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Kidnappers Threaten to Kill Peace Activists


By Bassem Mroue, The Associated Press

Baghdad - The kidnappers of four Christian peace activists threatened to kill the hostages unless all prisoners in US and Iraqi detention centers are released, according to a videotape broadcast Friday by al-Jazeera television.

The tape showed what the broadcaster said were two Canadian hostages. An American and a Briton are also being held. The kidnappers gave the two governments until Dec. 8 to meet their demands, al-Jazeera quoted a statement delivered with the tape as saying.

The Canadians were shown eating from plates of what appeared to be Arabic sweets. In a second clip, the British and American hostages were shown to talking to the camera but no audio was transmitted. All four men appeared frightened.

The hostages called on the US and British governments to withdraw from Iraq, al-Jazeera reported, quoting a statement from the kidnappers, who earlier identified themselves as the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, a previously unknown group.

The corner of the video showed two crossed black swords and the name of the insurgent group written in red Arabic script - the same emblem shown in an earlier video of the hostages.

The group has claimed that the kidnapped men, from the Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams, were spies working under the cover of peace activists. The group denied spying.

Greg Rollins, a Canadian member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, said news of the death threat was disturbing.

"It's a bit of a shock," said Rollins, who had not yet seen the new video. He said he hoped the kidnappers would respond to messages of support from Muslims and other Arabs for the group, which opposes the war in Iraq.

"Hopefully they will continue to read those things and get a positive idea of what we do here and who my teammates are."

The activists were seized Saturday near Baghdad University. A car blocked their car, gunmen got out, threw the driver and translator out and drove away with the four captives, security officials said Thursday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

The men were kidnapped at the same place where Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto, was seized Feb. 4 and held for a month by a group calling itself Mujahedeen Without Borders. That group had not been known before and has not been heard from since, but may be using a different name.

The Christian activists - Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Virginia; Norman Kember, 74, of London; James Loney, 41, of Toronto; and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, of Canada - had been repeatedly warned by Iraqi and Western security officials that they were taking a grave risk by moving about Baghdad without bodyguards.

A German archaeologist, Susanne Osthoff, 43, also disappeared recently. On a video made public Nov. 29, kidnappers threatened to kill her unless Germany stops dealing with the Iraqi government. Osthoff, who speaks Arabic, had helped distribute aid in Iraq.

The new abductions of Westerners come after a months-long hiatus. The gruesome killings of past hostages have brought criticism from many Arabs, including an influential Egyptian cleric who issued a fatwa saying that since Iraq remains in a state of war, the kidnapping of those involved in the war is allowed but hostages should not be killed.

Some security experts believe the surge of kidnappings may be a result of lax security, attempts by insurgents to mix up tactics in an intense period of car bombings and suicide attacks - or a desire to disrupt this month's elections.

Insurgents, including al-Qaida in Iraq, have seized more than 225 people in Iraq, killing at least 38.

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This paragraph grabbed my attention in particular:

The men were kidnapped at the same place where Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto, was seized Feb. 4 and held for a month by a group calling itself Mujahedeen Without Borders. That group had not been known before and has not been heard from since, but may be using a different name.

Considering the CPT role in exposing abuses by the occupation forces one wonders about the motivations involved and where they might originate. The Sgrena kidnapping seemed similarly counter-productive for anyone involved in fighting against those forces and ended in the "accidental" killing of her rescuer by U.S forces.

Taking account of the Bush regime's strong inclinations to silence any and all voices of dissent by any means (including the alleged impulse to bomb "bad" news facilites) my cynicism-paranoia mode has shifted into high gear again.
__

“Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake!

I guess what always bothers me is the way the camera always adds 10 pounds to kidnappers and amateur actors . . .

I see these "insurgent" kidz in the streets, sometimes in pieces, and they always look so skinny. But you put them in masks and in front of a kidnapper's video camera making demands over a journalist or peace-activist and "BANG" . . . suddenly they look like very well fed guys that spend a lot of time at the gym, drinking "Power Shakes" and such. . .and they never have "necks."

Yup, that ol' camera sure does distort "reality."

"He'll eat nutritious, high protein
And swallow raw eggs
Try to build up his shoulders
His chest, arms, and legs
Such an effort
If he only knew of my plan
In just seven days
I can make you a man"
- I Can Make You a Man from Rocky Horror Picture Show

peace.

The CPT is a very noble organization. For the most part they have been involved in Israel witnessing the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Thanks to the CPT the abuses by USA soldiers in the prison camps would not been exposed. My friend Leanne Clausen was instrumental in exposing this abuse by emailing us letting us know what was going on.

The CPT know the risk involved when they are witnessing. They are not suicidal, they want to see that the abuse that we in the name of Jesus inflict upon Muslims and other religions stop. They want to see us live in harmony with everyone else.

I hope that the kidnappers read this and that they find in their hearts that the CPT is of more value to them if they're not hostages because they are keeping us informed of the abuses. Thanks to the CPT many of us want to see that the war in Iraq stops.

We have no business in that illegal war. The CPT informed us of the illegalities and abuses committed by our forces. In fact had it not been for them Mr. Bush would not have been exposed as a liar and imperialist.

Kidnappers you got the wrong people as hostages, mainly because they are prepared to give their lives up bringing peace and love. I believe that though they are ready to die they do not want to die, and that they have forgiven you already. Think about it. Do you think that Mr. Bush is going to try to rescue someone that has exposed the injustices that we have done to you? I seriously doubt it. In fact he probably will be more than glad you did him a favor by killing them.

At this point, I would not be at all surprised to find out the kidnappers work for Kellogg, Brown & Root.

Everyone please sign the petition urging Senator Boxer to get out in front on Election Fraud. Diebold is currently rolling into California and North Carolina just in time for '06. Unless a prominent politician (NOT Kerry, ahem) speaks out and forces the mainstream media to address this issue, we're all in big, big trouble. Boxer was the only senator to stand up against the seating of the electors in January. I believe she can be swayed. Urge everyone you know who cares about the fate of America to sign this petition:

www.petitiononline.com/boxer123

Thanks!

LET MY PEOPLE, GO !
.
LET EM ALL GO !
.
Let My ( Earth Citizen, - Peace Buds, ) Brothers & Sisters Go !

Let Em Go On With Their Lives !

And Then... Come on over to COMMUNITY

Where Peace Can B, Love Can Grow,

Cream Cakes Can B As Free As We All

... And Smash Thoes Damn Guns & Bombs 2 Hell All Over the EARTH

... All Our GODS Will Love Us All 4 It...

Can't Wait 2 See U All

.......FREE-ER.......
.
Hay kidnappers... I Say

Please, Come On, Please,

I Beg Of U

With All My Heart

LET MY PEOPLE GO !
.

PS. U Politicians, U Builder of Guns & U So Called Leaders

Who Sleep Deep In Your Sick Pile of Money

Get Out Of OUR Way 2 A More Peace-Full Earth
.
PS 2. PASS THIS ON 2 the Kid-Nappers,
Tonight,
4 Real
.
Thank U, Roger Drowne EC
.

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