The New York Post is reporting that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had constructed a secret torture and execution in the heart of New York City. In the article, they claim that shortly after becoming president of Iraq in 1979, he instructed his foreign ministry and secret police to install a “detention room” in the basement of the Middle Eastern Permanent Mission building in the Upper East side of Manhattan.
Unnamed sources told the Post that Iraqi civilians would be detained, tortured, and even executed, and that the Iraqi government would use their diplomatic immunity to ship the remains abroad to avoid being caught.
The Permanent Mission building was right across the street from a townhouse that served as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s residence during the same time period of the early to mid 1980’s. Located on East 79th street, there was no outward signs of the activities going on inside.
A permanent mission is sort of the intelligence office for a nation’s diplomatic service. Much like embassies and consulates, they serve as sovereign soil to the guest nation and the host country may not enter without prior consent.
The source’s description of the facility paints a gruesome picture, according to the Post “The detention room was equipped with sturdy doors that were near-impossible to break in or out of, and buried so deep that victims’ screams could not be heard. And even if they did somehow manage to break out, guard equipped with 9mm pistols and Kalashnikov rifles would be on hand to deal with the ‘problem. In that terrifying dungeon, beneath the five-story Mission at 14 East 79th Street, family members of ‘troublesome’ Iraqi citizens would be locked up to coerce their relatives back in Iraq. Some would even be tortured by Hussein’s sinister agents, the Mukhabarat, who would pull out fingernails and toenails, and hit them with hoses, planks and copper wire.”
Deaths during torture sessions would occur, but disposing of the bodies was a simple matter
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one official said “They just put [the body] in a diplomatic box and it can just be shipped. This is diplomatic, nobody has the authority to examine it or open it.”
She went on to assert that this kind of behavior was not at all uncommon for the Iraqi government during the Hussein Regime, saying “Mukhabarat does whatever the hell Mukhabarat needs to do. They are the last people you ever wanted to meet during the Saddam era.”
She also said that the Iraqi government had similar facilities around the world.
The building was seized at the outset of the US-led war in Iraq in 2003. At that time, US agents were able to secure both the property and a significant amount of intelligence material, such as documents and computers.
The building has been refurbished and is now a private residence. Whether or not guests are informed of the former purpose of the building and its rooms is unknown, but who does not want to be the guest of honor at a party thrown in a murder house?