ROY “PRETTY BOY ” SHAW

THE GUV’NOR HAS PASSED AWAY BUT HIS MEMORY LIVES ON HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

  R.I.P … ROY “PRETTY BOY ” SHAW 

HAVING HAD THE GREAT HONOUR TO HAVE MET AND KNOWN ROY FOR SOME 15 YEARS OR SO AND HAVING ATTENDED NUMEROUS EVENTS WITH HIM DURING THIS TIME , HE WAS CERTAINLY A VERY TOUGH AND CHARISMATIC PERSON … TO SAY THE VERY LEAST.

HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL WE HAVE LONG FEATURED A NUMBER OF PERSONAL EXHIBIT ITEMS THAT ONCE BELONGED TO ROY SHAW FOR WHICH HE KINDLY DONATED TO MYSELF  DURING A VISIT TO HIS HOME . THESE INCLUDE HIS UNDISPUTED UNOFFICIAL HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BELT , HIS BOXING TRUNKS , GLOVES , ORIGINAL FIGHT POSTERS ETC….. FOR WHICH HE ALSO CONTRIBUTED A NUMBER OF PERSONALLY SIGNED PHOTO’S ETC .

LONG WILL HE REMAIN IMMORTALISED HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL … ANDY JONES, CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION OWNER

BELOW ARE A COUPLE MORE VIDEO FILM CLIPS RELATING TO ROY SHAW ….ALSO BELOW THESE A FEW MORE GALLERY IMAGES OF ROY SHAW AND SOME OF THE ITEMS ON DISPLAY HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL …. INCLUDING ORIGINAL FIGHT POSTERS ETC……

HERE IS A LIST OF PRISONS FREQUENTED BY ROY SHAW

WORMWOOD SCRUBS – 4 times
HUSK BORSTAL
BRISTOL
LEWES YP
MAIDSTONE
CANTERBURY – 2 times
PENTONVILLE – 5 times
BRIXTON – 3 times
WANDSWORTH – 3 times
PARKHURST – 3 times
GRENDON UNDERWOOD
BROADMOOR
GARTREE – 2 times
LEICESTER – 3 times
HULL
DURHAM
BIRMINGHAM
OXFORD
LONGLARTON
COLCHESTER ARMY PRISON
NUT HOUSE IN GERMANY
NUT HOUSE IN ENGLAND

VICTORIAN LITTLE DEAN PRISON WARDEN /GUARD TUNIC BUTTON

A RARE FIND AND A HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT PART OF LITTLEDEAN JAILS HISTORY NOW HERE ON DISPLAY

EARLY VICTORIAN PRISON WARDEN/GUARD TUNIC BUTTON AS WAS WORN HERE AT THE THEN CALLED ” LITTLE DEAN  PRISON ” AS APPARENTLY WORDED  HERE ON THE FRONT OF THE BUTTON …COMPLETE WITH  THE VICTORIAN CROWN EMBLEM

 Probably insignificant to visitors …. however I love this item which has been recently discovered and acquired for display here . Intriguingly this early Victorian Prison Warden/Guard tunic button is worded LITTLE DEAN (AS TWO WORDS) WITH PRISON BENEATH (INSTEAD OF GAOL )  … as opposed to it’s early title as having been “Littledean Gaol”.

THE HISTORY OF LITTLEDEAN JAIL ..PAST AND PRESENT

Here is a brief pictorial history of Littledean Jail from Victorian times to present day …..

A VERY EARLY POSTCARD IMAGE OF LITTLEDEAN GAOL,  WHEN IT WAS USED AS A “HOUSE OF CORRECTION “.


About Littledean Jail – Alcatraz of the Forest…

Standing at the gateway to the Royal Forest of Dean, this former House of Correction – Littledean Jail was designed and built by the Pioneer of Prison Reform – Sir George Onesiphorous Paul and leading Prison Architect of his day – William Blackburn. As a result of the sudden death of Blackburn it was completed under the supervision of his new brother-in-law, architect William Hobson in 1791.

This remarkable Grade II* listed building was built as the most up-to-date, revolutionary House of Correction of its time, and was later seen as the Government’s role model for London’s Pentonville Prison and taken across the seas for the world famous Philadelphian Cherry Hill Penitentiary System in America. It was built for the miserly sum of £1,650. The building work was started in 1788 by Gabriel Rogers, who went bankrupt as a result of not being able to complete the work at such low costs. London Builder J. Fentiman was brought in to finish the job.

Behind the austere gatehouse entrance, the prison, with it’s formidable sandstone façade remains much as it was when first built. Steeped in history and infamy, its awesome appearance provides a stark reminder of the hard labour and craftsmanship needed to build this architecturally important jailhouse.

EARLY VICTORIAN PRISON WARDEN/GUARD TUNIC BUTTON

 Probably insignificant to visitors …. however I love this item which has been recently discovered and acquired for display here . Intriguingly this early Victorian Prison Warden/Guard tunic button is worded LITTLE DEAN (AS TWO WORDS) WITH PRISON BENEATH (INSTEAD OF GAOL )  … as opposed to it’s early title as having been “Littledean Gaol”.

———————————————————————————-

Littledean Jail – ‘The Crime Through Time Collection’

Previously set up and housed at a former police station and courthouse at Nicholson House, Newent in Gloucestershire between 1998 – 2003. It had soon outgrown its previous home and as a result of this has been relocated lock, stock and barrel to its much larger home, here at Littledean Jail.
Over the years its owner Andy Jones has become a (some say) controversial and distinguished county personality, with his much-publicised battles with Tewkesbury Borough and Forest of Dean Council planning officers. His ‘Crime Through Time Collection’ is of worldwide interest and is in itself a magnet for publicity… being regularly covered in newspapers, magazines and TV programmes around the globe.
Despite much publicised threats of enforcement, imprisonment and boycotting actions imposed upon the owner over some two decades or more… his collection has been highly acclaimed as being one of the most unorthodox, interesting and historically significant of its kind, providing a unique niche in the Tourism Market place.


Littledean Jail Admission Prices 2012:

Price includes admission to the Quadrophenia Collection.

  • Adults: £7.00
  • OAP’s: £5.95
  • Children (aged 8 – 16): £4.95
    Children under 8: FREE
  • Family: £21.00
  • If you’re 100 years young then admission is FREE!

How to AVOID Littledean Jail!

When you approach Littledean, the ‘Gateway to the Forest of Dean’,
follow the brown tourist signs.
Cars can be accommodated at the entrance to the jail whilst COACHES should simply use the Littledean village bus stops as ‘drop off points’. These are situated approximately 80 metres from the entrance to the jail on either side of the road.


Escape from Littledean Jail!

Gloucester is just 20 minutes from the Jail, but if you want to get further away, Bristol, Cheltenham, Hereford and Cardiff are about 40 minutes. Birmingham is a round hour, whilst London is only just under 3 hours away – but who would want to go there!


Opening times:

  • Open from April 1st to October 31st
  • Day visits are only allowed from 10am to 5pm (last entry 3.45pm)
  • Visiting Orders are not necessary!

Please kindly note that we are only OPEN from Thursdays to Sundays & Bank Holiday’s (or at other times solely at The Jailers discretion).

Occasionally special Corporate, Mystery Tours and Evening Visits for groups of 20 or more can be arranged, but only by kind permission from The Jailer (He’s only a little scary!)
Schools and College visits are also welcome, but must be under strict supervision, as
The Jailer has been known to lock trouble makers in the spare cells if compromised!

ABOVE ARE A FEW IMAGES OF LITTLEDEAN JAIL AS IT IS NOW, BOTH OUTSIDE AND IN.

LINDA CALVEY…”THE BLACK WIDOW”… NOTORIOUS FORMER ARMED ROBBER, GANGSTER & ALLEGED MURDERER WHO SERVED 18 YEARS IN PRISON FOR A CRIME SHE HAS ALWAYS DENIED COMMITTING …

TRUE CRIME AND MUCH MORE HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL 

LINDA CALVEY “THE BLACK WIDOW” BACK BEHIND BARS  EXHIBITION 

52fcffe080e02_14f27widowABOVE … LINDA CALVEY -THE BLACK WIDOW LEAVES COURT IN A HIGH SECURITY  POLICE VEHICLE DURING HER TRIAL AT THE OLD BAILEY , LONDON IN NOVEMBER 1991 . SHE SERVED 18 YEARS IN VARIOUS WOMEN’S HIGH SECURITY PRISONS FOR A MURDER THAT SHE HAS CONSISTENTLY DENIED COMMITTING. 

SHE WAS OFFERED A LESSER PRISON SENTENCE BY THE HOME OFFICE IF SHE CONFESSED TO THE MURDER AFTER BEING GIVEN A LIFE SENTENCE. .SHE SUBSEQUENTLY  REFUSED THIS OFFER OUTRIGHT AS SHE HAS ALWAYS MAINTAINED HER INNOCENCE AND THAT SHE HAD BEEN SET-UP ….. HENCE AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE SERVED THE FULL 18 YEAR PRISON TERM . 

LINDA CALVEY WITH ANDY JONES OF THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION  PRESENTING A HANDMADE CUSHION ACQUIRED FROM NOTORIOUS BRITISH SERIAL KILLER ROSE WEST WHILST IMPRISONED TOGETHER AT HMP DURHAM IN 1994 …. NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ALONG WITH LOTS MORE TRUE CRIME MEMORABILIA AND MURDERABILIA 

YOU AS VISITORS DECIDE FOR YOURSELVES WHETHER LINDA CALVEY IS GUILTY OR NOT ? ….. 

SHE VEHEMENTLY DENIES KILLING HER FORMER LOVER RON COOK WHO WAS SHOT AT POINT BLANK RANGE WITH A SHOTGUN AT THE HOME OF LINDA CALVEY, THE CRIME FOR WHICH SHE SERVED A TOTAL OF 18 YEARS IN PRISON .

 SHE CLAIMS SHE WAS AFFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY BY THE HOME OFFICE AUTHORITIES  TO SERVE A LESSER SENTENCE OF 7 YEARS IF SHE CONFESSED TO THIS CRIME .

SHE REFUSED THIS OFFER CLAIMING THAT…. WHY SHOULD SHE CONFESS TO A CRIME SHE NEVER COMMITTED?

 INSTEAD THE HOME OFFICE INCREASED THE TARIFF ON TWO OCCASIONS  TO A TOTAL  18 YEAR LIFE SENTENCE WHICH SHE SERVED IN FULL AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE .

