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30 January 2008

I Never give up !
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This latest book was quite a trial for me, with the other two I suppose I had backing from the biggest Publishers in the world because the books supported the official Western line on Saddam. The Black Hole however left me struggling to find a publisher because it shone a searchlight on CIA practices in Europe, my treatment in the West has in part been worse than my treatment in Iraq. To some my story might seem fantastical, a figment of my imagination, to those people I say that truth is often stranger than fiction and the truth of my life is among the strangest.

In a world where we strive for truth and freedom of speech, it still amazes me how those who try to speak the truth are shot down, ridiculed and derided, I am not the only person trying to speak out there are many, many more and always when they are filmed peacefully protesting or gathering support they are portrayed as "hippies" "liberals" "tree huggers" anything that deflates their cause and questions their intelligence.

As I wrote and spoke out against Saddam Hussein and his regime in Iraq, I have and will write and speak out against the same system here in the west, it is not because I escaped one Dictator that I can sit back and let another rule me. I have heard the rhetoric, "oh, but you are free now, you should be thankful" yes I am thankful to be out but not thankful to be brought to another corrupt system. Yes there are varying degrees of dictatorship and the ones here in the west may not have reached the heights of murderousness that Saddam did, (well at least not on their home soil) but is that enough reason for us to put our heads down and pretend that nothing is wrong?

It has been made very clear to me especially in the recent past that if the citizens of the country that I reside in are not interested enough in changing the flaws in their government and it's policies that they certainly don't want me a foreigner doing anything about it either, thank you very much.

A government is supposed to represent the people, a government is employed by the people, a government is supposed to be elected by the people (although in recent years one has to wonder) so why is it that when a government isn't doing the job that we put them in power to do, we don't do or say anything? There is a prevailing lethargy, a belief that their term will be over soon enough and they'll be out so we don't have to do anything about it. Yes, but then we elect a new batch and although the faces change the policies and strategy stay the same, (it worked for the last lot why wouldn't it work for them?) and why? Because we as the people, their employers and their electors, didn't make it clear to them what we were and were not going to accept. I have heard it said that we get the government we deserve, well that maybe very true, did Iraq deserve Saddam? Does Zimbabwe deserve Mugabe? Does the great Nation of America deserve Bush? You may argue that Saddam and Mugabe weren't elected, but initially they were, can we also positively say that about Bush? Does it not seem farcical that a President whose own election was dubious should go around the world overthrowing those that he deems undemocratic?

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, you don't need to have read George Orwell's 1984 to see that his novel was prophetic, the constant state of war against an ever changing mysterious enemy, "Big Brother" the phrase Orwell himself coined is an everyday term for the eyes and ears that constantly watch over us, we are aware but for some reason buy into the idea that it's all for our own good, ask yourself a question, there is no right or wrong answer, just your own perception.

Is there less Terrorism in the world now, even though we have CCTV, Patriot laws, Guantanamo bay and stricter airport controls?

At what point did you notice your world change?

Who benefits from confusion?

What is foreign policy and who makes really it?

Latif Yahia

28 January 2008

Michael McDowell the Saddam Hussein of Ireland ?

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There is one thing that we all share each
year, that is reflection, each New Year we refelect upon the year that has passed and as we ourselves grow older, we reflect upon our lives, what we have achieved and our goals for the future.

As Frank Sinatra once sang “regrets, I have a few, but then again, too few to mention”

There are certain points in your life that are integral to the person that you have become, rights of passage, character building events and in my case life changing situations, would I be the person I am today had I not had my life?

Of course not!

I make no apologies for my life, it has not been all good nor has it been all bad, it could not be everyones life because everyone would not have survived it. I am grateful for my life, in that I am still here to live it. I can wake each morning to the certainty that I am loved.

What more could a man ask for?

Well, if you were to really push me… a country to call home would be nice.

For many years, I roamed Europe and the rest of the world, it didn’t matter to me much and at times I quite enjoyed the impermanence of it all, I actually loved Hotels and the fact that each day the room was scrubbed clean to appear as if no-one had been there before you.

Maybe it is age, or actually finding somewhere that I would like to call home that has changed that for me.

Ireland in 1997, seemed so ideal, small but fairly modern, Europe but different, friendly people and a burgeoning economy for business.

Now, that is just a memory for me, having just made my third application for Irish citizenship ( will the third time be a charm for me?) it is getting through my thick skull that I am not necessarily wanted here. I grin weakly at people from all over the world that assume that I received citizenship in Europe the moment I put my foot outside Iraq ( or a team of bodyguards for that matter), no, I’m afraid that part of the screenplay didn’t make it into the final cut.

And why have I been refused Irish citizenship twice, I hear you ask, well on the first application which took five years to process and was seemingly the longest case on file, it seems that I applied three months too early. It only took the threat of a High court action against Mr. McDowell to make a decision for them after five years to point that out.

(Irish naturalisation law, deemed at the time that a decision would be made on any case within six to eighteen months of application, I waited five years, it’s quite possible that I could still be waiting)

Obviously it was the only excuse they could come up with.

