CNN’s Jim Clancy thinks that Imad Mughiniyeh may not be dead (link). He does grant that Mughiniyeh (billed as “chief of security” for Hezbollah) is a marvel at media manipulation. He recalls:
Let me take you back to Beirut,
It became the very image of terror. On the runway at
But it wasn't what it appeared to be.
The gunman was actually a teenager. He hadn't been one of the four men who hijacked TWA flight 847. He was nothing more than a security guard for a few crewmembers left aboard the jetliner while 40 other hostages had been hauled off to
He just wanted to be on television.
I was permitted to sit down and talk with pilot John Testrake while he was still held hostage. Testrake told me the teenager saw a television news crew approaching and insisted on staging the photo. He became agitated when Testrake refused.
So determined to get his "Kodak moment" as a terrorist, the young man had unloaded the gun and handed it to Testrake to prove it was empty. Testrake told me he only agreed when he feared the young gunman might become unhinged if he didn't get his way.
The so-called "face of terror" photo was really a picture of media manipulation.
Why does this matter? It matters, as Clancy explains, because Mughniyeh was one of the hijackers, and because the hijacking was one of the jewels of a long and vicioius career --a career in which, among other things, he proved himself a master of artifice. "I'm not declaring the story [of his death] to be false," Clancy says, "and I'm not about to tell anyone it's the truth. I just keep remembering how much deception Mughniyeh employed in his life's work."
Postscript: To further confirm my tinfoil hat credentials, I'm one of those who thinks that Mohammed Atta might still be alive.