Sunday, July 13
Will He Replace Ari?
The Catch and Release of "Comical Ali"
By DAVID LINDORFF, Counterpunch, July 13, 2003
According to a report in the London's Daily Mirror, American military forces this captured, and arrested, iterrogated, and finally released Iraq's famed information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf.
Saeed al-Sahaf, you may recall, provided a much-needed element of comic relief during the televised U.S. invasion of Iraq, repeatedly denying U.S. and British military advances, and even denying that U.S. forces had entered Baghdad when reporters were already seeing American military vehicles driving on local streets and when the sounds of battle could be heard from the hotel where press conferences were being held.
In the U.S. media, he had even earned the nickname "Comical Ali," a take-off on the nickname of another Iraqi official in charge of Iraq's purported (but never actually located) unconventional weapons program dubbed "Chemical Ali."
The question puzzling me, however, is what exactly the U.S. occupying authority intended to charge poor Comical Ali with when they first picked him up. He was, after all, not torturing anybody-- except with laughter.
The guy was a flak. His job wasn't to tell the truth. It was to tell reporters whatever his bosses wanted him to tell them about the course of the invasion.
Sort of like his White House counterpart Ari Fleischer.
So was Viceroy Bremer planning on charging Saeed al-Sahaf with lying?
That would be a good one, given what we know about the lies we were all told leading up to this war by British P.M. Tony Blair, President George Bush, V.P. Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, et al. [...]