Jeanne, the stringer


The second gulf war, I was doing some consulting for the Red Crescent, acting as an intermediary between their public relations office and the foreign press. At least officially. Off there record, I was there at the behest of a Swiss bank (which must remain unnamed), to coordinate the movement of billions of dollars worth of gold, belonging to various Baath party members, and getting it to Zurich via chartered plane. The operation was so well coordinated, I didn’t even need to be there, and thus, spent most of my time mixing with various military officers and members of the press, first in Kuwait, then later in the green zone.

I met Jeanne while under the guise of my front. A photographer for one of the wire services, she confided in me that she kept her best shots for herself and planned to do a fine art show with them when she returned to the UK. We slept together most every day of the war, though I was always weary of the possibility that she may be using me to help get her shots.

However, she never asked me to help her get embedded with American military units or humanitarian aid agencies. She just went about her business, filed her photos, then came and found me drinking every couple of nights.

I became obsessed with her cool demeanor within the war zone, and slowly let my guard down, revealing my real reasons for being in country. While I was falling in love, she was collecting evidence for an expose she would eventually pen for the Times of London about the shady dealings of the Red Crescent. Never trust a photographer who says they wouldn’t like to be a reporter.

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