Peace Activists Kidnapped in Same Mosque as Giuliana Sgrena

When we first noticed the eary similarities between the Giuliana Sgrena kidnapping and the kidnapping of the four Western peace activists in Iraq, we had no idea just how uncanny the two situations would become. It turns out that American Thomas Fox, Canadians Harmeet Singh Sooden and James Loney, and British citizen Norman Kember were kidnapped in the exact same spot as Giuliana Sgrena.

Up to this point we have refrained from speculating that this hostage crisis could have been staged by the terror organization so that they could later release the hostages in a show of 'goodwill'. Our many readers and fellow bloggers have not been so restrained. However, in light of this new information...well, consider it a thought in the back of our collective heads which we just can't help thinking. In no way would this have to mean that the hostages were in on the hoax, only that the threat against their lives might not be real--especially if they were known by the terrorists to sympathize with their cause.

Why would terrorists do this? Well, look what happened during the Giuliana Sgrena crisis. Sgrena, who's sympathies were with the terrorists anyway, was more than happy to cry on cue and demand that Italy withdraw immediately from Iraq. The reaction from the Italian Left was overwhelming and the pressure mounted on the Burlesconi government to leave. Terrorists are not stupid. They choose tactics that they believe work. If it seemed to work once.....

If this is the case, then it is good news for the hostages as their eventual release is almost gauranteed. For the sake of the hostages, we hope this is so.

Guardian (hat tip Alicia):

Four Christian peace activists held hostage in Iraq were kidnapped at the same place where an Italian journalist was abducted, raising the possibility one group carried out both attacks, police said Thursday.

The style of the abduction also was similar: The activists were seized Saturday in the vicinity of a mosque 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. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media....

While in captivity, Sgrena also appeared in a video. She begged for her life and warned foreigners to leave the country.

Iraqi police Lt. Thaer Mahmoud said Thursday that the activists were kidnapped in the same place as Sgrena, whose release on March 4 touched off a tragic friendly fire incident that strained relations between Italy and the United States.

Of course, the major hitch in this theory is that I first found the hostage video after a friend of mine pointed out that it was posted on a terrorist website.

Posted by: Rusty at 07:29 PM


1 Perhaps Guiliana will get a message to them to stay off Route Irish.

Posted by: Oyster at December 01, 2005 07:56 PM

2 I do believe I smell a big fat rat!

Posted by: jesusland joe at December 01, 2005 08:30 PM

3 The plot sickens.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at December 01, 2005 08:37 PM

4 Carlos, you'll be hearing from my copyright attorney.


Posted by: Vinnie at December 01, 2005 09:04 PM

5 Wow. My surprise meter didn't even twitch.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at December 01, 2005 09:30 PM

6 Vinnie,

imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ;-)

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at December 01, 2005 09:43 PM

7 You said it Robert; I think this is just a scam to raise money for the terrorists. I'd like to meet one of the "peacemaker" assholes and introduce him to eternal peace personally.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 01, 2005 11:02 PM

8 I can assure you that this organization would never knowingly fund violent acts of any sort. CPT has two policies regarding kidnapped members - please do not secure a rescue by means of force and please do not pay a ransom where the moneys will be used to fund further acts of violence.

As for the hostage-takers, perhaps this is the same group and, as Rusty suggests, perhaps this is an attempt on their part to claim deja vu all over again. That said, there's barely a street or square of Baghdad that hasn't seen a kidnapping at some point over the past three years. Most of the hostages are innocent Iraqi civilians who go unreported in the press, despite CPT's best efforts to the contrary. See a list of past CPT press releases below.

Posted by: Rob at December 01, 2005 11:48 PM

9 Rob:
What a stupid organization! do you have to have a below normal IQ to be accepted?

So they would prefer have their head sawed off with a Bowie knife until losing consciousness from blood loss, than have a SF team execute those that not only want to kill them, but also attack civilians with car bombs? they do what for civilians again? oh, yes catalog "american atrocities"

btw. can you show me documentation referring to the "innocence" of the Iraqi citizens you refer to:

Most of the hostages are innocent Iraqi civilians who go unreported in the press

perhaps just "iraqi civilians" would suffice.

