March 25, 2006


How 200 soldiers saved 3 pacifists: `Task Force Black' didn't use its guns But it took elite team to free hostages (MICHELLE SHEPHARD, 3/25/06, Toronto Star)

Of all the covert operations in Iraq, Task Force Black is among the most secretive.

The British-led group of more than 200 military and intelligence officers, tracks hostages and Iraqi war criminals and employs all the tricks used in domestic investigations.

Using telephone intercepts, satellite photographs and undercover work, and trying to court sources inside Iraq's insurgency, the group is credited with saving the lives of many foreigners.

When four peace activists, including Toronto's Jim Loney and former Montreal resident Harmeet Singh Sooden, were kidnapped Nov. 26 in western Baghdad, the Canadians joined the team.

How Canada was involved in helping rescue three of the men this week is something no one in Ottawa now wants to talk about, citing concerns over national security.

But sources have told the Toronto Star that while the contribution may have been small, there was an important Canadian element. Agents with Canada's spy service, Mounties and analysts with the Canadian Security Establishment, the secretive electronic eavesdropping agency, rotated through Baghdad's Green Zone during the four months the hostages were held captive.

Members of the Defence Department's elite JTF-2 were also on the ground, although there were never more than a few at a time.

In total, the Canadian contingent, which included diplomats providing the link from Baghdad to the hostages' families at home, didn't number more than a dozen.

Task Force Black worked around the clock, and before Thursday's success in rescuing the two Canadian peace activists and their British colleague, Norman Kember, there were many failed attempts. And they were unable to save American Tom Fox, who was kidnapped with the group and whose body was found earlier this month dumped on a street in Baghdad.

Yesterday, the Christian Peacemaker Teams issued a belated thank you to those who saved their members.

There's a name for people like the CPT and it rhymes with crass polls.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 25, 2006 10:09 AM

I think this is an outrage, Task Force Black sounds like an important intelligence asset, significant amounts of it's resources were tied up trying to rescue these retards?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't it got more pressing issues? Wouldn't it's time be better spent assisting counter-insurgency efforts rather than saving people who are literaly too stupid to live?

Posted by: Amos at March 25, 2006 10:55 AM

No. The reason we're there in the first place is because we're the kind of people who save people this stupid from themselves.

Posted by: oj at March 25, 2006 10:59 AM

Yep. It's a sign of civilization that that children, the senile, the mentally impared and the pacifist are protected from themselves. What's galling is that the others, unlike the pacifist, don't know or deliberately choose what they are doing.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 25, 2006 11:32 AM

I agree with Amos. The more importance we assign to rescuing such people the more they are prized as captives and therefore endangered. I'd hate to see some infantryman killed or maimed to save some such crass polls.

Posted by: Genecis at March 25, 2006 12:56 PM

Despite the captives poor intellectual and social attributes, their rescue is still a victory over tyranny.

Posted by: morry at March 25, 2006 1:13 PM

From what I am told, they have been flooded with emails featuring heavily terms that rhyme with crass polls, attributable to Mark Steyn's posting their email address at the Corner. Their belated thank you is probably almost completely ascribable to their shock at the anger that rained on their martyrdom parade.

Posted by: Rick at March 25, 2006 2:18 PM

I wouldn't have risked trying to rescue these people. Fortunately for them, the military is comprised of dedicated individuals that are better than I am.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 25, 2006 2:19 PM

This actually does serve a purpose, in showing the true feelings of some of these groups to the public at large. It's impossible for almost everyone to both comprhend and sympathise with folks to show this kind of ingratitude to soliders who risked their lives to save theirs.

When people who are against the U.S., action in Iraq don't support the troops to the point they demean their own rescuers, it's hard for the left to gin up any support after the fact for the freed captives.

Posted by: John at March 25, 2006 7:15 PM

How is rescuing a bunch of terrorism-enablers and apologists a victory against tyranny, especially IF the resources diverted to doing it diminished the protection counter-intelligence affords Iraqi troops, Iraqi civilians and coalition personnel? (I admit itís a big Ďifí)

I know itís good to get these kidnapper scumbags off the street but- oh wait, none of the kidnappers apart from the original tipster were actually caught and the CPT is declining to cooperate further with the security forces.

This isnít a victory, if I could swap three live Iraqi civilians for 3 tortured and executed CPT idiots Iíd do it in an instant.

I know itís not that simple, who knows what resource went where, and what effect it would have had anyway. My point is not a single finger should have been lifted to rescue these morons when there was ANY more pressing task for the intelligence people to do, and they have MOUNTAINS of work to do.

Maybe they just got the CPT as a target of opportunity, based off a confession from an unrelated bust. If so, fine. But I hate to think people were actually assigned specifically to hunting for them.

Posted by: Amos at March 25, 2006 9:44 PM

It's not a victory over tyranny, It's a victory for decency.

Posted by: oj at March 25, 2006 9:53 PM

Yay decency. But I'm going to chalk up the assertion that this kind of idiot should survive to breed as a feature of your well documented aversion to Darwin's theories.

Posted by: Amos at March 25, 2006 10:35 PM

I notice the crass polls even have a theme song Of course I should warn you that if bad language offends you, you should not press that link.

Posted by: h-man at March 25, 2006 11:59 PM

The fact these bums weren't killed by the terrorists pretty much proves (in my mind) they were complicit. My wife thinks they should have been left to rot in the desert.

But at least Canada didn't pay a ransom or the U.S. bow to pressure -- like the Italians did.

Let's face it, this is a terrible humiliation for the bad guys. Unfortunately the bums live to attend another protest and get "kidnapped" again.

Posted by: Randall Voth at March 26, 2006 3:13 AM

I actually don't think these guys were complicit. I think it was an example of sheep meets wolf and is surprised by results.

That commie Italian journalist on the other hand..

Posted by: Amos at March 26, 2006 5:36 AM