Channel Four Sneers at Hostages

(This missive is partially cannibalized from an earlier one.)

Badly decomposed bodies handed to the British Embassy in Iraq have been identified as one Jason Creswell from Glasgow, and one Jason Swindlehurst from Lancashire. Both were employed by Canadian private security firm GardaWorld, detailed to guard Peter Moore, a British systems programmer.

dead hostages

Details of their original kidnapping in April 2007 remain sketchy, but Moore was working as part of a contract for the Iraqi Ministry of Finance to maintain computer systems. Creswell and Swindlehurst, and two other Britons named only as Alan and Alec, were his guards.

What I found noteworthy about the forensic tests on the hostages’ bodies was the suggestion that serious decomposition had taken place. They clearly have been dead for some time, and it is reasonable to fear the safety of Moore and ‘Alan’ and ‘Alec’.

The following is the text of the ‘Snowmail’, an e-letter sent in advance of Channel4 News evening broadcasts, from Sunday 21 June:

Greetings all – Alex Thomson here. This is our current thinking for tonight’s Channel 4 News at 6.30…

It seems the two bodies handed to British authorities are those of Jason Creswell and Jason Swindlehurst, two British security guards assigned to protect IT consultant Peter Moore when they were abducted in Baghdad more than two years ago.

The Foreign Office said it was still very concerned about the safety of the three other men who are still thought to be held captive.

Tonight we hope to speak to the father of Peter Moore. He is less than happy about the way the government went about giving him news on this.

He says he hopes his son is alive but feels desperate for the other families.

Perhaps too in the ghastliness of this we all need to stand back.

These were men in Iraq making big money on the back of an invasion of another country, which had caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis. They knew the risks.

That’s why the money was big. That’s not to excuse, still less condone what’s happened. But it is to give it some context.

In that light we hope to talk to a security consultant involved in Iraq.

I did not watch the subsequent broadcast, so did not hear what the security consultant said. I wonder what his response and that from Moore’s father would have been had Thompson suggested that maintaining databases and protecting those who do maintain databases is a partisan act.

I am sure that no Channel4 News journalist has felt the need to hire “security consultants” when reporting from Iraq or other hot-zones. Just as I am sure Thompson said similar at Terry Lloyd and Gaby Rado’s funerals.

As linked to, the Daily Record printed a horrified report covering these events. George Galloway also writes a regular column for this newspaper. Yet, despite Moore’s intention of normalizing the post-Saddam economic institutions, his and his guards’ mere association with the Coalition forces and democatically elected Iraqi government may have been enough for Galloway to have decreed them worthy of attack. In his recent semi-autobiography, he described foreign contractors and non-journalists in Iraq as “legitimate targets for acts of resistance”.

(It should also be recalled that, in discussing anti-Saddam protests during the 1980s which Galloway has long since been accused of not offering his full attention, he stated that “when people like me” were there. In other words, Dod, you were not. Just as I have not been able to find examples of your repeatedly calling the Dinner Jacket’s acts of Holocaust Denial a disgrace.)

Galloway and the StWC, these are your people. And so were these previous presenters of Schrödinger’s Cat.

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