Thursday, April 3
Exclusive: Sources in Baghdad indicate Saddam alive, hidden, and in command
Al, April 3, 2003

A number of reliable sources inside Baghdad report that two days before the start of the war Saddam disappeared into a hidden command center, in a location unknown even to his ministers. Since then, sources say that Saddam has not met in person with his top ministers, and has not talked to them directly by telephone. His instruction are delivered to them by messengers in writing or in video and audio cassettes. Saddam does not use the telephone or fax, which he believes can be intercepted or tracked by the Americans.

According to the sources, Saddam Hussein's second son, Qusai is believed to be the only person to know exactly where the Iraqi leader is staying.

Saddam's own appearances on television are all recordings that were made before the war started, and he has not made any new television appearances since he went into underground. Workers at the Iraqi Television spoke of a vault inside the Information Ministry with hundreds of recordings, each enscribed only with two letters and a number. It is said that Saddam decides which of the tapes to air on television by a short note indicating the code of the appropriate cassette. Three different taped recordings for when the Americans are about to enter Baghdad are already waiting at the television, they added, delivered on Tuesday this week.

Picking up clues from another man wanted dead by the Americans, Bin Ladin, Saddam has learned, according to experts, that Americans analyze the background and even the air clarity of the videos for clues to the location where it was taken, so he has pre-recorded his most important messages and instructions to the Iraqi people. He has also seen that they can identify where a phone call originated from by the background noise, and this has lead to his decision to avoid making live radio broadcasts to his people. Saddam assumes that if the Americans hear him broadcasting, a guided missile will be quick to arrive. [...]Meanwhile, Saddam is also said to be a regular watcher of CNN and other satellite stations. More interestingly, he insists on receiving daily transcripts and translations of media reports form throughout the world. Employees at the information ministry have said that they translate items from as far apart as Africa and Russia for him every day.

Saddam is said to be particularly interested in the Far East - Japan, Korea and China - whose media reports are delivered to him at least once a day. Many workers from other ministries are also now employed full time on media reporting for Saddam.
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