COME VISIT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES WHAT LINDA CALVEY HAS TO SAY IN HER OWN WORDS …

Linda Calvey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linda Calvey is a female murderer and armed robber jailed for killing her lover Ronnie Cook in 1990. She was known as the “Black Widow” because all of her lovers ended up either dead or in prison.[1]

Previous criminal career

Calvey began her criminal career as a lookout, later becoming a getaway driver and eventually wielding guns herself during robberies.[2]

Murder of Cook

She paid a hitman Daniel Reece £10,000 to kill Cook. However he lost his nerve at the last minute and Calvey picked up the gun herself shooting the victim at point blank range whilst he kneeled in front of her.[3]

At the time of her release Calvey was Britain‘s longest serving female prisoner. She spent 18 and a half years in prison for the murder of Cook and had also previously served three and a half years for an earlier robbery.[4]

In 2002 a book by Kate Kray detailing Calvey’s life and crimes was published

BELOW ARE A NUMBER OF IMAGES OF SOME OF THE PERSONAL EXHIBIT ITEMS BELONGING TO LINDA CALVEY ON DISPLAY HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , IMAGES OF LINDA PICTURED HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL AND AT VARIOUS EVENTS ETC ETC 

Black Widow in freedom bid

Evening Standard   Last updated at 00:00am on 07.10.03

 Add your view

A woman known as the Black Widow who was jailed for life for shooting dead her lover at point-blank range launched a new High Court bid for freedom today.

Lawyers for Linda Calvey asked a judge for permission to challenge Home Secretary David Blunkett’s failure to refer her case to the Parole Board.

Her counsel Alan Newman QC accused Mr Blunkett of acting unlawfully and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Calvey, 53, who was in court to hear her case argued, has served 12 years of her life sentence and is currently held at Highpoint Prison, Suffolk.

She was convicted in November 1991 of the murder of Ronald Cook.

At her Old Bailey trial the jury was told that Calvey originally hired a hit man, Daniel Reece, for £10,000 to carry out the murder in November 1990.

But he had lost his nerve at the last minute, and she forced Cook to kneel in front of her before carrying out the killing.

Both Calvey and Reece, who was also jailed for life, denied murdering Cook at Calvey’s home in Plaistow, east London, in November 1990.

The trial jury was told Calvey was nicknamed the Black Widow because of her habit of dressing in black after her husband Mickey was shot dead by police in 1978 as he was carrying out an armed robbery.

Today Mr Newman told the court that the trial judge set the minimum period she must serve for retribution and deterrence at seven years – but the then Home Secretary more than doubled the tariff to 15 years in 1993. The tariff was reviewed and reset in 1998.

In November last year, the House of Lords ruled in the case of Anderson that it was incompatible with human rights laws for the Home Secretary to set tariffs for mandatory lifers.

Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights required minimum periods in custody to be set by “an independent and impartial tribunal”.

Following that ruling Ms Calvey asked the Home Office to refer her case to the Parole Board as a matter of urgency, but her request was turned down.

Mr Newman told Mr Justice Jackson, sitting in London, that the Home Secretary’s failure to do so was unreasonable and breached Article 5 of the convention, which guaranteed a prisoner’s right to have their case reassessed if the basis for his or her detention changed.

He said it was “irrelevant” that the Lord Chief Justice had also concluded that the tariff should be 15 years.

Mr Blunkett had taken the view that Ms Calvey would have to wait until she could take advantage of new legislation passing through Parliament dealing with the position of lifers’ tariffs.

But by then she would probably have served the full 15-year tariff, and this would amount to a “cruel punishment” contrary to the 1688 Bill of Rights, said Mr Newman.

He told the judge that the case could affect many other murderers serving life sentences.

Seeking leave to apply for judicial review, he said: “The present application raises important and difficult points of law. Whatever may be the eventual outcome, even if at the end of the day the Secretary of State’s view prevails, this case clearly should be allowed to proceed to a full hearing.”

Would you marry the black widow? Ex-gangster Linda Calvey finds a new fiance

She’s a notorious gangster’s moll and every man who’s fallen for her has ended up dead or in jail. Now she’s finished a 28-year stretch for murder – and found a rich fiance. Has he got more money than sense?

Potentially lethal things, cars. Linda Calvey had a close call with an exploding spark
plug the other day. It left her a little shaken.

‘Afterwards, the guy in the garage told me that I was very lucky the engine did not go up, because I’d have been a gonner,’ she explains, breezy as you like.

Taking a chance: Linda Calvey and husband-to-be George Ceasar, who trusts her implicitly

Taking a chance: Linda Calvey and husband-to-be George Ceasar, who trusts her implicitly

‘I was telling my friend and she said: “Oh goodness, Linda. It could have been even worse. What if George had been driving and he’d been blown to pieces? You’d have been back inside in no time.” She was right, too. I can see the headlines now: The Black Widow Strikes Again.’

For some reason she seems to find this funny. Even more curiously, George, the man she will marry next year, is rocking with laughter too, tears collecting in his eyes.

Why the hilarity? Surely no sane person — or, at the very least, no lawabiding person — would regard it as funny to be so closely associated with Linda Calvey, behind the wheel or not.

Linda is the stuff of legends

For Linda is the stuff of legends — East End gangster legends, mostly.

In notoriety terms, she is up there with the Krays (indeed, Reggie Kray once proposed to her, which kind of says it all). So did ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser. In glamour terms, she is in a league of her own.

For most of her adult life she has gone by the name of the Black Widow, dubbed so ever since one police officer with whom she’d had dealings pondered the fact that ‘every man she has ever been involved with is either in prison or dead’.

When Myra Hindley died a few years back, Linda — her prison hairdresser, oddly enough — assumed the title of the longest-serving female prisoner in the country.

That 18-year stint was for blasting a former lover to death with a shotgun. Another lover was her co-defendant in the case, and was sent down, too.

They later married behind bars, although — as is so often the way with Linda — it didn’t last.

Her first husband Micky (the one who taught her to be a career criminal — armed robbery to be precise) met a violent end, too, although this was at the hands of the police, who confronted him mid hold-up. That is quite some history to be trailing up the aisle with poor George, who seems like ever such a nice man.

George’s past is squeaky clean

They will marry in the spring with seven — count them! — bridesmaids in tow. Isn’t that a tad excessive for a 60-year-old grandmother getting hitched for the third time? Perhaps.

But then nothing about Linda Calvey was ever understated.

Four months ago, she was released from prison and into the arms of her new love, whom she met while she was on day release.

George Ceasar is a businessman and a part-time ski instructor, and ‘the farthest thing in the world from a gangster’, according to his future wife, who seems almost surprised by this. He drives a red Rolls-Royce (‘bought rather than nicked,’ she grins). His past is squeaky clean, literally. He used to run a successful bleach factory.

‘We were the first people to put bleach in bottles,’ he tells me, proudly.

He should really be the sort of man who would run a mile from Linda Calvey and the criminal underworld she epitomises.

So why, then, is he gazing adoringly at her and bemoaning the peculiarities of the British parole system, in the way that most men of his background would tut-tut at how you can never find a Post Office when you need one.

kray
Ex-gangster

Gangster Reggie Kray and “Mad” Frankie Fraser both proposed to Linda Calvey

‘Can’t you poison someone in daylight hours?’

George simply cannot believe that his bride-to-be is still subject to ‘barmy’ parole conditions, which mean she cannot spend the night at his — or their, as it is now — home.

‘They have this mad idea that I am in some danger because of her,’ he says, appalled.

‘The prison officers took me aside when I went to visit her, saying: “Be careful.”

‘They implied she might try to kill me, which is nonsense. Even if it were true, do the authorities really think that they are protecting me by allowing her to be here with me only during the day. Can’t you poison someone in daylight hours?

‘It’s just ludicrous, from all angles. Does she seem dangerous to you?’

Erm, well, no. But then, didn’t Harold Shipman’s patients think he was a darling? I pitch up at George’s sprawling 13-room period house in the Kent countryside, hoping to talk to Britain’s most notorious female gangster, and am taken aback by what I find.

Her demeanour — warm, sparky, surprisingly vulnerable, endlessly entertaining — sets the tone for what will be a truly surreal interview.

‘It is the first time I’ve had a Christmas tree in 18 years. Every year I had Christmas
inside, all I could think of was: “I want my own tree.” George wanted to get an artificial one. I said: “No, George — it has to be real. That’s what I’ve dreamed of.” He said: “Well, whatever you want, my dear, you will have.”’

George was smitten from the start

While I try to get the interview under way — remember that the subject matter is murder, armed robbery and organised crime — they bicker about who will make the tea and whether they are going to see Barry Manilow that evening. She wants to go, but he doesn’t.

I feel as though I have stepped into a rather uneasy cross between a Guy Ritchie film and an Ealing comedy. So, how clever is the woman who has been billed as Britain’s most notorious female gangster? On this evidence, extremely. The other inmates called her Ma in prison, and you can see why.

She is attractive. A little brassy, yes — the lead character in Lynda La Plante’s Widows was apparently based on her — but not overly so. She is tactile, engaging and endearing.

George was smitten from the very start. They met in a Medway town when she was on day release from prison two years ago.

‘I was in a restaurant and it was very busy, so she and her friend shared the table with me. We got chatting, and I thought to myself: “Well, this is a lovely lady here”,’ says George.

‘She said she was on a day out. I said: “Oh, an outing?”

‘She said: “No, a day out from prison.”

‘I said: “Blimey. What did you do? It obviously wasn’t something that bad if you’re in an
open prison.”

‘She said: “The thing I went down for was bad, but the point is I didn’t do it. I am innocent.”’

‘She said she didn’t do it, and I believe her’

George — in his mid-Seventies — has had troubles of his own. He tells me that he, too, has been married twice and that his second wife ‘robbed him blind’.

‘You don’t have to be murdered by a woman to be done over by her,’ he says at one
point. He has grown-up children who he never sees. It sounds as though he was lonely when this captivating creature came into his life. Despite the horrific charge list, he brushes over the gangster stuff — even the bits Linda has admitted to.

‘Yes, she was a naughty girl, but haven’t you done anything wrong?’ he asks disingenuously.

He also claims she is the kindest person he has ever met. They decide between themselves that she’s a much nicer person than he is on the grounds that she once gave a cold stranger her own gloves, while such a thing would never occur to George.

Linda was the longest serving female prisoner in the country

Linda was the longest serving female prisoner in the country

It almost seems churlish to bring up more bloody matters and he sighs when I do so.

‘We’ve talked about it all,’ says George. ‘She’s told me what she did do and what she didn’t do. Yes, she did make mistakes, but she told me that on the big one — killing Ron — she didn’t do it, and I believe her. She was stitched up.

