Feature

Rumor mill

The week's news at a glance.

Baghdad

The U.S. has a team of Americans and Iraqis combing the streets of Baghdad for gossip, The New York Times reported this week. The team produces The Baghdad Mosquito, an internal intelligence document that chronicles the conspiracy theories and rumors making the rounds among Iraqis. Years of totalitarian propaganda have taught Iraqis not to trust newspapers or government, so many people believe the whispers they hear in cafes. The Mosquito helps the military “to better understand what really are the concerns of the citizens on the streets of Baghdad,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling. Some of the gossip even turns out to be true, like the rumor that Saddam Hussein was riding around town in taxis. When Saddam was captured, a taxi was parked near his spider hole.

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