Another crazy conspiracy theory I'd never heard of - that Saddam Hussein owned a Stargate, and that the US had to invade to take it from him.

For those not in the know, Stargate is a film/TV franchise from the '90s. In the original movie, a large stone ring is found in the desert. The ring is used like a large rotary phone and opens a wormhole to other parts of the galaxy, where other beings live. Travelling through the wormhole is near-instantaneous.

As stated in the audio clip, which is from the History channel, there's a ziggurat at Ur which is where the stargate was supposedly located. The conspiracy holds that the Anunnaki, who the Sumerians of the area worshipped, were not gods but aliens. They visit earth every few thousand years from the planet Nibiru to help humanity along. I guess that a stargate makes it much easier to pop back once in a while.

Saddam Hussein restored the stairs leading to the ziggurat, which was supposedly to allow for easier access to the stargate. The US presumably decided to invade because it was too dangerous to allow Iraq to have access to advanced alien technologies.

As with these kinds of conspiracy theories, there's some circumstantial evidence to back up the claims - such as the idea that, although the US army were responsible for a lot of damage of sites of historical interest in Iraq after the invasion, the ziggurat at Ur was protected and defended. There's also a supposed picture of the stargate, which a local skeptic instantly recognised as a tunnel boring machine.

There's a CNN report on the stargate, which I found rather odd as it read very uncritically. Then I spotted that CNN has a part of their website called iReport where anyone can upload a news story, presumably in the hope that it gets picked up by the news service. Once a report's been uploaded, you are given a URL to it and can share that URL as if the report was published by CNN.

This isn't the only wacky story about Iraq - their Transport Minister recently told a press conference that Iraq is home to the world's oldest runway, at 7,000 years old -and that the Sumerians used this runway to visit space.