I should like to point out at this time that I do not have a criminal record, not even a parking ticket.

In the Autumn of 2001 three black GMCs pulled up outside my hall door, I instantly recognised the men in suits and sunglasses (yes, in real life they do dress like they’re in the movies) As I opened my door and invited them in, it seemed almost like De ja vu.

They were American, they were from the CIA and they had a proposition for me, do remember that the invasion of Iraq did not start until March of 2003.

I was offered a job, to work for them in Ireland, as usual I told them were to go and as usual they told me that they would make my life here hell and I should never think that I would get anything from Ireland.

Maybe this time they were telling the truth.

My second application which was lodged shortly after the first refusal was met with a letter from the Dept of Justice stating that I should not contact them until early 2008, it was 2006 at the time, infuriated, I made my case on the Gerry Ryan radio show, in which I called upon the then Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to meet with me face to face in the radio station to discuss the matter on air and let the listeners decide if I were fit to be an Irish citizen. Unsurprisingly he declined my invitation, but did find the time in his hectic shedule to refuse my second application “at the Ministers discretion” two weeks later. It seems that at some point Michael McDowell had changed immigration and nautralization laws to disallow appeals of his decision and also naturalization through marriage to an Irish National.

But I was free to apply again, which I did.

It is also noteworthy that any application no matter how complete/incomplete can be accepted or declined by the Minister for Justice, he has the final say, no matter what and can grant or refuse as he wishes. He at his discretion can waive certain requirements to issue naturalisation or in reverse can refuse an application simply because “ In the ministers view and upon reccomendations made to him , the minister does not feel that you would be a good citizen for Ireland”

I have received my letter confirming receipt of my application and have also been told that I may contact the citizenship dept, but anyone who has had the misfortune of trying to make that call knows that the chances of getting through are the same as winning the Irish lottery.

On the one occasion that I did get through,as soon as I gave my name I was immediately put on hold while the person on the other end went in search of a supervisor. The lady in question informed me that because of a backlog of 17,800 cases it could be “ Two and a half, three maybe four years before we get to look at your case.”

Now when I sit in a district court on any given day and see some of the people who have been granted citizenship to this fair land, who cannot speak English well, write their names or on one particular occasion didn’t actually know what it was they were there for, getting citizenship, I do ask myself why?

Is it so wrong to be educated, slightly famous/infamous (you choose) be married to an Irishwoman and have three Irish born children?

Or maybe I should just forget about it and find somewhere that might actually want me.

I think the latter is the better option, don’t you?

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This a letter between the Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland and the Minister of Justice, Equality and Law reform, Mr Michael McDowell. One of twenty, the Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Aherne represented my interests in all cases, you can see that the Taoiseach had no influence over his Minister with regard to my application for Naturalisation.
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Me and prime minister of Ireland Mr.Bertie Aherne.

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This is a letter from the Minister of Justice Mr McDowell to me, I had asked for a personal meeting to explain my case, he declined to meet me and as you can see from the letter itself that he asked me not to contact his office until the first half of 2008, the send date on the letter was 2006.
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This is a letter from Minister McDowell informing the Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Aherne of his decision to decline my application for naturalization, the decision was made just weeks after I appeared on the National radio station on a famous radio show The Gerry Ryan radio show, I had been speaking to Gerry about my applications for citizenship and the fact that the Minister Mr. McDowell had declined to meet with me and I had asked Gerry to again ask the Minister if he would meet with me on the show he declined, I pointed out on the show that the Minister's dept was full of corruption and I had the proof, the Minister chose not to defend or refute my allegations. The Minister did however find the time to look at my application and refuse it, even though from his previous letter he assured me that due to the backlog of 7,000 cases in front of mine he could not look at my case until the first half of 2008. Mr. McDowell lost his Ministry in the 2007 Elections and also lost his seat in The Dail (Irish Parliament).

Will the game of cat and mouse between me and the Dept of Justice ever end?
Has my file with a big black X just been passed from one Minister to the next or will the new Minister for Justice read my file with an open mind?
People have said that I am a politician, this is not true, politicians have two and three faces, I cannot, I cannot be like them I speak my mind, it is something that I have always done and cannot change now and would not want to. I believe in freedom of speech, justice and equality for all, I would just like to find some.
According to Irish Law if you are resident in the state of Ireland for five years you are entitled to apply for naturalization, (I am here nearly 11 years).
If you are married to an Irish citizen for three years or more you are entitled to apply for naturalization ( my Irish wife and I are married for seven years, we have three Irish born children)
Under the terms of legislation for naturalization, a refusal can be made if you have a criminal record, I do not, I don't even have a parking ticket.
When Mr. McDowell took his position as Minister for Justice he repealed several laws with regard to naturalization, you cannot appeal his decision in the High Court which was the case, marriage to an Irish citizen is no longer a reason for naturalization, having Irish born children no longer a guarantee of Irish naturalization and if both parents are non-nationals the child if born after 1st January 2005 is not automatically an Irish citizen.
Some of these changes are fair others not, but at the end of the day the Minister for Justice has the power to grant or refuse any application at his discretion no matter what the circumstances. Mr McDowell also refused to sign off on an anti-racism law to which most of Europe subscribe. Is this democratic? Or was Mr.
McDowell the Saddam Hussein of Ireland?
Under Mr. McDowell's watchful eye crime in Ireland surged by 28% racism in Ireland grew by 32% these figures are confirmed by Amnesty International which I am a member of.

