CLOSE CALL HEROES
JUST MISS SADDAM
If you are one of those cynical conspiracy theorists, your jaw may drop to discover what Marie Colvin reported in Britain's Sunday Times back in September, 2003.
Colvin, an American based in Britain, is a well-connected, award-winning foreign reporter with a penchant for flowery, dramatic writing. Like this description of Yasir Arafat's plane: "hurtling through the star-pocked blackness of the desert night." Indeed.
It must go with her personality. Colleague, Maggie O'Kane lampooned her stay in Baghdad, writing that fearing a gas attack, Colvin had "kept a yellow canary in her room like a heroine from a Sebastian Faulks novel."
Colvin is wasted on current affairs. There is a wartime romance novelist in her, just bursting to get out. She is fixated on the life of legendary war reporter Martha Gellhorn. That might explain echoes of Gelhorn's relationship with Ernest Hemmingway in Colvin's meeting with Col. Hickey.
But it's her report's content -not style- which startles. It's positively spooky, as you will see.
THE GIFT OF PROPHECY
Marie Colvin's 7th, September report from Tikrit, Iraq was headlined: "Search for Saddam reaches graveyards, farmyards." She was writing from the "epicentre" of the manhunt. A hunt led by the vocally swaggering Colonel James Hickey, commander of 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
"I'm ready. If he's here, he's got a problem," Col. Hickey had said.
The tough guy veneer is misleading. Hickey is a good foot shorter than he sounds. But Colvin is buying it all.
In her fawning tale, Hickey comes over as a cross between Wyatt Earp and Rambo. A man with a mission.
Do you recall the location of Saddam's final hideout? Media reports recounted that his "spider-hole" was ironically just across the river Tigris from the sumptuous Saladin Palace which Saddam himself had built.
You'll never guess where Hickey had set up the headquarters for his manhunt operation. According to Colvin's article it was based in:
"a marble-floored palace that Saddam builtAnd, how do Col. Hickey and his loyal staff relax, in the quiet of the evening after a hard day's manhunting? Colvin reports that:
"His officers shoot doves off the veranda at dusk and Hickey sometimes stands there at night, looking out at lights in the farms across the river and thinking of bigger prey. "Wow! This means Hickey is gazing out at the actual farms, on one of which, Saddam will three months later be caught! If only he knew. But, hold on. There's more. Colvin writes:
"[Hickey] believes he has come very close to Saddam, although he will not say how close. "There is a high probability that this old man is in my area of operations," Hickey said last week. "Oh! this is nail-biting stuff. Saddam is even closer than Hickey thinks and yet he does not realize. It makes you want to reach back in time, tap him on the shoulder and yell: "You're right Hickey! Saddam's on one of those farms right over there. Go get him!"
But wait. There's even more. Colvin continues:
"Hickey calculates that the modest farms below are more likely to hide Saddam than any villa. "Oh God! I can't take this anymore. Hickey, for crying out loud, Saddam is just across the river. Follow your gut feelings, man. What's the point of being this perceptive and yet not acting on your instincts?
I mean... There's Marie Colvin, reporters notebook in hand, intently jotting down your musings, while noting your manly profile in the autumnal Iraqi moonlight. And you do? Nothing. Just ramble on and on.
Which means her report ends anticlimactically like this:
"...Coalition forces will face danger for as longWhen, if only you had trusted your instincts Hickey, her report could have ended spectacularly, like this:
"...Those farms below are more likely to hide Saddam than any villa," notes Hickey, pondering his next move.I'm almost moved to tears.
You see, Hickey, that's how it could have been. You had it all figured out back in September. You knew exactly where Saddam was, almost to the very farm, yet did nothing.
Now, I know some of you are cynical conspiracy theorists. I know some of you will only scoff at my romantic inclinations.
"Please don't ask us to believe," you will say, "that Saddam is dumb-ass enough to set up house just minutes from the hunt HQ. "
"And don't expect us to swallow," you might continue, "that when Colvin tells us that Hickey reckons Saddam is exactly where he was found three months later, that it's prophetic or a coincidence. Those two Yanks were laying a line on us! Prophetic, my ass!"
Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. Although I must admit it's not the first time Colvin has been accused of being a mouthpiece for one side in a war.
That goes with being a war correspondent, I suppose.
But I fail to see...
Oh my God!
Maybe you are right.
I just discovered something.
Colvin pops up again on the very day that Saddam was pronounced captured. And she helped launch a conspiracy theory, believe it or not!
Colvin had just published an interview with Saddam's mistress turned second wife, Samira Al-Shahbandar. The interview was published on the day the Saddam capture made world news. It was so incredibly timely it was republished the following day in London and Australia.
Colvin told how Samira had fled to Beirut under an assumed name, with $5 million in cash and a box of gold bars --parting gifts from Saddam.
The Sunday Times had traced Samira through a nephew of Saddam in Baghdad -where nephews of Saddam who know the whereabouts of his wife are a dime a dozen.
The most important part of the interview was in the headline
and first paragraph:
Saddam makes weekly phone calls to his wifeHowever Colvin admits that she herself did not interview Samira:
"Samira met a representative of The Sunday Times in La Cottage, a restaurant in Ba’albeck, near Beirut."Colvin's article kicked off a conspiracy theory, when Saudi newspaper Okaz claimed next day that Samira had betrayed Saddam. As explained in an article on the Middle East Media Research Institute:
"It is possible," writes Okaz, that "for delivering the head of her husband she will receive the award of $25 million.....,"And so the conspiracy theory is up and running. Yet, even a moment's consideration will tell you that making regular telephone calls under the watchful eyes of US satellites would be madness.
It is inconceivable that Saddam would be so stupid. That anyone would.
A TANGLED WEB IS WOVEN
Marie Colvin seems to have played the same role twice:
First she interviews Col. Hickey and recounts his rambling thoughts.
Which provides plausibility for Saddam's subsequent capture.
Then she puts her name to an interview with Saddam's former mistress, airing claims of phone calls from Saddam.
Which provides plausibility for Saddam's imminent capture.
Both interviews helped confirm most people's automatic acceptance that Saddam has been captured. But, as revealed in the Intro and Part 1 and Part 2 of this series of articles, that assumption is false. The Saddam Hussein capture was a fake.
And there has been a deliberate campaign to flesh out the bare bones of the 'capture' with carefully arranged supporting details and a number of false-trail conspiracy theories.
This gets curiouser and curiouser.
Indeed, one might even say it's downright spooky.
In every sense of that word.
Saddam makes weekly phone calls to his wife
Saddam's wife in gold ... and exile
Search for Saddam reaches graveyards, farmyards
You thought you saw Saddam Hussein captured.
You thought he went on trial.
You thought he died.
But you only saw video.
Appearances can be deceptive.
Like this: READ
As when exposing 9/11, timing matters when uncovering war propaganda. Let the hype ease,
but not until opinion settles.
Yes, initial consensus can be persuasive. But, the magic show audience soon wonders:
how did they do that?
Here's how. READ
Part 2: THE OVERKILL ERROR
PART 4: THE PLOT THICKENS
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The term Sham Saddam Scam™ was coined by Thomas J. Mattingly