Jill Carroll forced to partake in U.S. propaganda at Ramstein, Germany before her release to travel to the U.S.? Yesterday Carroll was expected to stopover just 2½ hours in Germany before traveling home.
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany Apr 2, 2006 (ABC/AP)– Protected by the U.S. military and far from the country where she had been held hostage, Jill Carroll strongly disavowed statements she had made during captivity in Iraq and shortly after her release, saying Saturday she had been repeatedly threatened.
In a video, recorded before she was freed and posted by her captors on an Islamist Web site, Carroll spoke out against the U.S. military presence. But in a statement Saturday, she said the recording was made under threat. Her editor has said three men were pointing guns at her at the time.
“During my last night in captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me I would be released if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and wanted to go home alive. So I agreed,” she said in a statement read by her editor in Boston.
“Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not.”
28-year-old U.S. journalist Jill Carroll is welcomed by Base Commander, Col. Kurt Lohide after she landed at the U.S. Airbase in Ramstein. (AP)
The 28-year-old journalist a freelancer for the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor was seized Jan. 7 in western Baghdad by gunmen who killed her Iraqi translator. She was dropped off Thursday 82 days later at an office of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni Arab organization, and later escorted by the U.S. military to the Green Zone, the fortified compound in Baghdad protecting the U.S. embassy and other facilities.
In the statement, Carroll also disavowed an interview she gave to the party shortly after her release. She said the party had promised her the interview would not be aired “and broke their word.”
“At any rate, fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely. Out of fear, I said I wasn’t threatened. In fact, I was threatened many times,” she said. “Also, at least two false statements about me have been widely aired: One that I refused to travel and cooperate with the U.S. military, and two that I refused to discuss my captivity with U.S. officials. Again, neither statement is true.”
The kidnappers, calling themselves the Revenge Brigades, had demanded the release of all female detainees in Iraq by Feb. 26 or Carroll would be killed. U.S. officials did release some female detainees at the time, but said it had nothing to do with the demands.
In the video posted Friday, her abductors said they freed Carroll because “the American government met some of our demands by releasing some of our women from prison.”
Also in the video, she called on President Bush to bring American troops home.
“Tens of thousands … have lost their lives here because of the occupation,” she said in the video. “I think Americans need to think about that and realize day-to-day how difficult life is here.”
She said the insurgents were “only trying to defend their country … to stop an illegal and dangerous and deadly occupation.”
In her statement Saturday, she condemned her captors, although she did not address the war in Iraq.
BAGHDAD (BBC News) 15 minutes ago — US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw have arrived in Baghdad, a British embassy spokesperson has said.
The pair made the unannounced trip after Mr Straw hosted Ms Rice on a two-day visit to north-western England.
The UK embassy said Mr Straw would meet Iraqi politicians but would not comment on Ms Rice’s itinerary.
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