Best regards,
Latif Yahia

The hand that rocks the oil pumps controls the world. Between 1979 and 2003, that hand was Saddam Hussein’s. He would also use it to sign death warrants on dissenters, to murder his own countrymen, to plot disastrous wars with neighboring countries, and to be the puppet master of his entire population. In September 1987, Saddam—or more accurately, his son, Uday—picked up my strings. Uday wanted a double, and I was unlucky enough to resemble him.

his was not my first encounter with Uday. Because of my father’s wealth I was sent to the best school in Iraq, and a young, spoiled, arrogant Uday became my classmate. We all hated him even then. He would cruise the streets in his cars and, with the assistance of his bodyguards, would pick up girls whether they wanted to go with him or not—and most did not. At least one girl who refused to be taken by him was kidnapped and thrown to his starving dogs. In class he would act like his father, showing no enthusiasm for lessons and acting threateningly toward anyone who crossed him. A teacher who reprimanded him for bringing his girlfriend into class disappeared and was never seen again. My classmates used to tease me and call me Uday because even at that age I resembled him. I used to imitate him for laughs.

When my second encounter with Uday came about, I was a captain on the front in Iraq’s pointless war with Iran. My unit’s command received a dispatch saying that I should be sent to the presidential palace. I was taken there and informed that I was to become Uday Hussein’s fiday, or body double. This would involve attending functions, making appearances, and assuming his persona when rumors of assassination were circulating. Saddam had several fidays already, and Uday obviously longed for one just like his daddy. I was to be his first. My initial refusal was met with a long spell of solitary confinement and mental torture in a cramped cell without so much as a toilet to maintain my dignity. Eventually, this treatment, and vile threats against my family, forced me to agree to Uday’s demands.

Throughout a lengthy period I was trained to act like him and to speak like him. I was also, through cosmetic surgery, made to look even more like him. Indeed, having my front teeth filed down and being given a set of caps that mimicked Uday’s gave me a lisp just like his. I was, during my “training,” desensitized to the ugly barbarity of the regime by being forced to watch endless, excruciating videos of real torture, mutilation, and murder perpetrated by them on dozens of men, women, and children of Iraq, usually prisoners or prisoners’ family members. These films also served as a warning as to what I could expect were I to decide to challenge the regime at any time in the future.

My first public appearance as Uday was at a football match in Baghdad’s People’s Stadium. My job was to wave at the crowd from a dignitaries box and present medals to the players at the end. When Uday saw the appearance on television he was impressed. He congratulated my trainers and accepted me as a member of his circle, albeit on the outer reaches. He could not allow anyone to become too close to him, particularly anyone from outside the Tikriti clan from which the majority of the regime was drawn. Indeed, I had been the first fiday to be plucked from the outside world.

From then on my days were spent living in his palaces, effectively a prisoner, as I was not allowed to do anything without permission. But it was a prison of opulence and luxury, with access to the finest food and drink the world had to offer. Swimming pools and other such charmed diversions made the time a little more bearable.

ut the captivity grew stultifying. Most of the time I would not be making appearances; I would be bored out of my mind, intellectually and socially unchallenged. I had graduated with a degree in law and had dreamed of following in my father’s footsteps and becoming a businessman. This had never been part of my master plan. I was living a brainless, useless existence with no independence or exercise of free will. But worse was to come. I got sucked closer to Uday and he started to treat me as one of his bodyguards, taking me out with him as protection against assassination at the hands of any of his multitude of enemies. This is when I witnessed the depravity of Uday firsthand. I saw him rape, murder, bully, and destroy anyone who dared to question his will. This could be anyone from friends of his father to innocent passersby. On one occasion a honeymooning couple, the wife of which Uday took a liking to, was split apart forever when she threw herself to her death from a balcony after being raped by Uday.

I was saved by the beginning of the invasion of the US-led forces, which seemed to give the regime other things to think about. Uday came to visit me one day. He had me shaved from head to toe and dumped on the doorstep of my parents’ home. My mother discovered me but did not recognize the bald, skeletal figure at her feet until I spoke to tell her who I was.

I eventually managed to flee to Austria, but Uday was not finished with me. Two of Uday’s men arrived at my family’s home and told my father that Uday wanted to see him in his office. They said the meeting would not take too long and that they would pick him up and bring him back. The meeting took place in the headquarters of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, the organization led by Uday more as something for him to do than through any interest he might have had in sports. At 4 AM my father was dropped off at home. The family was still awake, terrified that he had been kidnapped, tortured, or murdered. He said he did not feel well, and just sat there in the lounge, obviously in some distress. In time he started to feel dizzy. Everyone assumed he was tired, as the past few hours would have been a serious drain on his physical resources. But his skin was changing color, at first unnoticeably but eventually unmistakably, to a sickly shade of yellow. He eventually keeled over and took his last breath.

