Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ex-Hussein political adviser claims Iraq accepted Bush's ultimatum before invasion

Hossam Shaltout, a former political adviser to Saddam Hussein's son, said today that before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, Saddam expressed his intent to yield to all American demands, but that the Bush administration refused his offers, according to a press release on Yahoo News.

Shaltout is a Canadian citizen who claims he was beaten repeatedly by U.S. officers while in an Iraqi detention camp, under suspicion of once having been a "right hand man" for Saddam Hussein.

"Saddam was willing to yield to all American demands, announced and unannounced, to reach peaceful resolution," said Shaltout, "but the Bush administration, including Elizabeth Cheney, undersecretary of State, David Welch, the U.S. ambassador in Egypt, and Gene Cretz, his political attache, did not respond to his offers."

Shaltout claims that in March of 2003, just as he was to read the Iraqi government's official reply to the Bush ultimatum on Al-Jazeera, the broadcast was interrupted and "the plug was pulled on the transmission." He also maintains that later, when the Americans arrived in Baghdad, he offered his assistance to U.S. military officials, but instead was arrested by Marines who went to his hotel suite and took his documents.

Left unmentioned in the press release are Shaltout's claims that he was tortured and abused during his imprisonment.

In May of 2004, Shaltout told his story to MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
"I was there to convince Saddam Hussein to step down, and I was in the last hours working on this peace agreement," Shaltout said. "And I wanted him to keep the agreement that he agreed to step down only 15 minutes before the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of this ultimatum. That was what I was doing there."

Shaltout claimed that he was beaten and tortured while held in the Iraqi prison in order to extract a false confession that he was once Hussein's "right-hand man."

"They wanted me to confess because they found the speech I was going to say and said that I‘m the speechwriter of Saddam Hussein, which I wasn't," Shaltout said. "And they want me to confess I am his right-hand man."
The ACLU has a pdf link which contains Shaltout's written claims to the U.S. Department of the Army.

According to his Web site, Rights And Freedom International, Shaltout is currently running for President of Egypt.


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