Thursday, March 30, 2006

The other shoe drops
American hostage released in Baghdad

Eighty-two days after she was dragged from her car at gunpoint, the American journalist Jill Carroll was free yesterday, walking unharmed into the branch office of an Iraqi political party in one of the most dangerous suburbs of Baghdad…

In her first message to the outside world she was adamant that she had been well treated by her captors. "They never said they would hit me [they] never threatened me in any way," Carroll said during a television interview. "I was treated very well, it's important for people to know that."

Wearing grey and green Arabic robes, with her dark hair firmly tucked up beneath a headscarf, Carroll appeared calm, and relatively unshaken…
Kind of bizarre, right? A women threatened with beheading, shown in a ransom video intimidated to the point of sobbing tears, is freed and gives a calm press conference in female Arab robes and headgear saying, “it’s important for people to know” she was “treated very well.”

Yeah, well, get a load of this.

American reporter Jill Carroll has been released after a three-month hostage ordeal in Iraq, and was with US officials inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

Ms Carroll, a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped on January 7, in Baghdad's western Adil neighbourhood while going to interview Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi. Her translator was killed in the attack.

The 28-year-old reporter was dropped on Thursday at the door of the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters in Baghdad's western Amiriyah district, by an unknown group…

A video posted on the internet, which could not be independently verified, showed Ms Carroll in an interview apparently conducted by her captors before they released her.

"Did you think the American army or the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) would save you at any time," a muffled male voice asked Ms Carroll in accented English.

"Sometimes I thought maybe that they might come, they might find me, they might find a way to know where I am and come get me," she answered.

"Why did not they save you?" asked the interviewer.

"I think the mujahedeen are very smart and even with all the technology and all the people that the American army has here, they still are better at knowing how to live and work here, more clever," she said.

"Does this mean something to you?" the man questioning her asked.

"It makes very clear that the mujahedeen are the ones that will win in the end," Ms Carroll said in the video.

At the end of the eight-and-a-half minute tape, the same man read out a statement in Arabic.

"The mujahedeen in the land of the two rivers announce the liberation of the journalist Jill Carroll... after the US forces and the CIA failed to find her making their ineptitude obvious to the whole world," he said.


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