I had promised the family not to reveal details on how I knew that, however now the news is out and it’s revealed that all are alive.
All five of the hostages are confirmed as alive, we know this because five fingertips were received. DNA was confirmed by authorities, so the hostages are all still alive. Story from Reuters:
VIENNA (Reuters) – A fingerprint and DNA sample of an Austrian hostage in Iraq have been received by U.S. authorities, an Austrian official said on Wednesday after a magazine reported that fingers of five westerners had been obtained.
Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Johannes Kyrle told a news conference U.S. authorities in Baghdad had told Austria the samples belonged to Austrian Bert Nussbaumer, 26, who was seized with four American colleagues near Basra in November 2006 while they worked as security guards.
The weekly magazine News said on Wednesday that five fingers had been received and that DNA analysis had shown them to come from Nussbaumer and Americans Josh Munns, Jonathon Cote, Paul Johnson Reuben and John R. Young.
The Reuters story goes on to cruelly point out that the fingertips could have been removed after death, however that’s unlikely. This is traditional hostage taker method of reminding you that they have the hostage. It’s a cruel way to both raise and dash hope. I have faith in our authorities, and have hope that these captive souls on foreign shore will be returned. Four of them are US Citizens, think on why it is you haven’t heard much about this — they are now held captive 38 days longer than the Americans held in the Iranian Hostage Crisis.
If you want to read more, or see the latest news from the families, please visit FreeCote.Com.
UPDATE: More at Washington Post
UPDATE II, From Vicki at Not Ready for my Burqa: McClatchey Newspapers are reporting that one of the fingers belongs to Ronald Withrow, an American computer technician kidnapped in January 2007 in Basra, but who was not confirmed as being held by the kidnappers of the Crescent Security contractors:
Authorities have confirmed that the fingers belonged to hostages Jonathan Cote, of Gainesville, Fla., Joshua Munz, of Redding, Calif., Paul Reuben, of Buffalo, Minn., Bert Nussbaumer of Vienna, Austria, and Ronald J. Withrow, of Lubbock, Texas.
[. . .]
There was no word today on a fifth contractor who was seized with them, John Young, of Kansas City. Contrary to Austrian news reports, none of the fingers belonged to him, authorities said.
More at Not Ready For My Burqa
The false checkpoints and precision of both these operations further supports my speculation that this is Qods Force, or Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commando planned and executed.
Update III from WGRZ:
The father of Getzville native, Jonathon Cote says a fingerprint and D.N.A belonging to his son and four other men being held hostage in Iraq, have been sent to the U.S. government.
Francis Cote says a representative from the F.B.I. told his family about the development, two weeks ago.
Cote and four other private security workers were kidnapped in Iraq in November 2006. A hostage tape of the men was released a few weeks later but they have not been seen or heard from since.
On Wednesday, Reuters news agency published an internet article about the development after an Austrian magazine reported that fingers from the five hostages had been sent to U.S. officals.
Francis Cote says he has not received confirmation from the U.S. government but he did read the on-line article.
He told 2-on-your-side Wednseday afternoon he and his family have hope that this means Jonathon is still alive and they are praying for his safe return.
The family has a weekly conference call with the State Department and his son’s finger was not mentioned in that call this week. Mr. Cote is also asking why he had to learn about that from a website.
UPDATE IV, Etymology, Messages from Kidnappers:
According to Viennese Correspondents to News.com.AU Online, this story first broke in a Viennese Weekly Magazine, titled simply “News”. There is also this which is more information:
The magazine said three messages had been sent by kidnappers but no financial or political demands had been received by Austria.
Yahoo news has the most comprehensive article in News so far.
In November I wrote a post about Jonathon Cote, who’s now been held hostage in Iraq or Iran for 36 days longer than the people in the Iranian Hostage Crisis were. Jonathon is in the middle of top row of the accompanying picture.
He and the other heroes in captivity (one police officer, a US Army Soldier,) will be hostage for two years this coming November. It’s easy in the buzz of events to forget this, but at times it comes back with a thud to me.
Most people are probably assuming that the hostages have been killed by now, but I have high confidence that they are still living. No, I won’t tell you the reason for that confidence until perhaps after he’s freed.
The thud comes at odd times — I’ll click on Itunes and think “Jonathon doesn’t get to listen to music I bet.” Or I will read of another hostage taking by Islamic Terrorists, like this one today, or perhaps I will stumble across an Israeli story on Gilad Shalit.
Do other people besides his family and friends think of Jonathon? It doesn’t seem so. Unlike the Iranian Hostage Crisis, there aren’t any demonstrations. The current hostage crisis doesn’t help or hurt anyone politically, so it’s just ignored – it’s not even a crisis to the newsies. If you do a google for him, you won’t find anything except now-archived-for-pay old news stories from last year.
That’s saddening, it’s not only for Jonathon and family you should grieve — it’s also for this great nation. What have we become that we can ignore US Citizens held hostage so long? Israel remembers and doesn’t write-off their citizens held hostage — why are we?
Sorry to be such a bummer tonight, but I have to say what is.
Not Ready for My Burqa also remembers Jonathon, and all the other hostages as well.
The Brookings Institute Iraq Index 10-29 (PDF Link) – contains many good charts and stats on how the surge is going as well.)
US policy for Hostage situations (PDF Link)
There’s another site out there that is also working for the hostages, SAVE5.net, but I will not link to a site flying the American flag upside down. I understand the meaning, but it also has meaning with the anti-war crowd, so I remain suspicious of the site.