A few hours after my father was dropped off, Uday’s bodyguards arrived at the house and imposed a no-funeral rule. They told my family simply to put his body in a grave and unceremoniously bury him. They must have known he would be dead by then, which confirmed to anyone in any doubt that he had been deliberately poisoned. Their rationale was that he was killed because he was the father of Latif Yahia, in their view one of the country’s greatest criminals, one of its traitors, who was working alongside the CIA to overthrow Saddam.

I continue to blame myself for the death of my father. And I cannot see the day when I will forgive myself. I could have stayed in Iraq and faced the music. Perhaps I would have been the one to accept the orange juice, to have my bones broken, my soul forced through the mangle. Perhaps then my father would have been the one blaming himself—for sending me to the same school as Uday, for being wealthy. Who knows? It is pointless thinking about it. All I knew was that he was the biggest thing in my life—my father, my friend, my teacher, my confidante, a line of continuity in a place where arbitrary acts of violence and mayhem kept its inhabitants in fear and obedience. And now he is gone.


09 January 2008

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08 January 2008

Israel News

Uday Hussein's double visits Israel

Latif Yahia who served as a double for Saddam Hussein's son Uday visits Israel to take part in journey to promote peace. Yahia recounts horrors of dictator's rule, says under U.S. occupation Iraq ceased to exist

Roee Mendel

Published: 03.05.06, 21:43

The man who faced the crowd of journalists wore a black suit, sunglasses and a moustache adorned his face. It was difficult to not be impressed with the tragic resemblance between Latif Yahia and Uday Hussein, the son of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein - a resemblance that dictated Yahia’s course of life. Yahia, 42, a lawyer by profession, arrived in Israel to take part in a special journey from Jerusalem to Libya organized by the Berlin-based Breaking the Ice organization, along with a group of other members from rivaling countries.
Yahia. Carries the scars

Photo: Al Jazeera
Uday Hussein. Raped and tortured his victims Photo: Al Jazeera

The group will departure from Jerusalem, and arrive in Tripoli, Libya, 5,500 kilometers away, passing through Ramallah, Jericho, Beit Shean, Amman, and the Suez Canal.
Both participants and organizers hope that the journey will help create trust and maybe help foster an atmosphere of dialogue between western and Muslim countries.

Rape, murder and torture

Yahia, who represents Iraq in the journey, says he had served in the Iraqi army during the Iran-Iraq war until he was summoned to the Presidential Palace in Baghdad one day where he was told he is to begin serving as Uday Hussein’s look-alike.
According to Yahia, Saddam Hussein himself informed him of his new role, which he said will earn him a father-son relationship with the Iraqi dictator.
Years of torture in jail, and news of his father having been poisoned by the Mukhabarat (intelligence services) were the price Yahia paid for refusing to desert his family for a fake life as Saddam Hussein’s son.
But the refusal came only after having witnessed the evil nature of Saddam’s sons whose acts of serial rape, murder and torture are no secret.
As Uday’s double, Yahia was ordered to accompany Saddam’s son for long days and nights during which he witnessed the daily crimes of a family that lacked dignity and respect for human life. Yahia recounted that when a woman caught Uday's eye, he would stop his car, shoot her companion and take her to his palace. There he would rape her, shoot her and throw her from the window.
Yahia piled his evidence of the Saddam era atrocities in two books published in the nineties. I wanted to tell all what I had seen and it was important for me that everyone knows what had happened there, Yahia explained. I never thought about making money out of this. I donated all the money to charity, he added.

The many torture scars that cover Yahia’s back are only a backdrop to the emotional symptoms of insomnia and nightmarish nights which haunt the former Iraqi soldier until this day.

"We agree on some issues, and on some we don’t. I joined this delegation to say 'enough', enough to violence and war. We're only human," he said.

Pictures of the bodies of his former boss’ sons killed in a U.S. air strike did little to comfort Yahia. I wanted both of them to stand trial, he stated. I wanted to face Uday in court, point at him, tell to the whole world of his acts, and see him sentenced for his cruelty, he said. The trial of Saddam Hussein is but a “game” that serves the propagandist agenda of the United States, Yahia said.

Once there was one Saddam, now there are millions

Fifteen years ago, Yahia was smuggled from southern to northern Iraq and then on to Turkey and Austria. American assistance in the mission saved his life as Saddam had given orders to do away with him.
But Saddam’s long hand attempted to assassinate Yahia in Austria: his wife, who turned out to be on the pay roll of the Mukhabarat, disclosed her husband’s whereabouts.

Pictures of U.S. tanks rolling down the streets of Baghdad triggered mixed emotions in Yahia. The daily violence in the war-torn country, three years after the U.S. invasion, is saddening indeed and certainly worse than the Saddam era. Today Iraq doesn’t exist. Bush’s U.S. destroyed it, he said.

