| Uday Hussein
Baghdad, April 20: The playboy existence enjoyed by Saddam’s eldest son Uday has emerged in its full debauchery in a set of photographs recovered last week by The Daily Telegraph from the smouldering ruins of his riverside Baghdad palace.
Other more sinister pictures had already been recovered by US special forces conducting war crimes investigations into Iraq’s deposed elite. In one album, they found photographs of Uday, a known sadist, beating up women and tearing their clothes off. “It was sick stuff,” said Captain Cary Adams, a Marine officer. “It really shows what a bad guy he was.”
The pictures were taken during a private party at which Uday, 39, surrounded himself with his customary coterie of young women. The negatives were found in a large cream envelope adorned by the Iraqi eagle, the government crest.
“Highly confidential,” the envelope read in Arabic. “Hand deliver only. For His Excellency Uday Saddam Hussein, may God save him.” The pictures show Uday, wearing a typically garish shirt, passionately kissing a series of women. Laughing and joking, he offers a cigar to one dark-haired girl.
In others, he is smoking a hubble-bubble or recklessly firing a Kalashnikov on the balcony. Significantly, he is seated while the women dance in front of him — suggesting that he is still suffering the after-effects of a 1996 assassination attempt that almost paralysed him.
Well-informed reports say that he was also left impotent by the attack. Nonetheless, in the grounds of his wrecked palace were found what he called his “Tower of Babylon” where he would bring the unfortunate women he had picked — sometimes, according to witnesses, strangers whom he dragged off the roadside — to please him.
His third-floor bedroom was a tasteless throwback to the 1970s, with a mirrored bed, plastic flowers, heart-shaped cushions and panoramic views of the private lake where he would go windsurfing.
Some girls welcomed the advances of the rich and powerful Uday. Love letters have also been found, one sealed with a lipstick kiss. “Remember me when you listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, which I heard for the first time with you,” reads one.
Uday’s reputation as a womaniser, drinker and bully eventually turned even his father against him and he was replaced as heir apparent by his younger and less profligate brother Qusay. In another letter, Uday wrote: “My father wants to go down in history. There is nothing in my heart towards him, not any love or kindness.”
Throughout the palace and its grounds, evidence of his self-indulgence could be found. In one corner, we found several portraits and photographs that the famously vain Uday had collected. Among the remnants of the drive, dozens of weapons - ranging from inscribed swords and ceremonial muskets to sub-machineguns and Kalashnikovs - were scattered.
In cages outside the faux Babylonian gates, American soldiers came across Uday’s beloved pets — a lion and two lionesses — now abandoned and pacing hungrily up and down. The troops were feeding them with dead donkeys.
Pornographic images downloaded from the internet, bags of heroin, expensive liquor and vintage cars were found in the ruins of another home, as were print-outs from medical websites about cirrhosis of the liver — a sign that he was worried about his love of whisky and cognac. He also had instructions for a “health diagnostic HIV test”.
Our final discovery was his dressing-room, packed with hundreds of flamboyant outfits, many never worn. Most bore designer labels: Dolce & Gabbana or Yves Saint Laurent. Closer examination, however, revealed the items were fakes.
The fate of its owner is a mystery. Saddam and his sons have not been seen since they reportedly entered a restaurant in Baghdad’s al-Mansur district which was destroyed in a coalition missile attack.