Posted by: dave at December 02, 2005 12:04 AM

10 Agent Jones has discovered that Iraq has a lot of sand.

Posted by: Agent Smith at December 02, 2005 06:06 AM

11 Agent Brown, after consultation with the Architect and the NYT has found that "Iraqi and American officials in Iraq say the single most important fact about the insurgency is that it consists not of a few groups but of dozens, possibly as many as 100...Attack any single part of it, and the rest carries on largely untouched...the insurgency, for the most part, has no head."

Agent Jones calculates that it is hard to target the rebellion's 50-100 leaders because no one is leading it.

Agent Smith has no comment.

Posted by: Agent Smith at December 02, 2005 06:27 AM

12 Re "innocent" civilians:

This summer, the Iraq Body Count project published an analysis of casualties in the Iraq War that must be admired for its meticulous documentation. This study reports 24,865 civilian deaths in the first two years of the Iraq War, an apparent ringing endorsement of the "Iraq in chaos" position. But a curious statistical anomaly jumps right off page one: over 81% of the civilian casualties are men. Even stranger, over 90% of civilian casualties are adults in a country with a disproportionate percentage of the population under 18 (44.5%). This contradicts a basic tenet of the civilian casualty argument, namely that we are describing collateral damage during a time of war. Collateral damage does not differentiate between male and female, between child and adult. A defective smart bomb falling in a marketplace, stray bullets ripping through bedroom walls, city warfare in Fallujah – all these activities should produce casualties that reflect the ratio of men to women or adults to children that prevail in Iraq as a whole. If the death of innocent civilians is at issue, then the gender/age data can be used to estimate the percentage of actual civilians killed. Below, the data for female and underage casualties provides the basis for determining a true, pure civilian "body count" figure of 7,976. More:

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at December 02, 2005 10:22 AM

13 You're being misled, that is not a "single important fact" that is the characteristic of just about every insurgency including Burma, Palastine, Malay, Algeria and Vietnam.

Counter-insurgency normally takes place by segregation of population, cutting supply lines, paid informants, sabotage, propaganda and bringing parties into the political arena.

The classic parts of counter-insurgency can be seen in Vietnam with the sabotaging of enemy ammunition in ammo dumps, and rice burns (cutting off the food supply) and ariel bombardments of the supply lines throughout Vietnam.

Posted by: dave at December 02, 2005 10:49 AM

14 Carlos, your link to LogicTimes was fascinating. I have only one question though. Should those numbers (while perhaps not making a huge difference) be adjusted for a culture which keeps its women and children indoors moreso than a culture such as ours?

Just a thought.

Posted by: Oyster at December 02, 2005 11:38 AM

15 Good link Carlos. I'm glad someone is actually going to the trouble to compile real numbers which show without a doubt that most of the "civilian" casualties, were really terrorists who bought the farm. Of course, the libtards will reject this out of hand, even when every single image on TV and the internet shows "insurgents" wearing civilian clothes.
With the numbers given, that's 20,141 adult males, and 4,724 women and children killed in the first two years. I'm just guessing that the ratio of actual civilian adults-to-children killed is probably about 1:3, with men and women making up equal portions of the actual civilian adult death toll, and if that's close to accurate, that means that the adult male actual civilian casualty count would be one-sixth of the children, which comes to about 3,149, which is 524.
Subtract that number from the total of adult males killed, and you get 19,167, which, when considering all the battles fought, seems like a reasonable number of casualties, especially when compared to similar engagements wherein irregular forces facing US forces suffered losses of anywhere from 10:1 to 20:1. In summary, given the numbers, they've killed over 2000 of ours, and we've probably by now killed approximately 30,000 of theirs, a ratio of 15:1, which means we're winning, and will continue to do so, unless the traitorcrats and leftards are allowed to subvert this war like they did in Vietnam.

PS. At this ratio, given that there are one billion muslims in the world, and that about half are male, with a 15:1 loss ratio, if they were to launch a global jihad, we (the Western world) would only lose 33 million males by the time they had no more males left. In short, jihad is statistically guaranteed to destroy islam, as long as we have the will to fight.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 02, 2005 11:51 AM

16 Carlos: Nevermind. He answered the question in the comments. The "reported" 18.3% of women and the statistically assumed number of 49.5% are too far apart and even major adjustments would not account for such a discrepency.