Latif did not hesitate to blame the American President for the dire situation in his country. Before Bush declared war on Iraq there was one Saddam Hussein and one Bin Laden, Yahia said. Look at what’s happening today: there are a million Saddam Husseins and a million Bin Ladens, he concluded.

'I'm not anti-America, I'm anti-Bush'

"Look at what's going on in Iraq, it's a civil war. Unlike Saddam's era, there were no religions and factions. I am Sunni and my sister is married to a Shiite. It's like a death sentence. My family stays with me in Dublin, but my 30 years old brother is still there. He has been shot four times by the militias but still choose to stay there".

Despite the hard words, Yahia stressed: "I must make it clear – I am not anti-America, I am anti-Bush, and noted he has two American friends in the delegation who know how he feels.

For many years Yahia was exposed to incitement against Israel by the Iraqi media. During Saddam's era, Israel was depicted as a cruel, abusive occupier of Palestinians, he says.

"I imagined the Jews as two-headed beasts rather than humans," Yahia admits.

Still, he says he will never forget the first time he met an Israeli in Vienna.

"We befriended each other, did business together and visited each other's family," Yahia said. "He even invited me to come to Israel, but I was afraid. A lot happened since then. Today I have many friends from Israel."

The Iraqi double said that when he arrived in Israel he expected to undergo strict searches and possibly denied entry, but was allowed through without an incident while Americans around him were thoroughly screened. Yahia says he was stunned by the respectful behavior.

"Israel is amazing and I'm excited to visit here," he concluded.

Hodgepodge of Jews, Muslims and Christians cross the Sahara for peace .

By Associated Press March 20, 2006

In this photo released Sunday, March 18, 2006 by the group Breaking the Ice, members of the group ride camels as they trek in the Eastern Sahara desert in Egypt. (AP)

Ex-Israeli fighter pilot Gil Fogiel reads an English copy of the Quran. (AP)

Ex-Israeli fighter pilot Gil Fogiel rarely talked about being a prisoner of war in Syria, until he sat across a campfire in the middle of the desert with people he long considered his worst enemies - Iraqis, Iranians and Palestinians.

Breaking into tears, he recounted being shot down over Syrian-controlled Lebanon in 1982, floating down 14,000 feet (4,270 meters) while his co-pilot crashed and spending two years being tortured in a Damascus prison.

Now 49, Fogiel is one of 10 people - including a former double for Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, a Palestinian accounting student and a New York City firefighter who survived 9/11 - trekking from Israel across the Sahara Desert to Libya on a mission to promote Mideast peace.

The expedition is sponsored by Breaking the Ice, a nonprofit conflict resolution group that wants participants to confront divisive religious and political issues in a setting where they depend on each other for survival.

Traveling by camel, on foot and in two 1960s-era German trucks, the group left Jerusalem March 7 and hopes to reach the Libyan border by Tuesday. If Fogiel and a second Israeli on the expedition are permitted to enter Libya, which does not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, they would be the first Israelis to enter the desert country.

Carrying an olive tree from Jerusalem as a gesture of peace, the travelers hope to plant it in Tripoli at the end of their more than 5,470-kilometer (3,400 mile) journey. If the Israelis are denied entry, the group will stay together in Egypt.

"If attitudes change from my actions, I'm honored," Fogiel said. "Somebody's got to make that first step."

After an overnight ferry ride across the Red Sea, a day touring Cairo's pyramids and three days in Egypt's white desert, the team began the difficult task of crossing the Sahara's barren dunes.

A trucks' diesel tank ruptured in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, delaying the group an extra day. Two main roads running to Libya were suddenly declared closed military zones when the team came through. The red tape and long car rides quickly took their toll.

"It was a honeymoon at first, with people feeling like brothers and sisters. It was beautiful," said Stanford Siver, a team mediator who is a Ph.D. candidate in the psychology of conflict. But after the hectic travel schedule, "people started to get a little cranky and more interpersonal stuff came up," he said.

"They're laughing and sharing one another's music and jokes, but deep down, some closely held views aren't being challenged," Siver said. "They're not testing the waters and interacting on things that are more complicated."

They are, however, taking the first step of becoming friends and sharing personal experiences.

Latif Yahia, a former Iraqi army captain who was forced in 1987 to undergo plastic surgery and training to act as Uday Hussein's double, is coming almost full circle on this trip.

Yahia, who still walks around with shrapnel in his body from the real Uday Hussein's gun, said he contacted then-Defense Minister Dick Cheney after the first Gulf War and headed to a CIA base in northern Iraq. Yahia said he spent two months at the camp before being choppered out of the country to Turkey in November 1991.

"I've been tortured, I was in prison, and after I left Iraq, Uday Hussein killed my father," said Yahia, 41, who now owns a detective agency in Ireland. "War never brings anything good to people. That's why I'm here."

In the Sahara Desert, Yahia and Fogiel find themselves in an incongruous relationship - joking around and protecting each other, when 20 years ago they could have just as easily killed one another.

"There is a basic hatred, but much of it is only because of brainwashing. People are told to hate and then they hate. But if you just change the message, peace is possible," Fogiel said.

