Letters for the week of December 31, 2003 - January 6, 2004 

Our favorite letters of the year: the story behind Saddam's capture, salamander meat merchants strike again, and one final burst of Gary Coleman.

Editor's Note
For our Year in Review issue, we've compiled some of our favorite letters, phone calls, and press releases of the year. In the interest of verisimilitude, all spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, and other grammatical mishaps are the writers' own.

Stop the beheading
We'll see if you want to hear from me. Not everybody does. I became a successful ghost hunter aboard the Queen Mary 6/25/99. The most important mission over in Iraq may have been stopping Saddam's sons from throwing people into the shredder. What a bad way to go. It is important for countries like Iraq to discontinue beheading people. Hussein's special force, the Saheed were in charge of the beheading of women. I have come across numerous reports of headless ghosts. The damage that humans do to each other's spirits seems to absolutely continue in the after life. The damage seems to be permanent, which is very disturbing if true. There are no experts in this field, but some of us are more expert than others. Stop the beheading and educate people about the fact that they are still going to exist as a miserable ghost if they commit suicide.
David Lee, founder, Ghost Hunter Inc., San Jose

One month later, we had Saddam
I've got a great story for you. I know, I know, and I know this sounds like I'm a dingbat but I am not, I know how to find Saddam Hussein! And I'd like to check that out with you people, come in for an interview at your convenience. I live in Point Richmond. ... I think it's the 7th, Eleven Seven Oh Three. One call does it all and I'll come on down and give you a great story, show you how you can do this kind of thing. Amongst many other things I've done a lot of travel, I'm what's called a Kahuna, a shaman for the South Pacific, and I have trained myself to be able to do certain things, including how to find that mother dog. ... Over and out.
Asa Williams, Point Richmond, by voicemail

Or Did We?
IT'S NOT SADDAM: A STORY CALLING FOR INVESTIGATION

In a news release sent to media worldwide on April 8, 2003, Share International magazine published information that Saddam Hussein had been injured in the first bombing of Iraq on March 20, 2003 and died two days later from his injuries. Also according to our information, Hussein was buried quickly after his death by his sons, in accordance with Muslim tradition.

So who has now been captured by American forces? According to the latest press release from Share International: "In our view certainly not Saddam Hussein but an obvious stand-in, of whom we understand there are at least three: two cousins and a close friend all with similar family characteristics. We believe he is the same man -- a cousin -- seen on Iraqi television on April 4, 2003, who picked up a child and laughed and waved to the crowds. His body language was completely different from that of Saddam Hussein. The end of his nose was much broader than that of Saddam and he had moles on his temple and forehead -- identical with the captured person. At that time commentators were perfectly ready to question the identity of the man seen on video. Now everyone seems conveniently to have dropped any enquiry or second thoughts.

"The Americans claim that DNA samples taken from the captive relate to that of Saddam Hussein. How do they know? With what are they comparing them? In any case, a cousin would obviously share some of Saddam's genetic features. From the beginning of the Iraq conflict the proven lies from this US administration, particularly about the weapons of mass destruction, give little confidence that their information should be believed.

"We are convinced that eventually the truth will emerge -- that this confused man now captured is not Saddam Hussein, but a double who may well have been part of a plot to keep the fact of Saddam's death from the Iraqi people for as long as possible."
Share International Media Service, SIMmedia.org

"The Vexing Mystery of Jane Doe," Cityside, 11/19

Beware the salamander meat cabal
I certainly hope that the victim was not a relative of the nice woman in Guadalajara, Mexico, who granted me shelter from a blazing-hot bus stop in the Zona Industriale during a vacation stay (late 1970s). What's worse, my vacation plans were not my own scheduling, but the strategy of some network perhaps hoping to market salamander meat, or home trash-mashers. Such personal hospitality from a Mexican citizen should not have been necessary.
Marcia L. Neil, San Francisco

We're mailing this form letter to the liberal media just like that conservative interest group told us to
Your support of the upcoming miniseries The Reagans is nothing more than an attempt to smear the reputation of a great president. At best, it is a veiled attempt at revisionist history. At worst, it is a pack of lies. Either way, The Reagans is the purest example of media bias I've heard about in quite awhile. I will not be watching, and urge you to pull the plug on this farce. You may not realize it, but the backlash against CBS will far outweigh any benefits you feel the network may receive. I plan to contact my local CBS affiliate and inform them that I will not be watching this program, nor supporting any local advertisers whose commercials appear during the program. I look forward to hearing a positive response from you.
Mr. & Mrs. Manny Machado, San Jose

We're mailing this form letter to the conservative media just like that liberal interest group told us to
It is painfully obvious that you have succumbed to the powers, suppressed your journalistic ethics and have assumed the role of White House Public Relations Spokesman. History will reflect the role you are playing in the deception of the American people. ... TV News is now nothing more than an infomercial for the Bush administration and for the corporate sponsors. If they approve, you report. That is the only standard by which the news is now reported.

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