Funny afterwards

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Every room in the Rasheed Hotel is wired for sound.

By Paul Eedle

Someone asked me on a live chat whether I'd heard of the trick with the phone and the radio in your hotel room. The phone and the radio are bugged, so if you put them close together, it creates a load of feedback and an Iraqi security man gets sore ears. But he said they get their own back on you by ringing you up in the middle of the night.

I didn't try the feedback trick. But when the Iraqi intelligence services wanted me to know they were there, I certainly got the message.

I was asleep in my room in the Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad. At 10 to 3 in the morning, the phone rang.

"Did you order a wake-up call?"

"No."

"This is your wake-up call."

"Thank you."

I went back to sleep.

The phone rang. My heart raced.

"Did you order some iced water from room service?"

"No."

"Is it hot in your room? Have you got the window open?"

"No."

"Is your window open or closed?"

I decided not to answer any more.

"Is your air conditioning working? Would you like me to come and fix the air conditioning?"

There were two more calls, spaced just far enough apart so that I had fallen asleep. But these times nobody spoke.

At seven a.m., the phone rang again.

"Your wake-up call, sir."

I got up.

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