Two unnamed Iraqi officials told the New York Post that after Saddam Hussein rose to power in 1979, the Iraqi dictator had a secret room built in the basement of the Iraqi mission that was used to torture and jail people.
Sources told the NY Post that Iraqi civilians were held in detention, subjected to torture and even murdered in the five story building that sits right across the street from Michael Bloomberg’s home in the Upper East Side near Central Park.
A further look into how the room was used can be seen below in an excerpt from the NY Post article:
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 sound proof 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.
To see more stories like this, sign up below for Dennis Michael Lynch’s email newsletter.
Sign up to get breaking news alerts from Dennis Michael Lynch.