THE CAPTURE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN: My Name Is Saddam Hussein. I Want to Negotiate; Ex-Dictator Not Co- Operative as US Continue Interrogation

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Byline: ED JAMES

SADDAM Hussein may not be talking freely to his American interrogators,but he has already provided information that led to the arrest of several top regime figures in Baghdad, a US general said yesterday.

As the debate grew as to where and when the fallen Iraqi dictator should be put on trial, experts were pouring over papers found in Saddam's briefcase when he was captured in his ``rat hole.''

Brigadier General Mark Hertling of the 1st Armored Division said in Baghdad that the first round of Saddam's interrogation and documents in a briefcase found with him was ``connecting the dots'' in intelligence.

``It was reported as his personal briefcase,'' Hertling said. ``There were a lot of things that can be exploited.''

Since Saddam's capture, soldiers from the 1st Armored Division have captured one high-ranking former regime figure, who has yet to be identified,and that prisoner has given up a few others, Hertling said. All the men were currently being interrogated and more raids are expected.

``We've already been able to capture a couple of key individuals here in Baghdad,'' said Hertling. ``We've completely confirmed one of the cells.It's putting the pieces together and it's connecting the dots.''

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Saddam was not being overhelpful.

``He has not been co-operative in terms of talking or anything like that,''he said.

While Saddam was being quizzed at a US base in Baghdad yesterday, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council said he would be put on trial soon and executed on July 1 -the day after the US hands over control.

But others were not so sure and any trial is likely to be some time off as Iraq does not yet have an operational war crimes court.

President George Bush,during a White House press conference, hinted he would be happy for Saddam to face trial in Iraq.

``We will work with Iraq is to develop a way to try him that will withstand international scrutiny,'' Bush said.

``There needs to be a public trial and all the atrocities need to come out and justice needs to be delivered,'' he said. …