'60 Minutes'- Saddam reportedly defiant

Sunday, December 21, 2003

NEW YORK -- In his first hours of captivity, Saddam Hussein appeared to be in good physical condition but was mentally drained and seemed resigned to his fate, officials who met with him say in an interview to be broadcast today.

L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq, and Mouwafak Al-Rabii, a Shiite member of the Iraqi Governing Council, told CBS' "60 Minutes" that Saddam was at times irritable and defiant as they met with him in his jail cell this week.

"He looked to me like a man who had lost hope. You could see it in his eyes," Bremer said. "He was tired obviously but beyond that, underneath, you could see resignation."

He continued, "He was a defeated man, thank God."

Bremer, the top American civilian in Iraq, said while Saddam was not cooperating with authorities, U.S. officials had collected useful intelligence information from the capture.

"I can just tell you there's plenty coming out and we're taking action on it," he said.

Al-Rabii, a human rights activist who was imprisoned by Saddam and tortured, said he questioned the deposed Iraqi leader about the thousands of people killed by his regime and the use of poison gas against Kurdish civilians in northern Iraq in 1988.

"He felt absolutely no remorse towards the crimes he has committed against the Iraqi people," al-Rabii said, adding that Saddam later said the Iranians used the poison gas.

Saddam used foul language and tried to avoid making eye contact with his visitors, he said.

Al-Rabii, in interviews with The Associated Press earlier this week, said Saddam was sitting on a bed in a white gown and dark jacket as he and three other members of the Governing Council visited.

"He was subservient and broken," al-Rabii said. "He was speaking as if he did not know what was going on around him."

Saddam was captured by American forces near Tikrit on Dec. 13. U.S. officials have said they will turn the former leader over to Iraqi authorities for trial, but have not said when that would take place or what charges he would face.

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