Could it be that Saddam’s last smoke will be an ‘Aspen?’ |

Could it be that Saddam’s last smoke will be an ‘Aspen?’

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Scanning a media database for mentions of Aspen usually turns up a few things we didn’t know, such as that “Aspen” brand cigarettes are best-sellers in Iraq.

According to the Dec. 23 issue of Time magazine, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company is being sued for facilitating smuggling of its products into Iraq, among other countries.

“To circumvent economic sanctions against Iraq, the lawsuit alleges, RJR used a former employee, who had become a cigarette distributor in Cyprus, to guide its Winstons and Aspens (the top-selling brand in Iraq) to Baghdad.

“There, Saddam’s son Uday, 38, collected ‘taxes’ on them.”

All part of the overall Aspen brand strategy, we guess.

@ATD Sub heds:The Bandar dispatch

@ATD body copy: The Columbus Dispatch wrote about the quality of Saudi Arabia as a U.S. ally in a Dec. 22 editorial. And it noted that at least one Aspen couple is on Osama’s list.

“Then there was the damaging revelation that Princess Haifa al-Faisal, the wife of Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the United States, passed money that ended up in the hands of two of the Sept. 11 terrorists,” the Dispatch wrote.

“Any accusation that the princess knowingly aided al-Qaida is ridiculous. She is a daughter of King Faisal, who was assassinated in 1975, in part because he had angered Islamic zealots by deciding that girls would have compulsory schooling.

“Her husband, Prince Bandar, smokes cigars, skis in Aspen, Colo., and stands for everything that Osama bin Laden loathes about the Saudi government. Al-Qaida would wish the both of them dead.”

No word yet on how Osama feels about other citizens of Aspen, but don’t wait too long for a Christmas card from him.

@ATD Sub heds:That ?70s feeling

@ATD body copy: The New York Times seemed to have slight Aspen fixation last Sunday, Dec. 22.

In a travel story on Aspen’s sister city of Queenstown, New Zealand, writer James Brooke noted that “on our last day, on the Air New Zealand plane to Auckland, we bumped into Sharon Hoffman, a friend from Colorado and a resident of the actual Aspen. How did Queenstown compare?

“‘We went horseback riding in Glenorchy, and saw where they filmed ‘Lord of the Rings,’ bubbled Sharon, who was chaperoning her daughter Maggie and five other teenagers from home. ‘We went jet boating, bungee jumping, luging and to a sheep farm. It’s what Aspen must have been like 20 or 30 years ago.'”

In 1972, being in Aspen might well have indeed produced euphoria similar to jet boating, bungee jumping, luging or going to a sheep farm.

@ATD Sub heds:The Little Nativity

@ATD body copy: In the same issue of the Times, Guy Trebay wrote a piece about Christmas cards that began with a question.

“Did the Nativity take place in Aspen? If not, then how come the mailbox is filled each December with cards depicting blessed families ? Daddy, Mommy and beaming infant swaddled in goose down ? posed in the snow below the Little Nell?

“There is ample historical evidence to suggest that the birth of the Christian Savior did not occur in rural Colorado.”

But maybe Trebay is on to something. Maybe the birth of the “Christian Savior” did actually occur near near Little Nell, which explains why so many of its guests seem to walk on water.

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