Free Amanda Lindhout & Nigel Brennan

July 31, 2009

Two standards for kidnapping

To tell or not to tell.

Two camps of thoughts, but which is the right one for Amanda & Nigel? If we are to take our lead by what is ‘not’ being said or done in this case, the silent camp seems to be the standard to follow. However, with Nigel Brennan’s mother speaking publically for the first time last week, it leads one to believe not even they are privy to any inner negotiations that may, or may not be at work on their behalf. And if no negotiations are going on, if time is just ticking away and Amanda & Nigel are becoming more of a liability with each passing day, it begs the questions:

Are these two going to die in Somalia, are our governments really going to let this happen?

What then could be a solution, and a very quick one, to this terrible situtaion?

The below was published on Monday, June 22, 2009 by The National post.

Happy endings have a way of halting tricky questions in their tracks. No doubt everyone’s happy to hear that another reporter in Afghanistan managed to survive a hostage ordeal that could have ended badly and bloodily. This time, it was New York Times reporter David Rohde, who was kidnapped by the Taliban in November, only almost no-one outside media circles knew that till he escaped Friday. That’s because the media deliberately kept Rohde’s kidnapping a secret.

“From the early days of this ordeal, the prevailing view among David’s family, experts in kidnapping cases, officials of several government and others we consulted was that going public could increase the danger,” Bill Keller, the Times’ executive editor, explained. “We decided to respect that advice … and a number of other news organizations that learned of David’s plight have done the same. We are enormously grateful for their support.”

Since Rohde survived, everything done to secure his release – including the widespread efforts to hide the news of his abduction – seems irresistibly reasonable in retrospect. With a different, unhappier ending, would we be as cool with the media decision to consciously suppress the story? Videos sent by his kidnappers to various Arab TV networks, presumably making demands were, according to reports, “not given extended air play at the urging of the Times.” (One blogger noticed back in February that Rohde had been missing, and discovered the truth about his abduction, but other reporters told him there was nothing he or they could do about it, given the decision by all editors to censor the story). CBC reporter, Melissa Fung, benefited from the same media blackout last fall.

When news organizations aren’t directly impacted by hostage takings, they tend to play by different rules: The kidnapping of Canadian diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay in Niger last year earned plenty of news coverage, as has unaffiliated freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout’s plight in Somalia, and freelance journalist Beverly Giesbrecht in Pakistan (both of whom remain in custody). Interestingly, newspapers have felt liberated to reveal the tale of Rohde’s kidnapping, along with his fixer and driver, now that the American reporter is free, even though one member of the group still remains held in the Taliban compound.

There can be little question that reporters are getting special treatment. But if we agree on that, we might do ourselves the favour of being reflective enough to ask why. The Toronto Star’s public editor several months ago recalled how that paper – which participated in the cover-up of Melissa Fung’s kidnapping – had to ignore pleas from the family of Je Yell Kim not to report on his capture in North Korea because “the incarceration of a Canadian by a foreign government was an issue of important public interest in Canada. So, too, was the question of what Canadian authorities were doing to secure his release.”

In that case, things turned out fine. They don’t always. It’s impossible to tell how much the glare of media coverage has influenced a kidnapper to do something he otherwise mightn’t have, but it’s safe to say that an increased profile of a hostage situation must have a kind of Observer Effect on the actors.

The conspiracy by media to gag kidnapping stories of reporters abroad may have saved Rohde’s life, and Fung’s too. If so, great. Perhaps it had no effect on the outcome at all. This is something we’ll never know. But one thing we might be able to know, if we dared to ask it of ourselves, is why different rules were apparently applied to Rohde and Fung than to Giesbrecht, Lindhout, and others. If a New York Times or CBC reporter’s life was sufficiently worth guarding as to sacrifice the kind of high-minded, self-ascribed newsroom principles given by the Star to Je Yell Kim’s family, surely others’ lives are, too.

Source: National Post

July 26, 2009

Family of kidnapped journalist breaks silence

Finally word from one of the families, Nigel Brennan’s. The pressure on them must be enormous to do the ‘right’ thing for their loved ones. So to, must ‘knowing’ what the right thing to do, is.

The below is the full published report from the National Post
dated Friday, July 24, 2009.

CALGARY — The family of a photographer taken hostage along with Alberta journalist Amanda Lindhout in Somalia is stepping up the pressure on the Australian government to negotiate the man’s release.

The family of Nigel Brennan has broken its silence on the case, criticizing the negotiation process as lacking in transparency and taking “a ridiculous amount of time.”

“We are just desperate to get some answers from our government,” family spokeswoman Rebecca Hutchins told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “What do they think is a reasonable time for an Australian citizen to be held captive?”

Brennan’s mother also confronted Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd during a public visit earlier this week, according to media reports.

Brennan and Lindhout were kidnapped on Aug. 23, 2008 along with local journalist Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was released in January.

In another interview with ABC, an Australian official said Friday the family’s public comments Thursday will not help speed up negotiations for Brennan’s release.

“I understand very much their frustration and the agony of the mother who hasn’t seen her son for almost a year,” said foreign minister Stephen Smith. “Our advice has always been not to go public, not to go to the media.”

Rudd said in a separate interview that the country is doing everything it can.

“This is an exceptionally complex matter, and I think if you were fully apprised, confidentially, of the details of the case… you’d be fully seized of how difficult and complex a matter this is, given the part of the world in which he is located,” the Australian prime minister said.

Negotiations between Canadian officials and Somali hostage takers ceased in January, and Lindhout issued a plea in May to AFP via a five-minute phone conversation, saying she and Brennan are not doing well.

