Monday, July 30, 2007

Self-fulfilling Prophecies: Paying Ransoms for the Kidnapped

The German government is currently debating the prudence of paying ransoms for German nationals who are kidnapped abroad.

"We have to consider whether we can justify paying money for a hostage with money which is eventually used to buy weapons which are used to kill our soldiers in Afghanistan," a high-ranking security expert in the interior ministry told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

The German government is reportedly considering whether to abandon its approach and follow the US, British and Israeli policy of refusing to negotiate with kidnappers....

British officials believe that ransom payments by Britain's European partners endanger all westerners. The Nato secretary-general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said in March he would begin talks within the organisation on a common response to hostage-taking....

There is a growing awareness in Berlin that the failure to take a tougher position is increasingly endangering German nationals, including the nation's 3,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. Spiegel magazine yesterday detailed the debate within the interior ministry of Wolfgang Schäuble, a rightwing Christian Democrat. "Should the state allow itself to be blackmailed and continue to pay millions in ransom for its citizens?" it asked. |Germany may end ransom payments for kidnap victims - Guardian|
To add more fuel to the debate, the EU recently paid Libya millions of dollars to wint he release of a Bulgarian medical team who were sentenced to death on what appear to be trumped up charges of infecting children with HIV.
[The] European Union paid the Libyans US$460-million [to release a Bulgarian medical team], in addition to other valuable considerations, such as an undertaking to "normalize" relationships between Europe and Libya.

The French President helped to negotiate the deal but shrugged it off as being all in a day's business. He called it "a new pragmatism in foreign affairs."

New? Personally, I'd call it a very old pragmatism. Old enough to have not only gone out of fashion, but then turn around and come back....

"The Ottomans in the 16th century made [hostage-taking] a national money-maker," writes the historian Victor Davis Hanson, "by sweeping over the Mediterranean to intercept any Italian or Spanish galley they could." As an industry, hostage-taking requires two conditions: One, the captive's kin or country must have the money and willingness to meet the demands -- "valuing life more than honour," as Hanson puts it -- and two, the abductor must deliver by keeping "the prize alive" and letting it go "after concessions or money are granted."
|Deals from the Dark Ages - National Post|
I recall from history class studying the Barbary Wars and the XYZ affair with France and the collective American viewpoint was summed up as:

Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.

- Robert Goodloe Harper


Mun Mun said...

Jeez, I didn't realize Germany still paid ransoms. That is gaytarded. Didn't Germany let the Munich Olympic perps go in some weird hijacking negotiation? (Or maybe that whole thing was fake) I guess things haven't changed much.

Neal R. Axton (USA) said...

You're probably thinking of how the surviving terrorists from the Munich Olympics massacre were released to ransom a hostaged Lufthansa plane later.

The Germans allowed the Munich terrorists to take their hostages to the airport and loaded them on helicopters. Then the Germans tried a rescue, but it went horribly, horribly wrong and 11 of the hostages were killed.

This led to the development of Germany's counter-terrorism squad known as GSG-9.