‘She has been completely honest with me. After we’d been out on our first date, I sat her down in the living room and said: “I want the truth. I don’t care whether you did
it or not, but I want to know the truth.” She swore she didn’t, and I believe her.’

Linda has always maintained that she did not kill Ronald Cook. She points out that had she professed some guilt she would have been out of jail years ago.

‘They kept me in because I refused to say I did it. But I’ve always held my hands up to what I’ve done. Armed robbery, yes. I’ve done terrible things, things so bad I can hardly believe it myself. But I did not kill Ron, and I will go to my grave saying it.’

‘Men close to me end up dead or in prison… it’s not my fault’

However, in November 1991, a jury decided that she did, and the evidence presented in court was as chilling as Linda’s current set-up is cosy.

Ron had been her lover for several years, but when he went to prison, she turned to several of his friends — also gangsters — for comfort.

Things got complicated, in the sexual and financial sense.

The court heard that, on Ron’s release, Linda was terrified that he would discover she had been unfaithful and had spent the heist money he had stashed away. She allegedly asked another lover, Daniel Reece, to kill him.

An agreement was put in place. Linda collected Ron from prison and drove him to the home they shared. Reece was waiting, but lost his nerve at the crucial moment, leaving Linda to take the shotgun off him and finish the task herself.

Surreally enough, we find ourselves in George’s kitchen when this horrific chapter is broached.

Both are standing as Linda tells her version, effectively re-enacting aspects of that day as she describes how she cowered in a corner as a gunman — the real killer, she says — fired at pointblank range.

The pair of them talk, quite matter-of-factly, about it as Linda puts the kettle on, saying that the Black Widow tag is quite unfair.

‘OK, men close to me came a cropper, but that’s because I associated with gangsters. They end up dead or in prison. That’s life. It’s not my fault.’

‘I liked the lifestyle’

What she fails to do, however, is convey any real sense of remorse — even for the fact that a man she professed to love died in such a manner. Cold-blooded? Barking mad? Or has she just been removed from law-abiding society for so long that she finds such complete moral detachment easy?

What’s interesting is that the only man she talks about with genuine affection is her first husband, Micky — shot dead by armed officers in a botched robbery.

‘I was from a respectable family, no hint of trouble there,’ she says of their meeting.

‘Micky was trouble, but oh so charming with it. Even my mother said: “I can see why you have fallen for him.” He worshipped me, my Micky. He gave me the world. I
didn’t know — honest I didn’t — that most of it was nicked.’

Micky robbed at gunpoint. His team’s jobs were mostly planned in their kitchen, with her making tea and sandwiches, listening in. Learning. She maintains that she got involved in the hard stuff only when Micky died.

‘I kind of just slid in. I started doing some of the driving, then getting more involved. I had children to feed. I liked the lifestyle. Yes. I wasn’t evil, though. I wasn’t.’

She even insists, after a moment’s hesitation, that the guns she carried weren’t even loaded.

Linda Calvey poses for a photo at a Holloway prison partyLinda Calvey poses for a photo at a Holloway prison party

Tougher than the rest

She clearly hates the police and blames The Establishment, whatever that is, for the death of Micky. But she isn’t nearly as bitter as you might expect about her time in prison.

Again she talks dispassionately about how she survived: it seems to have boiled down to being tougher than all the rest, but never appearing to be tough. Black humour stalks every sentence.

‘When I went to Durham, I said I wouldn’t talk to anyone who had killed a child. The wardens said: “Well, you’ll not be talking to many people here then. They are all
murderers.” ’

She struck up a bizarre relationship with Myra Hindley. She says they weren’t friends, but they were close enough that Linda dyed Hindley’s hair regularly. She clearly
doesn’t put herself in the same criminal, morally deficient class, though.

‘Myra never regretted what she had done. I was often shocked by her. I remember when I was working in the prison library she came in and asked to order a book, but she wanted me to put it in the name of another girl, who never came into the library. I asked what book. It was The Devil And His Works. She got it, too.

George looks on — fascinated rather than horrified — as she chats away about somehow finding herself in the same prison wing as one of the most notorious female killers of our time.

‘I missed seeing my grandchildren grow up’

Is there remorse on her part? Yes, undoubtedly so — although mostly for herself and her loved ones.

‘I did not kill Ron and should not have done that sentence, but I know full well that it was my lifestyle that put me in prison for that murder, and that is a terrible thing to live with.

‘All my grandchildren were born when I was inside. I haven’t seen any of them grow up, and they never had a granny.

‘One day, one of them had to write in school about what they did at the weekend. My granddaughter wrote: “We went to see Granny and I got tickled by the policeman and
then we went swimming.” She meant she’d been frisked coming to the prison to see me. That floors you, you know.’

‘Mate, she saw you coming’

She seems close to tears. George pats her arm and talks about how they could put another Christmas tree in the hallway, if she wants.

I wonder if her realizes that most people will look at him and conclude that George, with his red Rolls-Royce, his big empty house and his ability to see the best in people and conclude: ‘Mate, she saw you coming.’

Have they considered a prenuptial agreement?

‘I’ve said I would sign one,’ Linda says sharply, but George shakes his head in distaste.

‘You can’t go into a marriage thinking like that. You have to trust people. Life’s a gamble, but if you lose trust, what have you got? So, she might kill me. Well, hell, I’ll
take the chance.’

Next spring — “If I last that long,” quips George — those wedding bells will ring. Linda is already thinking about flowers and cakes.

As I leave, she skips off to fetch me some of the cake decorations she learned to make in prison.

They are truly remarkable: tiny flowers, berries and leaves, made out of icing, but impossible to tell from the real thing, even up close.

The woman has a rare, impressive — and deeply disturbing — talent for leaving you wondering what is real and what is fake.

Lockup Raw – Predatory Behaviour

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GO TO JAIL ?  ……….. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS FOOTAGE AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELVES

More interactive documentary footage from behind prison bars . Certainly not here in the UK for sure as our prison system appears to be more of a holiday camp system !!! Would our UK inmates survive in this hardened environment  ?….. I do not think so somehow …!!!!!!

RONNIE BIGGS … THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY 1963 ….

RONNIE BIGGS POLICE MUGSHOT Ronald Biggs

Ronald Arthur “Ronnie” Biggs is an English criminal, known for his role in the Great Train Robbery of 1963, for his escape from prison in 1965, for living as a fugitive for 36 years and for his various publicity stunts while in exile

Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday

16TH JULY 2013 – RONNIE BIGGS WITH ANDY JONES FROM THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTIONMary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday

ABOVE ARE A  FEW PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN DURING A RECENT PRIVATE VISIT WITH RONNIE BIGGS AT HIS NURSING HOME RETREAT ( 16TH JULY 2013 ) . CERTAINLY ON FORM DURING THE VISIT AND ENJOYING THE GREAT BRITISH SUNSHINE !!

———————————————————————————————————

VARIOUS PICTORIAL SLIDESHOW, VIDEO FOOTAGE, PICTURES AND NEWSPAPER REPORTS COVERING THE PRESS CONFERENCE FOR RONNIE BIGGS’S NEW AUTOBIOGRAPHY BOOK LAUNCH “ODD MAN OUT: THE LAST STRAW” HELD AT THE SHOREDITCH HOUSE , LONDON ON THE 17TH NOVEMBER 2011 . THE EVENT WAS ATTENDED BY MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS AND JOURNALISTS EAGER TO ASK RONNIE LOTS OF QUESTIONS DESPITE HIS CLEAR DISABILITY IN BEING UNABLE TO VOICE HIS ANSWERS . RELIANT SOLEY ON HIS SON MIKE AND HIS SPELLBOARD

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

RONNIE BIGGS …THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBER USING HIS SPELLBOARD AT HIS BOOK LAUNCH … NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ALONG WITH VARIOUS OTHER GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY MEMORABILIA ITEMS .

THE SPELLBOARD USED BY RONNIE BIGGS AT HIS BOOK LAUNCH AND NOW ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

RONNIE BIGGS WITH AJ BACKSTAGE AT HIS BOOK LAUNCH PRESS CALL .

ALSO PICTURED HERE WITH HIS SPELLBOARD USED BY HIM DURING THE DAY AND NOW ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

RONNIE BIGGS SAT WITH AJ DURING PRESS CALL , PICTURED HERE LOOKING AT HIMSELF PICTURED WITHIN THE LITTLEDEAN JAIL TOURISM LEAFLET.

A J CHATTING TO LEGENDARY DJ (AND SON OF BLUES GUITARIST LEGEND JOHN MAYALL) GAZ  MAYALL  AKA GAZ’S ROCKIN BLUES

OUR … CRIME THROUGH TIME  @ LITTLEDEAN JAIL FACEBOOK ADMIN JULES SEEN HERE LOOKING AS IF HE’S JUST ABOUT TO CLOBBER RONNIE BIGGS AT THE BOOK LAUNCH …

  • Ronnie Biggs: I’ll be remembered as a loveable rogue

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 17 November 2011 20.29 GMT

Ronnie Biggs at a press conference in London to launch his book
Ronnie Biggs at a press conference in London to launch his book. Photograph: David Levene

Ronnie Biggs said he would be remembered as Britain’s “loveable rogue” as he made an appearance in public. The 82-year-old Great Train Robber said he was proud of his achievements, despite remorse for his crimes.

Unable to physically speak after several strokes, Biggs responded to questions at a press event to publicise his book, Odd Man Out: The Last Straw by pointing to a word and letter board. Asked how the country perceived him, he spelled out “loveable rogue”.

His son, Michael, speaking on his behalf at the east London event, said Biggs had no regrets about voluntarily returning from Brazil in 2001 to face justice for the 1963 robbery.

He had been working on the book since he was released from jail on compassionate grounds in 2009, the family said.

Biggs is unable to walk or talk. His son described how he developed a life-threatening chest infection every three or four weeks. “This is probably the first and last time he is holding a press conference.”

Launching his book, Biggs expressed sorrow over the fate of Jack Mills, the driver of the robbed mail train, who died in 1970 having never made a full recovery after being coshed. But when asked whether any proceeds from the book would go to Mills’s family, the ex-fugitive’s son said: “That has not been discussed yet.”

The book updates Biggs’s 1994 autobiography and has chapters covering his return to the UK, his time in prison, his release on compassionate grounds and his life since.

He Biggs first suffered a stroke in 1998 and has been admitted to hospital several times since returning to Britain.