Daniel Patrick Sheridan, a captain in the New York City Fire Department who lost 343 fellow firefighters in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, is still looking for answers. He wants to know what possessed the perpetrators of the attack to fly airplanes into U.S. buildings.

"I'd like to not only find out about them, but let them find out about me," Sheridan said. "I was hoping there'd be a real Bin Laden-type guy here, someone I couldn't communicate with at all. But all these people are so friendly and nice. It's like this is conflict-light."

Heskel Nathaniel, 44, an Israeli businessman living in Germany, founded Breaking the Ice in 2003 after surviving leukemia. A year later, he took four Israelis and four Palestinians to Antarctica.

The idea is for participants to shatter stereotypes even after they leave the desert, a mission that seems too complicated for Col. Raymond Benson, 61.

After serving in the U.S. Army for 22 years and surviving two tours in Vietnam, "I myself am pretty set in my ways," Benson said.

"Is this going to change the world? No, but there are a lot of people doing nothing. We're doing something," he said. "When you remove politics and religion, we can get along out in the desert alone."

Neda Sarmast, 37, an Iranian-American, went to Iran for a two-month summer vacation in the early 1980s. Denied an exit permit by the Iranians to return to her studies in the United States, Sarmast spent the next two years dodging gunbattles at the height of the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war.

Now, Sarmast is joking and sharing Bedouin food with Yahia, who was on the other side of the guns' sights during that war.

"If we can cross this terrain together, we become ambassadors of peace, showing other people that if we can do this, anybody else can too," Sarmast said.

[ ]
German TV 2003

Latif Yahia: "Ich bin gegen einen Krieg"

Doppelgänger von Saddam Husseins Sohn sprach mit Biolek

Von Schiwa Schlei

Er sieht sich als Opfer von Saddam Husseins Regime: Als Doppelgänger und Leibwächter von Saddams Sohn Udai sei er gefoltert worden. Nach seiner Flucht in den Westen habe es mehrere Attentatsversuche gegeben. Trotzdem: Latif Yahia ist klar gegen einen Irak-Krieg.

Latif Yahia; Rechte: WDR
Opfer von Attentatsversuchen: Exil-Iraker Latif Yahia

"Ich bin gegen Saddam Hussein. Aber ich bin auch gegen einen Krieg." Latif Yahia klingt bestimmt. Und gerade das überrascht Alfred Biolek und seine Zuschauer. Schließlich hatte der Exil-Iraker zuvor knapp eine Stunde lang detailliert über seine negativen Erfahrungen als so genannter "Fidai" von Udai Hussein berichtet.

"Fidai" ist arabisch und steht für eine Mischung aus Doppelgänger, Leibeigener und Leibwächter. Genau das stellte Latif Yahia nach eigenen Angaben vier Jahre lang - von 1987 bis 1991 - für Saddam Husseins Sohn Udai dar. "Schon in der Schule sagte man mir nach, ich würde Udai sehr ähnlich sehen. Als ich dann nach dem Studium beim Militär war, bekam ich eines Tages einen Brief, ich solle sofort im Präsidentenpalast vorsprechen. Mir blieb keine andere Wahl, als künftig als "Fidai" von Udai Hussein zu arbeiten. Ich lernte, mich genau so zu bewegen, zu gestikulieren, zu sprechen." Udais Friseur verpasste ihm den passenden Haarschnitt, und Chirurgen sorgten dafür, dass sein Gebiss - das einzige Merkmal, das nicht mit dem Original perfekt übereinstimmte - durch eine Operation angepasst wurde.

"Ich hasse Udai Hussein"

Latif Yahia berichtet von offiziellen Terminen, bei denen er Opfer von Attentatsversuchen wurde, die Udai Hussein galten. Später, nach seiner Flucht in den Westen, waren die Attentatsversuche gegen seine eigene Person gerichtet. Sehr detailliert beschreibt Latif Yahia, wie er unter der absoluten Willkür und den Launen von Udai Hussein gelitten habe. Er charakterisiert ihn als ausgesprochen eigenwilligen, verwöhnten Exzentriker, als Playboy und Autonarr. Von diesem luxuriösen Leben, gibt Latif Yahia zu, hat auch er zeitweise profitiert - er lebte im Palast, hatte einen eigenen Koch und Dienstangestellte, fuhr Udais Autos. Doch letztlich entschied er sich für den einzigen Ausweg, der Flucht in den Westen. Auf Udai Hussein angesprochen, gibt es für ihn nur ein Fazit: "Ich hasse ihn." Sein Gesicht spricht dabei Bände.

Autobiographie fasst Erlebnisse zusammen

Latif Jahias Autobiographie; Rechte: WDR

Beweise gibt es für Latif Yahias Ausführungen nicht. Und die Frage nach seiner Glaubwürdigkeit bleibt. Nichtsdestotrotz sind Yahias Berichte über seine vermeintliche Zeit als "Fidai" unglaublich spannend, wenn auch fremd. Sie beeindrucken durch die Liebe für das Detail. Man erfährt sehr viel über die Strukturen, die Willkür von Saddam Hussein und seiner Familie, von Gewalt, Folter und vom Reichtum, der im krassen Gegensatz zur Armut innerhalb der irakischen Bevölkerung steht. Nachlesen kann man all das in Latif Yahias Autobiographie "Ich war Saddams Sohn", die er zusammen mit Karl Wendl veröffentlicht hat.

