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I don't know whether or not this is making the news in the States, but I found it interesting & thought I would share.

The Australian Government authorised six weeks ago the use of military action to free hostage Douglas Wood and had come up with advanced preparations on two previous occasions to spring surprise attacks on his captors.

Revelations about the hardline approach adopted by the Howard Government came as details began to emerge of the horror of the 63-year-old engineer's 47 days in captivity.

The Age has learned that his ordeal included first-hand knowledge of at least two fellow hostages being killed.

Following Mr Wood's rescue in a raid by Iraqi and American troops in Baghdad on Wednesday, The Age has been told that Mr Wood was held for most of the time in dank and desperate conditions with a larger group of hostages. They were mostly Iraqis, but there may have been some other foreign workers.,2106,3317055a12,00.html

The gist of the story is that he was held hostage for 6 weeks, he worked as an engineer for Bechtel but now has his own sub-contracting company, he's married to an American & lives in the US, but he has citizenship in Australia, & so the Australian gov't had to do something about his abduction. There are a number of things I find amazing about this latest hostage story out of Iraq.

First off, it's amzing that Wood wasn't killed, given who he worked for.

Second, I find it..... intriguing that one of Australia's most respected Muslim leaders flew to Iraq to plead for his life.
Sheik 'key role' in Wood release

Third, the full story about how Wood came to be freed isn't really clear.... maybe never will be.

Meanwhile, confusion still surrounds the exact details that led to Mr Wood's release.

Nick Warner, the head of Australia's rescue team in Baghdad, insists specific intelligence led soldiers to the house where Mr Wood was found.

Mr Downer (Australian foreign minister)also says the rescue was the result of a crucial intelligence tip-off.

But the Iraqi army says Mr Wood was found in a weapons search operation and the American military agrees, saying it was a routine raid.
Fourth, I'd be interested to know how a 'contribution' to Iraqi charities by the family doesn't constitute a ransom payment.....

And the evidence of which is hard to come by right now on google.... guess you'll just have to take my word for it. I understand the payment is not excessive, around $100,000 or so....


Anybody else with thoughts on this most recent hostage release? I think there are a number of angles on this situation which haven't even been explored by the media......
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