a CIA official, the dictator "personally monitors" every inch of his 12'x11' cell.

"Nothing escapes Saddam's notice," the official said. "He's assembled a secret lice force to collect information and watch over the cell while he sleeps. At first, it seemed harmless, but the lice grew in number every day. Where once there were a couple, now there are thousands hiding in the folds of his sheets."

Although Hussein is isolated from the other detainees, the former ruler of Iraq makes frequent proclamations.

"Every day at around 6, he delivers his morning decree," the CIA official said. "He tells the cockroaches and other vermin in the cell that he will protect them against the oppressive Western devils and reward those who remain loyal. Then he usually sings. I once rapped on the bars with the butt of my rifle, but that just fired him up. He started cursing a blue streak at me and launched into a recitation of the "64 Rules Of Order" for the cell. Now I know to just let him tire himself out."

Sources say Hussein has brought an atmosphere of pageantry to his cell, by decorating it with slogans and iconic images. He drew a flag on the north wall with chalk and etched the slogan "God Punish The Oppressors" into the floor with a toothbrush handle. He used the black heel of his shoe to draw his portrait on the wall and shaped a 14-inch statue of himself out of chickpeas and chewed bread.

"When I gave him the chalk, I thought he was just going to tick off the days with it, but I guess I should have expected more from a man as ingenious as Saddam," an unnamed soldier said. "Now, he delivers his speeches in front of the flag. He tried to use his bed and blanket to make a roster and bunting once, but we said 'No way.' Yesterday we caught him standing on the toilet reading aloud from his memoirs. We told him to get down before he slipped and hurt himself."

Hussein appointed 12 cockroach ministers to his cabinet, but he has already had to execute nine of them for crimes ranging from sexual impropriety to inappropriate scurrying. He has named his pillow the Ba'ath Party Military Bureau Deputy Chairman and Head of National Monitoring Directorate, and uses this top party member to execute disloyal subjects.

"It's not unusual to see Saddam running around the cell whacking everything in sight with his deputy chairman," the soldier said. "He's awfully attached to that thing. Not everyone knows how sentimental Saddam is. When they took his bedding to be cleaned, he openly wept for the loss of his closest confidant."

Hussein has repeatedly refused weapons and contraband inspections.

"Most of the prisoners I've dealt with see the daily checks as routine," the soldier said. "But Saddam likes to complain about how we need evidence of wrongdoing before we can cross the cell's threshold."

Occasionally, guards have been forced to threaten Hussein with sanctions to get him to comply with inspections.

"Every couple of days, he refuses to let us look under his bed," an unnamed soldier said. "There's never anything under there, but sometimes he likes to make a big deal out of refusing."

Amnesty International spokesman Troy Jergins said sanctions have little effect on Hussein himself, and only harm the cell's other inhabitants.

"If you take away his cigars or his half hour of fresh air, you're only hurting his subjects," Jergins said. "When we take his privileges away, he flies into a rage, killing insects, cursing at the mice, and throwing his toiletries at the wall."

Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, a top U.S. army commander in Iraq, responded to concerns that Hussein wields too much power in his cell.

"Well, we keep a pretty tight watch on him," Odierno said. "Besides, this prison is just temporary. They'll be moving him when it's time for him to face the international tribunal for his atrocities. His pre-cell atrocities, that is."

Next Story

Onion Video

Watch More