Biggs was a member of a gang that made off with £2.6m from a Glasgow to London mail train. He was sentenced to 30 years, but escaped from Wandsworth prison, south London, in a furniture van 15 months later and spent more than 30 years on the run, living in Spain, Australia and Brazil. Biggs says in the book that he is a “very different man to the one who went on the run from HMP Wandsworth back in July 1965″. “Not only are there many, many more miles on the clock, but also there is the damage done to my body and soul by the strokes and other health problems that should have killed me already; and may have already done so by the time you get around to reading this,” he writes.

“I lay no claim to having been a perfect man who has led a faultless life, and never have, but I am a better man for the experiences of the past 50 years, a period in which I spent over three-quarters of my life trying to honestly maintain my family and myself as best I could.

“It has been said by those who don’t know me – and who have never met me – that I have no regrets, but that simply isn’t true. I have always regretted the hurt I caused by my actions, and especially to my own family and friends.”

BELOW SHOWS PICTURE FROM PORTUGESE NEWSPAPER WHICH ALSO SHOWS  OUR JULES (ADMIN) IN ACTION …..THE LARGER THAN LIFE (OR THE OTHER SNAPPERS) CHARACTER SEEN HERE ON THE FRONT ROW

DEATH OF A BRUTAL TYRANT – SADDAM HUSSEIN

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A BRUTAL TYRANT – SADDAM HUSSEIN …..

WARNING THIS BLOG CONTAINS VERY GRAPHIC AND GRUESOME IMAGES AND VIDEO’S ….. SO PLEASE IF EASILY OFFENDED OR OF A SENSITIVE NATURE PLEASE AVOID THIS POST

TRUE CRIME AND MUCH MUCH MORE HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL 

ON DISPLAY WE HAVE COUNTLESS TRUE CRIME RELATED MEMORABILIA ITEMS COVERING MANY OF THE WORLDS MOST EVIL MEN AND WOMEN . .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

BELOW IS THE GENUINE ORIGINAL TOILET SEAT REMOVED FROM SADDAM HUSSEIN’S BASRA PRESIDENTIAL PALACE AT THE TIME OF LIBERATION IN 2003 BY A NEWS OF THE WORLD REPORTER WHO WAS PRESENT THERE WITH THE UK’S DESERT RATS . NOW ON DISPLAY HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL  AND AS ALSO REPORTED IN THE NATIONAL PRESS AT THE TIME OF ACQUISITION

Saddam Hussein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saddam Hussein
5th President of Iraq
In office
16 July 1979 – 9 April 2003
Prime Minister
Preceded by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Succeeded by Jay Garner*
Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council
In office
16 July 1979 – 9 April 2003
Preceded by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Succeeded by Post abolished
General Secretary of the Regional Command of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party
In office
16 July 1979 – 13 December 2003 (de facto, 30 December 2006, de jure)
Preceded by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Succeeded by Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri
57th & 61st Prime Minister of Iraq
11th & 15th Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
In office
29 May 1994 – 9 April 2003
Preceded by Ahmad Husayn Khudayir as-Samarrai
Succeeded by Mohammad Bahr al-Ulloum**
In office
16 July 1979 – 23 March 1991
Preceded by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Succeeded by Sa’dun Hammadi
Personal details
Born Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti
28 April 1937
Al-AwjaIraq
Died 30 December 2006 (aged 69)
Kadhimiya, Iraq
Political party Ba’ath Party (NPF)[1]
Spouse(s) Sajida TalfahSamira Shahbandar
Children UdayQusayRaghadRana,Hala
Religion Sunni Islam
*As administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq.
**As Acting President of the Governing Council of Iraq.

Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (Arabic: صدام حسين عبد المجيد التكريتي Ṣaddām Ḥusayn ʿAbd al-Maǧīd al-Tikrītī;[2] 28 April 1937[3] – 30 December 2006)[4] was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003.[5][6] A leading member of the revolutionary Iraqi Ba’ath Party, which espoused a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to long-term power of Iraq.

As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he tightly controlled conflict between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalized oil and other industries. The state-owned banks were put under his control, leaving the system eventually insolvent.[7] Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatuses of government as oil money helped Iraq’s economy to grow at a rapid pace.[8] Positions of power in the country were filled with Sunnis, a minority that made up only a fifth of the population.

Saddam suppressed several movements, particularly Shi’a and Kurdish movements seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence, respectively.[citation needed] Saddam maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War of 1980 through 1988. In 1990 he invaded and looted Kuwait. An international coalition came to free Kuwait in the Gulf War of 1991, but did not end Saddam’s rule. Whereas some venerated him for his aggressive stance against Israel, including firing missiles at Israeli targets,[9] he was widely condemned for the brutality of his dictatorship.

In March 2003, a coalition of countries led by the U.S. and U.K. invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, controversially citing his weapons of mass destruction and terror links. Saddam’s Ba’ath party was disbanded and the nation made a transition to a democratic system. Following his capture on 13 December 2003 (inOperation Red Dawn), the trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi interim government. On 5 November 2006, he was convicted of charges related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’ites and was sentenced to death by hanging. The execution of Saddam Hussein was carried out on 30 December 2006.[10]

Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was born in the town of Al-Awja, 13 km (8 mi) from the Iraqi town of Tikrit, to a family of shepherds from the al-Begat tribal group, a sub-group of the Al-Bu Nasir (البو ناصر) tribe. His mother, Subha Tulfah al-Mussallat, named her newborn son Saddam, which in Arabicmeans “One who confronts”; he is always referred to by this personal name, which may be followed by the patronymic and other elements. He never knew his father, Hussein ‘Abid al-Majid, who disappeared six months before Saddam was born. Shortly afterward, Saddam’s 13-year-old brother died of cancer. The infant Saddam was sent to the family of his maternal uncle Khairallah Talfah until he was three.[11]Youth

His mother remarried, and Saddam gained three half-brothers through this marriage. His stepfather, Ibrahim al-Hassan, treated Saddam harshly after his return. At about age 10, Saddam fled the family and returned to live in Baghdad with his uncle Kharaillah Tulfah. Tulfah, the father of Saddam’s future wife, was a devout Sunni Muslim and a veteran from the 1941 Anglo-Iraqi War between Iraqi nationalists and the United Kingdom, which remained a major colonial power in the region.[12] Later in his life relatives from his native Tikrit became some of his closest advisors and supporters. Under the guidance of his uncle he attended a nationalistic high school in Baghdad. After secondary school Saddam studied at an Iraqi law school for three years, dropping out in 1957 at the age of 20 to join the revolutionary pan-Arab Ba’ath Party, of which his uncle was a supporter. During this time, Saddam apparently supported himself as a secondary school teacher.[13]

Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Partystudent cell, Cairo, in the period 1959–1963

Revolutionary sentiment was characteristic of the era in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. In Iraq progressives and socialists assailed traditional political elites (colonial era bureaucrats and landowners, wealthy merchants and tribal chiefs, monarchists).[14] Moreover, the pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt profoundly influenced young Ba’athists like Saddam. The rise of Nasser foreshadowed a wave of revolutions throughout the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s, with the collapse of the monarchies of Iraq, Egypt, and Libya. Nasser inspired nationalists throughout the Middle East by fighting the British and the French during the Suez Crisis of 1956, modernizing Egypt, and uniting the Arab world politically.[15]

In 1958, a year after Saddam had joined the Ba’ath party, army officers led by General Abd al-Karim Qasim overthrew Faisal II of Iraq. The Ba’athists opposed the new government, and in 1959 Saddam was involved in the unsuccessful United States-backed plot to assassinate Qasim.[16]

Rise to power

Army officers with ties to the Ba’ath Party overthrew Qasim in a coup in 1963. Ba’athist leaders were appointed to the cabinet and Abdul Salam Arif became president. Arif dismissed and arrested the Ba’athist leaders later that year. Saddam returned to Iraq, but was imprisoned in 1964. Just prior to his imprisonment and until 1968, Saddam held the position of Ba’ath party secretary.[17] He escaped from prison in 1967 and quickly became a leading member of the party. In 1968, Saddam participated in a bloodless coup led by Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr that overthrew Abdul Rahman Arif. Al-Bakr was named president and Saddam was named his deputy, and deputy chairman of the Baathist Revolutionary Command Council. According to biographers, Saddam never forgot the tensions within the first Ba’athist government, which formed the basis for his measures to promote Ba’ath party unity as well as his resolve to maintain power and programs to ensure social stability.

Iraq was a strategic buffer state for the United States against the Soviet Union, and Saddam was often seen as an anti-Soviet leader in the 1960s and 1970s. Some even suggested that John F. Kennedy’s administration supported the Ba’ath party’s takeover.[18] Although Saddam was al-Bakr’s deputy, he was a strong behind-the-scenes party politician. Al-Bakr was the older and more prestigious of the two, but by 1969 Saddam Hussein clearly had become the moving force behind the party.

Political program

Promoting women’s literacy and education in the 1970s

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, as vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, formally the al-Bakr’s second-in-command, Saddam built a reputation as a progressive, effective politician.[19] At this time, Saddam moved up the ranks in the new government by aiding attempts to strengthen and unify the Ba’ath party and taking a leading role in addressing the country’s major domestic problems and expanding the party’s following.

After the Baathists took power in 1968, Saddam focused on attaining stability in a nation riddled with profound tensions. Long before Saddam, Iraq had been split along social, ethnic, religious, and economic fault lines: Sunni versus Shi’ite, Arab versus Kurd, tribal chief versus urban merchant, nomad versus peasant.[20] Stable rule in a country rife with factionalism required[dubious – discuss] both massive repression and the improvement of living standards.[20]

Saddam actively fostered the modernization of the Iraqi economy along with the creation of a strong security apparatus to prevent coups within the power structure and insurrections apart from it. Ever concerned with broadening his base of support among the diverse elements of Iraqi society and mobilizing mass support, he closely followed the administration of state welfare and development programs.

At the center of this strategy was Iraq’s oil. On 1 June 1972, Saddam oversaw the seizure of international oil interests, which, at the time, dominated the country’s oil sector. A year later, world oil prices rose dramatically as a result of the 1973 energy crisis, and skyrocketing revenues enabled Saddam to expand his agenda.

Within just a few years, Iraq was providing social services that were unprecedented among Middle Eastern countries. Saddam established and controlled the “National Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy” and the campaign for “Compulsory Free Education in Iraq,” and largely under his auspices, the government established universal free schooling up to the highest education levels; hundreds of thousands learned to read in the years following the initiation of the program. The government also supported families of soldiers, granted free hospitalization to everyone, and gave subsidies to farmers. Iraq created one of the most modernized public-health systems in the Middle East, earning Saddam an award from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO).[21][22]

With the help of increasing oil revenues, Saddam diversified the largely oil-based Iraqi economy. Saddam implemented a national infrastructure campaign that made great progress in building roads, promoting mining, and developing other industries. The campaign helped Iraq’s energy industries. Electricity was brought to nearly every city in Iraq, and many outlying areas.

