Iraq: CIA's aborted psyops stunt to discredit Saddam? "Pedo-Hussein" sex tapes

saddam.jpg In the run-up to America's 2003 invasion of Iraq, a CIA team brainstormed ways to attack public perception of Saddam Hussein among Iraqis. One of the psyops plans was to "flood Iraq with videos" that depicted the dictator having sex with a teenage boy. The CIA hoax "hidden camera" videos were to be shot "very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session," according to a former official familiar with the plan.
The agency actually did make a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory. The actors were drawn from "some of us darker-skinned employees," he said.
Man oh man, my kingdom for a torrent. Anyway, just one problem with the CIA's man-boy-love-tape plans:

"Saddam playing with boys would have no resonance in the Middle East -- nobody cares," [said a] former CIA official with extensive experience in the region. "Trying to mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target. We always mistake our own taboos as universal when, in fact, they are just our taboos."
CIA unit's wacky idea: Depict Saddam as gay (Washington Post)


  1. Welcome to the the United States of America… our new motto: “Exitus Acta Probat”

  2. There are death squads targeting suspected gays in Iraq right now, and being homosexual was a crime punishable by death until 2003. Iran and the United Arab Emirates have the death penalty for anal sex, and technically so does Saudi Arabia.

    Implies they probably would give a few shits about Saddam having gay sex.

    1. Gay =/= man-on-man action. Many cultures allow men to fool around with each other but persecute them if they identify as gay. It’s the opposite of Catholicism, which allows you to be gay but condemns you to eternal hell-fire if you have a little harmless buttsex.

      1. But there are harsh laws against anal sex in Middle Eastern countries. They clearly are targeting man-on-man action.

    2. Pedophilia and homosexuality are not the same thing.

      You’re also doing the same thing the second CIA official quoted was pointing out- conflating our taboos with their’s.

      1. “Pedophilia and homosexuality are not the same thing.”

        In parts of the middle east anal sex between two males is illegal.

        People make laws against things because they think those things are wrong.

        Saddam having sex with a teenaged boy = two males having anal sex.

        Therefor people in the Middle East would think it wrong for Saddam to have sex with a teenaged boy.

        @ grimc:

        It was only ‘better’ compared to how bad it was before. Gay men were still killed while Saddam ruled, and have continued to be killed since the invasion.

        1. It’s illegal to smoke dope in the US. Take a look at the denizens of the White House since 1992. In Bush’s case it was crack. Law =/= public morality.

        2. “All the LGBT Iraqis interviewed for Gay Life After Saddam maintained that life was easier for them when Saddam Hussein was in power, from 1979 to 2003.”

          I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. There is no evidence of Saddam turning a blind eye to anti-gay death squads when he was in power, mostly because there is no evidence of anti-gay death squads when he was in power. Gay life during Saddam was obviously no picnic, but gay Iraqis describe a flourish underground gay community in Baghdad back then–now all they have is an underground railroad to get them out of Iraq.

          Saddam was a ruthless, sadistic dictator, but there are clearly ways in which Iraqis were better off before the invasion. Why keep insisting that life for Iraqi LGBT is just as bad now as it was before when the evidence points to the contrary?

          1. “Why keep insisting that life for Iraqi LGBT is just as bad now as it was before when the evidence points to the contrary?”

            Nothing but the truth. With all the civilian deaths to get to this point, there’s less people alive to assault gays, and less children that would have grown up to be assaulted. Always look on the bright side!

        3. I guess I wasn’t clear enough, so let me try again. There are a number of cultures/sub-cultures in the middle east where man-boy sex is OK, but man-man love is not. Or at least, one is more acceptable than the other.

          You’re not only confusing pedophilia with homosexuality, you’re exhibiting the same misunderstanding of other culture’s taboos that the CIA officer is criticizing.

  3. Considering the video of Osama Bin Laden taking credit for 9/11 looks nothing like him, is this really a surprise?

  4. “The agency actually did make a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden”

    So I’m sure the post-911 “confession” video of Bin Laden is real… Remember the tape? The one with the fat Bin Laden? The one used to launch a decade of war against Iraq and Afghanistan (and how many other countries – Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia etc..?) You know, the one we “found” in Afghanistan on December 13, 2001 immediately after Bin Laden had denied any involvement in the attacks in an earlier tape made on September 17, 2001.

    Remember? “I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks, which seems to have been planned by people for personal reasons”

  5. I can’t be the only one who remembers the regular Weekly World News articles on “Saddam has gay lover” during the first Gulf War, can i?

  6. As Brillobreaks alludes to, what an unfortunate Washington Post headline.

    I think that the point was that they were depicting Saddam as a pedophile, not gay.

  7. CIA == Falsity, and the lowest, most abhorrent shit I’m ashamed to be partially responsible for as an american (little a).

    Pure fucking falsity and evil.

    This seemingly Manichean characterization is actually based on a plethora of well-documented and no longer even contested evidence.

    Subject to revision, of course, but I’d rather just hit the reset button.

  8. Why keep insisting that life for Iraqi LGBT is just as bad now as it was before when the evidence points to the contrary?

    To justify the war? Insisting against all evidence that life in Iraq is better now than it was under Ba’ath rule is a pretty popular political position.

  9. “Why keep insisting that life for Iraqi LGBT is just as bad now as it was before when the evidence points to the contrary?”

    I’m not, and it’s irrelevant to the BB article. The only reason I brought up treatment of gays in Iraq is to show what Iraqis would think of Saddam having gay sex with a young boy. That is my point.

