484 Days into a Hostage Crisis

“I would have preferred to receive a video as proof of life.”


There are 11 hostages missing in four separate kidnappings from Southern Iraq. Wednesday’s gruesome news brought despair, but also new hope to five families, but there are others out there without news. Six Americans, four South Africans, one British, and one Austrian have been taken hostage in southern Iraq.These kidnappings were well coordinated and planned, I highly doubt that any were done by criminal gangs – signs indicate to me that the kidnappings were the work of one of the below groups:

  1. Qods force or Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commando activity.
  2. Sunni Militia in Basra
  3. Shia militia in Basra

There are many reasons behind that, most prominent is that the groups are not demanding money, and I believe they are rebuffing attempts to contact them to arrange ransom.

What is most disturbing to me is the dearth of news coverage about this — six Americans hostage this long, and pretty much zip for coverage until something gruesome happens likes Wednesday’s news.

Today you can do a google news search on “Jonathon Cote” and pull up lots of stories, but last week you would have drawn a blank. The news media has not been covering this, instead they spend their hours covering missing toddler Maddy McCann, Natalie Holloway, inconsequential crap,  and the sensational. If you can’t say “Tabloid Press” I can.

Contrast the coverage Jonathon and the other captives received to the coverage received when Steve Centanni from Fox was kidnapped, when the Korean missionaries were kidnapped, or when Alan Johnston was kidnapped. The stories ran daily, even when there was zip for new developments.

There is something about kidnappings in Iraq that makes reporters shy away. In February, a reporter and his interpreter were kidnapped, but have you heard much since? Note the other reporters captured in Iraq who are not household names. I would characterize it as “well they aren’t reporting it because it’s a country fighting an insurgent war”; but that theory is shot down in flames by the Afghanistan hostages and the coverage they received.

What can you do to help?

  • Bring this up at church – regardless of what you think about the Iraq war, these people need your help and prayers.
  • Write your state’s congressional delegation – ask them what else the state department and other authorities can do.
  • Call Radio talk shows — don’t be a seminar caller, but let people know these hostages are still out there.
  • Bring this up in forums, blogs, and in conversation

All help is appreciated, it’s time this problem gained more traction.

 UPDATE: The Iraqi interpreter kidnapped with the British CBS reporter was released, this mirrors the pattern in Jonathon Cote’s kidnapping – the Iraqi truck drivers in the caravan were quickly released.

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