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Old 05-01-2005, 07:09 PM   #1
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Australian kidnapped in Iraq

An Australian has been taken hostage in Iraq
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Australian taken hostage in Iraq
Reuters
May 02, 2005
AN emergency response team is preparing to fly to Iraq to attempt to secure the release of Australian hostage Douglas Wood.

Iraqi insurgents released a video overnight of Mr Wood - an Australian citizen living in California - pleading for his life at gunpoint and calling for the withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the hostage team would include Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) staff, Australian Federal Police and defence personnel.

"That will be getting going as quickly as is humanly possibly to go to Iraq to reinforce the efforts that our embassy is making on the ground there," Mr Downer said on ABC.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Howard said he would do whatever he could to secure Mr Wood's release.

He also said while he accepted responsibility for the fate of Mr Wood, he stood by his commitment to the coalition effort in Iraq.

"I can understand the anguish people are going through and I feel for them very deeply because this really is the tough end of any kind of difficult and controversial decision," Mr Howard said.

"I feel total responsibility for any harm that comes to anybody as a result of the decisions that the Government has taken.

"If you imagine for a moment that I don't feel a great sense of personal involvement and responsibility, you'd be wrong."

On the two-minute video, the sandy-haired man identifies himself as Douglas Wood, a 63-year-old who lives in California and is married to an American.

He calls on US, Australian and British authorities to withdraw from the country.

"Please help me. I don't want to die," he says on the tape, which shows him sitting on the floor as two masked men armed with assault rifles and wearing bulletproof vests stand on either side of him.

The authenticity of the tape could not be immediately verified.

Australian, coalition and Iraqi officials in Baghdad declined to comment on reports of the hostage-taking today.

In Canberra, officials were trying to verify that the man on the tape was in fact citizen Douglas Wood, said Robin Richey, of the Australian consular emergency centre.

"We're looking into the situation at the moment," he said.

"We've seen the reports of the kidnapping of a person named Douglas Wood. We're just trying to confirm that he's an Australian citizen and that is his identity.

"We have, as you might imagine, many Douglas Woods, so we need to confirm his identity and notify his next of kin before we do anything else."

Diplomats at the Australian Embassy in Baghdad referred calls to Canberra.

Mr Wood says on the tape that he has worked in Iraq for more than a year and that he "has done many jobs with the American military".

It is not clear what sort of work he does.

The tape shows him dressed in civilian clothes.

A statement from the militants issued with the tape said it had been released to coincide with a visit to Iraq by Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill.

The statement said Mr Wood had confessed to "dirty acts on our soil".

"My captors are fiercely patriotic. They believe in a strong, united Iraq looking after its own destiny," Mr Wood says on the tape, his head slumped forward and his voice close to breaking.

"President Bush, Prime Minister Howard, Governor Schwarzenegger ... take the troops out of here and let Iraq look after itself."

Mr Hill has been in Iraq for talks in Baghdad with new Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and to visit Australian troops.

Some 450 Australian troops are due to join coalition forces in southern Iraq by mid-May, increasing the number of Australian troops in the country to more than 800.

With AFP
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Old 05-01-2005, 08:01 PM   #2
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Yes, I heard about this earlier on. Unfortunately, he was one of the Western merceneraries brought in for money. No-one in their right mind sheds any tears over merceneraries like this.

Start a thread about Margaret Hassan, a genuine non-aligned innocent victim, then I might be able to judge your posts in this forum as non-aligned and serious.
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Old 05-01-2005, 10:03 PM   #3
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Already did mate, when that event occured ~ frankly I think that the man is already dead being in the hands of those monsters, the issue will be how the Howard government deals with it, hopefully a good deal better than the Phillipino or Italian ones.
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Old 05-02-2005, 01:42 AM   #4
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Yes, I heard about this earlier on. Unfortunately, he was one of the Western merceneraries brought in for money. No-one in their right mind sheds any tears over merceneraries like this.
He was an engineering contracter not a mercenary.
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Old 05-02-2005, 08:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy
Yes, I heard about this earlier on. Unfortunately, he was one of the Western merceneraries brought in for money. No-one in their right mind sheds any tears over merceneraries like this.

Start a thread about Margaret Hassan, a genuine non-aligned innocent victim, then I might be able to judge your posts in this forum as non-aligned and serious.
Your posts in here are really starting to getting needlessly incendiary. This man is an innocent human being and we should be hoping and praying for his safe return.
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Old 05-02-2005, 03:18 PM   #6
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No to be fair it is legitimate to argue that certain people deserve to die ~ provided that others are allowed to call them on it, or not, whatever the case may be.
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Old 05-09-2005, 09:47 AM   #7
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I hope this guy is released soon.
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