This is big.
Tests have revealed that the mutilated body of a Western woman found in Iraq a fortnight ago was not Margaret Hassan's.
The Irish-born Care International director was believed to have been murdered last month after a video released to Arab television network Al-Jazeera showed a blindfolded woman in an orange boiler suit being shot in the head.This raises a number of very interesting questions:
The body of a woman in her 50s found in Fallujah days later, with head injuries consistent with those of someone shot at point-blank range, was thought to be that of the 59-year-old.
But dental tests completed on the body this week proved it was not Mrs Hassan.
1. If not Hassan's, whose body is it?
2. Where is Margaret Hassan? Is she still alive?
3. Why did the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard (perhaps Bush's most loyal partner in the bogus "War On .. ahem!") prematurely declare to the world that Margaret Hassan's body had been found? Howard told Australian parliament on Thursday November 16th:
"The body found in Falluja appears to have been Margaret's and the video of the execution of a Western woman appears on all the available information to have been genuine."The story was picked up by Reuters and - because it came from such a senior, insider source - broadcast as fact around the globe.
4. Was the whole Margaret Hassan assassination video affair not, in fact, just a shabby cover-up to divert attention away from video footage (released the same day) showing a US soldier murdering an Iraqi prisoner in cold blood? At this stage, allow me to partially reprint my blog post from November 16th:
It seems to me perhaps more than a mere coincidence that video footage of a US soldier murdering an Iraqi prisoner is taking second place on TV news and other media because video footage has simultaneously been released showing the apparent murder of Care aid-worker Margaret Hassan. All the more coincidental because we are told that NBC sat on the marine murder video for two days.The key point here is that NBC sat on the video for two days: the Bush/Allawi governments knew about the video
And all the more perplexing because the murder of Margaret Hassan just doesn't make sense. She was a Western woman who had converted to Islam, married an Iraqi and spent her whole life trying to help Iraqis. There was nothing to be gained by her murder. Even Al Zarqawi called for her release.
So who killed her and why?
Has she actually been killed (the video is not, in fact, conclusive and could be a mere ruse)?
"This kind of savagery makes it almost impossible for relief agencies to continue their crucial work in Iraq," said Poul Nielson, the EU’s departing development commissioner. If aid agencies pull out, who benefits from that?
At this stage, let's remember that the US puppet ruler of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, was once sponsored by the CIA to kill innocent Iraqis in the streets, in a random bombing campaign meant to terrorize the population and thus destabilize the Hussein regime (it didn't work, but many were killed). And let's remember that John Negroponte, the de-facto ruler of Iraq, was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and the disappearance of hundreds of innocent Hondurans (cases which have never been resolved).
in advance and had plenty of time to plan a counterweight story for "fair and balanced" reporters. The PR disaster of the soldier's murder video was heavily diluted (even in the Arab world) by the simultaneous release of the Hassan assassination video (on the Australian TV channels I saw, it even took second billing).
5. If the dead body is not Hassan's, was the woman in the video nevertheless Hassan? Videos release in previous days had clearly shown a distressed Hassan's face, but the assasination video itself was inconclusive - even her husband could not identify her for sure (he now thinks she is still alive).
6. Who made the video - Islamic fundamentalist terrorists or US-affiliated terrorists (the CIA usually hire gangs of thugs to do their dirty work in situations like this)? There were many strange things about both the kidnapping itself and the video, in comparison to previous hostage assassination videos. Here's another previous post on the issue, paraphrasing questions first posted at Bellaciao by Yamin Zakaria:
1. Margaret Hassan is now believed to be the first woman killed by kidnappers.In conclusion, I think the idea that US-affiliated thugs were responsible for the video, if not the actual murder of Hassan, is now more than a mere conspiracy theory - it is a probability.
2. The Iraqi resistance has denied any role in her captivity from the onset. In fact, Abu-Musab Al-Zarqawi’s group issued a statement that they don’t hold women prisoners unless they are proven to be belligerent enemies and they actually called for her release!
3. No group has claimed responsibility, which is unprecedented in relation to previous cases of killing kidnapped hostages.
4. Two Italian women hostages were released once the kidnappers had verified they were innocent. They claim they were treated well while captive.
5. Since money was not demanded, one can rule out the criminal elements.
6. The captors did not use the same flags and the usual style in the video given the description given so far.
7. If this was the work of the Iraqi resistance how does it benefit their cause? Particularly now, and especially when Margaret had wide support amongst Iraqis?
8. A well-known website (http://www.jihadunspun.net) - which broke the Abu Ghraib story before Seymour Hersh and allegedly receives information directly from the people who are closely operating with the Iraqi resistance and the Mujahideen in Iraq - claims that according to their sources the kidnapping was concocted by British agents inside the country, in an effort to divert attention away from the British troop deployment into Latifiyah and for what was to come in Fallujah.
The thugs could have been hired by Allawi or the CIA, or they could have been CIA operatives - it doesn't really matter. The point is that NBC compliantly sat on their soldier murder video for two days: when it became clear the press were going to release it, they were fed this story and video as a counterweight.
If one accepts this as fact, a few more interesting questions arise. For example:
- Did Australian Prime Minister John Howard know the video was a hoax, or at least know that the body discovered in Iraq was not actually Margaret Hassan's, when he made his statement to Parliament on November 16th?
- The video could still have been genuine (although I doubt it) and the Bush/Allawi/CIA/etc people could have been sitting on it for some time, waiting for a good time to release it. But this seems unlikely, given the other oddities surrounding the case.
- If the Bush/Allawi/CIA/etc people really did this, they must have known that Iraqi insurgents would not suddenly embarrass them by releasing Margaret Hussan. So they must have some idea where she is and who is holding her (if they had the body, they would presumably have released it rather than the body that has been identified as someone else's). So I suspect Hassan may well be still alive, in the custody of these same Bush/Allawi/CIA/etc people. The next question is WHY? Why would they seize her? And the most likely answer is: as a warning to aid agency workers to stay out of their way, and preferably out of Iraq. Prying eyes and questioning minds do not make the devil's handiwork any easier.
Let's pause for a second here and reconsider the line that Bush & Co will be spinning. Is it even possible that this video could have been released by genuine anti-Western terrorists? If so, they would be the stupidest and most incompetent terrorists on earth, not only kidnapping someone whose stature and role in Iraq makes such a kidnapping anathema to their cause, but furthermore releasing the video at exactly the wrong time. And furthermore remaining wholly anonymous throughout the affair. Not to mention defying calls for Hassan's release by others on their own side of the battle against US-led forces...
Now who are the real Conspiracy Theorists, eh?