Friday, March 11, 2005

UPI Falls For Saddam Capture Hoax

United Press International has reported that the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003 didn't actually occur the way it was reported. They report it was actually done the previous day, then staged under different circumstances a "re-creation" for the world to see. Unfortunately for UPI, it appears the story is totally untrue. Quoting James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web...

"A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated," reports United Press International:

Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.

"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.

"We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed," he said. . . .

"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well," Abou Rabeh said.

A translation of the original Saudi story is here. Elements of it are easily checkable, and they don't check out. This site lists all U.S. combat fatalities in Iraq. On Dec. 12, 2003, two men were killed in action: Jarrod Black and Jeffrey Braun. Both were soldiers, not Marines; and neither one has a Sudanese-sounding (i.e., Arabic) surname. Nor were any Marines or any servicemen with Arab-sounding names killed on Dec. 10 or 11.

As CNN noted at the time, Saddam was captured by the Fourth Infantry Division, and it's not clear why Marines would be along on an Army operation. There is little doubt that both al-Medina and UPI have fallen for a hoax.
Much like the CBS/Dan rather scandal, this UPI story is being fully debunked on the Web.