  10. Ditto what Antinous sez. Just because it’s “against the law” doesn’t mean that real people don’t do it ALL OF THE TIME.

  11. “You’re not only confusing pedophilia with homosexuality,”

    I’m not. If you have sex with a man, and you are a man, then it is gay sex. If one of you is underage then it is also pedophilia. The gay doesn’t magically disappear below a certain age. Jesus.

    I can’t believe that people are arguing with me over this, saying Iraqis don’t care about homosexuality. The Iraqis who harrass and attack gay people, make laws against them and execute them are clearly homophobic!

    From wikipedia:
    “[Homosexuality] is still considered a taboo by the majority of the population in Iraq. Many LGBT people in the country suffer from discrimination, abuse, honor killings and murder … police officers have carried out lethal attacks on homosexuals … human rights groups have described Iraq as one of the world’s most dangerous places to live if you are homosexual.”

    These people would definitely give a shit if their leader was having gay sex.

    1. Doesn’t look like any additional people have been convinced here that framing Saddam for kissykissy and/or buttsecks w/a teenager would have been geniusness, or that people proposing such have any basis to think so besides abstract mathematical arguments.

      “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

    2. No, that’s still not right.

      Homosexuality in many places is generally considered to be man on man sex. It’s the man part that makes it important.

      Kids don’t count as men. In such places, having sex with kids is not considered the same as having sex with a man, even if the kid is a boy. The kids may be thought of as closer to women, or as a third category all together, but they are not considered to be men.

      This is what people are trying to tell you.

    3. “I’m not. If you have sex with a man, and you are a man, then it is gay sex. If one of you is underage then it is also pedophilia. The gay doesn’t magically disappear below a certain age. Jesus.”

      While logic certainly agrees with you, history might not. I don’t know what the normns in the middle east are today, but take a look at what was considered appropriate in ancient greece or rome. A full-grown man might have a sexual relationship with an underage boy, and this was considered just dandy, even beneficial. However, once that boy reached adulthood (and the 2 men involved were equals, instead of one being clearly dominant) it was suddenly taboo; the relationship was supposed to end shortly after puberty.

      People don’t always make sense.

  12. I’m no expert on the Middle East and I’ve never been there, but I am going to call straight bullshit on the idea that “nobody” in the Middle East would care if Saddam was having sex with children. I don’t think pedophilia is endemic to Islam or a particular nation or race. I think that remark only shows how deeply clueless, racist, and homophobic some of the so-called experts are who are in charge of these “operations,” which more resemble pranks than actual operations.

    1. Why don’t you google for “thighing” and then tell me how much they hate pedophilia in the Middle East.

  13. and now reason 72,411,528 as to why the cia should be shrunk back to its original purpose–intelligence gathering

  14. They should have just checked with their old buddies in the KGB. The KGB actually did shoot a movie like this with Lech Walesa. Even though it probably was actually him, albeit drugged out of his gourd by the KGB, no one cared.
    Anyway, the whole idea was stupid from the beginning. The 90% of the population that was composed of Shiite slaves already figured that Saddam was Satan Incarnate. The 10% Sunni population was getting so much loot and land from his assorted genocides that they couldn’t have cared less what he did. (I’m excluding Occupied Kurdistan from the percentages as it was always ludicrous to include the Kurds in that uniquely British Empire creation called “Iraq”.)

  15. You get what they are saying is that the way the US sorts/categorizes sexually is not necessarily the way other cultures do right? Those definitions may or may not have any meaning depending on the cultural context. So, no, without a fair amount more cultural background then wiki you can’t say how various peoples in the Middle East would view that particular setup.

  16. Boing Boing readers: more interested in debating about sexuality issues in a now defunct dictatorship, than actually doing something positive to help the current situation.

    For example: if you are concerned about the situation in Iraq, why don’t you at least write a letter to your congressperson?

  17. For what it’s worth the ‘fat osama’ video can be made to look pretty much exactly like the normal osama by changing/correcting the pixel aspect ratio. Not saying the concept of face CIA videos is unbelievable by any means but that one has just been wrongly standards converted at some point rather than being a different guy, in my opinion anyway.

  18. As if Saddam Hussein needed any more discrediting… That scheme is similar to the nuclear weapons one; as if they needed to make up stuff to invade Iraq. Goes to show you how incompetent and corrupt the parties involved in this war are.

  19. So if I look at a twenty year old naked woman in pigtails, this could be construed as simulated child pornography and I may end up in jail and on a list unemployable for life, but the CIA has free reign to to film “actors” buggering little boys?

    Hmmm sounds logical to me.

  20. So, Iraqi don’t mind for Saddam and boys, but do Americans care for CIA making it all up? I think we have a taboo here.

  21. We should not view other cultures trough our own narrow perspective.

    Gay for us might not be gay for others. Some gay people get raped by an angry mob for being gay. This does not make the rapists gay in their view. Young boys are also ok. Or maybe it’s all CIA propaganda, who knows??


    In January 2007, a United Nations report described the increased persecution, torture and extrajudicial killing of Iraqi lesbians and gay men by the Shia death squads of the Badr and Sadr militias (the armed wings of the two main Shia parties that control the government of Iraq). In 2005, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa on his website calling for the execution of gays in the “worst, most severe way”.

  22. actually, isn’t the point that the CIA and Gov do stuff like this in the first place? How many strategically timed Osama videos have surfaced throughout the years????

  23. Does anyone remember during the first gulf war how they discovered “kiddie porn” in the Saddam’s desk drawers? They showed footage of soldiers taking it out of the desk on CNN … looked like obvious staging even back then.

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