I have been reading the Christian Science Monitor‘s ongoing series by Jill Carroll and friends about her experiences as a captive in Iraq (HOSTAGE – The Jill Carroll Story). Today, there is also an article about how several of the kidnappings (and some murders) were carried out by the same group (or closely-related groups) of Sunni terrorists.
Evidence points to one ring for five abductions in Iraq
Carroll’s captors say they kidnapped other Western women.
By Dan Murphy | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
BAGHDAD â€“ Jill Carroll’s captors appear to be involved in some of the most high-profile kidnappings of Westerners in Iraq during the past two years.
A Monitor investigation – including interviews with other kidnap victims, US, Iraqi, and Italian investigators, as well as court testimony in Iraq – ties her abductors, or others close to them, to at least five kidnapping incidents, including Ms. Carroll:
â€¢ The Oct. 19, 2004 abduction and subsequent murder of Irish aid worker Margaret Hassan.
â€¢ The abduction of French journalist Florence Aubenas on Jan. 5, 2005.
â€¢ The abduction of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena on Feb. 4, 2005.
â€¢ The Nov. 26, 2005 abduction of four members of the Christian Peacemakers Team and the subsequent murder of American Tom Fox.
It also appears that the US military’s shooting at the vehicle carrying Ms. Segrena was SET-UP BY the terrorists (who seem to have an awfully good understanding of PR) and that those who WERE released had multi-million dollar ransoms paid for them:
Italian and Iraqi intelligence also tie Zubayi to Sgrena. Just before her release in a Baghdad neighborhood, Sgrena’s captors’ last words to her were to “be careful: the Americans don’t want you to return to Italy alive,” according to “Friendly Fire,” Sgrena’s own book about her abduction.
Her captors also gave the same warning to Nicola Calipari, the Italian intelligence officer who negotiated her release, according to a Western intelligence official and an Iraqi investigator. The Italians rushed directly to the Baghdad airport. US soldiers manning a checkpoint mistook the car for a suicide car bomb and opened fire, killing Mr. Calipari and wounding Sgrena.
Investigators say that Zubayi effectively orchestrated the shooting. He called a US tip hotline shortly after Sgrena and Calipari drove off and said a car matching the description of their sedan, carrying a bomb, would soon be on the airport road, according to Jibouri’s court testimony. This was also confirmed by an Iraqi investigator contacted by the Monitor, and an Italian police report leaked to Corriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper.
The 42-page US report on the shooting incident says an intelligence warning that both a black car and a white car were likely to be carrying bombs on the airport road at the time of the incident was passed to the soldiers who opened fire. Sgrena’s car, a Toyota Corolla, was white.
Carroll was also told by her captors at the time of her release that the US military would try to kill her.
Iraqi investigators, who asked not to be identified, say Zubayi kidnapped women because they made for good propaganda videos and were seen as an opportunity to raise money for Sunni Arab fighters.
European and Iraqi officials say that multimillion-dollar ransoms were paid in both the Sgrena and Aubenas cases. In Hassan’s case, a $10 million ransom was sought by Abdel Salam al-Qubaisy, a senior leader of the Muslim Scholars Association, according to Italian police wiretaps, transcripts of which were leaked to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper in January. Monitor editors and the Carroll family say they paid no money to secure her release.