Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The hostages and the Horror 

Two Australians, working as security guards, have allegedly been kidnapped along the highway between Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul by an outfit graphically calling itself the Horror Brigades of the Islamic Secret Army. The group made the following demands:

"We tell the infidels of Australia that they have 24 hours to leave Iraq or the two Australians will be killed without a second chance. The Prime Minister must announce the withdrawal personally if he is concerned about his two citizens."
So far, all Australians in Iraq seemed to be accounted for, although a possibility remains that some unknown Australian nationals might have been working for one of many private security firms there. Meanwhile, a security expert quoted by the "Australian" says that the tight time-frame combined with the lack of any detail seems rather suspicious:
"Traditionally these organisations put out as much information as they can, names of people, images and nothing like that has come out... At this stage I do find it a little unusual that they haven't released other images or names, something to capitalise. And if you're going to give a 24-hour warning that people are going to be executed without demands met then you'd think that more progress would have been made."
The last word goes to the Prime Minister John Howard:
"I don't want to go back over old ground in relation to Spain and the Philippines, but the truth is you do not buy immunity from conduct of this kind by giving in. That is why we were unhappy about what happened both in relation to Spain and the Philippines."


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