Before the 1970s, most of Iraq’s people lived in the countryside and roughly two-thirds were peasants. This number would decrease quickly during the 1970s as global oil prices helped revenues to rise from less than a half billion dollars to tens of billions of dollars and the country invested into industrial expansion.

Saddam was lucky for the revenue.[23] The Economist described the sentiments, stating that “Much as Adolf Hitler won early praise for galvanising German industry, ending mass unemployment and building autobahns, Saddam earned admiration abroad for his deeds. He had a good instinct for what the “Arab street” demanded, following the decline in Egyptian leadership brought about by the trauma of Israel’s six-day victory in the 1967 war, the death of the pan-Arabist hero, Gamal Abdul Nasser, in 1970, and the “traitorous” drive by his successor, Anwar Sadat, to sue for peace with the Jewish state. Saddam’s self-aggrandising propaganda, with himself posing as the defender of Arabism against Jewish or Persian intruders, was heavy-handed, but consistent as a drumbeat. It helped, of course, that his mukhabarat (secret police) put dozens of Arab news editors, writers and artists on the payroll.”[23]

In 1972 Saddam started developing his chemical weapons program. In 1973 he signed a 15-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union.

Saddam focused on fostering loyalty to the Ba’athists in the rural areas. After nationalizing foreign oil interests, Saddam supervised the modernization of the countryside, mechanizing agriculture on a large scale, and distributing land to peasant farmers.[13] The Ba’athists established farm cooperatives and the government also doubled expenditures for agricultural development in 1974–1975. Saddam’s welfare programs were part of a combination of “carrot and stick” tactics to enhance support for Saddam. The state-owned banks were put under his thumb. Lending was based on cronyism[7]

Development went forward at such a fevered pitch that two million people from other Arab countries and even Yugoslavia worked in Iraq to meet the growing demand for labor.

Succession

In 1976, Saddam rose to the position of general in the Iraqi armed forces, and rapidly became the strongman of the government. As the ailing, elderly al-Bakr became unable to execute his duties, Saddam took on an increasingly prominent role as the face of the government both internally and externally. He soon became the architect of Iraq’s foreign policy and represented the nation in all diplomatic situations. He was the de facto leader of Iraq some years before he formally came to power in 1979. He slowly began to consolidate his power over Iraq’s government and the Ba’ath party. Relationships with fellow party members were carefully cultivated, and Saddam soon accumulated a powerful circle of support within the party.

In 1979 al-Bakr started to make treaties with Syria, also under Ba’athist leadership, that would lead to unification between the two countries. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad would become deputy leader in a union, and this would drive Saddam to obscurity. Saddam acted to secure his grip on power. He forced the ailing al-Bakr to resign on 16 July 1979, and formally assumed the presidency.

Shortly afterwards, he convened an assembly of Ba’ath party leaders on 22 July 1979. During the assembly, which he ordered videotaped (viewable via this reference[24]), Saddam claimed to have found a fifth column within the Ba’ath Party and directed Muhyi Abdel-Hussein to read out a confession and the names of 68 alleged co-conspirators. These members were labelled “disloyal” and were removed from the room one by one and taken into custody. After the list was read, Saddam congratulated those still seated in the room for their past and future loyalty. The 68 people arrested at the meeting were subsequently tried together and found guilty of treason. 22 were sentenced to execution. Other high-ranking members of the party formed the firing squad. By 1 August 1979, hundreds of high-ranking Ba’ath party members had been executed.[25][26]

Bodies taken in the aftermath of Halabja poison gas attack.

Genocidal campaign against Kurds

Main article: Al-Anfal Campaign

The Al-Anfal Campaign was a genocidal[27] campaign against the Kurdish people (and many others) in Iraqi Kurdistan led by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid. The campaign takes its name from Surat al-Anfal in the Qur’an, which was used as a code name by the former Iraqi Baathist regime for a series of attacks against the peshmerga rebels and the mostly Kurdish civilian population of rural Northern Iraq, conducted between 1986 and 1989 culminating in 1988. This campaign also targeted Shabaks and YazidisAssyriansTurkoman people and Mandeans and many villages belonging to these ethnic groups were also destroyed. Some reports cite Saddam Hussein’s army as being responsible for 200,000 civilian deaths.[28]

Political repression

Saddam was notable for terror against his own people. The Economist described Saddam as “one of the last of the 20th century’s great dictators, but not the least in terms of egotism, or cruelty, or morbid will to power”.[23]

The New York Times described in its obituary how Saddam “murdered as many as a million of his people, many with poison gas. He tortured, maimed and imprisoned countless more. His unprovoked invasion of Iran is estimated to have left another million people dead. His seizure of Kuwait threw the Middle East into crisis. More insidious, arguably, was the psychological damage he inflicted on his own land. Hussein created a nation of informants — friends on friends, circles within circles — making an entire population complicit in his rule”.[29] Others have estimated 800,000 deaths caused by Saddam not counting the Iran-Iraq war.[30] Estimates as to the number of Iraqis executed by Saddam’s regime vary from 300–500,000[31] to over 600,000,[32] estimates as to the number of Kurds he massacred vary from 70,000 to 300,000,[33] and estimates as to the number killed in the put-down of the 1991 rebellion vary from 60,000[34] to 200,000.[32] Estimates for the number of dead in the Iran-Iraq war range upwards from 300,000.[35]

Iraqi society is divided along lines of language, religion and ethnicity; Saddam’s government rested on the support of the 20% minority of Sunnis. The Ba’ath Party was increasingly concerned about potential Shi’a Islamist influence following the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The Kurds of northern Iraq (who are Sunni, but not Arabs) were also permanently hostile to the Ba’athist party’s pan-Arabism. To maintain power Saddam tended either to provide them with benefits so as to co-opt them into the regime, or to take repressive measures against them. The major instruments for accomplishing this control were the paramilitary and police organizations. Beginning in 1974, Taha Yassin Ramadan (himself a Kurd Baathist), a close associate of Saddam, commanded the People’s Army, which was responsible for internal security. As the Ba’ath Party’s paramilitary, the People’s Army acted as a counterweight against any coup attempts by the regular armed forces. In addition to the People’s Army, the Department of General Intelligence (Mukhabarat) was the most notorious arm of the state security system, feared for its use of torture and assassination. It was commanded by Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam’s younger half-brother. Since 1982, foreign observers believed that this department operated both at home and abroad in their mission to seek out and eliminate Saddam’s perceived opponents.[36]

The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued regular reports of widespread imprisonment and torture.

Personality cult

As a sign of his consolidation of power, Saddam’s personality cult pervaded Iraqi society. Thousands of portraits, posters, statues and murals were erected in his honor all over Iraq. His face could be seen on the sides of office buildings, schools, airports, and shops, as well as on Iraqi currency. Saddam’s personality cult reflected his efforts to appeal to the various elements in Iraqi society. He appeared in the costumes of the Bedouin, the traditional clothes of the Iraqi peasant (which he essentially wore during his childhood), and even Kurdish clothing, but also appeared in Western suits, projecting the image of an urbane and modern leader. Sometimes he would also be portrayed as a devout Muslim, wearing full headdress and robe, praying toward Mecca.

He erected statues around the country, which Iraqis toppled after his fall.[37]

Foreign affairs

Iraq’s relations with the Arab world have been extremely varied. Relations between Iraq and Egypt violently ruptured in 1977, when the two nations broke relations with each other following Iraq’s criticism of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat‘s peace initiatives with Israel. In 1978, Baghdad hosted an Arab League summit that condemned and ostracized Egypt for accepting the Camp David accords. However, Egypt’s strong material and diplomatic support for Iraq in the war with Iran led to warmer relations and numerous contacts between senior officials, despite the continued absence of ambassadorial-level representation. Since 1983, Iraq has repeatedly called for restoration of Egypt’s “natural role” among Arab countries.

Saddam developed a reputation for liking expensive goods, such as his diamond-coated Rolex wristwatch, and sent copies of them to his friends around the world. To his ally Kenneth Kaunda Saddam once sent a Boeing 747 full of presents — rugs, televisions, ornaments. Kaunda sent back his own personal magician.[38]

Saddam had close relationship with Russian intelligence agent Yevgeny Primakov and apparently Primakov helped Saddam to stay in power in 1991.[39]

Saddam’s only visit to a Western country took place in September 1975 when he met with his friend, Prime Minister Jacques Chirac in Paris, France.[40]

Several Iraqi leaders, Lebanese arms merchant Sarkis Soghanalian and others have told that Saddam financed Chirac’s party. In 1991 Saddam threatened to expose those who had taken largasse from him: “From Mr. Chirac to Mr. Chevènement, politicians and economic leaders were in open competition to spend time with us and flatter us. We have now grasped the reality of the situation. If the trickery continues, we will be forced to unmask them, all of them, before the French public.”[40] France armed Saddam and it was Iraq’s largest trade partner throughout Saddam’s rule. Seized documents show how French officials and businessmen close to Chirac, including Charles Pasqua, his former interior minister, personally benefitted from the deals with Saddam.[40]

Because that Saddam Hussein rarely left Iraq, Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam’s aides, traveled abroad extensively and represented Iraq at many diplomatic meetings.[41] In foreign affairs, Saddam sought to have Iraq play a leading role in the Middle East. Iraq signed an aid pact with the Soviet Union in 1972, and arms were sent along with several thousand advisers. However, the 1978 crackdown on Iraqi Communists and a shift of trade toward the West strained Iraqi relations with the Soviet Union; Iraq then took on a more Western orientation until the Gulf War in 1991.[42]

After the oil crisis of 1973, France had changed to a more pro-Arab policy and was accordingly rewarded by Saddam with closer ties. He made a state visit to France in 1975, cementing close ties with some French business and ruling political circles. In 1975 Saddam negotiated an accord with Iran that contained Iraqi concessions on border disputes. In return, Iran agreed to stop supporting opposition Kurds in Iraq. Saddam led Arab opposition to the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel (1979).

Saddam initiated Iraq’s nuclear enrichment project in the 1980s, with French assistance. The first Iraqi nuclear reactor was named by the French “Osirak“. Osirak was destroyed on 7 June 1981[43] by an Israeli air strike (Operation Opera).

Nearly from its founding as a modern state in 1920, Iraq has had to deal with Kurdish separatists in the northern part of the country.[44] Saddam did negotiate an agreement in 1970 with separatist Kurdish leaders, giving them autonomy, but the agreement broke down. The result was brutal fighting between the government and Kurdish groups and even Iraqi bombing of Kurdish villages in Iran, which caused Iraqi relations with Iran to deteriorate. However, after Saddam had negotiated the 1975 treaty with Iran, the Shah withdrew support for the Kurds, who suffered a total defeat.

