Tuesday, July 3, 2007

BBC Journalist Free, Relatively Speaking

Tonight, a little good news from the Middle East. Alan Johnston is free.

He's a BBC journalist who was kidnapped by a the Army of Islam, a group of activists run by the Doghmush clan, about four months ago.

"Free" is a relative term. Reuters reports that BBC says Johnston is free, and that Reuters journalists "saw the 45-year-old Briton being embraced by BBC colleagues after he arrived by car at the home of Hamas's local leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh."

I'll be more convinced of Johnston's freedom when he isn't being held by any Palestinian group. Still, the odds are that he'll be let go eventually now, since Hamas might find it embarrassing to hold on to the westerner whose freedom they asked for.

Let's hope that Mr. Johnston comes out of his up close and personal experience with Palestinians better than Leon Klinghoffer did, back in 1985. That may not be a fair comparison, but the Achille Lauro incident shows that politically active Palestinians don't have an entirely sterling record when it comes to taking care of people under their custody.

Abū ‘Abbās, also called Muhammad Zaidan, also called Muhammad ‘Abbās, in a Boston Globe interview (June 26, 1998) explained that he had a perfectly good reason for having Mr. Klinghoffer killed. Mr. ‘Abbās and his PLF associates had taken over a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro. Mr. ‘Abbās said that Leon Klinghoffer "created troubles. He was handicapped but he was inciting and provoking the other passengers. So the decision was made to kill him."

After Mr. Klinghoffer was dead, the Palestinian activists dumped him and his wheelchair over the side. I can't help wonder if the old cripple being a Jew had something to do with Mr. ‘Abbās' decision.

Facts from CNN, Palestine Facts, Fox News and Answers.com.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.