Thursday, April 17, 2003

The United States has failed to collect, or even protect, huge numbers of secret Iraqi intelligence files and documents....

Documents — most marked "top secret" — were discovered by ABCNEWS in the basements and offices of two luxurious, riverside Baghdad homes that were already looted of furniture and decorations.

One of the houses was the personal home of Saddam's eldest son, Odai, and the other home, next door, was used by the head of Iraqi intelligence, Gen. Taher Jaleel Ajboush.

...Many of the files had been burned or shredded, but ... the papers ABCNEWS discovered in Odai Hussein's personal office included what Galbraith called "extraordinary documents" that confirmed reports of grisly executions, including a brochure for a giant grinding machine.

...Also among the documents were secret bank account numbers, bags of informant reports, long lists of women and documents indicating Odai suffered from alcoholic liver disease.

--ABC News

This is the text version of a report that appeared on World News Tonight last night (you can watch it here); in the TV version, reporter Brian Ross breathlessly marveled that U.S. troops had secured the sites but, bafflingly, had not collected the documents, which had survived the war, a burning/shredding operation, and then looting, apparently (to judge from the TV report) undamaged.

Anyone find this a tad suspicious?

Pictures of an extraordinarily sadistic machine for killing prisoners. Lists of women. Secret bank account numbers. Documents on alcoholism. (As an example of the latter, the TV report showed what appeared to be a Web page printout with a very bold headline, Alcoholic liver disease, in English.) I can believe Odai was a promiscuous, alcoholic torture master -- but why were these telegenic documents just lying around?

I don't like conspiracy theories, but I suspect this might be a bit of psyops, for U.S. -- and world -- consumption. I think someone might have planted these documents for ABC News to find.

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