Trinity College Dublin-Irland

Hist freshers deal with terrorism
Darren Mooney & Daniel Costigan

The College Historical Society held its annual R’n’L debate on the controversial topic of political violence or terrorism on Wednesday April 4th. Organised exclusively by the Records and Libraries sub-committee, the debate was a roaring success.

This Junior Freshman-run debate was quite an interesting departure from the normal discussions that take place in the chamber during the year.

Dr Latif Yahia at the Hist

The vibrant and varied discussion of political violence during the debate was a fantastic reflection on the R’n’L. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” commented Hist Auditor James O’Brien. “The energy and enthusiasm shown by the first-years is just amazing.”

The motion – “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” meant that the speakers didn’t address the House in the usual adversarial manner.

The debate quickly became an invitation for speakers to advance from the motion and tackle more broad and varied concepts. Ideas about the pejorative use of the word “terrorist”, subjective Western value judgements and the need to come up with objective criteria by which to define a terrorist were discussed. The debate also challenged the audience to question the violent foundation of western democracies and further used varied and unique analogies comparing terrorism to beating someone to death in a night-club, or pondering if the photogenic nature of the victims is what makes us feel so disgusted at the concept. Is killing killing or is terrorism something beyond that?

The highlight of the night was former body double for Uday Hussein, Dr Latif Yahia, asserting that the so-called Democratic Nations didn’t have the principles they so strongly advocated. Dr Yahia alleged widespread corruption, hypocrisy and abuse within the West and challenged us to revise our views of “terrorists” as depicted through our news services. “Two things make the Terrorist,” he warned the audience: “The politician … and the media.” At the time of printing, Dr Yahia’s speech has been downloaded over 2500 times from the Hist’s website,

Students themselves grappled on whether it was possible to justify terrorism, or if they were simply “psychopaths” or “impressionable idiots”. One student speaker assured the crowd that “terrorism is not only justifiable, but it’s also effective”. Everyone had a different view and there were no two speeches alike on either side throughout the debate.

The debate was a melting pot of different ideas – with speakers disagreeing on what a terrorist was. There was even some discussion as to whether one of the guests, Deirdre Clancy, was a terrorist herself after her disabling of a military jet at Shannon in 2003. Or, as Village columnist Harry Browne suggested, was she a freedom fighter?

The massive variety in the guests and speeches make this debate the best R’n’L debate in a long time.

file icon Dr. Latif Yahia
2nd Proposition. Global human rights activist and former body double for Uday Hussein, author of "The Black Hole", "I was Saddam's Son" and "The Devil's Double", PhD in International Law.

BBC Breakfast With Frost Interview: Latif Yahia, look-alike of Saddam Hussein's son on Sunday 15 June 2003.

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

Latif Yahia, look-alike of Saddam Hussein's son
Iraqi people hated Uday Saddam more than Saddam Hussein
DAVID FROST: We still don't know what happened to Saddam Hussein, from the end of the war onwards. The Americans are saying today they believe it may still be alive. Earlier they thought they'd killed him and his sons in a bomb attack on a restaurant in Baghdad. But the family employed numerous look-alikes and it's possible they escaped from the country - the family, not the look-alikes - maybe the look-alikes as well. Saddam's eldest son Uday was notorious for his brutality, but also for his enjoyment of a lavish, extraordinarily lavish and cruel lifestyle. Someone who knew him better than most was the man who had to work as his double, Latif Yahia, and he joins me now this morning. You were at school first of all, weren't you, with the eponymous Uday?

LATIF YAHIA: We was at secondary school together for three and a half years and after that I was like to go to be engineer. And I go to university and this three and a half years at secondary school we wasn't friends. You know, we say hello to each other, just I never liked him. Because he was doing a lot of horrible things in school.

DAVID FROST: Was he already behaving terribly?

LATIF YAHIA: He was, he was coming to school with his girlfriend. We have different system from the west and by the school and he was coming with a girlfriend and one day the teacher told him, you know, this is not allowed to do it. We never see the teacher again. Second thing, he was, you know, slagging the teacher off. He never did homework. He sit with his bodyguard beside him to do all his homework. He never did anything good in school. And when I go to university I saw him at the same university and ... I changed my university to the law, to not be with him again.

DAVID FROST: All right. Then how did he force his way back into your life?

LATIF YAHIA: In Iraqi law when you finish university you go to the military, you are not allowed to work before you get, before you do your military. And this moment was Iraq-Iran war and I was captain of special forces in Iraq-Iran war and they send a letter to my General asking him in 48 hours must Captain Yahia go back to Baghdad, to ¿Palace. And when I go, straight away I get this letter and they put me in a car, drive me inside the Palace. I said this is the end of my life because anybody who ends up inside here he never goes out. And I saw Uday again.

