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TERRORISM: First german citizen kidnapped in Iraq

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posted on Nov, 29 2005 @ 08:09 AM
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Female german archeologist Susanne Osthoff, 43, and her Iraqi driver were apparently kidnapped in Iraq by an unknown group on Friday, as was stated by the german public TV channel ARD referring to a video submitted to them. Only a still photo of the video was released, showing the woman and her driver blindfolded among a group of three hooded and armed men, one of them holding a paper. The alleged kidnappers demanded that Germany stopped all cooperation with the Iraqi government. No details of the demands were released to the public yet.
 



www.theaustralian.news.com.au
A GERMAN woman has been missing in Iraq since Friday and the Berlin Government was trying to establish what had happened to her, a foreign ministry spokesman said in Washington.

The Government had set up a special team to handle the affair with the aim of "establishing the fate of the missing woman", spokesman Martin Jaeger said, on the sidelines of a visit to Washington by new Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

[...]

ARD said it had obtained a video cassette in Baghdad in which the kidnappers threatened to kill both unless the German Government broke off all co-operation with the Iraqi government.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Released still image

Seperately, the aid group "Christian Peacemaker Teams" reported that 4 of their activists had been taken hostage on Saturday (supporting link 1).

Although not the first hostage to be taken in Iraq, Mrs. Osthoff is insofar special as she avidly had worked for the Iraqi people and culture long before Gulf War 3 and was one of the first to organize aid shipments toward the end of the Saddam Hussein government despite of the ongoing conflict, sometimes under fire (supporting link 2, german language).

Following a cabinet meeting, the new german Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) stated that the german government decidedly demanded the two hostages to be set free. She assured the international audience that the german government were considering every possible steps to assure the well-being of Osthoff and her driver. The new german Minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), stated he "would know what has to be done" upon his return from a current trip to the USA (supporting link 3, german language) - which could indicate a desired and possibly forceful cooperation with US authorities in Iraq.

One of the hopes and emphasises of the german Iraq policy was not to get directly involved in local matters. This hope has been shattered now, and Chancellor Merkel will have to face tough decisions right at the beginning of her first term in office. My hopes are that considering the long-time contempt and commitment Susanne Osthoff has shown to the Iraqi people and culture (she is internationally known for her work as archeologist on Iraqi historical sites) there will be local informants to aid authorities in the solving of this problem.

I also hold the opinion that Germany might resort to forceful extraction in case the negotiations lead nowhere, the question being if that would be carried out by US/ISF SF groups or the german federal police GSG9. The german people is likely to support such measures instead of making concessions to the criminals or paying a significant amount of money (which Osthoff would then have to pay back to the german state) - the BND (german secret service) has been quite succesful at negotiating in the past. I cannot see this leading to any policy change by Germany.

(I am sorry for the links in german language, but english news coverage doesnt go in-depth as of now)

Edit: Image converted to link, minor correction

Related News Links:
www.guardian.co.uk
www.spiegel.de
www.neue-oz.de


[edit on 29/11/2005 by Lonestar24]




posted on Nov, 29 2005 @ 11:26 AM
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Just FYI, it just came across Fox News that Al Jazeera has released a videotape of the 4 peace activists that had been grabbed on Saturday.

Back to this topic, there appear to be some conflicting statements here. For example this statement seems to say that Ms. Osthoff was very concerned about the Iraqi people, and worked for their common good:

Although not the first hostage to be taken in Iraq, Mrs. Osthoff is insofar special as she avidly had worked for the Iraqi people and culture long before Gulf War 3 and was one of the first to organize aid shipments toward the end of the Saddam Hussein government despite of the ongoing conflict, sometimes under fire (supporting link 2, german language).



And then there is this statement that comes later in your post, which indicates that Ms. Osthoff had "contempt" for the Iraqis:

My hopes are that considering the long-time contempt and commitment Susanne Osthoff has shown to the Iraqi people and culture (she is internationally known for her work as archeologist on Iraqi historical sites) there will be local informants to aid authorities in the solving of this problem.


This may be due to a simple German-English translation error, but it should be corrected because it is confusing.

There are several very interesting factoids that the author has posted. For example, the bolded print in this section:

I also hold the opinion that Germany might resort to forceful extraction in case the negotiations lead nowhere, the question being if that would be carried out by US/ISF SF groups or the german federal police GSG9. The german people is likely to support such measures instead of making concessions to the criminals or paying a significant amount of money (which Osthoff would then have to pay back to the german state) - the BND (german secret service) has been quite succesful at negotiating in the past. I cannot see this leading to any policy change by Germany.





posted on Nov, 29 2005 @ 11:56 AM
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According to the provided source "Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung" she already had received threats from Zarqawi's group last summer while she was living in Mosul, northern Iraq and U.S. soldiers had taken her to the Green Zone ?

If so, probably, her kidnappers know pretty well who she is and that she is working on behalf of Iraqi civilians. The last thing Zarqawi (or the Ba'ath) want, is a stabilized, strong modern Iraq. I think it is also a warning to the Germans to stop any dealings with Iraq's government.



posted on Nov, 29 2005 @ 06:16 PM
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I also hold the opinion that Germany might resort to forceful extraction in case the negotiations lead nowhere,

This implies that her whereabouts are already known.

What roles exactly does Germany play in Iraq?



posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 10:53 AM
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Absolutely horrible that an archaeologist is taken. This is a person trying to reconstruct the history of the nation and the peoples of iraq, and these goons are going to hack her to death. These kidnappers really are living in the Dark Ages.



posted on Dec, 18 2005 @ 02:21 PM
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update:

German abducted in Iraq is free, says Berlin

"I'm pleased to announce today, also on behalf of the German chancellor, that Mrs Susanne Osthoff is no longer in the hands of the kidnappers.

She is in the safe care of the German embassy in Baghdad," [German Foreign Minister] Steinmeier said, adding she was in good health.

.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:04 PM
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It is rumoured that Germany traded the freedom of Hezbollah terrorist Mohammad Ali Hamadi, who tortured and murdered U.S. Navy Diver Robert Dean Stethem, for Mrs. Osthoff. Within three days of Hamadi's release, Osthoff was released:




Hezbollah member wanted by US released in Germany

Hezbollah member Mohammed Ali Hamadi has returned to Lebanon after being secretly released in Germany, where he was serving a life sentence for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner and killing of a US navy diver, Hezbollah and Lebanese security sources said Tuesday.

He was sentenced in 1989 for possession of explosives, hijacking a U.S. commercial passenger airliner in Athens to Beirut - TWA flight 847 - on 14 June 1985, beating and holding passengers aboard that flight, and murdering Robert Dean Stethem, a US Navy diver, on the same flight.

Commentators have speculated that Hamadi’s release may be connected to the freeing Sunday of German hostage Susanne Osthoff in Iraq.
German authorities had already tried to use Hamadi as a bargaining chip in the late 1980s to secure the release of German hostages in Lebanon.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 11:47 PM
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This is interesting...apparently she herself was a German spy:



UPI

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Susanne Osthoff, the German archeologist kidnapped by Iraqi gunmen on Nov. 25 and released before Christmas was connected with her country's intelligence service, the BND, and had helped arrange a meeting with a top member of the terrorist organization al-Qaida, possibly Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi himself, according to well informed German sources Sunday.

The sources confirmed German press reports that the 43-year-old woman had worked for the BND in Iraq on a freelance basis, and had for some time even stayed in a German intelligence safe house in Baghdad.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


I think this lends credence to the possibility Germany did trade Hamadi for her...



posted on Aug, 26 2009 @ 09:11 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



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