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Discussion Forum : Miracles that follow the plow : kidnapping in Iraq

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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732



I just got word that the kidnappers are demanding that all US detainees in Iraq must be released or they will kill the four Christian Peacemaker Team members.

Tragically ironic...I read in a [url=]BBC article[/url] that the CPT's main focus in Iraq has been towards those very US detainees and their families.

"American Tom Fox who is being held in Iraq also worked in the West Bank with CPT. In Iraq, the group's work has focused on the issue of Iraqi detainees held by US forces. This has involved taking testimonies from families of detainees and former detainees alleging human rights abuses."

Do you know who these kidnappers are, and why they would want to kill the very westerners in Iraq who share their denunciation of the US military and a concern for the safe return of US detainees? If the kidnappers are trying to send America and Britain a message, it seems garbled. Just curious...this is dark business without much sense.


Mike Compton

 2005/12/2 17:36Profile

 Re: Kidnapping in Iraq

Earlier in the day, before news of the kidnappers' conditions had been broadcast, I heard they were asking for proof of identity of the hostages, as if this may help to secure their release.

We are also hearing there is strong opposition from Muslim clerics as to the wisdom of killing these (or any) hostages, as there is a groundswell within the moderate Muslim world; that this would be totally counter-productive because it is such very bad press.

 2005/12/3 1:56

 Re: Here's some more on the kidnappings

Palestinians hold photos of Tom Fox, one of the four members of the aid group, Christian Peacemaker Teams, who were kidnapped in Iraq, during a protest outside a mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron, Wednesday Nov 30, 2005. Palestinians led by their top Muslim cleric appealed to Iraqi insurgents Wednesday to release four Western peace activists, saying three of them had spent time in the West Bank aiding the Palestinians. The banner on the right reads in Arabic: " we demands the release of the CPT members " and the banner on the center reads: " CPT are friends of Palastine and the Arabs, release them ". (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

the photo didn't come through

Photo Credit: AP Photo

FCNL, AFSC Call for Release of Christian Peacemaker Teams Members Held Captive in Iraq

* Quaker Groups Express Concern Over Kidnapped Peacemakers

* Friends Committee on National Legislation and American Friends Service Committee appeal for the release of Christian Peacemaker Teams Members Held Captive

The committee and staff members of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) are deeply concerned for the four kidnapped members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq and we appeal to the captors for their safe return. The four, Tom Fox (USA), Norman Kember (UK), James Loney and Harmeet Sooden (Canada), are actively engaged in the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams and have publicly opposed the U.S. led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams, a non-governmental organization, arrived in Iraq in 2002 in opposition to the coming war and continues to work for the rights of Iraqi prisoners who have been illegally detained by U.S. occupation forces. The organization, founded in 1986, was amongst the first to document and expose the abuses at Abu Graib and other U.S. operated prisons and detention centers in Iraq.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams is one of the few remaining international humanitarian organizations working in Iraq. Their presence maintains a critical, nonviolent public witness to the violence and uncertainty which persists in the country. Team members knowingly work at great risk to their own health and security. Christian Peacemaker Teams hold religious beliefs but are not missionaries and do not proselytize.

The kidnappings have caused enormous suffering and pain to the captives, their families, associates, and friends. We appeal to those responsible for the kidnappings to release all four peacemakers unharmed.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a non-partisan Quaker lobby in the public interest, opposed the invasion of Iraq. FCNL believes there is no military solution to the conflict in Iraq. More troops, more guns, and more killing will not bring about peace. FCNL works in the United States for an end to the U.S. occupation and the withdrawal of all U.S. military forces and bases.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is an international social justice organization and a co-recipient of the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize, which honored Quakers' historic work to relieve the suffering of war. Since 1917, AFSC has aided millions of people around the world through its peace, economic development, and human rights programs. AFSC was a leader in the movements to end the Vietnam War and to dismantle apartheid in South Africa and remains a leader in international movements for peace and justice.

We appreciate your prayers for our colleagues.


 2005/12/6 14:23

 Re: More on the hostages

This came to me today. Apparently my friend Tom Fox and the others are being held by an Iraqi police death squad. Bub

The massive outpouring of support from Muslims for the captives has been even encouraging. Even Muslims in detention in Canada have issued pleas for their release! However, this has troubled me. Clearly the captors are not responsive to such appeals. I was holding on to the hope they were merely criminal idiots who saw an American, a Briton and two Canadians and figured there was a payday in there somewhere. However, a story in today's Salt Lake Tribune
opened a new view to something much darker. The more I check it, the more likely it appears to explain the current situation.

