December 29, 2005


Former Iraq Hostage Makes Bizzare TV Appearance (Der Spiegel, 12/29/05)

If former hostage Susanne Osthoff had been better advised, she probably would have opted against appearing on German television entirely covered in a black headscarf. The hijab, which left only a pair of slits for her eyes, made the freed hostage look like a disturbing cross between a Chechen Black Widow suicide bomber and a ninja.

On Wednesday night, 10 days after her release from captivity, a televised interview with Osthoff, who had been held in Iraq for three weeks, was broadcast on the German public television channel ZDF. In the interview's introduction, the presenter explained that Osthoff's choice of dress was suposedly intended to preserve her identity --a bizarre thought considering that Osthoff's face has been all over the front-pages since November and most people in Germany must be quite aware of what she looks like. Besides, she didn't wear a headdress in her interview with Arab broacaster Al-Jazeera earlier this week.

The second shock for viewers was the rambling, incoherent nature of Osthoff's answers. Even the heavily edited version (ZDF spokesman: "We wanted to protect Osthoff from herself.") of the original 15-minute interview was barely comprehensible. Questions were left unanswered and at times Osthoff rambled off into non-sequiturs about how badly she had been treated by her landlord back in Germany. When asked how the kidnapping had been carried out, she was evasive, simply responding: "I think these details are not interesting. That doesn't interest anyone. Generally kidnappings are carried out quite violently. People watch a lot of television and realize perhaps that you don't let yourself get abducted voluntarily."

We yield to no one in our contempt for Europeans, but even they have to realize by now that these supposed hostages are just facilitating transfer payments and prisoner releases from European governments to the terrorists.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2005 5:35 PM

And the Europeans would find this objectionable because …?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at December 29, 2005 7:31 PM

Funny; my dictionary doesn't list "collaborator" as a synonym for "hostage" either.

That Italian babushka suceeded in doing a fair amount of damage. And it seems Germany only imprisoned the killer of Petty Officer Robert Dean Stethem so they would have a bargaining chip later. Napolean gets his revenge--the Germs are becoming Good little appeasing Frenchmen!

Here's how it's done, mein Petite Officials:

"USS Stethem, at sea -- The “steelworkers” of USS Stethem (DDG 63) honored the sacrifice of Steelworker 2nd Class (DV) Robert Dean Stethem, for whom their ship is named, on the 20th anniversary of his death with a memorial ceremony held June 14.

Stethem was tortured and murdered by terrorists during the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 on June 14, 1985. Stethem displayed unwavering courage in the face of his attackers by refusing to cry out or beg for mercy, sacrificing his life for the other hostages on the aircraft.

The memorial ceremony took place underway on the ship’s flight deck. After the crew had assembled, Gunner’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Michael Webb began the ceremony with an invocation followed by remarks from Operations Specialist 3rd Class Charles Milioto.

“He stood fearless and gave them no satisfaction for he would not bow down to their demands,” said Milioto. “The U.S. has never bowed to the demands of terrorists and neither did Petty Officer Stethem. I believe that within each Stethem steelworker lies the honor and courage Robert Stethem displayed on that dreadful morning 20 years ago today.”

Following the speech, Cmdr. Robert P. Gonzales, Stethem’s commanding officer, spoke about the sacrifice of Stethem and his refusal to submit to his captors.

At the conclusion of the speech, Stethem was honored with a 21-gun salute while Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (SW) Joseph Williams and Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW) Travis O’Neil tossed a wreath into the ship’s wake to the playing of Taps.

Seaman Christopher Powell said of the memorial, “The ceremony reminded me of why I joined the Navy, to protect the freedom of my friends and family and my country. Robbie Stethem’s motivation and spirit makes me do a better job.”

Stethem was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for the heroism he displayed that day."


Posted by: Noel at December 30, 2005 8:29 AM