Iran–Iraq War

Main article: Iran–Iraq War

Iraqi 25-dinar note, as with the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah depicted in the background

Saddam Hussein greeting Carlos Cardoen, a Chilean businessman who provided Iraq with weapons in the 1980s

Shakinghands high.OGG
Play video

Middle East special envoy Donald Rumsfeld meeting Saddam Hussein on 19–20 December 1983. Rumsfeld, who becameU.S. Secretary of Defense during theGeorge W. Bush administration, led the coalition forces during the Iraq War.

In early 1979, Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, thus giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The influence of revolutionary Shi’ite Islam grew apace in the region, particularly in countries with large Shi’ite populations, especially Iraq. Saddam feared that radical Islamic ideas — hostile to his secular rule — were rapidly spreading inside his country among the majority Shi’ite population.

There had also been bitter enmity between Saddam and Khomeini since the 1970s. Khomeini, having been exiled from Iran in 1964, took up residence in Iraq, at the Shi’ite holy city of An Najaf. There he involved himself with Iraqi Shi’ites and developed a strong, worldwide religious and political following against the Iranian Government, whom Saddam tolerated. However, when Khomeini began to urge the Shi’ites there to overthrow Saddam and under pressure from the Shah, who had agreed to a rapprochement between Iraq and Iran in 1975, Saddam agreed to expel Khomeini in 1978 to France. However this turned out to be an imminent failure and a political catalyst, for Khomeini had access to more media connections and also collaborated with a much larger Iranian community under his support whom he used to his advantage.

After Khomeini gained power, skirmishes between Iraq and revolutionary Iran occurred for ten months over the sovereignty of the disputed Shatt al-Arabwaterway, which divides the two countries. During this period, Saddam Hussein publicly maintained that it was in Iraq’s interest not to engage with Iran, and that it was in the interests of both nations to maintain peaceful relations. However, in a private meeting with Salah Omar Al-Ali, Iraq’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations, he revealed that he intended to invade and occupy a large part of Iran within months. Later (probably to appeal for support from the United States and most Western nations), he would make toppling the Islamic government one of his intentions as well. Iraq invaded Iran, first attackingMehrabad Airport of Tehran and then entering the oil-rich Iranian land of Khuzestan, which also has a sizable Arab minority, on 22 September 1980 and declared it a new province of Iraq. With the support of the Arab states, the United States, and Europe, and heavily financed by the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein had become “the defender of the Arab world” against a revolutionary Iran. The only exception was The Soviet Union, who initially refused to supply Iraq on the basis of Neutrality in the conflict, although in his memoirs, Mikhail Gorbachev claimed that Leonid Brezhnev refused to aid Saddam over infuriation of Saddam’s treatment of Iraqi Communists. Consequently, many viewed Iraq as “an agent of the civilized world”.[45] The blatant disregard of international law and violations of international borders were ignored. Instead Iraq received economic and military support from its allies, who conveniently overlooked Saddam’s use of chemical warfare against the Kurds and the Iranians and Iraq’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.[45]

In the first days of the war, there was heavy ground fighting around strategic ports as Iraq launched an attack on Khuzestan. After making some initial gains, Iraq’s troops began to suffer losses from human wave attacks by Iran. By 1982, Iraq was on the defensive and looking for ways to end the war.

At this point, Saddam asked his ministers for candid advice. Health Minister Dr. Riyadh Ibrahim suggested that Saddam temporarily step down to promote peace negotiations. Initially, Saddam Hussein appeared to take in this opinion as part of his cabinet democracy. A few weeks later, Dr. Ibrahim was sacked when held responsible for a fatal incident in an Iraqi hospital where a patient died from intravenous administration of the wrong concentration of potassium supplement.

Dr. Ibrahim was arrested a few days after he started his new life as a sacked Minister. He was known to have publicly declared before that arrest that he was “glad that he got away alive.” Pieces of Ibrahim’s dismembered body were delivered to his wife the next day.[46]

Iraq quickly found itself bogged down in one of the longest and most destructive wars of attrition of the twentieth century. During the war, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian forces fighting on the southern front and Kurdish separatists who were attempting to open up a northern front in Iraq with the help of Iran. These chemical weapons were developed by Iraq from materials and technology supplied primarily by West German companies as well as [47] theReagan administration of the United States which also supplied Iraq with “satellite photos showing Iranian deployments”[48] and advised Hussein to bomb civilian targets in Tehran and other Iranian cities.[49] France sold 25 billion dollars worth arms to Saddam.[40]

Saddam reached out to other Arab governments for cash and political support during the war, particularly after Iraq’s oil industry severely suffered at the hands of the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf. Iraq successfully gained some military and financial aid, as well as diplomatic and moral support, from the Soviet Union, China, France, and the United States, which together feared the prospects of the expansion of revolutionary Iran’s influence in the region. The Iranians, demanding that the international community should force Iraq to pay war reparations to Iran, refused any suggestions for a cease-fire. Despite several calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations Security Council, hostilities continued until 20 August 1988.

On 16 March 1988, the Kurdish town of Halabja was attacked with a mix of mustard gas and nerve agents, killing 5,000 civilians, and maiming, disfiguring, or seriously debilitating 10,000 more. (see Halabja poison gas attack)[50] The attack occurred in conjunction with the 1988 al-Anfal campaign designed to reassert central control of the mostly Kurdish population of areas of northern Iraq and defeat the Kurdish peshmerga rebel forces. The United States now maintains that Saddam ordered the attack to terrorize the Kurdish population in northern Iraq,[50] but Saddam’s regime claimed at the time that Iran was responsible for the attack[51] which some including the U.S. supported until several years later. (See also Halabja poison gas attack.)

The bloody eight-year war ended in a stalemate. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties with estimates of up to one million dead. Neither side had achieved what they had originally desired and at the borders were left nearly unchanged. The southern, oil rich and prosperous Khuzestan and Basra area (the main focus of the war, and the primary source of their economies) were almost completely destroyed and were left at the pre 1979 border, while Iran managed to make some small gains on its borders in the Northern Kurdish area. Both economies, previously healthy and expanding, were left in ruins.

Saddam borrowed tens of billions of dollars from other Arab states and a few billions from elsewhere during the 1980s to fight Iran, mainly to prevent the expansion of Shiite radicalism. However, this had proven to completely backfire both on Iraq and on the part of the Arab states, for Khomeini was widely perceived as a hero for managing to defend Iran and maintain the war with little foreign support against the heavily backed Iraq and only managed to boost Islamic radicalism not only within the Arab states, but within Iraq itself, creating new tensions between the Sunni Baath Party and the majority Shiite population. Faced with rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure and internal resistance, Saddam desperately sought out cash once again, this time for postwar reconstruction.

Tensions with Kuwait

The end of the war with Iran served to deepen latent tensions between Iraq and its wealthy neighbor Kuwait. Saddam urged the Kuwaitis to forgive the Iraqi debt accumulated in the war, some $30 billion, but they refused.[52]

Saddam pushed oil-exporting countries to raise oil prices by cutting back production; Kuwait refused, however. In addition to refusing the request, Kuwait spearheaded the opposition in OPEC to the cuts that Saddam had requested. Kuwait was pumping large amounts of oil, and thus keeping prices low, when Iraq needed to sell high-priced oil from its wells to pay off a huge debt.

Saddam had always argued that Kuwait was historically an integral part of Iraq, and that Kuwait had only come into being through the maneuverings of British imperialism; this echoed a belief that Iraqi nationalists had voiced for the past 50 years. This belief was one of the few articles of faith uniting the political scene in a nation rife with sharp social, ethnic, religious, and ideological divides.[52]

The extent of Kuwaiti oil reserves also intensified tensions in the region. The oil reserves of Kuwait (with a population of 2 million next to Iraq’s 25) were roughly equal to those of Iraq. Taken together, Iraq and Kuwait sat on top of some 20 percent of the world’s known oil reserves; as an article of comparison, Saudi Arabia holds 25 percent.[52]

Saddam complained to the U.S. State Department that Kuwait had slant drilled oil out of wells that Iraq considered to be within its disputed border with Kuwait. Saddam still had an experienced and well-equipped army, which he used to influence regional affairs. He later ordered troops to the Iraq–Kuwait border.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Catherine Glaspie meets Saddam for an emergency meeting.

As Iraq-Kuwait relations rapidly deteriorated, Saddam was receiving conflicting information about how the U.S. would respond to the prospects of an invasion. For one, Washington had been taking measures to cultivate a constructive relationship with Iraq for roughly a decade. The Reagan administration gave Saddam roughly $40 billion in aid in the 1980s to fight Iran, nearly all of it on credit. The U.S. also gave Saddam billions of dollars to keep him from forming a strong alliance with the Soviets.[53] Saddam’s Iraq became “the third-largest recipient of U.S. assistance”.[54]

U.S. ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie met with Saddam in an emergency meeting on 25 July 1990, where the Iraqi leader stated his intention to give negotiations only… one more brief chance before forcing Iraq’s claims on Kuwait.[55] U.S. officials attempted to maintain a conciliatory line with Iraq, indicating that while George H. W. Bush and James Baker did not want force used, they would not take any position on the Iraq–Kuwait boundary dispute and did not want to become involved.[56] Whatever Glaspie did or did not say in her interview with Saddam, the Iraqis assumed that the United States had invested too much in building relations with Iraq over the 1980s to sacrifice them for Kuwait.[57] Later, Iraq and Kuwait met for a final negotiation session, which failed. Saddam then sent his troops into Kuwait. As tensions between Washington and Saddam began to escalate, the Soviet Union, under Mikhail Gorbachev, strengthened its military relationship with the Iraqi leader, providing him military advisers, arms and aid.[58]

Gulf War

Main articles: Invasion of Kuwait and Gulf War

On 2 August 1990, Saddam invaded Kuwait, initially claiming assistance to “Kuwaiti revolutionaries,” thus sparking an international crisis. On 4 August an Iraqi-backed “Provisional Government of Free Kuwait” was proclaimed, but a total lack of legitimacy and support for it led to an 8 August announcement of a “merger” of the two countries. On 28 August Kuwait formally became the 19thGovernorate of Iraq. Just two years after the 1988 Iraq and Iran truce, “Saddam Hussein did what his Gulf patrons had earlier paid him to prevent.” Having removed the threat of Iranian fundamentalism he “overran Kuwait and confronted his Gulf neighbors in the name of Arab nationalism and Islam.”[45]

