May 02, 2005

Australian Douglas Wood in Hostage Video, Appeals to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bush, Howard

Another day another hostage taking. This one is an Australian man named Douglas Wood who has recently made his home in Danville, CA. A group calling itself 'The Shura Council of the Mujahedeen of Iraq' claimed the abduction. You may download the video here, via Vlad.

Here is the transcript I made of the video. It appears that there is a longer version of it which I have not obtained yet.

President Bush, Prime Minister Howard, Governor Schwarzenegger, family, friends, please help take the American troops, the Australian troops, the British troops out of here and let Iraq look out for itself.

I have (or am) strong [garbled....mumbling of another voice, possibly telling him what to say.... but press reports claim Wood says "My captors are fiercely patriotic. They believe in a strong, united Iraq looking after its own destiny"]

...look out for themselves and (garbled) their neighbors.

But please help, I don't want to die.

Australia formed a team of diplomats, defence staff and police on Monday who will attempt to free an engineer seized by Iraqi insurgents, but the government had a blunt message for the kidnappers: Australia will not remove its troops from Iraq or pay any ransom.

In a tape obtained Sunday by Associated Press Television News, a man identified himself as Douglas Wood, 63, an Australian working in Iraq, and appealed for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops. Two people wearing masks pointed automatic weapons at him.

"Please help me. I don't want to die," Wood said, his voice cracking with emotion in the video, aired repeatedly Monday on Australian television.

On the tape, the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen of Iraq claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Wood's wife, Pearl, told AP that the man on the tape was definitely her husband. She said he had worked in Iraq as an engineer for about a year and a half.

In the tape, Wood appealed to U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard to pull their soldiers out of Iraq and leave the country to Iraqis to look after themselves.

That's not going to happen, Howard said.

"Everybody knows the position of the Australian government in relation to hostage demands," Howard told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "We can't have the foreign policy of this country dictated by terrorists."

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer underscored the point.

"Let me make it quite clear, we will not be changing any polices and we will not be paying any ransom," he said.

Chad at In the Bullpen notes that The Shura Council of the Mujahadin Army is a new group and that this may be a simply extortion gimmick.

On the other hand, the fact that the group used 'Shura Council' in their name might mean that Mr. Wood was charged with a Sharia crime. This is the tactic used by groups such as Ansar al-Sunnah, al Qaeda, and The Islamic Army in Iraq. Before victims are murdered they are accused of crimes under Islamic law that are punishable by death.

In any event, we pray for the release of Douglas Wood and call upon followers of the Religion of Peace to roundly condemn this and all other hostage taking without equivocation.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:27 PM | Comments |