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October 12, 2004

The Invisible Man

Luckily for our traffic numbers, Samir Vincent is back in the news again.

Longtime readers (Hi mom!) will recall that back when the Iraqi oil bribery scandal first broke--back in February--I spent an inordinate amount of time researching Samir on Google and in the Lexis/Nexis news database. I found that Samir was allowed to escape from Iraq during the first Gulf War so he and his fellow escapee, Michael Saba, could bring a secret peace proposal to the Bush I White House from Saddam Hussein.

Since then Hraka has been the premier source of information for Samir Vincent on the web, which should tell you all you need to know about the mainstream media. We get a hundred or so hits out of Samir a day--some of which have got to be from journalists and others with access to the same resources I used. Yet none of the latest stories on Mr. Vincent ever mention his original "escape from Iraq" cover story, much less his secret peace meetings with members of the Bush I administration, detailed by Robert Parry in his book, Fooling America.

On a separate track, Vincent, a onetime Olympic athlete for Iraq and a Boston College graduate, arranged other contacts with the White House through a retired U.S. Army colonel, Carl Bernard, and through ex-CIA director Richard Helms. Bernard set up a meeting for Vincent with National Security Council staffers, but Bernard recalled later that the staffers seemed more interested in arguing against the Hamdoon plan than copying down its terms.

Disappointed with that approach, Vincent and Bernard turned to Helms, who also had served as U.S. ambassador to Iran and was a respected expert on Middle East politics. As the crisis built, Helms feared its dangerous long-term consequences and agreed to raise the Iraqi peace plan at a previously scheduled lunch with national security adviser Brent Scowcroft. According to accounts of that August 21, 1990, meeting, Scowcroft told Helms that while the White House was not blind to negotiations, it first wanted to assess the results of economic sanctions against Iraq. Scowcroft added that he already knew of the peace feelers. "Scowcroft advised him that he had learned of the initiative from Saba as of Aug. 10," the congressional summary said.

Frankly, I'm puzzled. To me it would seem that a story involving one of Saddam's henchman, the ever-present Oil-For-Food bribery scandal and the Bush I presidency would be a natural for the press, especially before the election. There's far more to this story than there ever was to Memogate. Why then is a C-list blog (at best) the only owner of this story?

Update: Boston College has put up an athletic player bio of Samir, including a picture of him.

Posted by Bigwig at October 12, 2004 09:51 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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