The guy is very smart. And handles hate mail adeptly. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Oyster at December 02, 2005 11:55 AM

17 IM: Can you calculate the time frame for that as well? I mean, just so we can give the Dems a pullout date, you know.

Posted by: Oyster at December 02, 2005 12:00 PM

18 Dave, please clarify. Are you suggesting that there are no innocent civilians to be found in a country with a population of approx. 25 million people? Statistically speaking, that seems like a bit of a stretch, don't you think?

According to recent reports (, Donald Rumsfeld estimates that there are as many as 20,000 armed insurgents operating in Iraq with the support of perhaps another 200,000 non-combatant loyalists. By that estimate, over 99% of the Iraqi population would consist of innocent civilians.

Carlos, thanks for backing up your argument with some solid stats. Some of the gender discrepancy you describe could theoretically be the result of a "shoot first, ask questions later" policy (i.e. they're not the result of stray bullets but bullets targeted very deliberately at adult males, many of whom end up being innocent victims). Also, given the firmly entrenched gender mores within Muslim society, I suspect Iraqi insurgents would be more likely to bully the male heads of houshold, business owners, etc. That said, I agree that the discrepancy could also stem from a potential bias on the part of the reporting organization as well as some successful localized propaganda efforts on the part of the insurgents. My guess is that it's some combination of the above factors.

Posted by: Rob at December 02, 2005 12:05 PM

19 "Some of the gender discrepancy you describe could theoretically be the result of a "shoot first, ask questions later" policy (i.e. they're not the result of stray bullets but bullets targeted very deliberately at adult males, many of whom end up being innocent victims)."

This is exactly the sort of thing that people seize upon as a basis for argument without any supporting data or empirical evidence and slip in generalities like "some" and the word "theory" so they can wiggle out when called on it. It's irresponsible.

Posted by: Oyster at December 02, 2005 12:37 PM

20 No I am objecting to your label of "innocent" in combination with "civilians", when it is obvious that some of the dead were indeed Insurgents, or nationalists that were involved in either logistical or fiancial support for the insurgency, or were insurgents themselves.

As a large portion of Iraq's male population were involved in the military, police or intelligence agencies and a large portion of these were displaced with the idiotic dismissal of Iraq's regular armed forces it is with great probability that these were involved in the insurgency.

Those people whom provided "safehouses" for terrorists / insurgents and were killed in strategical strikes of those locations for example, are counted as civilian deaths but are not "innocent" the large amounts of insurgents and terrorists involved in this war that are using civilian "cover" is providing a very skeewed civilian bodycount due to the inability to distinguish them from civilians unless they are indeed masked, or armed when the body is examined.

Posted by: dave at December 02, 2005 01:23 PM

21 Oh hell, more math. Let's see, 10K dead a year out of an adult male population of about 6.25 million, (figuring males over the age of 15), comes to an annual casualty rate of 16%, which extrapolated annually for a global population of one billion, means that if every adult male muslim engaged in jihad, it would only take about 68 years to kill them all at the current rate, all other things, such as population growth, being equal. Of course, not all muslims engage in jihad, and their population is actually growing fairly steadily, which means that although many of them will die annually, the overall population will not really be effected, especially considering that polygamy is widely practiced among muslims, and even if half of all muslim men were killed on an annual basis, it would probably not effect the birth rate until the percentage of the male population above 15 years old fell so low that there were not enough men making to to reproductive age before they died, which is not likely to happen. What will most likely be the case is that enough muslims will stop listening to the fanatics that are getting them killed, and embrace civilized ways. Jihad will destroy itself eventually.
In any event, I believe the best hope for stopping islamofascism is not to kill its men, but to liberate its women and educate its children along Western lines from an early age, so as to avoid the culture shock that causes so many young men to take up jihad because of their inability to comprehend the modern world. Women are much easier to civilize than men, because they're naturally more civil in the first place, and tend to take to the trappings of civlization quicker than men do. This is why the most important war materiels being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan are not bombs and bullets, but books and school supplies, because the schoolchildren of today can be either jihadis or productive citizens tomorrow, and it's up to us to make them the latter, and not the former.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 02, 2005 02:11 PM

22 JC,
Interesting info.. Another point to consider is that I believe they are also counting revenge and other crime related killings, under the theory that the US is responsible for the breakdown in order. Men are probably more likely to be involved in crime or even inter tribal disputes.

