Missing Britons in Iraq

Back in May, five Britons were kidnapped in Iraq.  They were working for the security agency GuardaWorld, apparently protecting an employee of BearingPoint.
The media silence on this issue is noteworthy.  Usually when a person goes missing in Iraq, there is a sustained level of news coverage until the person is either released or killed.  In this case, however, there has been nothing beyond the initial report.
Whenever hostages are released, they always state that their worst fear is that they have been forgotten by the outside world. Alan Johnston:

“The thing you don’t want is to be left behind, buried alive, and have the world go on around you,” he said.

So the campaign for a hostage’s release seems worthwhile in retrospect, even if it seems to make little material difference at the time.  Its a shame that these five men have indeed been forgotten.  If they are listening to a radio somewhere, they will hear no mention of their plight.
Can it be that, in the absence of named victims, the media has completely no interest?  Or perhaps there is some kind of media embargo as negotiations take place?  I’ve e-mailed the press departments of both companies concerned, but neither will offer further information.

13 Replies to “Missing Britons in Iraq”

  1. That’s the thing, its not as if there was a flurry of activity to begin with. Previously, we’ve seen people get fed up with the parents of Madeline McGann, and even Billy Connoly making jokes about Ken Bigley.
    But for these guys, zilch.

  2. Does Frank Gardner not know anything?
    Is it because of the nature of the business of Gardaworld’s client??
    Surely there is a good reason or why are the families not asking for help?

  3. Er surely it’s obvious they aren’t the sort of people the govt wants any publicity about ? I mean “security consultants” covers all manner of sins – anyone remember “journalist” john mc carthy kidnapped in lebanon in the 1980s ?

  4. But what about when those two SAS dudes were caught lurking in Basra, and had to be forcibly removed from an Iraqi police station? We at least had some updates on their fate, even if the exact nature of their mission was obscured.
    Also, the details we do have about the GuardaWorld Five do not necessarily point to a cover-up. Chatting to some contacts of my own who have worked out in Iraq, pretty much everyone employs a close protection team nowadays. Even if these men were not working for some kind of humanitarian project, their presence in Baghdad was not suspicious, nothing to be ashamed of, perfectly necessary, and legal. Why is our government ignoring them?
    Either way, you’re right Matt, it’s another possible explanation. It would certainly account for government silence, but not media silence. Unless the media have been specifically asked not the report the story.

  5. Having been in Iraq on and off for ther last 4 years I am aware that there are two very distinct types of kidnapping, both of which are very popular these days in Iraq. They are either for cash or political mileage. If you are kidnapped for cash, you’ve got a 99% chance of surviving. A Westerner is a highly prized commodity and potentially worth big bucks. These guys don’t sqander their assets, they fully exploit them. Anyone kidnapped for non-commercial reasons has a low chance of surviving. Both teams have well trained, well equiped snatch squads on constant standby, just in case a $10m note or an infidel happens to float by.
    It is my guess that the 5 were snatched for money, hence no personal details are in circulation. The official line is always no ransom – no way. The UK government does appear to stick to this line but many other governments don’t and most commercial companies don’t, although it is very rare for anyone to ever admit that a ransom has been paid. Most ransom payments are covered by insurance, and insurance companies want to discourage more payments by insisting “no publicity”.
    It is very interesting that the 5 were taken by people in police uniforms, in police cars and lifted from the Finance Ministry in Bagdad. What does that tell you?

  6. robert, iknow you are interested in this subject. its a sensitive subject for the families, the children ect, it is being delt with as it is because of this

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