The Global War On You Know Who

"The West is facing a concerted effort by Islamic jihadists, the motives and goals of whom are largely ignored by the Western media, to destroy the West and bring it forcibly into the Islamic world -- and to commit violence to that end even while their overall goal remains out of reach. That effort goes under the general rubric of jihad."
-- Robert Spencer

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hostage Update

Report: Germans paid $5 million ransom for Osthoff.
The following from a report on Osthoff in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 4 January:
On her [Osthoff's] account, money was paid by Germany for her release. "The kidnappers had an offer from the Germans. I cannot tell you the exact amount," said the former hostage, who was released shortly before Christmas, in an interview with the magazine Stern.... The first offer was, however, too low for the hostage-takers - "they had, after all, to save face and cover their costs."
If a report from the German domestic wire service ddp is to be believed, however, the hostage-takers did much more than just "cover their costs". The ddp report cites information from unnamed German intelligence sources. Here a resumé from Focus Online [link in German]:
As the ddp reports, the [German] federal government paid around $5 million to the hostage-takers for the release of Osthoff. An envoy of the BND [the German intelligence agency] is supposed to have brought the money, divided up into smaller bills, from Berlin to Iraq, as the hostage-takers demanded. According to what is being said in intelligence circles, the "bound parcel" was of "considerable weight."
Incidentally, the ddp report also claims that Susanne Osthoff worked as an informant for the BND in Iraq. In her Stern interview, Osthoff denies such reports, but admits to having received material support, supposedly on a personal basis, from a BND agent. According to Osthoff, the agent even sent a "whole playmobil set" as a Christmas present to her daughter in Germany, "since I didn't have the money". Inasmuch as the BND seems to have had excellent relations with the previous Baathist regime in Iraq, one might well wonder: what exactly is the BND doing in Iraq today?
And: Christian Science Monitor reporter abducted, US given 3 days to release all female Iraqi prisoners. What, all two of them?


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