REVEALED: Saddam Hussein Had a Secret Torture Chamber in NYC
By Jamie Schram | NYPost
The Mission of Iraq, which sits on a wealthy Upper East Side block near Central Park, has a dark secret: Its basement was used as a jail equipped for torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime, The Post has learned.
When he rose to power in 1979, the despot had the terrifying “detention room” installed inside the five-story building at 14 E. 79th St. — right across from billionaire former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s home, according to two Iraqi officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Saddam’s henchmen — known as Mukhabarat agents — frequently imprisoned local Iraqis in the basement for up to 15 days at a time, using them as leverage to get their relatives back in the homeland to surrender and cooperate with the tyrannical government, the officials said.
“It was a dark room. The doors were reinforced in a way that nobody could break in or out. You didn’t need to soundproof it,” one official said. The other official added, “You’re not going to hear someone screaming down there.”
The prison chamber was similar to detention rooms in Iraqi embassies around the world, including Eastern Europe and Arab countries, where evidence of torture was uncovered, the officials said.
Some of the Gestapo-like tactics employed by the Mukhabarat involved the use of copper wire, rubber hoses and wooden planks. They would also pull out prisoners’ nails and beat them to a pulp, one official said.
In many cases, the Mukhabarat would kill Iraqis and ship them back to Baghdad in Customs-exempt packages.
“They just put [the body] in a diplomatic box and it can just be shipped. This is diplomatic — nobody has the authority to examine it or open it,” one official said, confirming that Saddam’s secret police had committed such atrocities in countries outside the US.
“Mukhabarat does whatever the hell Mukhabarat needs to do. They are the last people you ever wanted to meet during the Saddam era,” one official said, referring to acts of violence.