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Gruesome videotape allegedly shows brutal Fedayeen Saddam punishment

Members of the Fedayeen Saddam throw a bound man from a rooftop. This man, and others shown on the videotape, survived the fall.
Members of the Fedayeen Saddam throw a bound man from a rooftop. This man, and others shown on the videotape, survived the fall.

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Viewer discretion advised: Alleged tape of torture under Saddam's regime has been obtained by independent sources.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A gruesome videotape found in April by U.S. troops in Iraq allegedly shows the brutal punishment administered by the Fedayeen Saddam to enforce discipline under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

The tape was recovered by the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade from a building near the Al Saadoan Police station on April 22, according to Pentagon sources.

The tape was not released by the Pentagon, but was obtained by CNN from independent sources. It could not be determined when the tape was made.

An analysis by the U.S. military concludes the victims on the tape appear to be members of the Fedayeen Saddam who have been accused of crimes ranging from desertion to disobeying orders.

The Fedayeen, which at one point numbered between 18,000 and 40,000 troops, were young soldiers recruited from regions loyal to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to globalsecurity.org, a nonpartisan international policy research group. The unit reported directly to the Presidential Palace, rather than through the army command, and were responsible for patrol and anti-smuggling duties. It was a politically reliable force that could be counted on to support Saddam against domestic opponents.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he's seen the tape, and it is typical of the brutality of the former Iraqi regime.

"There are a lot of them around," Rumsfeld said, referring to tapes of brutal punishment, "and they portray a regime that was about as vicious as any regime could conceivably be."

On the tape, what appear to be Fedayeen Saddam members and Republican Guard troops are shown administering cruel punishments, including chopping off fingers, cutting off tongues, breaking a wrist with a heavy stick, and throwing people off a multi-story building.

Also depicted is a beheading by sword, which takes several attempts to complete.

"When you have people filming in front of crowds cheering and clapping, you have people cutting off people's tongues and cutting off people's heads and chopping off their fingers and chopping off their hands, throwing them off three-story buildings, you learn something about a group of people and how they lived their lives and how they treated their people," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon briefing.

-- CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre contributed to this report


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