Posted by: anomdebus at December 02, 2005 02:57 PM

23 Wow, Improb. I was about to pass you off as a troll. Thanks for proving me wrong.

While I don't agree with your rather paternalistic notion that Iraqis are savages in need of civilization and Western-style enlightenment, I do agree with your assessment that bombs, bullets, and systemic injustice are precisely what creates a breeding ground for extremism. Books and school supplies, coupled with an environment of toleration and the underlying support for a productive and culturally rich society, really does sound like a more viable recipe for a stable, democratic, and peaceful Iraq.

It's precisely that kind of tolerant environment that CPT and its workers are seeking to foster, one person and one family at a time. Given the space and opportunity, free from all of the 'us vs. them' and 'good vs. evil' rhetoric being spewed by the current administration, I believe the US military could play a similarly positive role. They did an excellent job in Bosnia, for instance, and the forces in Afghanistan have also managed to be fairly constructive overall (Despite being a pacifist, I've generally been supportive of the war in Afghanistan - it's been well-handled and I feel that it's had a positive net effect, both for global security and the civilian population).

The war in Iraq, on the other hand, got off to a bad start with the whole 'Axis of Evil' discussion and the rather silly attempts to blame Saddam Hussein for the horrible but entirely unrelated tragedy of 9/11. Where the war in Afghanistan has weakened Al Qaeda and the threat of terrorism, the war in Iraq has managed to strengthen both. Where the war in Afghanistan has led to a functioning though fragile democracy that has improved women's rights and the situation of the average Afghani, the ill-conceived war in Iraq has led to nothing but chaos, quagmire, and disfunction.

And Oyster - I was agreeing with you that there may be some bias and propaganda in the stats you reported. You'd better take it where you can get it. ;o)

Posted by: Rob at December 02, 2005 03:37 PM

24 Sorry Rob, I still don't buy the CPT line. They seem to me nothing but a bunch of "liberation theologists" who blame the evils of capitalism, and who see Communism as the ultimate expression of Christianity, and whose efforts will mean exactly nothing without someone to pave the way for a transition to a peaceful, and yes, Western style enlightenment. It really bothers me that you phrased it as if there is something wrong with the Greek foundation of civilization, because there isn't, and you know it. Besides, it's hard to enlighten kids when there are death squads roaming the countryside; we have to kill everyone who rejects civilization and would destroy it. It's just that simple.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 02, 2005 08:35 PM

25 Crap, got the numbers wrong. It's not 16%, but 1.6%. I seem to suck at math, but oh well, I'm still a genius, according to MENSA. Anyway, this corrected figure shows something entirely different, but even more substantial, and that's that if we're only killing 1.6% of the adult male population, that means that there's probably considerably less than 5% actively fighting. I say 5% because given their poor tactical ability, and penchant to stand and fight to the death, they are probably suffering pretty high casualties, and if there were more than 5%, their casualties would be much higher. In this conflict, their casualty numbers are not determined by our ability to kill them, but by how many they send to fight, because they get slaughtered every time they stand and fight, which is why they resort to IED's. my conclusion from the previous post still stands though; the jihad will destroy itself because we are winning the hearts and minds of the people by building schools and hospitals, and they're losing them by blowing up their kids with car bombs. Pretty soon, the Iraqi Army will be able to take over its own operations, US forces can withdraw, and the last pretend motivation for anyone to fight will be taken away, and those who remain will be shown for exactly what they are; thugs and murderers who only want to take over the country.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 03, 2005 10:07 AM

26 Leave Guiliana Segrena alone. I seriously doubt she faked her kidnapping. That's just ridiculous. Just because the woman is far left doesn't mean she would fake her kidnapping. I'm a Republican and I support the war in Iraq. I'm just saying you should lay off her. She saw a man die in her arms and was nearly killed herself. She has the right to believe in what she wants.

Posted by: George Ramos at December 03, 2005 03:29 PM

27 Agent Brown's calculations reveal a disturbing trend similar to that of Improbulus Maximus. Once America departs Iraq, the "insurgents" (Baathists, nationalists, SCIRIists, Badrists) are going to find and kill the "terrorists" (Zarqa, "goatboys", knifeboys and other trash).

American forces are merely a distraction that is preventing the nationalist "insurgents" from impaling Zarqawi's head on a stake for Al Jazeera's cameras. American forces are now slowly aligning with Baathists and Badrists in Metro Baghdad to wipe out the "terrorists".

Posted by: Agent Smith at December 04, 2005 03:47 AM

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