Hamody Jasim – The Terrorist Whisperer
Hamody Jasim has been one of America’s greatest weapons in fighting the terror war against AL Qaeda and ISIS and his story is extraordinary.
His math teacher was armed, and could decide to kill him at any time. The same was true for most of his teachers, but this was normal in Iraq. Hamody Jasim, just a young boy, was used to it.
He knew not to argue with a teacher – ever – for many were members of the Baath Party. “Imagine being taught math by a serial killer,” Hamody says. Most of the teachers also carried sticks, frequently used to beat the students.
“It was like prison,” Hamody remembers. “We looked like animals.”
Still, Hamody was unaware of the politics behind the brutality. He simply understood it was not safe to trust anybody – not even family – for fear that any perceived offense would be manipulated into a report, which often lead to imprisonment and execution.
“A pen can kill you before a gun does,” was the saying so often heard throughout Iraq when Hamody was a young boy. Indeed, Hamody learned this lesson himself in the most terrifying way possible.
The Death Of Hamody Jasim’s Childhood
Hamody vividly remembers the day any small semblance of a childhood ended for him. He was walking home from school when he was stopped by a Baath officer.
No way was he going to hand over the money in his pocket, even when the officer asked him if he had any. He’d been saving for too long to buy himself a pair of shoes. He wasn’t about to give it up.
So he lied, and told the officer he didn’t have any money.
“If I search you and find any money,” the officer warned, “It will be the last day of your life.”
The warning was accompanied by a hard blow to his head, and Hamody fell to the ground. He couldn’t hear anything out of his right ear.
Somewhere inside the soul of the twelve-year-old boy, something roared. He’d been taking this abuse for so long, and he was sick of it.
He cursed back, invoking the officer’s sister in that curse. That fleeting moment of defiance almost cost Hamody his life.
Imprisoned and Tortured
The officer threw Hamody into a car and drove him to the Iraqi Ministry Interior. There he was lead inside, past cages, into the prison.
Frightened and confused, Hamody took the pen as he was told, and signed the document where he was told. True to the expression he’d so often heard, he’d unknowingly signed a false confession, admitting to the attempted murder of that Baath Officer.
“Some people say Hitler was the worst,” says Hamody, “but to Iraq, Saddam was the worst.”
Under Saddam’s regime, twelve-year-old Hamody was tossed into prison with adults. They lived on concrete. He was tortured and beaten every day for weeks. “I was tired, exhausted, hit and beat every day,” Hamody remembers.
With a few coins he’d been able to hide from the officer, Hamody bribed a guard to get word to his family. Then the young boy waited for rescue or death, for there was no in-between.
Finally, his family was able to pay for his release. Hamody, who’d entered that prison a child, left as an anti-government adult.
Though physically freed from that nightmare, Hamody could not escape the horror of his experience.
Depression and oppression followed him through each day. Even as he battled his trauma he was forced to endure the continued menace and brutality of kids at school.
Placed on probation after his release, Hamody knew there’d be no rescue for him if he fought back against the beatings he received from kids whose families were Baath Party members.
“Sometimes I just had to take the punches and walk home like nothing happened,’ he recalls.
His grades dropped as he avoided school. He withdrew into himself, avoiding people and life in general.
But that all changed the day his family received an unexpected visit.
It could be a trick, but the man in Hamody’s front door was whiter than anyone he’d ever seen – too
white to be an Iraqi. It had been five years since Hamody was released from prison. He could hardly believe the day he’d dreamed about all these years had come.
“Sir where are you from?’ Hamody asked the American soldier at his door. “Texas,” came the reply.
Still wary of false hope, Hamody asked the American if the United States was going to leave again, or if they were here to stay. When the American assured Hamody and his family the United States was here to stay this time, it was,
“Like I woke from a bad dream. The nightmare was over,” says Hamody.
Seventeen-year-old Hamody ran to the recruiting station. He was the fifth in line, with no one behind him, as he waited for his turn to sign another paper that would change his life – this time for the greater good.
Undaunted by the American recruiter telling him he was too young to enlist, Hamody ran out, found someone to forge a new ID, and returned to the recruiting station, where the amused American conceded to Hamody’s eagerness – after Hamody had his mother unwittingly sign her consent.
That was the day Hamody took his own life back, and the day the time clock on terror began counting down.
“I went through that door and literally – all the pain in my life was just gone out the window,’ Hamody says. “I felt for the first time in my life it was time to stand up for change and I could be part of that change.”
He was given a gun and the opportunity to fight for his rights. He was able to fight back against those that had destroyed his childhood. He relished the beauty of the shift in power, as the terrorists went from being in power to being chased.
The Terrorist Whisperer
Over the course of the next few years, Hamody took the fight right back to the terrorists. He rescued Iraqi citizens who’d been kidnapped by terrorists. He fought in his country’s military with the single-minded determination to beat the evil that shattered so many lives.
Hamody’s determination and aptitude for beating the terrorists at their own game outmatched his own fear. He’s been dubbed “The Terrorist Whisperer” for his innate knowledge of the terrorists’ mindsets and ability to outwit them.
After surviving a particularly hellacious battle on Haifa Street, nineteen-year-old Hamody was promoted to become the youngest Command Sergeant Major in Iraq’s history. From there he was recruited by US Intelligence, and became the United States’ greatest intelligence asset in Iraq
Today Hamody lives as a proud American, in the country he proudly worked alongside of to defeat terrorists in his homeland. He continued his work here, serving as an anti-terrorism consultant. Now he shares his story in his book , The Terrorist Whisperer in keynote speeches and online airings of commentary on current events.
His story is extraordinary, packed with horror and valor. He epitomizes the power of human will, and this country owes him a great debt.
Follow Hamody Jasim
Latest posts by Barb Allen (see all)
- From Stressed to Strong with Laurie A. Watkins - October 15, 2018
- Beyond Benghazi with John “TIG” Tiegen - October 5, 2018
- Dr. Ruben West: Turning Personal Challenges Into Opportunity - September 28, 2018