Intelligence: July 22, 2003

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Thousands of Baath Party members, secret policemen, and other Saddam supporters have been interrogated since the war in Iraq began. Getting some of these guys to talk has been a challenge, because many of them really believe that it's only a matter of time before they will be back in power. Several gambits have proven useful in loosening tongues. Many of these people have Iraqi blood on their hands, and they do fear retribution from the families of their victims. So much effort has gone into identifying who did what to whom when Saddam was in power. With this information in hand, the interrogator mentions that the Iraqi judicial system will soon be functioning again, and, hey, weren't you in Basra in 1993 when a lot of Shiites "disappeared." Perhaps we should take you back there and, hey, do you know what a "line up" is? That gets a lot of people to talk. Another scary gambit is mentioning a transfer to Guantanamo. The Arab media has been conjuring up all manner of fantasies about Guantanamo, and to many of the currently unindicted, being sent there is seen as tantamount to a death sentence, or worse. Mindful that many of these Saddam loyalists are basically unprincipled opportunists, the offer of work ratting out their former buddies is attractive, if the price is right. If that doesn't work, threatening to leak a rumor that they are talking anyway is often an offer they can't refuse. All of this is producing results. Every night, and sometimes during the day, raids are conducted based on information obtained one way or another. And more members of the late dictatorship are rounded up, along with their weapons, cash, and whatever information they can be talked into sharing.

 


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