When later asked why he invaded Kuwait, Saddam first claimed that it was because Kuwait was rightfully Iraq’s 19th province and then said “When I get something into my head I act. That’s just the way I am.”[23] With Saddam’s seizure of Kuwait in August 1990 an UN coalition led by the United States drove Iraq’s troops from Kuwait in February 1991. The ability for Saddam Hussein to pursue such military aggression was from a “military machine paid for in large part by the tens of billions of dollars Kuwait and the Gulf states had poured into Iraq and the weapons and technology provided by the Soviet Union, Germany, and France.”[45]

Shortly before he invaded Kuwait, he shipped 100 new Mercedes 200 Series cars to top editors in Egypt and Jordan. Two days before the first attacks, Saddam reportedly offered Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak 50 million dollars in cash, “ostensibly for grain”.[59]

U.S. President George H. W. Bush responded cautiously for the first several days. On one hand, Kuwait, prior to this point, had been a virulent enemy of Israel and was the Persian Gulf monarchy that had had the most friendly relations with the Soviets.[60] On the other hand, Washington foreign policymakers, along with Middle East experts, military critics, and firms heavily invested in the region, were extremely concerned with stability in this region.[61] The invasion immediately triggered fears that the world’s price of oil, and therefore control of the world economy, was at stake. Britain profited heavily from billions of dollars of Kuwaiti investments and bank deposits. Bush was perhaps swayed while meeting with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who happened to be in the U.S. at the time.[62]

Co-operation between the United States and the Soviet Union made possible the passage of resolutions in the United Nations Security Council giving Iraq a deadline to leave Kuwait and approving the use of force if Saddam did not comply with the timetable. U.S. officials feared Iraqi retaliation against oil-rich Saudi Arabia, since the 1940s a close ally of Washington, for the Saudis’ opposition to the invasion of Kuwait. Accordingly, the U.S. and a group of allies, including countries as diverse as Egypt, Syria and Czechoslovakia, deployed a massive amount of troops along the Saudi border with Kuwait and Iraq in order to encircle the Iraqi army, the largest in the Middle East.

Saddam’s officers looted Kuwait, stripping even the marble from its palaces to move it to Saddam’s own palace.[7]

During the period of negotiations and threats following the invasion, Saddam focused renewed attention on the Palestinian problem by promising to withdraw his forces from Kuwait if Israel would relinquish the occupied territories in the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip. Saddam’s proposal further split the Arab world, pitting U.S.- and Western-supported Arab states against the Palestinians. The allies ultimately rejected any linkage between the Kuwait crisis and Palestinian issues.

Saddam ignored the Security Council deadline. Backed by the Security Council, a U.S.-led coalition launched round-the-clock missile and aerial attacks on Iraq, beginning 16 January 1991. Israel, though subjected to attack by Iraqi missiles, refrained from retaliating in order not to provoke Arab states into leaving the coalition. A ground force consisting largely of U.S. and British armoured and infantry divisions ejected Saddam’s army from Kuwait in February 1991 and occupied the southern portion of Iraq as far as the Euphrates.

On 6 March 1991, Bush announced:

What is at stake is more than one small country, it is a big idea — a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law.

In the end, the over-manned and under-equipped Iraqi army proved unable to compete on the battlefield with the highly mobile coalition land forces and their overpowering air support. Some 175,000 Iraqis were taken prisoner and casualties were estimated at over 85,000. As part of the cease-fire agreement, Iraq agreed to scrap all poison gas and germ weapons and allow UN observers to inspect the sites. UN trade sanctions would remain in effect until Iraq complied with all terms. Saddam publicly claimed victory at the end of the war.

Postwar period

Iraq’s ethnic and religious divisions, together with the brutality of the conflict that this had engendered, laid the groundwork for postwar rebellions. In the aftermath of the fighting, social and ethnic unrest among Shi’ite Muslims, Kurds, and dissident military units threatened the stability of Saddam’s government. Uprisings erupted in the Kurdish north and Shi’a southern and central parts of Iraq, but were ruthlessly repressed.

The United States, which had urged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam, did nothing to assist the rebellions. The Iranians, despite the widespread Shi’ite rebellions, had no interest in provoking another war, while Turkey opposed any prospect of Kurdish independence, and the Saudis and other conservative Arab states feared an Iran-style Shi’ite revolution. Saddam, having survived the immediate crisis in the wake of defeat, was left firmly in control of Iraq, although the country never recovered either economically or militarily from the Gulf War. Saddam routinely cited his survival as “proof” that Iraq had in fact won the war against the U.S. This message earned Saddam a great deal of popularity in many sectors of the Arab world. John Esposito, however, claims that “Arabs and Muslims were pulled in two directions. That they rallied not so much to Saddam Hussein as to the bipolar nature of the confrontation (the West versus the Arab Muslim world) and the issues that Saddam proclaimed: Arab unity, self-sufficiency, and social justice.” As a result, Saddam Hussein appealed to many people for the same reasons that attracted more and more followers to Islamic revivalism and also for the same reasons that fueled anti-Western feelings. “As one U.S. Muslim observer noted: People forgot about Saddam’s record and concentrated on America … Saddam Hussein might be wrong, but it is not America who should correct him.” A shift was, therefore, clearly visible among many Islamic movements in the post war period “from an initial Islamic ideological rejection of Saddam Hussein, the secular persecutor of Islamic movements, and his invasion of Kuwait to a more populist Arab nationalist, anti-imperialist support for Saddam (or more precisely those issues he represented or championed) and the condemnation of foreign intervention and occupation.”[45]

Saddam, therefore, increasingly portrayed himself as a devout Muslim, in an effort to co-opt the conservative religious segments of society. Some elements of Sharia law were re-introduced, and the ritual phrase “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”), in Saddam’s handwriting, was added to the national flag. Saddam also commissioned the production of a “Blood Qur’an“, written using 27 litres of his own blood, to thank God for saving him from various dangers and conspiracies.[63]

Relations between the United States and Iraq remained tense following the Gulf War. The U.S. launched a missile attack aimed at Iraq’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad 26 June 1993, citing evidence of repeated Iraqi violations of the “no fly zones” imposed after the Gulf War and for incursions into Kuwait.

The United Nations sanctions placed upon Iraq when it invaded Kuwait were not lifted, blocking Iraqi oil exports. This caused immense hardship in Iraq and virtually destroyed the Iraqi economy and state infrastructure. Only smuggling across the Syrian border, and humanitarian aid ameliorated the humanitarian crisis.[64] On 9 December 1996 the UN allowed Saddam’s government to begin selling limited amounts of oil for food and medicine. Limited amounts of income from the United Nations started flowing into Iraq through the United Nations Oil for Food program.

U.S. officials continued to accuse Saddam of violating the terms of the Gulf War’s cease fire, by developing weapons of mass destruction and other banned weaponry, and violating the UN-imposed sanctions. Also during the 1990s, President Bill Clinton maintained sanctions and ordered air strikes in the “Iraqi no-fly zones” (Operation Desert Fox), in the hope that Saddam would be overthrown by political enemies inside Iraq. Western charges of Iraqi resistance to UN access to suspected weapons were the pretext for crises between 1997 and 1998, culminating in intensive U.S. and British missile strikes on Iraq, 16–19 December 1998. After two years of intermittent activity, U.S. and British warplanes struck harder at sites near Baghdad in February 2001.

Saddam’s support base of Tikriti tribesmen, family members, and other supporters was divided after the war, and in the following years, contributing to the government’s increasingly repressive and arbitrary nature. Domestic repression inside Iraq grew worse, and Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay Hussein, became increasingly powerful and carried out a private reign of terror.

Iraqi co-operation with UN weapons inspection teams was intermittent throughout the 1990s.

Saddam continued involvement in politics abroad. Video tapes retrieved after show his intelligence chiefs meeting with Arab journalists, including a meeting with the former managing director of Al-Jazeera, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, in 2000. In the video Saddam’s son Uday advised al-Ali about hires in Al-Jazeera: “During your last visit here along with your colleagues we talked about a number of issues, and it does appear that you indeed were listening to what I was saying since changes took place and new faces came on board such as that lad, Mansour.” He was later sacked by Al-Jazeera.[65]

In 2002 Austrian prosecutors investigated Saddam government’s transactions with Fritz Edlinger that possibly violated Austrian money laundering and embargo regulations.[66] Fritz Edlinger, president of the General Secretary of the Society for Austro-Arab relations (GÖAB) and a former member of Socialist International‘s Middle East Committee, was an outspoken supporter of Saddam Hussein. In 2005 an Austrian journalist revealed that Fritz Edlinger’s GÖAB had received $100,000 from an Iraqi front company as well as donations from Austrian companies soliciting business in Iraq.[67]

In 2002, a resolution sponsored by the European Union was adopted by the Commission for Human Rights, which stated that there had been no improvement in the human rights crisis in Iraq. The statement condemned President Saddam Hussein’s government for its “systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law“. The resolution demanded that Iraq immediately put an end to its “summary and arbitrary executions … the use of rape as a political tool and all enforced and involuntary disappearances”.[68]

Oil vouchers

Main article: Oil-for-Food Programme

In the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme, Saddam was supposed to trade oil for food. In practice, the program benefitted political parties, politicians, journalists, companies, and individuals around the world.

The Russian state was the largest beneficiary.[69]

Invasion of Iraq in 2003

Main article: 2003 invasion of Iraq

Satellite channels broadcasting the besieged Iraqi leader among cheering crowds as U.S.-led troops push toward the capital city.[70]
4 April 2003.

The international community, especially the U.S., continued to view Saddam as a bellicose tyrant who was a threat to the stability of the region. After the September 11 attacksVladimir Putin began to tell the United States that Iraq was preparing terrorist attacks against the United States.[71] In his January 2002 state of the union address to Congress, President George W. Bush spoke of an “axis of evil” consisting of Iran, North Korea, and Iraq. Moreover, Bush announced that he would possibly take action to topple the Iraqi government, because of the threat of its weapons of mass destruction. Bush stated that “The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade … Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror.”[72][73] Saddam Hussein claimed that he falsely led the world to believe Iraq possessed nuclear weapons in order to appear strong against Iran.[74]

With war looming on 24 February 2003, Saddam Hussein took part in an interview with CBS News reporter Dan Rather. Talking for more than three hours, he expressed a wish to have a live televised debate with George W. Bush, which was declined. It was his first interview with a U.S. reporter in over a decade.[75] CBS aired the taped interview later that week.

