Michael's Dispatches

Holy Brothel


On March 2, an American Special Forces team along with Iraqi SWAT (ISWAT) moved on a terrorist cell near Tal Afar. There was specific intelligence that this cell had conducted assassinations and other attacks against Iraqis and Americans. As ISWAT and Special Forces closed in on the target, the enemy answered with bullets. Bullets ripped through an ISWAT truck, killing three police. Bullets struck a Special Forces vehicle and a tight firefight followed. The enemy was well prepared. Muzzles flashed from different locations. The fighting continued until nine enemy were killed and eight suspects captured. Three civilians were wounded along with three police wounded and three killed, for a total of a dozen people killed.

Ammunition, grenades and other weapons were captured, but after that Special Forces/ISWAT mission, attacks in the vicinity decreased. Tal Afar, formerly “Al Qaeda City,” is mostly quiet these days. Normally we have far less than a hundred soldiers in the city, but we do need money for civil affairs projects. This money truly is critical. Otherwise, the situation improves, though without investment this could be reversed.

The few remaining serious troublemakers are being hacked off and mulched in these incessant operations, which gives the enemy no rest (in the old days, when they were murdering Iraqis and Americans by the thousands, AQI used Tal Afar for training and R&R). These types of terrorists used to lay up with prostitutes in downtown Tal Afar, which isn’t so uncommon – for years brothels have been an excellent source of information against al Qaeda from Mosul to Baghdad. The al Qaeda terrorists don’t save themselves for the seventy two virgins promised to suicide bombers. They love drugs, prostitutes, and the power of the gun. The gay al Qaeda informant in Moment of Truth in Iraq is classic. Whenever his al Qaeda lovers abused him, he supplied American forces information to kill them.

Holy Brothel

The writing on his chest says “Mujahadeen Tal Afar.” American soldiers told me this image was captured in a raid. The ring and watch on his right hand and wrist indicate he is a “holy warrior,” although his beard might have been shaved as cover. Officers told me this guy was killed, but they had no ready confirmation. In any case, it would be interesting to see the faces of al Qaeda financiers in places like Saudi Arabia, if they saw how their money is being spent. And that’s the truth about al Qaeda.

Today I am in Iraq. Tomorrow Europe, and within the week, back to Texas. About a month later, I should be back in what is left of the war. There is relatively little fighting going on these days.

Please buy a copy of Moment of Truth in Iraq. The book will ship immediately if you buy here, and proceeds will help me get back to Iraq and Afghanistan. The book will arrive in stores on 23 April.


[Note from Webmaster]: I spoke to Michael by phone shortly after publishing this article. He was standing in an airport in Irbil, Iraq waiting to board a flight. I mentioned to him about one of the comments pointing out the photo being altered. He wanted me to convey that he was aware that the text appearing across the man's chest was not a tattoo. He also advised that the photo was as he received it, and that several Iraq men he had shown it to had also commented about the writing.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    46Romeo · 12 years ago
    It was mentioned that we often get intel from prostitutes. If that is the case then the last thing we would want to do is make them targets. By showing this woman's face and using it as a tool to discredit the al Qaeda we are essentially setting her up to die. If that happens, I imagine confidence in us to protect our assets will decrease.

    I would say blurring her face would not be out of order.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dennis · 12 years ago
    To Derek: Wether those are GIs or Canadian tourists, do you have any idea the amount of sexual suppression Al Qaeda has tried to enforce on Iraq? In Baqubah, according to Yon's earlier dispatches, people were beaten for carrying tomatoes and cutcumbers in the same bag because it was sexually suggestive. That's what makes these incidents so remarkable.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dean N · 12 years ago
    Always enjoy your excellent journalism, and bought the book.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    GeorgeC · 12 years ago
    Safe trip home.

    FYI, I received your book today. Can't wait to start it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    GeorgeC · 12 years ago
    Safe trip home
    FYI. your book arrived in the mail today. Will be sitting down to read in just a few moments.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mikeyslaw · 12 years ago
    received the book today. reading tonight. stay safe. tell our guys they are the best.
    God Bless America.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kyle · 12 years ago
    Sorry, I haven't read the article yet, because I was immediately drawn to the photo.

    I'm pretty certain that the lettering on the chest was added in after the picture was taken. It's a fake.

    Zoom in on his right pectoral, where it's starting to meet the shaded area in his armpit.

    Notice how there's a lighter shade outlining the lettering where it should be much darker?

    Also, it doesn't conform to the contours of his skin. It's very flat, as if it were typed onto the photo. Either this is a fraud or he has a pretty clever optical illusion on his chest.

    You should probably take this off to be on the safe side. Keep up the good work, and be careful with images!

    - KB
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kyle · 12 years ago
    Reading some of the comments.
    If it wasn't your intention to suggest that the writing on his chest is a tattoo, you should maybe clarify a little bit for us slower guys. It looks like thats what the photo intends to do.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian OHalloran · 12 years ago
    Michael -- My copy arrived today at the house. I'm pumped, can't wait! Be Safe. Brian
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marjorie Harris · 12 years ago
    I'm so excited! I received the two autographed copies of Moment of Truth today - one for me and one for my son and his family. My 18 year old grandson is considering joining the Army very soon. Something he has wanted to do since he was a small child. I am in the process of moving out of the county I am in, but will be in touch still. I will continue to send my pititul donations to you as I have for some time now.
    Your dispatches have been wonderful - truthful and no frou-frou. Your photos are beyond compare.
    I wish you safety and good health and continued pursuit of the truth! You are my hero!
    Marjorie from North Carolina
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DirtCrashr · 12 years ago
    Got the book last night, blogging briefly about it now, mainly it's great.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matthew Gonzaez · 12 years ago
    I got your book today as surprise gift from my brother. I'm still reading it, so far I don't think I can say anything about it that hasn't already been said, it is truly an amazing read, I feel like you're talking to me when I read it. If there's anything so far I've noticed from what you've written, its how American the Iraqis are. It seems like events are speeding up now, more fighting, Petraeus gave a good hearing to congress and a good interview with Brian Williams. Wherever you are out there Michael, please stay safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lisa Lyles · 12 years ago
    With you being so close to becoming killing do you get scaried? I mean you are so close to danger and could get shot at any time by someone with no remorse. You come in contact with so many strangers who are wierd. Do you ever just want to quit and give up? From what I know I know the war can very stressful so I want you to take some time out for your self. Even if it's just five minutes that is enough to sit and think about your life. Stay cool and be smart while your on that field!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    LaTanya James · 12 years ago
    Hi Michael,

    Its crazy to me that you put your life on the line everyday. At the same time I applaud you for your bravery. I know that many people don't support what's going on with the war, but I wish you and the rest of the soldiers the best of luck out there. Sometimes I wonder why soldiers risk their lives. I see now that its for our country and its safety. Because of that I support yoy 100%.

    Just hang in there with the hope that this will one day be all over...!!! Its good that we (viewers) have a good sense of what is really going on over there. The only source we have is the news and most of the time I feel as though that info isn't always correct. You have to experience it first hand inorder to talk about it. That's what I believe.

    From the previous comments left I see that you have a book. And from the viewers comments I can tell its pretty good. What inspired you to write this book? Where did this idea come about? I am really considering getting this book. It might have some information that is useful or that we should know.

    Well thanks Michael, for putting this Blog out. So that we really know whats going on in this world. You have been a great help. And I will keep you and the rest of the soldiers in my prayers. May God be with you and be brave for all of us.

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