The article was an interview with a former roommate of Tom Fox who has just returned from Iraq. According to the article, "Christian Peacemaker members, including some of those who have been taken captive, had been investigating abuses at the hands of special police and military groups months before the Nov. 15 discovery of 173 detainees in the basement of an Interior Ministry building. American soldiers who liberated the prisoners said some appeared to have been tortured by their Iraqi government captors."

That's putting it mildly. The BBC report was particularly gruesome.

The "special police and military groups" they are referring to are really death squads. The most widely known is called the "Wolf Brigade," although there are others called "Scorpion", "Snake", etc. Some Iraqis accuse the Wolf Brigade of targeting Palestinian refugees in Iraq, using torture to extract confessions from prisoners, and slaying six Sunni clerics. The CPT members have deep roots in the West Bank and were travelling with Palestinians at the time of their capture. They were also meeting with Sunni clerics to document abuses like those attributed to these "special" units.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the same story that Yasser Salihee was working on before he was killed in June. He was killed by an American sniper at a newly erected checkpoint near his home in Baghdad. His final story was published posthumously a couple of days later.

The fact that people are openly talking about the "Salvador Option" as a way to handle an insurgency only increases the likelihood of this scenario. I guess I should be less shocked. We all know what happened the last time the US military confronted an insurgency where Negroponte was in charge.

Knowing who holds them is important because it determines who can help free them. I burden you with all this because my hope is the more coverage this gets, the more likely the hostages will survive past Thursday.


 2005/12/7 10:26

 Re: A Christian Peacemaker Team call for action


We remain concerned about the well-being of our team-mates Harmeet, James, Norman, and Tom, and we ask for their release. We also remain concerned about the well-being of all Iraqis who are suffering under occupation. Those who are with our team-mates have demanded the release from captivity of the Iraqi detainees held in United States’ and Iraqi prisons. Christian Peacemaker Teams believes that no single person, no single nation can meet the demands of Justice. No single person, no single nation can meet the demands of Peace. But we believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to do their part to bring each combatant and each captive home to their families and to end the war and occupation. December 10th is International Human Rights Day. Christian Peacemaker Teams calls for all people of conscience around the world to initiate non-violent public actions for peace and for prayer on December 10th in support of international human rights and in support of ending war and occupation.


Contact: CPT in Canada 416-423-5525
CPT in United States 773-277-0291

I hope some of you will participate, Bub

 2005/12/8 16:24

 Re: Why are we here? by Tom Fox

My friend Tom Fox posted this on a website on the day he was kidnapped. Bub

November 25th, 2005 -- The Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Iraq team went through a discernment process, seeking to identify aspects of our work here in Iraq that are compelling enough to continue the project and comparing them with the costs (financial, psychological, physical) that are also aspects of the project. It was a healthy exercise, but it led me to a somewhat larger question: Why are we here?

If I understand the message of God, his response to that question is that we are to take part in the creation of the Peaceable Realm of God. Again, if I understand the message of God, how we take part in the creation of this realm is to love God with all our heart, our mind and our strength and to love our neighbors and enemies as we love God and ourselves. In its essential form, different aspects of love bring about the creation of the realm.

I have read that the word in the Greek Bible that is translated as "love" is the word "agape". Again, I have read that this word is best expressed as a profound respect for all human beings simply for the fact that they are all God's children. I would state that idea in a somewhat different way, as "never thinking or doing anything that would dehumanize one of my fellow human beings."

As I survey the landscape here in Iraq, dehumanization seems to be the operative means of relating to each other. U.S. forces in their quest to hunt down and kill "terrorists" are as a result of this dehumanizing word, not only killing "terrorist", but also killing innocent Iraqis: men, women and children in the various towns and villages.

It seems as if the first step down the road to violence is taken when I dehumanize a person. That violence might stay within my thoughts or find its way into the outer world and become expressed verbally, psychologically, structurally or physically. As soon as I rob a fellow human being of his or her humanity by sticking a dehumanizing label on them, I begin the process that can have, as an end result, torture, injury and death.

"Why are we here?" We are here to root out all aspects of dehumanization that exists within us. We are here to stand with those being dehumanized by oppressors and stand firm against that dehumanization. We are here to stop people, including ourselves, from dehumanizing any of God's children, no matter how much they dehumanize their own souls.

 2005/12/9 17:11

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