March 30, 2006
American Hostage Jill Carroll Free (Updated)
American journalist Jill Carroll has been freed by her captors. This post will be updated throughout the day. Scroll through for updates.
Another update: The terrorists of 'The Revenge Brigades' have released a video shot just prior to Jill Carroll's release. You can see the raw video here. A more detailed report and images from the new Jill Carroll video is here. In it Jill Carroll seems more than eager to give the 'correct' answers asked by her captors. It's quite sickening some of the answers she gives, but understandable under the circumstances. But, before you accuse Jill of being a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, keep in mind that she was under duress.
Jill Carroll had been held hostage for nearly three months by a terrorist organization calling itself 'The Revenge Brigades'. The group killed her translator, but Carroll's driver escapted. The group had demanded the release of all female Iraqi prisoners or they would execute Carroll, but let several deadlines pass & it was never clear just how serious the threats were.
Contrary to media reports, a group calling itself 'The Revenge Brigades' had been involved in kidnappings prior to Jill Carroll. A group with the same name held an Iraqi born Christian named Minas Ibrahim al-Yusufi, who had Swedish citizenship, hostage for some months. The group initially threatened to behead him, released a hostage video, and then, like Jill Carroll, he was released unharmed. At the time, rumor was that a ransom had been paid.
This demand, along with the timing , had led to speculation that The Islamic Army in Iraq was somehow involved in Jill Carroll's kidnapping. The Islamic Army in Iraq is one of the main terror organizations in Iraq and has been involved in several high profile kidnappings and routinely murders hostages. The group has also been linked to the kidnapping of four Western activists, one of whom--American Tom Fox--was found murdered on the streets of Baghdad. The remaing three were rescued by Coalition forces.
Several videos had been released by the terror organization showing Ms. Carroll. In the first hostage video, The Revenge Brigades threatened to murder Jill Carroll. In the second hostage video, Jill Carroll seemed to be under duress and could be seen crying. In the final short video, Jill Carroll seemed to be well and in good spirits.
For more information on the Jill Carroll hostage crisis please see our archive devoted exclusively to Jill Carroll. For more information on other hostages in Iraq, please see our extensive hostage archive.
Yesterday, Jill Carroll's twin sister had made an emotional video taped appeal for Jill's release.
"I was treated well, but I don't know why I was kidnapped," Carroll said in a brief interview on Baghdad television.
Even though the group threatened twice to kill her in videotapes, Carroll said, "They never hit me. They never said they would hit me."
She was wearing a light green Islamic headscarf, a gray Arabic robe and looked well.
"Obviously, I want to be with my family," she could be heard to say under the Arabic voiceover.
"I'm just happy to be free. I want to be with my family.
The twin sister of kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll pleaded for her release on Arab television Wednesday, saying her sister is a "wonderful person" who is an "innocent woman."Some are speculating that Carroll's release comes because of increased efforts to free hostages by Iraqi and Coallition troops. Her release comes only a week after American troops rescued three peace activists.
Katie Carroll read a statement on Al-Arabiya, noting that there had been no word from her sister's captors in Iraq in almost two months.
"I've been living a nightmare, worrying if she is hurt or ill," Katie Carroll said, according to a transcript released by the Christian Science Monitor. "There is no one I hold closer to my heart than my sister and I am deeply worried wondering how she is being treated."
Apparently, Carroll's captors turned her over to the Islamic Party office in western Baghdad. The Islamic Party is the major Sunni party in Iraq and is a Salaafist organization (wants Sharia and return of Caliphate) with links to the insurgency.
According to bRight and Early: Fox News is reporting that her father, Jim Carroll, "wants to thank the thousands who have prayed." Amen.
UPDATE:It should be remembered by all that the only statement we have from Jill Carroll was one given by her just after her release in the offices of the Islamic Party and with cameras rolling. Further, it is not necessarily "Stockholm Syndrome" to claim that captors often treat hostages well--they often do.
Now the NYT (via Bad Hair Blog) reports that one of the leaders of the Islamic party, Dr. Tariq Al-hashmi, is claiming responsibility for winning Jill Carroll's release. This is very interesting, indeed. Especially after the last few days in which many see a change in the political atmosphere in Iraq, with reports of Sunnis now seeing the Americans as allies to protect them from Shia militias and Shias--the traditional U.S. allies in Iraq--becoming suspect of the Coalition.
The Carroll family press release, notice especially:
Finally, our thoughts are with the families of others still being held hostage in Iraq, and we hope that their loved ones will soon return safely to them.Amen. American Dean Sadek is still being held hostage in Iraq.
This post is a follow up to Mike Pechar's earlier story.
Reports just in indicate that no ransom or negotiations were made by the Christian Science Monitor, but the leader of the Islamic Party of Iraq, Tariq al- Hashimi, was somehow involved in her release. U.S. officials also deny negotiating for Jill's release.
Walid Phares asks intereesting questions, especially about the connection of the jihadis who kidnapped Jill and the Islamic Party.
President Bush reacts: "I'm really grateful she was released, and thank those who worked hard for her release, and we're glad she's alive."
More updates: Charles Johnson: Her interpreter, murdered during the kidnapping, was not available for comment. Indeed.
Committee to Protect Journalists reacts: "We are overjoyed that this ordeal has finally ended and that Jill Carroll has been returned safely," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. "We continue to call for the release of other remaining captives in Iraq, and we urge armed groups to stop targeting innocent civilians."
Judy Klinghoffer speculates that ransom was involved. It would certainly not be the first time ransom was paid for a hostage. If she's right, it would only lead to more Western kidnappings and killings. However, as I hope I've made clear in the above, my suspicions are that the Islamic Party of Iraq--which has ties to the insurgency--was able to secure Jill's release as a political ploy. Both the CSM and U.S. government have denied ransom was paid, although it is not out of the question that the Islamic Party might have used money to influence the hostage-takers.
Others: Mike Pechar, Opinion Bug, Hyscience, Stop the ACLU, Outside the Beltway, Danny Carlton, Captain Ed, Clarity and Resolve, Poliblog, Politburo Diktat, Slublog, Small Dead Animals, Wizbang, Scared Monkeys, Right Winged, NTodd, Sandmonkey, Dean Esmay, bRight and Early, Lawhawk, Dan Riehl, Bad Hair Blog, Pajama Media, Boing Boing, Israellycool, Think Progress