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Captured by My Mates

An Australian journalist who was captured and then released by Iraqi terrorists, has explained that his captors aren’t so bad after all.

An Australian journalist kidnapped by Iraqi militants today said his captors were not savages and would not kill indiscriminately.

 

John Martinkus, a freelancer who has covered conflicts from East Timor to Iraq, was released on Sunday, a day after he was taken hostage by four Sunni militants and ex-Iraqi army officers.

 

Mr Martinkus was filming a report for SBS’s Dateline program and was preparing to leave Iraq when he was grabbed about 5pm (AEST) on Saturday outside a hotel popular with foreign correspondents.

 

He was released about 20 hours later after convincing his captors he was not working for the US-led coalition.

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Mr Martinkus said his captors had threatened to kill him, but treated him with respect once they established he was independent.

 

“These guys … (are) not stupid,” he told reporters.

 

“They’re fighting a war but they’re not savages.

 

“They’re not actually just killing people willy-nilly.

 

“They talk to you, they think about things.

 

“(From their perspective) there was a reason to kill (British hostage Ken) Bigley, there was a reason to kill the Americans; there was not a reason to kill me (and) luckily I managed to convince them of that.”

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Earlier today, SBS executive producer Mike Carey said Mr Martinkus’ captors had investigated his background on the internet and saw he was harmless.

 

“They Googled him, they checked him out on a popular search engine and got onto his own website or his publisher’s website and saw he was a writer and journalist,” Mr Carey told AAP.

 

“They had thought he was working for the Americans as an informer.”

 

In this case, modern technology probably saved the journalist’s life, Mr Carey said.

U-huh. The reason he was spared was not because he was independent. Nor was it because he was deemed harmless. Rather, they released him because he was useful. The terrorists’ google searches would have revealed that Martinkus understands and supports them. He is giving them good PR. If you don’t know what I mean, read this.

 

When Martinkus speaks of the terrorist’s perspective regarding killing Ken Bigley and the Americans, he really is talking of his own perspective. In his mind, they were justified. 

 

Martinkus’s views also explain his tirade against Australia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer.

Asked if he thought Iraq was on the road to recovery, Mr Martinkus said, “No, it’s on the road to shit.”

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Mr Martinkus also demanded a personal apology from Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who yesterday said the journalist had been captured when he went to an area of Baghdad against advice.

 

Mr Martinkus said he was angered by Mr Downer’s comments and found them professionally offensive.

 

“Alexander Downer doesn’t know his geography very well,” he said.

 

“I was actually across the road from the Australian embassy when I was kidnapped.

 

“He should apologise to me, actually – personally.”

Actually, I was thinking that Martinkus owes the victims of the terrorists an apology.

 

Update: Come to think of it, was he even really captured? It may have been staged, with Martinkus’ full consent.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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