“The situation here is very dire and very serious. I’ve been a hostage for nine months, the conditions are very bad, I don’t drink clean water, I am fed at most once a day,” Lindhout said during the plea. “I’m being kept . . . in a dark windowless room, completely alone.”

Brennan also spoke during the plea, noting his health was “extremely poor and deteriorating rapidly.”

The pair’s kidnapping has been one of the longest recent abductions in Somalia, although all previous kidnappings of journalists have ended with the release of the hostages amid claims that ransoms were paid.

Negotiations for their release have reportedly collapsed several times.

Source: The National Post

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to sign the petition below on Amanda & Nigel’s behalf .

Thank you.

Petition:

http://bit.ly/fhmqq

Kidnappers losing patience with Ottawa, expert claims

Kidnappers losing patience with Ottawa, expert claims

Mark Iype, Canwest News Service Published: Friday, June 12, 2009

An expert from an international media aid organization says that the plight of kidnapped Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout is quickly becoming dire, and he is worried that the patience of the militia holding her is running out.

“They are really getting impatient,” Ambroise Pierre, the Africa expert with Reporters Without Border said yesterday from his office in Paris. “The kidnappers wanted to negotiate sooner than this.”

Pierre says his sources in Somalia say the militia holding her wants to get rid of her, but it also wants to get paid. He thinks that the kidnappers are surprised the situation has dragged.

He says kidnappings in the East African country are usually resolved within six weeks.

Lindhout, a freelance reporter from Sylvan Lake, Alta., was kidnapped last August with an Australian colleague, Nigel Brennan, while working on a story about internally displaced people.

A woman claiming to be Lindhout called CTV News late yesterday to make a tearful plea for her release.

“I’ve been held hostage by gunmen in Somalia for nearly 10 months,” the woman, claiming to be Lindhout, said.

“I’m being kept in a dark, windowless room in chains, without any clean drinking water and little or no food. I’ve been very sick for months, without any medicine.”

The woman begs Ottawa to help her family pay her ransom.

Pierre says he thinks it is highly likely that the woman who made the call is Lindhout. The call comes just weeks after a similar plea was made by Lindhout and Brennan in a short phone call with Agence France-Presse, in which they spoke of horrible conditions and their deteriorating health.

A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs says that officials “continue to pursue all the appropriate channels” to determine Lindhout’s welfare.

Source:

http://www.nationalpost.com/related/topics/story.html?id=1825247

July 17, 2009

Amanda Enjoying life.

Filed under: Video — freeamandafreenigel @ 15:59
Tags: , , ,

A young Canadian women, enjoying life, carefree, happy, inquisitive. Not unlike your sister, daughter, wife, friend or colleague.

It’s how we want our young people to be, try and raise them to be, without prejudice, searching for answers, getting on with life, making a difference.

Please sign the petition to help bring attention to their plight, so that Amanda & Nigel both, can come back home.

Sign Petition at below link:

  • http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/free-amanda-and-nigel
  • ,

    July 4, 2009

    Day 319 in Captivity-Petition-Help Journalists, Amanda Lindhout & Nigel Brennan

    Filed under: Commentary — freeamandafreenigel @ 16:02
    Tags: , ,

    Amanda Lindhout & Nigel Brennan

    The following is the content of the Petition started at Care2.com, in hopes of bringing hope, help and attention to their plight.
    —————————————-
    We the undersigned, petition Canadian & Australian Governments and any interested world government, the Honorable prime ministers Steven Harper, Kevin Rudd and both Parliments to aid and facilitate the timely release of its citizens, freelance Canadian journalist, Amanda Lindhout and Austrailian photojournalist, Nigel Brennan.

    On August 23, 2008, Canadian journalist, Amanda Lindhout, 27, and Australian pohotojournalist, Nigel Brennan, 37, were seized at gunpoint just outside the Somali capitol of Mogadishu. They were en route to a Somali refugee camp to continue reporting on worsening conditions in the region. Three Somalis, photojournalist Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi, and two drivers, kidnapped with them, were released in mid January of 2009.

    Both Amanda Lindhout, and Nigel Brennan, are being held prisoners in dire conditions, in need of medication, fresh water & food. Their health has rapidly deteriorated. With so many conflicting reports, the only real thing we have to go on is Amanda’s voice in telephone messages. We fear for their very lives. We ask respectively, at what point a Canadian, Australian or any citizen of the free world can expect to receive help from their home Governments?

    We appeal to both Canadian and Austrailian governements as well as any interested world government or parties, to work together toward in securring their imminent release.

    We, the undersigned, wish to thank both countries, world goverments and interested parties for reading this petition and any resolution brought to this situation, that results in the safe return of both Amanda and Nigel, to their respective families and homes
    —————————————-

    Heightened fears over the fate of Amanda Lindhout & Nigel Brennan
    http://bit.ly/rL1dY
    Above Source: Reporters Without Borders For Press Freedom.

    “Help Me”: Kidnapped Bundaberg Photographer’s Desperate Plea
    http://bit.ly/1muP6
    Above Source: ABC.Net Austrailia.

    Canadian journalist fears she’ll die in Somalia unless government helps.
    http://bit.ly/hwAFj
    Above Source: CBC

    “I Hope when Amanda sleeps, her dreams take her to a place where she can hear our prayers, and know she is not alone.”
    Quote by
    Paul MacPhearson, found online.
    ——————————————————

    You, me, all of us, can make a difference, however small. Please take the time to sign this and, if possible, pass it on.

    I wish to thank all of you, who have taken time out to sign and comment.

    Sign Petition at below link:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/free-amanda-and-nigel

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