What will happen to U.N. inspectors who find weapons of mass destruction?  Will Saddam let them trundle back to headquarters to "rat him out?"  Or, will their skulls line his ball court of Terror?   See how an ancient Aztec game is being played today five centuries later, and how the winners lose their heads when they are victorious.


Wednesday--December 11, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 455
Iraq's Deadly Game Of
"Terror-Ball", Where Losers Get Their Heads Cut Off

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Dec. 11 -- The ancient Aztecs played a game that is not dissimilar to the one U.N. weapons inspectors are playing in Iraq as they search for weapons of mass destruction.
      Back in 1500, just five centuries and two years ago, the Aztec Empire was located in Tenochtitlan, and the favorite game of the day was their version of Terror-Ball, a game called tlachtli.

Ancient Mesoamerican  ball court in Monte Alban, Mexico

      It was similar to a mix of basketball and modern soccer, played by Mesoamerican people like the Azetcs, Mayans and the Olmec.  

Playing the ancient Terror-Ball game

      Players entered an arena and two teams battled it out before cheering spectators.   The object of the game was to get a five-pound rubber ball through a small stone hoop at one end of a court.  Players could not use their hands, just their feet and heads and shoulders to pass and bump the ball.   As in all Terror-Ball games, the Losers paid a high price for their ineptness to keep the opposing team from scoring.   They all lost their heads.
      The players were prisoners of war, enemies of the Aztecs.   When their heads were lopped off, the losers' skulls were boiled and then placed into the wall forming "skull bricks" that symbolized tribute to the Aztec deities, Amapan and Uappatzin, patrons of the games.    The play backers were like the George Steinbrenners of modern baseball, and they honored the Aztec god of war, Huitzilopochtli.
       Modern man hasn't progressed much from Aztec ball court.
       In Iraq, U.N. weapons inspectors are playing a current version of ball court.
       The inspectors sneak around their compound and plan the next day's assault on Iraqi locations suspected of bearing the fruits of weapons of mass destruction.  To avoid being overhead by secret microphones, they stroll in gardens or plot in busy, noisy parts of the city of Baghdad ala James Bond.  They don't want Saddam Hussein to know where they are going to look next for his alleged stash of weapons, or  the tools to manufacture them.

Will the Terror-Ball Game be replayed with a new team?

      As the sun rises, the weapons inspectors gather their detection equipment and proceed to the secret locations they have decided to storm in "surprise attacks."   They don't want to alert Saddam where they will search for fear he might move whatever is hidden.

Is there "Vigilance Violation" by the UN inspectors in Iraq?

      At the gate of the U.N. weapon inspectors' compound they meet and greet Iraqis who, like the opposing teams in ball court, are waiting for them.   Often, they shake hands and chit chat.
      Then, the U.N. inspectors climb into their SUVs and drive madly, sometimes over ninety miles an hour, toward their inspection target.   Behind them is a flurry of Iraqi vehicles giving fast pursuit.
      While the U.N. inspectors try to shake their Iraqi tails, they are less concerned about being followed than in reaching the targeted inspection site before their "watchdogs" figure out where they are heading and radio ahead to the site that the U.N. inspectors are bearing down.
       The idea of the game is for the U.N. weapons inspectors to totally surprise the "target of opportunity," and limit any prior notification by the Iraqis speeding behind them of their arrival.
       It becomes a "catch-me-if-you-can," game of intrigue, one that is rife with quick turns here and there in an attempt to make a broken field run so that defenders will not know whether you are zigging north, or zagging east, about to do a U-turn and head back where you started.    The more confused the inspectors can get their Iraqi tailgaters, the better the chance of screeching to a halt in front of the inspection site and rushing in unannounced and unforewarned in hopes of finding some plutonium or biochemical gas being stuffed into a SCUD warhead.
       I wouldn't want to be a U.N. inspector.

