5 Abducted In Iraq In November Appear Unhurt On Videotape

January 4th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: 5 Abducted In Iraq In November Appear Unhurt On Videotape

New York Times
January 4, 2007

BAGHDAD, Jan. 3 (AP) — Four Americans and an Austrian abducted in November in southern Iraq spoke briefly and appeared uninjured in a video believed to have been recorded nearly two weeks ago and delivered Wednesday to The Associated Press.
The men — security contractors for the Crescent Security Group based in Kuwait — appeared separately on the edited video. Three of them said they were being treated well. They were kidnapped Nov. 16 when suspected militiamen in Iraqi police uniforms ambushed a convoy of trucks being escorted by Crescent Security on a highway near the southern border city of Safwan.
“My name is John R. Young,” one captive in a blue-and-white sweat-suit said in the video. “I’m 44 years old. I’m from Kansas City, Mo. The date is 21 December, 2006. I’m well, my friends are well, we’ve been treated well.”
Another man identified himself as Jon Cote of Buffalo, N.Y. Fidgeting and appearing uncomfortable, he said: “I can’t be released until the prisoners from the American jails and the British jails are released.”
The captives were dressed in civilian clothes and spoke in flat, impassive tones. Some had their hands folded in their laps.
A United States Embassy spokesman, Lou Fintor, said that embassy officials were aware that a second tape of the captives was circulating but declined to comment further.
Another video of the captives surfaced last week and was reported by McClatchy Newspapers. It was believed to have been recorded two weeks after the men were kidnapped. The kidnappers were not seen or heard in the video that surfaced Wednesday, which lasted one minute and 40 seconds and was stamped with the dates Dec. 21 and Dec. 22, 2006. It began with an image of a Koran and a map of Iraq over a green background, changing to a title that read, “The National Islamic Resistance in Iraq. The Furkan Brigades. The captivity operation was done in the Safwan district in Basra.”
Safwan is a Sunni Arab city in a predominantly Shiite area. It was unclear whether the kidnappers were holding the contractors to put political pressure on the American-led occupation forces and the Iraqi government, or were seeking a ransom.
Four of the captives were seen sitting alone and cross-legged on a carpet, with black fabric hanging behind them. The video showed only the upper body of the fifth man, who identified himself as Paul Johnson Reuben of Buffalo, Minn., which is near Minneapolis. Mr. Reuben said that the date was Dec. 22, 2006 and that he wanted his family to know he was being treated well. Another man with a beard and a mustache identified himself as Bert Nussbaumer, an Austrian citizen.
Another captive identified himself as Josh Munz, 23, of Redding, Calif.
“I joined the Marine Corps in 2001, and I got out in 2005,” Mr. Munz says. “After I got out of the Marine Corps, I went to work in the construction business, building swimming pools. After that, in July of 2006, I started working for Crescent Security out of Kuwait, and I don’t know how long I’ve been here doing this, but today is December 21, 2006.”
Mr. Reuben’s mother, Johnnie, was happy to hear that her son apparently recorded another video on Dec. 22. “That’s recent, that’s more recent. That makes me more hopeful,” she said Wednesday.
In Vienna, Austria’s Foreign Ministry said it was trying to get a copy of the video to confirm its authenticity, said a spokeswoman, Astrid Harz. Ms. Harz said the parents of Mr. Nussbaumer, 25, had been informed about the existence of the video. The audiotape that surfaced last week, containing a statement from Mr. Nussbaumer, appeared to be authentic, the Foreign Ministry said.

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