U.S. Marines have uncovered an underground vault containing the detailed files of Saddam Hussein’s secret police.
Under the headquarters of the Special Security Organization, run by Saddam’s most trusted son, Qusay, the Marines found a massive complex of offices over an area the size of two football fields, littered with millions of documents — detailed records that stretch back more than three decades.
In just one room were files for a million souls — their pictures, personal details, and entire history recorded in minute, chilling detail, reports CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan.
The complex was targeted by coalition planes on the first night of bombing. A missile struck the prison, the place where people who dared criticize the regime often ended up, many never seen or heard of again.
Now, with Marines in control, people want answers. Angry families descended on the neighboring intelligence headquarters, searching for any trace of loved ones.
“A lot of families in the surrounding area had family members who were in here,” said Greg Clancy, First Marines. “One of them I’d heard hasn’t seen their relative in six years but the last place they knew that they were in was this prison.”
But Saddam’s faithful fled before us forces arrived. They left no prisoners behind.
In its 2002 annual report, the human rights organization Amnesty International said that Iraq employed systemic torture.
“Common methods of physical torture included electric shocks or cigarette burns to various parts of the body, pulling out of fingernails, rape, long periods of suspension by the limbs from either a rotating fan in the ceiling or from a horizontal pole, beating with cables, hosepipe or metal rods, and falaqa (beating on the soles of the feet),” the report read.
“In addition, detainees were threatened with rape and subjected to mock execution. They were placed in cells where they could hear the screams of others being tortured and were deliberately deprived of sleep.”