Report reveals horror of torture used in Iraq

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HORRIFYING details of the torture Saddam Hussein is accused of perpetrating against his own people were revealed yesterday.

Researchers preparing an indictment of Saddam for crimes against humanity detailed evidence of torture, murder and ethnic cleansing from witnesses in northern Iraq.

Their report included eyewitness accounts of prisoners being killed by being fed through industrial shredders and children gassed in jail.

Shanaz Rachid, the daughter of a Kurdish leader, told a meeting of MPs that action must be taken against Saddam by the international community which she accused of standing by for more than two decades while the Iraqi people suffered.

Ann Clwyd, a Labour MP who recently returned from the latest of several visits to Kurdish northern Iraq, said that for the first time in her years of involvement with the country, Iraqi people were urging war to overthrow Saddam.

"These people are asking for war," said Ms Clwyd, who heads a parliamentary committee on Iraq. "They think it is the only way to overthrow Saddam. I have to agree with them."

End game: chemical weapons

SADDAM Hussein is planning attacks on his own people in the event of a US-led war, and has put a top general nicknamed Chemical Ali in charge of southern Iraq to quell any civilian uprisings, according to reports.

US military officials told the Washington Times that there are increasing signs Saddam will kill his own people and blame the atrocities on invading US forces. Bush administration officials said last week Saddam was planning to dress Iraqi forces in US and British uniforms and order them to kill innocent civilians.

The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, warned on Tuesday that Saddam was considering shelling civilians with deadly chemical weapons, as he did in 1988, killing up to 100,000 Kurds in northern Iraq.

A US military official told the newspaper that at least two Republican Guard divisions are now believed to be armed with chemical artillery shells.

Military planners believe Saddam has nothing to lose by unleashing weapons of mass destruction, as the goal of the coalition troops is to capture or kill him.

The newspaper said that a sign that Saddam is serious about attacking civilians comes in reports from inside Iraq that General Ali Hassan al-Majid, or "Chemical Ali," has been placed in charge of military activities in the south of the country. Gen Majid commanded the 1988 chemical weapons attacks on the Kurds.