November 29, 2005

(Updated) Hostage Video Released, Hostages Identified (Images/Video)

**Jawa Report Exclusive**

***The Jawa Report releases names of four Western hostages.***

A hostage video has been released of the four Western peace activists taken hostage in Iraq. The Jawa Report has obtained a copy of the video. Images from the video and links to video posted below. The video shows American Thomas Fox of Clear Brook Virginia, Canadian Harmeet Singh Sooden, who resides in Auckland, New Zealand, British citizen Norman Kember, and some one who appears to identify himself as James Loney(spelling confirmed) of Canada.

Previously only Norman Kember had been identified. The Christian Peacemaker Teams organization has confirmed to The Jawa Report in an e-mail that the four hostages were working for that group.

The copy of the video I have makes no ransom demands, although a voice can be heard directing the hostages in the background. UPDATE: Ian at the Political Teen is hosting a segment of the video here.

Here is a transcript of the video:

My name is Norman Kember. I am 74. I am a member of the Christian Peacemaking team in Iraq.

My name is Harmeet Sooden. I am 32 and I am working..I'm a volunteer for the CPT in Iraq.

My name is James Loney. I am 41 years old. I am from Canada and I am part of the Christian Peacemaker team in Iraq.

My name is Tom Fox and I am 54 years old. I am from the United States and I am a member of the Christian Peacmakers team in Iraq.

Hat tip: Doubletap who e-mailed me the video.

Here is a rough translation of the statement accompanying the video--again, thanks to Doubletap:

foreign arrest of four spy

Praise be to God god of the scientists and the prayer and the faithful peace on the prophet, and on his family and accompanied him ['ajme'yn]

As for after. Losing managed your brothers in secrecy of swords the truth from arrest of four spy is foreign forces of the occupation under cover do for what Christian team the peace rises in, [wllh] the praising god of the scientists.

Secrecy swords of the truth

Swords of Righteousness Brigade is how some MSM outlets are translating the announcement. The group accused the four peace activists of "masqerading" as peace activists and of really being spies. Update: My sources indicate that "The Swords of Righteousness Brigade" may be an offshoot of The Islamic Army in Iraq. The announcement and video were posted on that group's website earlier today. The Islamic Army in Iraq has murdered foreign hostages in the past, including Italian Red Cross worker Enzo Baldoni, and has worked with Abu Musab al Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq in the past. This is bad news for the hostages if confirmed.

The original announcement in Arabic can be downloaded here if some one would like to offer a better translation.

UPDATE: Flip from Suitably Flip has a different machine translation here which is a little clearer.

UPDATE II: Shawn of Bareknucklepolitics points us to these dispatches from Iraq written by hostage Thomas Fox who wonders if Americans are inheritly racists and have colonialist attitudes. We pity people like Tom who have such low regard for the men who will now risk their lives to save his.

UPDATE: Jawa Report revelations force CPT to confirm identities of hostages.

We can confirm the identities of those who are being held as follows:

Tom Fox, age 54, is from Clearbrook, Virginia and is a dedicated father of two children. For the past two years, Mr. Fox has worked with CPT in partnership with Iraqi human rights organizations to promote peace. Mr. Fox has been faithful in the observance of Quaker practice for 22 years. While in Iraq, he sought a more complete understanding of Islamic cultural richness. He is committed to telling the truth to U.S. citizens about the horrors of war and its effects on ordinary Iraqi civilians and families as a result of U.S. policies and practices.

Mr. Fox is an accomplished musician. He plays the bass clarinet and the recorder and he loves to cook. He has also worked as a professional grocer. Mr. Fox devotes much of his time to working with children. He has served as an adult leader of youth programs and worked at a Quaker camp for youth. He has facilitated young people's participation in opposing war and violence. Mr. Fox is a quiet and peaceful man, respectful of everyone, who believes that "there is that of God in every person" which is why work for peace is so important to him.

Norman Kember, age 74, is from London, England.He and his wife of 45 years have two married daughters and a 3-year old grandson. He has been a pacifist all his life beginning with his work in a hospital instead of National Service at age 18. Before his retirement he was a professor teaching medical students at St Bartholemew's Hospital in London. He is well-known as a peace activist, and has been involved in several peace groups. For the past 10 years he has volunteered with a local program providing free food to the homeless. He likes walking, birdwatching, and writing humorous songs and sketches. In his younger days he enjoyed mountaineering.

James Loney, 41, is a community worker from Toronto, Canada. He has been a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams since August 2000, and is currently the Program Coordinator for CPT Canada. On previous visits to Iraq, his work focused on taking testimonies from families of detainees for CPT's report on detainee abuse, and making recommendations for securing basic legal rights. James was leading the November 2005 delegation in Iraq when he went missing.

James is a peace activist, writer, trained mediator, and works actively with two Toronto community conflict resolution services. He has spent many years working to provide housing and support for homeless people.

In a personal statement from James to CPT, he writes: "I believe that our actions as a people of peace must be an expression of hope for everyone. My hope in practising non-violence is that I can be a conduit for the transformative power of God's love acting upon me as much as I hope it will act upon others around me."

Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 is a Canadian electrical engineer. He is studying for a masters degree in English literature in Auckland University in New Zealand to prepare for a teaching career. He enjoys art, is active in squash and worked part time as a local squash coach. His family describes him as peaceful and fun-loving and he is known to be passionate about the plight of the underprivileged around the globe. He works tirelessly in his spare time to educate and help others.

Update: Ex-wife of former hostage Roy Hallums chimes in:
I was deeply saddened to hear that more hostages were taken. These men were good Christian men trying to help promote peace in Iraq. I will pray for their safe release and for their families. There is such devastation to the families , I know this horror... I pray for them , I wish I could help in some way.

-Susan Hallums


Images below.

Image of Canadian Harmeet Singh Sooden--also a resident of New Zealand-- from the hostage video.


Image of James Loney, also of Canada.


Image of Thomas Fox, an American from Virginia, from the hostage video.


Image of Briton Norman Kember from the hostage video.


Video has been uploaded here by Doubletap.

Background in the Norman Kember archives.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:14 AM | Comments |