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Five British Hostages To Fortune


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C'mon on now hands up: how many of you know that there are currently four (as yet unnamed) British body guards (employed by a Canadian firm called GardaWorld) and an unnamed British logistics consultant (employed by a British firm called Bearing Point) being held captive by an unspecified group in Iraq? And how many of you can recall the date and circumstances of their abduction (29th May, in broad daylight at the Iraqi Ministry of Finance)?

And since then hardly a dicky bird. In fact if it hadn't been for the sudden departure of Bahgdad's only Anglican vicar, Canon Andrew White, in early July (who was acting as a go between in this strange affair) an event which was belatedly and grudgingly referred to in a BBC 4 news report we would probably have been completely dicky birdless. Even the fact that the goodly Canon was forced to flee for his own safety (having apparently been denounced by the Mahdi Army as a spy) does not seem to have aroused the curiosity of our curiously incurious press (I aint heard him interviewed - have you?)

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The Reverand Andrew White - a loose canon?

Rather strange don't you think when you consider that all this took off at the height of the hostage season? What with poor old hapless Alan Johnstone in Gaza and our Popeyes drifting into Iranian waters. Makes you wonder what exactly the criteria is for saturation coverage or media black outs of such events. To say nothing about who takes such decisions. And who enforces them. And what the penalty is for transgression.

This lovely little quote from The Times of 23rd July suggests that the mandarins have the Beeb on a tight leash:

Unlike the BBC's large-scale publicity campaign over the Alan Johnston kidnapping in Gaza, diplomats have decided that keeping the names, details and families of those kidnapped out of the media spotlight would be the best way to secure their release.

Why do I get the feeling that the Foreign Office doesn't want them back?

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