The Eye of Confusion

       The Terror-Ball game seems to me to have severe penalties for the U.N. weapons inspectors.   Logic tells me that if the inspectors were to get lucky on one of their daily plays, and rush madly to a site that would affirm that Saddam Hussein was indeed manufacturing weapons, that the Iraqis behind them playing "catch-me-if-you-can" would turn instantly from being mere "tailgaters" into instant "head loppers."
        It doesn't make sense the Iraqis would let weapons inspectors march out of a known weapons site with evidence to convict their head coach, Saddam Hussein, of global "unnecessary roughness."  It would seem to me the U.N. weapons inspectors would meet with an untimely death, or "horrible accident," en route to their compound with the evidence.  Or, they might just be blown to bits without any attempt to cover it up.
        In this case, the Winners would become the Losers.
        Saddam's ball court already has the skulls of more than 50,000 Kurds stacked up on its walls.  In 1988 he gassed men, women and children--his enemies--as a tool to remind all his people that he was more than capable of "killing anyone anytime" who opposed him.   A few weapons inspectors would go unnoticed on Hussein's ball court skull wall.

Hamida Hassan, 32, in a hospital bed, is still suffering from burns and disfigurement she incurred when the Iraqi Air Force struck her village during the attack by what was believed to be mustard gas in 1988.

       A few thousand miles away, Head Coach George Bush, is screaming over his headphones on the sidelines at the U.N. weapons inspectors to do this and do that.  He's scratching out this play and that play, trying to move the team to places where they will find evidence and probably get those who uncover and discover such evidence instantly killed.
         The players, however, are listening to Mr. Bush with deaf ears.   They refute his leadership and look to the United Nations as their head coach, and claim they are "playing the game for the global community," and that their player contracts are not with the United States, despite Bush's demands that he is the ultimate referee as well as Head Coach, and he will decide when Saddam has been "offsides" or not.
        Of course there are others waiting for their heads to be lopped off in the event the game comes to a conclusion, which, all games eventually  do.
        Iraqi citizens are hoping the 12,000-page report issued by Hussein sates the appetite of the U.N. and results in an agreement that Saddam has long abandoned the development of such weapons as he was mandated to do in 1991 following the Gulf War.  They don't want their heads lopped off by shrapnel from U.S. and any allies who back the U.S. in a war against Saddam.
         Then there are U.S. and allied citizens--military troops, many thousands of which are massing now in the Middle East ready to intrude into the Iraqi ball court and try and bounce the rubber ball into the concrete hoop.  There is a great fear Saddam Hussein will unleash weapons of mass destruction in case of an invasion, or that street fighting in Baghdad will be so severe that many U.S. and allied casualties will result.
         Thus, more skulls will line the ball court of Iraq.
         The Vietnam war ball court has over 2,000,000 such skulls bleaching in the sun.   A couple million of them are Vietnamese, and over 50,000 are Americans plus any allies.
         Then there's the skulls from the Korean War, and World War II, millions upon millions of civilians and military casualties honoring the Beast of Terror who seems to feed on human violence as thirstily as a camel who has been a month-long trek through the Sahara.

Will Saddam Hussein stack more skulls for Iraq's ball court?

          The Skulls of War are of all shapes, little children, women, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, loved ones.  War is indiscriminate in its executions.  
          I found it interesting in the news this morning that the U.N. weapons inspectors rushed to a site listed in the 12,000-page report from Iraq.    That must have been a relief for the Iraqi tailgaters.  I can imagine the radio communications back to Saddam's headquarters:
          "They're off...they're speeding...clouds of dust...they're turning east...north...ooops, they almost ran over a little boy...they're going eighty...hmmmm...they're heading toward the Karamah Public Company at Taji....we're six miles north of Baghdad...stupid people...they can't be going there...we put Karamah on the list...oh, praise Allah, they are...what dolts...they are spinning their SUV in front of the gate...blocking it so no one can get out...yes....praise Allah, they are so stupid...they are rushing into the Strategic Storage Unit...yes, they are looking exactly where we told them to look...ha ha ha ha....we can relax today...tell the guys with the axes they can sharpen them for is a vacation...I'm going to Starbucks and then sweat here...Allah has given us a day off."
          Unfortunately, the scenario I described above is relatively true.  Reuters reported this morning that U.N. inspectors did indeed rush to the Karamah Public Company at Taji, one of the sites listed by the Iraqis in their disclosure document.  
          Maybe the U.N. inspectors have decided to play Terror-Ball the safe way--inspecting only sites they know will have no weapons.  That way they can go home with their heads intact.

Dec. 10--NYC Mayor Faces Bicycle Terrorism

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