The Iraqi government and military collapsed within three weeks of the beginning of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq on 20 March. By the beginning of April, U.S.-led forces occupied much of Iraq. The resistance of the much-weakened Iraqi Army either crumbled or shifted to guerrilla tactics, and it appeared that Saddam had lost control of Iraq. He was last seen in a video which purported to show him in the Baghdad suburbs surrounded by supporters. When Baghdad fell to U.S-led forces on 9 April, marked symbolically by the toppling of his statue by iconoclasts,[76] Saddam was nowhere to be found.

Incarceration and trial

Capture and incarceration

Photograph taken by American soldiers during Saddam’s capture.

Saddam shortly after capture by American forces, and after being shaved to confirm his identity

In April 2003, Saddam’s whereabouts remained in question during the weeks following the fall of Baghdad and the conclusion of the major fighting of the war. Various sightings of Saddam were reported in the weeks following the war, but none was authenticated. At various times Saddam released audio tapes promoting popular resistance to his ousting.

Saddam was placed at the top of the U.S. list of “most-wanted Iraqis“. In July 2003, his sons Uday and Qusay and 14-year-old grandson Mustapha were killed in a three-hour[77] gunfight with U.S. forces.

On 13 December 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces at a farmhouse in ad-Dawr near Tikrit in a hole in Operation Red Dawn. Following his capture on 13 December Saddam was transported to a U.S. base near Tikrit, and later taken to the U.S. base near Baghdad. The day after his capture he was reportedly visited by longtime opponents such as Ahmed Chalabi.[citation needed]

On 14 December 2003, U.S. administrator in Iraq L. Paul Bremer confirmed that Saddam Hussein had indeed been captured at a farmhouse in ad-Dawr near Tikrit.[78] Bremer presented video footage of Saddam in custody.

Saddam was shown with a full beard and hair longer than his familiar appearance. He was described by U.S. officials as being in good health. Bremer reported plans to put Saddam on trial, but claimed that the details of such a trial had not yet been determined. Iraqis and Americans who spoke with Saddam after his capture generally reported that he remained self-assured, describing himself as a “firm, but just leader.”[citation needed]

British tabloid newspaper The Sun posted a picture of Saddam wearing white briefs on the front cover of a newspaper. Other photographs inside the paper show Saddam washing his trousers, shuffling, and sleeping. The United States Government stated that it considers the release of the pictures a violation of the Geneva Convention, and that it would investigate the photographs.[79][80] During this period Hussein was interrogated by FBI agent George Piro.[81]

The guards at the Baghdad detention facility called their prisoner “Vic,” and let him plant a little garden near his cell. The nickname and the garden are among the details about the former Iraqi leader that emerged during a 27 March 2008 tour of prison of the Baghdad cell where Saddam slept, bathed, and kept a journal in the final days before his execution.[82]

Trial

Saddam speaking at a pre-trial hearing

On 30 June 2004, Saddam Hussein, held in custody by U.S. forces at the U.S. base “Camp Cropper“, along with 11 other senior Baathist leaders, were handed over legally (though not physically) to the interim Iraqi government to stand trial for crimes against humanity and other offences.

A few weeks later, he was charged by the Iraqi Special Tribunal with crimes committed against residents of Dujail in 1982, following a failed assassination attempt against him. Specific charges included the murder of 148 people, torture of women and children and the illegal arrest of 399 others.[83][84]

Main article: Dujail Massacre

Among the many challenges of the trial were:

  • Saddam and his lawyers’ contesting the court’s authority and maintaining that he was still the President of Iraq.[85]
  • The assassinations and attempts on the lives of several of Saddam’s lawyers.
  • The replacement of the chief presiding judge, midway through the trial.

On 5 November 2006, Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam’s half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court in 1982, were convicted of similar charges. The verdict and sentencing were both appealed, but subsequently affirmed by Iraq’s Supreme Court of Appeals.[86] On 30 December 2006, Saddam was hanged.[10]

Execution

Saddam was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30 December 2006, despite his wish to be shot (which he felt would be more dignified).[87] The execution was carried out at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighborhood of northeast Baghdad.

The execution was videotaped on a mobile phone and his captors could be heard insulting Saddam. The video was leaked to electronic media and posted on the Internet within hours, becoming the subject of global controversy.[88] It was later claimed by the head guard at the tomb where his body remains that Saddam’s body was stabbed six times after the execution.[89]

Not long before the execution, Saddam’s lawyers released his last letter. The following includes several excerpts:

To the great nation, to the people of our country, and humanity,Many of you have known the writer of this letter to be faithful, honest, caring for others, wise, of sound judgment, just, decisive, careful with the wealth of the people and the state … and that his heart is big enough to embrace all without discrimination.You have known your brother and leader very well and he never bowed to the despots and, in accordance with the wishes of those who loved him, remained a sword and a banner.This is how you want your brother, son or leader to be … and those who will lead you (in the future) should have the same qualifications.Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if He wants, He will send it to heaven with the martyrs, or, He will postpone that … so let us be patient and depend on Him against the unjust nations.

Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love, forgiveness and brotherly coexistence … I call on you not to hate, because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking and keeps away one from balanced thinking and making the right choice.

I also call on you not to hate the peoples of the other countries that attacked us and differentiate between the decision-makers and peoples. Anyone who repents — whether in Iraq or abroad — you must forgive him.

You should know that among the aggressors, there are people who support your struggle against the invaders, and some of them volunteered for the legal defence of prisoners, including Saddam Hussein … some of these people wept profusely when they said goodbye to me.

Dear faithful people, I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any faithful, honest believer … God is Great … God is great … Long live our nation … Long live our great struggling people … Long live Iraq, long live Iraq … Long live Palestine … Long live jihad and the mujahedeen.

Saddam Hussein President and Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Mujahed Armed Forces

Additional clarification note:

I have written this letter, because the lawyers told me that the so-called criminal court — established and named by the invaders — will allow the so-called defendants the chance for a last word. But that court and its chief judge did not give us the chance to say a word, and issued its verdict without explanation and read out the sentence — dictated by the invaders — without presenting the evidence. I wanted the people to know this.[90]

— Letter by Saddam Hussein

A second unofficial video, apparently showing Saddam’s body on a trolley, emerged several days later. It sparked speculation that the execution was carried out incorrectly as Saddam Hussein had a gaping hole in his neck.[91]

Saddam was buried at his birthplace of Al-Awja in Tikrit, Iraq, 3 km (2 mi) from his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein, on 31 December 2006.[92]

Marriage and family relationships

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed(August 2011)
  • Saddam married his first wife and cousin Sajida Talfah (or Tulfah/Tilfah)[93] in 1958[94] in an arranged marriage. Sajida is the daughter of Khairallah Talfah, Saddam’s uncle and mentor. Their marriage was arranged for Hussein at age five when Sajida was seven. They were married in Egypt during his exile. The couple had five children.[93]
  • Uday Hussein (18 June 1964 – 22 July 2003), was Saddam’s oldest son, who ran the Iraqi Football AssociationFedayeen Saddam, and several media corporations in Iraq including Iraqi TV and the newspaper Babel. Uday, while originally Saddam’s favorite son and raised to succeed him he eventually fell out of favour with his father due to his erratic behavior; he was responsible for many car crashes and rapes around Baghdad, constant feuds with other members of his family, and killing his father’s favorite valet and food taster Kamel Hana Gegeo at a party in Egypt honoring Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak. He became well known in the west for his involvement in looting Kuwait during the Gulf War, allegedly taking millions of dollars worth of Gold, cars, and medical supplies (which was in short supply at the time) for himself and close supporters. He was widely known for his paranoia and his obsession with torturing people who disappointed him in any way, which included tardy girlfriends, friends who disagreed with him and, most notoriously, Iraqi athletes who performed poorly. He was briefly married to Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri‘s daughter, but later divorced her. The couple had no children.
  • Qusay Hussein (17 May 1966 – 22 July 2003), was Saddam’s second — and, after the mid-1990s, his favorite — son. Qusay was believed to have been Saddam’s later intended successor, as he was less erratic than his older brother and kept a low profile. He was second in command of the military (behind his father) and ran the elite Iraqi Republican Guard and the SSO. He was believed to have ordered the army to kill thousands of rebelling Marsh Arabs and was instrumental in suppressing Shi’ite rebellions in the mid-1990s. He was married once and had three children.
  • Raghad Hussein (born 2 September 1968) is Saddam’s oldest daughter. After the war, Raghad fled to Amman, Jordan where she received sanctuary from the royal family. She is currently wanted by the Iraqi Government for allegedly financing and supporting the insurgency and the now banned Iraqi Ba’ath Party.[95][96] The Jordanian royal family refused to hand her over.
  • Rana Hussein (born c. 1969), is Saddam’s second daughter. She, like her sister, fled to Jordan and has stood up for her father’s rights. She was married to Saddam Kamel and has had four children from this marriage.
  • Hala Hussein (born c. 1972), is Saddam’s third and youngest daughter. Very little information is known about her. Her father arranged for her to marry General Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti in 1998. She fled with her children and sisters to Jordan.
  • Saddam married his second wife, Samira Shahbandar,[93] in 1986. She was originally the wife of an Iraqi Airways executive, but later became the mistress of Saddam. Eventually, Saddam forced Samira’s husband to divorce her so he could marry her.[93] There have been no political issues from this marriage. After the war, Samira fled to Beirut, Lebanon. She is believed to have mothered Hussein’s sixth child.[93] Members of Hussein’s family have denied this.
  • Saddam had allegedly married a third wife, Nidal al-Hamdani, the general manager of the Solar Energy Research Center in the Council of Scientific Research.[97]
  • Wafa el-Mullah al-Howeish is rumoured to have married Saddam as his fourth wife in 2002. There is no firm evidence for this marriage. Wafa is the daughter of Abdul Tawab el-Mullah Howeish, a former minister of military industry in Iraq and Saddam’s last deputy Prime Minister.

In August 1995, Raghad and her husband Hussein Kamel al-Majid and Rana and her husband, Saddam Kamel al-Majid, defected to Jordan, taking their children with them. They returned to Iraq when they received assurances that Saddam would pardon them. Within three days of their return in February 1996, both of the Kamel brothers were attacked and killed in a gunfight with other clan members who considered them traitors.

In August 2003, Saddam’s daughters Raghad and Rana received sanctuary in Amman, Jordan, where they are currently staying with their nine children. That month, they spoke with CNN and the Arab satellite station Al-Arabiya in Amman. When asked about her father, Raghad told CNN, “He was a very good father, loving, has a big heart.” Asked if she wanted to give a message to her father, she said: “I love you and I miss you.” Her sister Rana also remarked, “He had so many feelings and he was very tender with all of us.”[98]

List of government positions held