One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

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Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Kidnapping of Journalists Centanni and Wiig -- Continued

There's been some unusual bits of news come to light lately concerning the kidnapping of FOXNewsmen Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig.

Initially, there was finally a claiming of responsibility in the last day or so from a group calling themselves the "Holy Jihad Brigades", a previously unknown entity operating from Gaza. At least, a statement issued to various press organizations has identified them as such.

But now there are questions as to just who this really is.

Debbie over at Right Truth is doing a yeoman's job of gathering information on this subject, including an article in the Jerusalem Post stating that the two men are possibly being held by one of several groups under the purvey of the Palestinian Fatah....or that they were initially nabbed by some Palestinian Authority thugs trying to put the squeeze on their bosses to pay their wages:
PA security sources said they did not rule out the possibility that Fatah gunmen were holding the two journalists. "There are many rumors in the Gaza Strip and we are checking them," the sources said. "In the past, we've had several cases where Fatah-affiliated gunmen and disgruntled security officers kidnapped foreigners."
Juxtaposed neatly beside that story, I noticed, lies another one...possibly related?
Meanwhile, a Hamas minister accused Abbas of "confiscating" more than $35 million to pay his loyalists and supporters.
Minister of Culture Attallah Abu Sabah said the money had been collected by the government to pay the salaries of civil servants.
"Abbas took the money to pay members of the PLO executive committee and employees of Palestine TV," he said. "As a result, we were not able to pay the civil servants their full salaries."
Forgive me, friends, but when you have to kidnap somebody in order to get your paycheck, you've made a tactical vocational error somewhere.

All joking aside....Two days ago, when I read the statement that had been released, I had a gut feeling that the whole "free all Muslim prisoners from US jails within 72 hours" thing smelled a little funny -- especially after that much time had passed without any such demands. (I know, that's easy to say now, but it's true.) And, to me at least, the possibility that this was indeed the initial goal does still exist.

But to think this might all be just some kind of workers' holdout...UGH.

In the meantime, says FOX News:
JERUSALEM — A Palestinian Cabinet minister said Friday there were the "first promising signs" in the case of two FOX News journalists abducted in Gaza nearly two weeks ago.
"Efforts and contacts are being made to guarantee the safety and bring about the release of the two guests of Palestine," said Interior Minister Said Siyam of Hamas, speaking to reporters outside a Gaza mosque.
"There are first promising signs," Siyam said, without elaborating.
Whatever's going on behind all this...I'm still holding out hope that something gets worked out so Steve and Olaf can be released.

With these new variables added in, though, I can't help but wonder...what's it really gonna take?

(P.S. Inside the Fox story above, there is a link to the full text of recent statements Steve's brother Ken and Olaf's wife Anita McNaught have made in their pleas for their loved ones' release. Take a look for yourselves, o faithful ones...these are two WELL-spoken people.)