The year was 1979 and America was desperate to free its hostages who had been held in Iran.
With very scanty intelligence information to go by, they resorted to using the supernatural.
In an operation code-named Grill Flame, half a dozen psychics working inside a dimly-lit room in an ancient building in Fort Meade, Maryland, tried to peer through the ether to see where the hostages were being held and how tightly they were guarded.
The psychics worked for the US army intelligence and were even consulted before the super-secret US military raid that attempted to free the hostages in April 1980.
When the hostages were eventually released in 1981, they were interviewed and the information that had been provided by the psychics was found to be, by some estimates, about 45 per cent accurate.
“That was information that could not be obtained through normal intelligence collection channels, the report said. The degree of success appears to, at least, equal, if not surpass, other collection methods.”
In spite of its relative success, Grill Flame and other uncanny intelligence operations have been kept a top secret for the fear that “they would be buried in ridicule”.
However, in an interview in 2005, former US President Jimmy Carter admitted that his administration had enlisted the help of the supernatural to determine the location of a plane that had gone missing in the heart of Africa.
“We had a plane go down in the Central African Republic — a twin-engine plane, small plane. And we couldn’t find it, even with satellite photography,” Carter said.
“So, the director of the CIA came and told me that he had contacted a woman in California that claimed to have supernatural capabilities. And she went in a trance, and she wrote down latitudes and longitudes, and we sent our satellite over that latitude and longitude, and there was the plane.”
Even if the ridiculing voices persist, the reality is that most major armies in the world have a trained unit of people who use extra-sensory perception (ESP) to spy on their enemies.
It is a tactic that dates back to the days of the Bible when Israel had a prophet who told the king what his enemies were planning. Therefore, the king of Syria called his inner circle and tasked them to tell him who the mole in the house was.
“And one of his servants said, ‘None of us, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom’.”
If Israel used the foreknowledge of a prophet to gain an advantage over her enemies, shouldn’t Uganda use the uncanny abilities of our own Prophet Elvis Mbonye?
The UPDF was heavily involved (officially or otherwise) in the civil wars that broke out in Burundi and South Sudan. However, several months before the guns were drawn, Mbonye had prophesied about both wars before an audience of hundreds, that later grew to thousands.
Could our soldiers have been better prepared for those events if they had taken the words of the prophet as more than just the rumblings of a preacher?
In an earlier incident, in 2012, Mbonye had clearly described what he supernaturally saw as UPDF choppers in flames en route to Somalia, a prophecy that was well publicized long before it unfolded.
That time, perhaps because of the seriousness of the matter, he even sent word to the army top brass cautioning them against sending choppers to Mogadishu. Predictably, his words were dismissed and, in August of that year, the consequences were on all front pages.
On the one hand are the thousands who follow Mbonye every week and are glad to see the prophecies come to pass. On the other are his vociferous critics who, having found no fault in the accuracy of his prophecies, have elected to direct their rage towards his ostensibly extravagant lifestyle.
But Prophet Mbonye can and should be much more than a splitter of opinion. The most powerful intelligence organizations in the world dedicate a fraction of their resources to training people in the use of ESP techniques and would be glad to have 30 per cent accuracy.
In Uganda, we have a prophet with such credentials, whose precision in predicting local, national and world events has been proven over the years. It is about time the nation’s decision makers saw this extraordinary gift for what it actually is; an asset to this nation.
The author is a journalist and a gospel minister.
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