December 13, 2005

Islamic Army in Iraq Link to Peace Activist Hostages Confirmed

The Jawa Report was the first media outlet to report that there was a possible connection between the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, the group responsible for kidnapping four Western peace activists in Iraq, in a November 29th posting. In fact, what is said by the director of the SITE Institute in this Canadian National Post article comes awfully close to plagiarism.

The kidnappers holding four Christian activists hostage are connected to the Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI), one of the country's leading insurgent groups, a U.S. researcher said yesterday.

Although the previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigades has claimed it kidnapped the two Canadians, one Briton and one American, the SITE Institute said it had found ties to the Islamic Army. At least two of the videotaped statements issued by the hostage-takers were uploaded on to a hidden directory on the IAI Web site prior to broadcast, suggesting a link to the insurgent group, Rita Katz said.

"I would say that there is a strong connection between the hostage-takers and the Islamic Army," said Ms. Katz, director of SITE, a U.S. terrorist research organization that monitors jihadist Internet activities.

If correct, the link is worrisome because the Islamic Army has killed most of the hostages it has taken, including Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni. A statement from the group last week claimed that American consultant Ronald Allen Schulz had been executed....

The SITE Institute came across the IAI link last week, when the kidnappers issued a videotaped statement extending the deadline for meeting its demands until Saturday.

You'll notice that SITE came across the link a week ago, while The Jawa Report (with thanks to Tribeca and OVO) was reporting on the connection before they even discovered it:
The video showed Canadian hostages James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, as well as U.S. hostage Tom Fox, 54, and Briton Norman Kember, 74. All are members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Ms. Katz said the video was hidden on a part of the Islamic Army Web site that only those in contact with the administrator would have been able to access. The research group later discovered that another video issued by the kidnappers had also been uploaded on to the Islamic Army site. "Apparently the first video that was received was also posted on that same hidden directory," she said.

That hidden directory was first discovered by Tribeca, a mutual friend of Infovlad and The Jawa Report. The directory has been since deleted.
She did not go public with the information at the time, fearing it could prompt the kidnappers to kill the hostages. Instead, she alerted U.S. investigators in Iraq.
I also alerted the Feds on this, and now that this is in the open, that was why I deleted a certain mysterious post.
But she said now that the deadline has passed without word of the fate of the hostages, she felt it was time to make public the link to the major insurgent group, the second- or third-largest in Iraq....

The nature of the relationship between the hostage-takers and the Islamic Army remains unclear, but is being investigated by U.S. authorities. One expert speculated the Swords of Righteousness could be nothing more than a front for the Islamic Army, possibly set up to raise money through ransom while distancing itself from the unsavoury act of kidnapping for money.

Here is how we first reported the connection:

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.

We love the SITE Institute and fully support their mission. What bothers me about this is that I sent this to SITE. I also notified the FBI about the connection. Further, I've said the same thing several times in other posts with no one in the MSM taking what I've said seriously. For instance:
The Islamic Army in Iraq has also been implicated in the kidnapping of four Western peace activists. Norman Kember of England, American Thomas Fox, and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden were taken hostage by an unknown group calling themselves 'The Swords of Righteousness Brigade'. However, that group has released its hostage videos on internet sites affiliated with The Islamic Army in Iraq.

Further, an examination of the document announcing that 'The Swords of Righteousness Brigade' would extend the hostage deadline reveals that the same author also prepared the Ronald Schulz announcement (thanks to Jay 87 and OvO). It is nearly certain, then, that some kind of relationship exists between The Islamic Army in Iraq and 'The Swords of Righteousnes Brigade'.

The Islamic Army in Iraq has known ties to al Qaeda and has worked with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda offshoot in the past. The group has murdered dozens of hostages on video in the past, including Italian journallist and Red Cross worker, Enzo Baldoni.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:53 AM | Comments |