DAVID FROST: And he asked you, he told you, that you were becoming his double.

LATIF YAHIA: Yes, he was talking in the beginning, you know, how are you, how is your girlfriend. Straightaway he say what do you think to be Saddam's son? And I said we are all Saddam's sons and he said no, my fidi. Fidi in Arabic language is a body double. And I say can you explain more for me. He starts to explain what I must do and something, you know, I never heard about it. I was afraid. He said and you have a choice, we are a free country. You can say what you want to say and you can say yes and you can say no. And if you say yes all the power of Uday Saddam and this country is going to be yours. If you say no you will be free to go back to the military.

DAVID FROST: May be free to go back to the military. In fact, I think we've got some shots of you as, is that you or Uday?

LATIF YAHIA: That's me.

DAVID FROST: And did they in fact have to operate on you in any way, change you in any way to be like Uday?

LATIF YAHIA: Yes, after I refused to be Uday I was seven days in the prison in a small one-metre by one-metre, everything has been painted red, it was very, you know, especially the prison. After then I say yes because they break me, to rape my sister in front of me. And they did operation for my teeth, my chin, I change my teeth when I come to Europe, just, I have a couple of pictures here - my chin here (showing pictures). And I was shorter than that by three centimetres and I was using high shoes. The voice was same, the skin, the face, the shape of the face was same.

DAVID FROST: So did you actually have to do, I mean did you have to do the terrible things that Uday did?

LATIF YAHIA: No, this is what happened, You know, there was with me. I say everything you ask me I do, except rape or kill. And one time he asked me, you know, to shoot somebody. And I just picked the knife, it was food knife and I cut myself here and he say to me OK from here I don't ask you that. Just I wouldn't have thought a murder here.

DAVID FROST: Did you live in fear though, when you were working for him, because he was very sudden in his passions and he could have suddenly condemned you to death.

LATIF YAHIA: Iraqi people hated Uday Saddam more than Saddam Hussein. Because of that I get 11 assassination attempts on my life in Iraq and I survived, you know a couple were very serious, especially in the second Gulf War and Kuwait. He was joking, you know, he's kind of he don't have respect for anybody. Saddam Hussein or Qusay, the second son. You know sometimes they have respect for the people who work for them, you know, they give them a chance once or twice, and third time they'll punish them. Uday Saddam even he don't do something he blame you to do something to you.

DAVID FROST: And one last question. With your knowledge of him do you think if he's still alive, do you think he will ever be brought to justice or not?

LATIF YAHIA: I hope he will be brought to justice, you know. I was saying this since last month, I was saying Saddam Hussein alive. Uday Saddam he is alive. And I want justice. I don't want to hand him to American. I am going to be deal with Tariq Aziz. Tariq Aziz has been arrested. They did deal with Jordan to take his family and Britain. You know. In Britain they have respect, they have you know, respect for people. You see in South Iraq they don't have a problem with the British military. I have a problem with American, Americans are trained to humiliate the people, you know, and this is what the problem with the people start rising against Americans.

DAVID FROST: But do you think he will be found?

LATIF YAHIA: He will, yes.

DAVID FROST: He's alive?


DAVID FROST: He will be found.

LATIF YAHIA: He's definitely alive, yes.

DAVID FROST: Thank you very much for being with us today.

01 January 2008

This is Trailer of forthcoming documentary film tells the story of three people's experiences with the Irish legal system and the corruption that lies within. Each one a ... victim of the greed and arrogance of the Irish legal profession and the inability to receive justice through the court system. This film is a precursor to the feature documentary "Forty shades of Conspiracy" which after a six year investigation lifts the lid on the corruption in the government, civil service, police force and department of justice in Ireland a supposedly democratic country. Based on the forthcoming book of the same name to be released late 2009,Made and financed by Latif Yahia ..


From the Publisher :- Forty Shades of Conspiracy The Sequel To The Black Hole, a True Story of the illusion of Democracy in Europe and how the American CIA are behind Every Door of Power. Latif Yahia was drawn to the Emerald Isle after remember what so many Doctors, Engineers and Contractors that he had met in Iraq had told him about their homeland. Looking for a country to take him in and welcome him as its own in 1997 Latif booked his flight to Dublin, Ireland's Capital city, using another assumed identity he went about destroying Latif Yahia and his Uday connections, surely this time he could be free of Iraq and all the pain that it had brought to him. Having settled into a comfortingly mundane routine Latif now Kaled was beginning to believe that maybe, just maybe this time it would work and he could finally live a quiet and normal life, hope unfortunately was to fade as his past caught up with him, but this time not in the form of the CIA, this time it was a woman and hell hath no fury like this woman scorned. Pandora's box was opened and all that Latif had hoped to leave behind came like a torrent, suddenly the Irish authorities were aware of his presence, with their close ties to America it did not take the CIA long to follow and the game continued... Because of his opposition to the war on Iraq in 2003 and the American's use of Shannon airport, Latif Yahia is still stateless after 16 years of exile in the West.*****[Special Limited Edition] (Hardcover) in November 25, 2009.
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