Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Jill Carroll Kidnapping Investigation Yields New Information on Other Abductions
Jill Carroll's eleven-part account of her kidnapping can be read here.
Jill was a freelance journalist for the Christian Science Monitor who was kidnapped last January after a failed meeting with Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Sunni Arab-majority Accord Front party. Her Iraqi translator, Alan Enwiya, was murdered in the street during the kidnapping. Her driver, Adnan Abbas, "escaped." Her abduction was mourned and followed by various Iraqi bloggers such as Fayrouz and 24 Steps To Liberty. She was released in 82 days later in late March, and some suspected abductors have recently been arrested.
It is rumored that Carroll is an "an extreme liberal" who, when writing for the University of Massachusetts newspaper, would spell "America" as "Amerikkka". Note: I will highlight the leftist credentials of the people kidnapped by the "Resistance" in this post. I do this to point out that the enemy does not differentiate between members of the political Left or Right. We're all infidels and occupiers here: westerners, journalists, marines, Iraqi police, Iraq elected representatives.
Kidnappers involved in other kidnappings?
In a related article, the Christian Science Monitor is reporting on evidence that American reporter Jill Carroll's abductors might have participated in other high profile abductions:
- Margaret Hassan
Hassan was a Care International representative and wife of an Sunni Iraqi. At the time of her kidnapping, she was heading a project to help Iraqi children get treatment for spinal chord injuries. After her abduction, CARE International suspended all operations in Iraq which has still not been revoked. Her body was recovered in Fallujah in 2004 during the invasion to flush that nest of scorpions.
Here is a Guardian article on two men tried for involvement in her abduction and murder. One of the men, who was eventually sentenced to life in prison, had Hassan's personal belongings with him.
- Giuliana Sgrena
Sgrena is an Italian journalist for the communist rag Il Manifesto. A ransom of some multi-millions of dollars was paid for her release. She was collected by two members of Italy's military intelligence agency SISMI, one of whom was Nicola Calipari. The CSM article reports that the kidnappers warned her and Calipari "be careful: the Americans don't want you to return to Italy alive". Then, after they left, the terrorists made an anonymous tip that a car matching the Italians' was on the way to the airport and had a bomb. The car was fired on by US troops when it failed to stop when signaled to. Calipari was killed and Sgrena was injured.
Carroll's abductors also warned her that the Americans would try to kill her.
More on Sgrena here.
- Tom Fox
He and his fellow members of the left-wing Christian Peacemakers Team were abducted while approaching a mosque for a planned meeting with members of the (Sunni religious) Muslim Clerics Association (similar to Jill Carroll's abduction). Tom Fox was executed by a gun shot to his head and chest and his body was left in a garbage dump. His fellow team members were rescued from a house in Mishahda by American and Iraqi forces. CPT initially deferred offering any gratitude to the forces that rescued the team members.
- Florence Aubenas
Aubenas was a Belgian journalist for the French newpaper Libération. She and her translator (Hussein Hanoun Al-Saadi) were kidnapped after they interviewed Sunni refugees from Fallujah at the Mustafa Mosque. They were both released six months later after (reportedly) the payment of a multi-million dollar ransom.
About Sheikh Zubayi
Aside from other similarities in the kidnappings, they all seem connected in the person of the Iraqi Arab Sunni Sheikh Zubayi. As the CSM article states:
It is still not clear from the CSM articles whether or not Zubayi is "Abdullah Rashid", the man Carroll identified as the leader of her kidnappers.
Sheikh Zubayi is a wealthy Baghdad cleric. Until last year, he was also a member of the Muslim Scholars Association, a hard-line Sunni group that was involved in both successful and unsuccessful ransom negotiations for foreign hostages in 2004. He's been in hiding since shortly after the Sgrena kidnapping.
Iraqi police investigators and prosecutors, as well as the Italian government, say captured insurgents have told them that Zubayi was involved in the Aubenas and Sgrena abductions, as well as with the kidnapping and murder of Hassan.
In early June, a minor figure in the Hassan kidnapping, Mustafa Salman al-Jibouri, was sentenced to life in prison by a Baghdad court. At his trial, Mr. Jibouri said that Zubayi gave him a bag containing Hassan's purse and ID cards for safekeeping. Jibouri said in his defense that he didn't know they were Hassan's at the time.
Jibouri's court statements, and an interview with the Iraqi prosecutor in the case, paint Zubayi's role as that of a ruthless and mercurial individual, determined to squeeze as much propaganda value as possible out of his kidnapping operations. Jibouri also said in court that Zubayi was involved in Aubenas's and Sgrena's kidnapping.
Kidnappers "worshipped" Zarqawi
In an interview with ABCNews Carroll says that her kidnappers "worshipped" Zarqawi:
"The main captor during all these interviews I would do was anxious to tell me about this. He told me his name was Abdullah Rashid," she said. "He said he had helped form this council … in Iraq that brought together some of the main Sunni insurgent groups, and he was the head of it. One of those groups in that council was al Qaeda and Zarqawi."
She was held from Jan. 7 through March 30, months before Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in Iraq. Her captors told her that Zarqawi had inspired them.
"Al Qaeda and the whole idea of global jihad was their real overachieving motivation and ideological guide. And they loved Zarqawi. He was … a superhero to them," Carroll said. "They all worshipped him…They would play his sermons for me all the time. … I would hear them talk about this council, and the council was always meeting and making decisions about things … regarding me."
Now that Zarqawi is dead, Carroll said, Rashid is a "powerful" insurgent.