British jingoistic tabloid publishes more humiliating pictures of Saddam Hussein

A British tabloid published more revealing photographs of Saddam Hussein in U.S. custody on Saturday, a day after it ran a front-page picture of the former Iraqi leader naked except for his underwear.

Some Iraqis expressed anger, but U.S. President George W. Bush said he did not think the images would incite further anti-American sentiment.

The new pictures published in The Sun including one of Saddam seen through barbed wire wearing a white robe-like garment, and another of Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as "Chemical Ali," in a bathrobe and holding a towel.

Alongside Saddam's photo in Saturday's editions, The Sun ran pictures of a man and woman. They were identified as al-Majid, who faces charges for his role in poison gas attacks against Iraq's Kurdish minority, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a biotech researcher dubbed "Mrs. Anthrax," who got her nickname for her alleged role in trying to develop bio-weapons for Saddam.

The man, grizzled and gray, is shown hunched wearing a bathrobe, leaning on a cane and holding a towel while rising from a chair. The woman can be seen wearing a headscarf, walking outdoors and looking forlornly in the distance.

Regardless of any effect the images may have on Iraq's insurgency, they were certain to offend Arab sensibilities and heap more scorn on an American image already tarnished by the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and allegations by Newsweek, later retracted, about desecration of the Quran at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"It is clear that the pictures were taken inside the prison, which means that American soldiers have leaked the pictures," said Saddam's chief lawyer, Ziad al-Khasawneh. He said the photos "add to acts that are practiced against the Iraqi people, and of course we remember what happened in Abu Ghraib and we remember what happened in Guantanamo."

The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, said the photos it published Friday and Saturday were provided by a U.S. military official it did not identify who hoped their release would deal a "body blow" to the insurgency.

Sun managing editor Graham Dudman told The Associated Press that the newspaper paid "a small sum" for the photos. He would not elaborate except to say it was more than 500 British pounds, which is about US$900 (Ђ714).

The New York Post, which Murdoch also owns, published the photos Friday.

Saddam's attorney said he would sue the newspaper "and everyone who helped in showing these pictures."

The U.S. military in Baghdad said the publication of the photos violated U.S. military guidelines "and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals."

A spokesman, Staff Sgt. Don Dees, said the military would question troops responsible for Saddam.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said U.S. military officials in Iraq believe the photos are perhaps more than one year old, although no specific date has been established.

"This is something that should not have happened," Whitman said.

U.S. Army Maj. Flora Lee, Multinational Forces spokeswoman in Baghdad, said the photos could have been from January 2004 to April 2004, "based on the background of the photos and appearance of him."

Saddam, who was captured in December 2003, has been jailed at a complex near Baghdad airport named Camp Cropper, which holds 110 high-profile detainees.

Aside from U.S. soldiers, the only others with access to Saddam are his legal team, prosecuting judge Raed Johyee and the International Committee for the Red Cross.

The ICRC, which is responsible for monitoring prisoners of war and detainees, said the photographs violated Saddam's right to privacy.

Some Iraqis called the photos the latest in a series of insults to Arabs and Muslims. Others said the humiliation is what the 68-year-old former dictator deserved.

Iraqi and Arab newspapers varied in their coverage of the scandal Saturday. Iraq's Al-Mutumar ran a small front page picture of a copy of The Sun alongside a short story. The Azzaman published a larger that showed The Sun's front page with its picture of Saddam standing in his underwear.

But the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat devoted its entire front page to a photo of Saddam washing some clothes. The Arab daily said The Sun gave it permission to use the picture.

Bush said he didn't think the images would energize the insurgents, thought to be led by Sunni Arabs who were favored under Saddam's regime but largely excluded from the new Shiite-dominated Iraqi government.

"I don't think a photo inspires murderers," Bush said of the insurgents. "These people are motivated by a vision of the world that is backward and barbaric."

Later, however, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said insurgents could perceive the photos in a similar way as revelations of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib.

"This could have serious impact, as we talked about, with the revelations of prisoner abuse," he said. "What the United States did in both of those situations, however, is recognize that, take immediate steps to investigate and get to the bottom of why it happened and how it happened and take steps to make sure that ... people are held to account."

The photos provoked little outcry across the Middle East on Friday, when businesses are shut and people take the day off and try to avoid the news.

Charges against Saddam include killing rival politicians during his 30-year rule, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait and suppressing Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991. He is expected to go on trial by the end of the year.

It is not the first time there has been an outcry over images of Saddam.

Pictures and footage of a medic examining Saddam after his arrest were widely criticized. A top Vatican cardinal, Renato Martino, said American forces treated him "like a cow."

But White House spokesman Duffy said Friday the military had released the photos after the arrest "to demonstrate to the Iraqi people and the insurgents that Saddam Hussein was in fact in custody, which we believed was important to help quell the insurgency."

Although Arab television networks broadcast the pictures of U.S. forces abusing naked or semi-clothed prisoners at Abu Ghraib, at least one - Al-Jazeera - chose not to air the Saddam photos.

Al-Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout said the network didn't show them for ethical and professional reasons. "The photo is demeaning to Iraqis," he said, adding: "from a professional side, it is not news."

"There is a big difference, because the pictures were the news in Abu Ghraib," he said.

Dudman, The Sun's managing editor, defended the decision to print the pictures.

"They are a fantastic, iconic set of news pictures that I defy any newspaper, magazine, or television station who were presented with them not to have published," he said. "He's not been mistreated. He's washing his trousers. This is the modern-day Adolf Hitler. Please don't ask us to feel sorry for him."

BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer

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