This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Kidnap Playbill

"Kidnapping is the easiest crime in the world to commit. And everybody knows it. Organized criminals know it. Terrorists know it. Guerrillas, they know it as well."
"Countries around the world where it was never sort of threatening, they're becoming dangerous because every single little organization is affiliating itself with ISIL and trying to outdo it or do exactly what it did with their brutality."
"If I went and got kidnapped, I know no one is going to agree to pay $5-million for me in the first month. The negotiation is going to go back and forth, back and forth until you get down to $1.5-million. And that could take six months or a year."
"Every time someone makes a phone call, particularly in isolated locations, if you have the right satellite or aircraft, you're going to pick it up. So they [kidnappers] realize that they've got to be pretty careful about this, and so they don't use the phone or even a radio because they'll be tracked."
"This vision you see in Hollywood movies where they get on the phone and the kidnap victim is sitting in the corner, that never happens because they realize  you may catch the negotiators, but you're not going to get the kidnap victims back."
"If they kidnap somebody and there's a negotiation and they actually get what they asked for, they release the kidnap victim. They don't kill them. Because otherwise next time they do it, nobody is going to negotiate with them."
Alan Bell, former British special forces operative, Globe Risk International, Toronto

"The fact that they [ten Indonesian sailors] were released is very good news. The Moro National Liberation Front was involved and there was also military persuasion. As for the paying of ransom, I oppose it because they will not use these funds correctly. When they are paid, they buy more arms and that means the war can be worse."
Deputy governor, Abdusakur M. Tan, Sulu, Philippines
Indonesian sailors get off the plane upon their arrival in Jakarta.
The Indonesian hostages disembark a plane upon their arrival in Jakarta.

Almost a week after Canadian hostage John Ridsdel was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf on Sulu Island -- when negotiations for ransom had hit a roadblock and the final date before the threatened death of one of four abductees; two Canadian men, a Filipina woman and a Norwegian man passed -- ten Indonesian sailors were released when ransom was paid as demanded. The employer of the sailors, Patria Maritimes Lines, agreed to pay $1-million for the 20 men.

The same Islamist jihadis had demanded over $8-million for the release of each of the four hostages in the group including Mr. Ridsdel, a huge discrepancy between that demand and the $130,000 extorted by the terrorists for each of the lives of the Indonesian sailors. It is well established, however, that Abu Sayyaf makes far heftier demands for the release of Western hostages than for Asians whom they abduct for profit.

"I can assure you that government [of Canada] is deeply aware of the situation" of negotiations for the release of the two Canadians, their Filipina companion and the Norwegian man who operated the marina that all four were taken hostage from in a surprise attack, said Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism.

Most of the Philippines' seven million Muslims live in the south, with many different Islamist groups spread among hundreds of islands. The Moro National Liberation Front is one of them. When it seized hostages in the southern Christian city of Zamboanga in 2013 the army counter-attacked, killing 205 Islamist insurgents. Among the security forces there were 25 losses, along with the death of 13 civilians.

When they were abducted last month in waters near the Abu Sayyaf stronghold on Sulu Island last month the Indonesian sailors had been aboard a tugboat towing a barge to the Philippines from Indonesia. They were then taken to the same jungle area where Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and the two others abducted with them, had been taken to. And where, over the months that have passed since their abduction, they have grown progressively more gaunt and tormented by their situation.

They are among many others elsewhere in the world who have been kidnapped by similar Islamist groups, considered easy pickings for easy profit. In fact companies with employees placed in vulnerable positions such as the Philippines, Pakistan or Indonesia are now taking out ransom insurance. Mr. Bell, expert at these transactions, says that if payment is agreed to too quickly, or too much of it, it triggers an increase in demand.

On the other hand, if negotiations go on for too long, hostages can be killed. Which can be said to have happened to John Ridsdel, the horribly deadly conclusion to his long, miserable incarceration.

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