Wednesday, October 20, 2004

They're not savages, they only kill Americans 

There is a happy ending for Australian freelance journalist John Martinkus, kidnapped and soon released by Iraqi insurgents.

Martinkus, of course, might go down in history as
the first man saved by an internet search engine:

"Iraqi insurgents who took Australian journalist John Martinkus hostage carried out a Google search on the internet to determine whether they should kill him. And when he turned out to be neither American nor CIA, but the author of a book about how the US is facing an uphill battle to beat the insurgents in Iraq, it almost certainly saved his life."
Well, the insurgents are a clever bunch; why would they execute a leftie journo who works for Australia's public multicultural TV station SBS, whose consistent choice of anti-Bush, anti-war documentaries would make Al Jazeera weep with envy? Martinkus' views, after all, are priceless:

"Mr Martinkus said his captors had threatened to kill him, but treated him with respect once they established he was independent.

" 'These guys ... (are) not stupid,' he told reporters. 'They're fighting a war but they're not savages... They're not actually just killing people willy-nilly... They talk to you, they think about things... (From their perspective) there was a reason to kill (British hostage Ken) Bigley, there was a reason to kill the Americans; there was not a reason to kill me (and) luckily I managed to convince them of that.

"Asked if he thought Iraq was on the road to recovery, Mr Martinkus said, "No, it's on the road to shit'."
No wonder they let him go: Martinkus as a talking head is so much more useful than a severed head.

Martinkus is also demanding a personal apology from Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer for suggesting that Martinkus is to blame for putting himself in danger by having wondered off, against official advice, into a dangerous part of Baghdad. In reality, Martinkus was kidnapped not too far from the Australian embassy (more
here). No word yet if Martinkus will be demanding apology from his kidnappers, too.


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