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US official paid by tabloid for Saddam photos

- Aljazeera

(Friday, May 27, 2005)

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[ Sun Managing Editor Graham Dudman told The Associated Press that the newspaper paid "a small sum" for the photos. He would not elaborate except to say it was more than 500 British pounds, about $900. ]

Saddam half-naked [Photo Left: Saddam half-naked ]
The British tabloid The Sun confirmed that they’d paid the U.S. official for the pictures of Saddam in his underwear. Sun Managing Editor Graham Dudman told The Associated Press that the newspaper paid "a small sum" for the photos. He would not elaborate except to say it was more than 500 British pounds, about $900. The U.S. military condemned the publication of the photographs and ordered an investigation of how the pictures were leaked to a tabloid. Some Iraqis expressed anger, though President Bush said he did not think the images would incite further anti-American sentiment. The tabloid, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, said the photos it published were provided by a U.S. military official it did not identify who hoped their release would deal a "body blow" to the rebels.

"It is clear that the pictures were taken inside the prison, which means that American soldiers have leaked the pictures," said Hussein's chief lawyer, Ziad al-Khasawneh. He said the photos "add to acts that are practiced against the Iraqi people, and of course we remember what happened in Abu Ghraib and we remember what happened in Guantanamo." Hussein's attorney said he would sue the newspaper "and everyone who helped in showing these pictures."

The U.S. military in Baghdad said the publication of the photos violated U.S. military guidelines "and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals." A spokesman, Staff Sgt. Don Dees, said the military would question the troops responsible for Hussein.

Army Maj. Flora Lee, Multinational Forces spokeswoman in Baghdad, said the photos could have been taken from January 2004 to April 2004, "based on the background of the photos and appearance of him." Hussein, who was captured in December 2003, has been jailed at a complex near Baghdad airport named Camp Cropper, which holds 110 high-profile detainees.

Aside from U.S. soldiers, the only others with access to Hussein are his legal team, prosecuting judge Raed Johyee and the International Committee for the Red Cross. The ICRC also criticized the publishing the photos. Some Iraqis called the photos of Hussein the latest in a series of insults to Arabs and Muslims. Others disagreed. "This is an insult to show the former president in such a condition. Saddam is from the past now, so what is the reason for this? It is bad work from the media. Do they want to degrade the Iraqi people? Or they want to provoke their feelings," said Baghdadi Abu Barick.

Bush said he didn't think the images would energize anti-occupation fighters, but the White House press spokesman Trent Duffy differed on Bush’s statement saying the photos could be perceived by the rebels in much the same way as revelations of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib. "This could have serious impact, as we talked about, with the revelations of prisoner abuse," he said.

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