It is fairly well-known and accepted that Saddam Hussein was imposter-replaced. Hussein had several doubles, and some claim the man who was captured and hanged (or mock hanged) was not the real Saddam Hussein, but was rather a double. The use of doubles in politics might shed light on CIAlebrity imposter-replacement in the entertainment industry.
In 2003, German television network ZDF broadcast claimed that Iraq's former president Saddam Hussein was frequently replaced with doubles for TV appearances. This analysis was based on sophisticated measuring techniques, which detected discrepancies in the position of Hussein's facial features and blemishes from appearance to appearance. It was supported by the opinion of Jerrald Post, the man who created the CIA's Psychological Profile Unit. It was also alleged that Austrian politician Jörg Haider had actually met a double when he thought he was meeting Hussein.
... A German forensic pathologist studied hundreds of Hussein photos and videotapes, concentrating on his mustache and eyebrow measurements.
Then he used computer software to locate specific points such as the tip of his nose and the cheekbone creating a face print which was compared to the Hussein photographs.
His conclusion: that there are three Hussein impersonators, all with small, distinct differences.
Tatiana Morales, "CIA: Man On Tape Is Saddam," March 21, 2003, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/20/eveningnews/main544812.shtml
Intelligence officials have long suspected that the Iraqi president makes ample use of body-doubles -- an idea reinforced two weeks ago when a German television news program asked a forensic pathologist to examine hundreds of archived photographs and video stills of the Iraqi leader. The pathologist, Dr. Dieter Buhmann of Homberg University in Saarland, determined that there are at least three Saddam Hussein lookalikes in rotation, making public appearances, firing rifles, smoking cigars, waving and strutting. (The doubles rarely speak, it was suggested, because Mr. Hussein has an inimitable lisp.)
Iraqi dissidents have told stories of impostor Husseins in the past -- of recruitment schemes and plastic surgery, of training in mannerisms, strides and tics. The differences can seem remarkably subtle. In some instances, Dr. Buhmann suggested, the face of the doppelgänger was just a hair too wide. In others, the area under the mouth was just a bit too small and too low...
Indeed, the pop-culture fascination with cloak-and-dagger devices like doubles, disguises and decoys tends to give Mr. Hussein's use of lookalikes a sort of buffoonish quality. But this is serious business, with a long history. And it would be naive, some intelligence officials have suggested, to think that everyone isn't playing the game...
''It's definitely a play that one wants to have in their arsenal,'' Mr. Mendez said. ''It's the sort of thing that comes to mind immediately when you think about the good guys and the bad guys. The idea of bilocation -- of being able to be in two places at once -- is key to some situations of security,'' he said. ''Everyone uses it.''
JUST what lengths a government like Iraq might go to is only a matter of resources. Finding lookalikes willing to serve a higher calling isn't difficult, Mr. Mendez said, particularly when patriotic passions are inflamed. Makeup artists are deft at making temporary changes. And turning to plastic surgery for more permanent alterations is common in every corner of international intrigue. Iraq is not likely to be an exception.
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... Moslem al-Asadi, a doctor living in exile in Iran, said he believes the real Saddam died in 1999 from cancer.
"The real Saddam died because he had cancer of the lymph nodes, and since his death in 1999 they're just showing his doubles" he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
In a plot reminiscent of the Hollywood tale of a body double subbing for an incapacitated American president titled "Dave," al-Asadi claims Saddam's sons, his first wife and Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz run a scheme to keep the truth under wraps using three doubles. Al-Asadi alleges Saddam's younger son, Qusay, actually holds presidential authority...
Days later, Iraqi state television showed footage of him chairing meetings with top officials.
But U.S. and British intelligence suspected the footage was prerecorded prior to the attacks...
Despite the reference to Umm Qasr, British intelligence thought the broadcast may have been prerecorded.
"We are well aware that he spent many hours recently tape-recording various messages. We have to do a little more analysis of what he was actually saying to see whether or not that in fact was Saddam Hussein," British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon told reporters.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer echoed the suspicion.
"I think there are some doubts about whether that tape is canned or whether it's fresh and based on recent events. It would not be a surprise if Saddam Hussein had some time ago put in the can numerous statements designed to be released later," he said...
"The voice is easy to simulate and doubles constantly study video and audio records," argued al-Asadi.
The exile maintains the footage purported to be Saddam Hussein provides the evidence to support his claim that look-alikes are all that remains of the dictator.
Specifically, he asserts Saddam had big, oval ears but one of the doubles' ears do not match Saddam's, which had a special bend. Al-Asadi also said Saddam has an overbite, but one of the doubles doesn't have such a defect. While Saddam has wide and strong shoulders, those of two doubles are narrow and almost sloping. Saddam had big hands, said al-Asadi, while one of doubles has small hands. Lastly, a second long finger of one of the doubles doesn't match that of the real thing.
Corriere della Sera reports the testimony of former doubles corroborates al-Asadi's thesis.
Longtime bodyguard Saddam Michael Ramadan in 1979 wrote in the book "In Saddam's shadow" that the Iraqi leader was so ill he was dependent on pain killers, according to the newspaper. Ramadan is reportedly now under the protection of the CIA.
The paper quotes another former bodyguard, who fled Iraq for Israel two months ago as declaring, "Saddam whom you now see, was photographed some years ago."
In an interview with Democracy Now, author John Perkins said:
... And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn’t buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn’t work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren’t able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had—His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him...
Hussein's wife claimed the man in custody was not Hussein, but was one of his doubles:
Sajida Heiralla Tuffah, after the Russians demanded she be allowed to visit her imprisoned husband Saddam in Qatar:
"Sajida arrived from Syria with her official escort Sheikh Hamad Al-Tani, and then entered the prison, emerging only moments later pink with rage and shouting, "This is not my husband but his double. Where is my husband? Take me to my husband".
American officials rushed forward to shield Mrs Saddam from perplexed Russian observers, trying to insist that Saddam had changed a lot while in custody and she probably didn't recognise him. This was certainly not the best way to handle the Iraqi President's wife. "You think I do not know my husband?" Sajida shouted furiously, "I was married to the man for more than twenty-five years!" Then she stormed off, never to return."