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Perhaps Germany will be forced to incarcerate more Yank-killers in order to have keep good trading material on hand. No doubt, some are already regretting the shortsightedness of the previous government in releasing terrorists that could have been traded. (umm, why do I keep getting visons of baseball cards and beanie babies right now?)

Oh NO! Not another hostage.

Germany will not be "blackmailed".

German Crisis Management team will never get a holiday.

Don't miss Susanne Osthoff's interview on heute.de:

"Osthoff: Ich wäre, da hat man gar kein Gefühl mehr, weil man nämlich ständig kurz vor dem Tod steht. Denn ich hab ja schon mal gesagt, dass das ein Verkauf war und unter einem sehr schlechten Vorzeichen, nämlich jüdischer Geheimdienstoffizier. Und normalerweise, wenn es in Arabien keine Gnade gäbe, wäre ich im Kofferraum nach einer Stunde schon eliminiert worden und dann in den Kanal daneben rein geschmissen worden."

"So hab ich da, und das können Sie nicht interpretieren. Sie müssen die Vorgabe bedenken, jüdischer Geheimdienstoffiziere, was das bedeutet."


Ein ganz sonderbares Interview. Was soll das mit den jüdischen Geheimdienstoffizieren?

This is all a misunderstanding. They kidnapped Chrobog to exchange him for Rudolf Hess, believing he was still being held in Spandau prison, not knowing he was dead. Either that, or they thought "Chrobog" sounds jewish.

Let's hear it for Limp D--k (soft) Power, folks! It is difficult to imagine this guy being part of anyone's foreign policy team anywhere, anytime - especially from a country that had the great Realpolitik master - Prinz Otto von Bismarck - who knew what it took to maintain peace: it WASN'T appeasement and pissing off Germany's allies by coughing up and freeing a murdering terrorist in exchange for a dingbat broad who doesn't even like her own native country or culture and loves these disciples of the *religion of peace*. This Osthoff deal smells like a shakedown from the get go, and I hope that people keep digging to find out what really happened.Maybe this Grosse Koalition will go down quicker than everyone thinks.
Fr. Merkel should had taken a page from Hillary Clinton and consulted a medium and had a chat with Prinz Bismarck from beyond the grave: I'm sure Bismarck's disembodied spirit would had at least counseled Die Kanzlerin to arrange a double-cross like a little surprise party for Hammedi free in Lebanon - like have some tea with some US Navy SEALS and a couple of type-A personality Kataeb militia memebers;-)

O Schadenfreude, O Schadenfreude,
Wie Glücklich ich bin heute.

I wonder if this was the same useful idiot who lectured a WSJ reporter a few months ago? Medienkritik did a piece on it as I recall.

I don't like this. This is the first time children have been taken. Personal feelings of horror aside, that's one hell of a bargaining chip.

(Foobarista, no this could not have been the 'German Diplomat from Hell'. That guy was in New York, not Washington, and he was recalled.)

Also, having the children and spouse taken tells me this is not a staged fundraising event. Bad, bad, feelings.

The Germans are reaping what they have sown. And I don't even feel like saying 'I told you so'.

What is Susan Osthoff saying in the excerpt provided by Joe? It sounds like she is talking about Jewish secret service agents.

@ Pamela,

The NY Times describes them as children, but according to other reports Chrobog's sons are all adults. They are "children" only in the sense that every hostage taken has been someone's child.

As Deputy Foreign Minister, Chrobog was involved in the release of 14 Europeans who had been kidnapped in 2003 (a 15th died during the 5 months in captivity). Responding to reports that a large ransom was paid, "Mr. Chrobog said criticism of the affair should be put aside." Ironic, eh?

I don't understand why fools from the EU let alone Germany think they are safe traveling in Yemmen or anywhere in the middle east, "north africa" or "asia" (What the Beeb calls Pakistan)?

O my friggen God! No! The horror. A pompous, PC lecturing German Diplomat, trained to talk-talk forever if necessary. Plus his yuppie, lefty kumbuyah 'utes.
Poor terrorist. How long can they last? How much organic vegan meals can one eat? Hours and hours of lectures. Days of interactive critiques of Noam Chomsky books on CDs. The daughters never ending in-solidarity sexual demands, and the son always stretching for that football match you promised him! These guys don't have a chance. I predict a release, with compensation, by New Years day.

Why am I not surprised. The RealPolitik concept is quite clear: if you have no military power everyone else will take advantage of you. (period) You have been lucky in Europe not to have to worry about this in the past since the US was the de facto military power - protecting you.

Now you wish away the Americans and will be quite defenseless. No allies means no power if you do not have any power of your own. The Russians are making a military/dicatatorship/communist comeback. The Iranians are making a nuclear missile force capable of hitting most of Europe. How will you stop their demands when you have no defense?

Well, when the border nations of Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic states, and the Balkan states are overrun how will you stop the invaders?

My prediction: they (someone) will be at the gates of Berlin and Vienna in 20 years). Nuclear blackmail (by Russia and Iran) in the meanwhile will prevent Europe building an effective military and stopping the invasions of neighboring states whether in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Baltic states, and Eastern Europe.

The pattern is repeated throughout written history, look at history going back 3,000 or 4,000 years. It repeats as follows: China or Mongolia expands into Central Asia, the Central Asians (currently they are Moslems) will migrate to Eastern Europe and the Balkans killing or pushing out all before them. They will be pushing into Central Europe shortly thereafter. This has happened how many times in history? (For those of you who do not know any history - every 500 to 800 years). History is on the cusp of repeating this mode yet again. The difference is that they have nuclear weapons this time, though one may argue that the various plagues were something similar in effect in ancient times. Read: massive depopulation of Europe.

The European noble/elite doesn't much care that this might be happening since they are so self-centered. The only part of history they believe in is the right of nobility to control all.

The US 'is' becoming more isolationist. Especially so if Democrats get into power. Don't think Hillary will do anything to help unless they bomb the US with nukes (just look at the Clinton era before and its capital sign of weakness - as seen by the Islamists). She might send a few non-nuclear cruise missiles to inflame the 'enemies of mankind' yet again, with the same capital sign of weakness effect. But if they show up with armies in the millions all bets are off (she will be the first to remind you there is a mighty big ocean on either side of the US).

Hillary will be much more concerned with her socialist agenda/advances/rebuilding in the US to pay any attention to the situation of Europe no matter how dire there. She is much the same as the European Elite. She will use the money she saves from eliminating all remaining US military in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to support her socialist programs in the US. (Again, just look at the Clinton era military cuts before.) Hillary will just repeat what Bill Clinton did before, except she has a much more leftist agenda at home.

If these predictions come true "Heaven Help Us!" On the other hand history has a way of never being exactly as predicted. One can hope...

Another anecdote: in the 1980's or 1970's one of the Islamist militias in Lebanon made the mistake of kidnapping a Soviet Diplomat. What happened next? Why was this a mistake?

Within days, bits and pieces (an ear, a finger, or some such) of one of the Militia leader's daughters or sons started arriving in the post from Russia.

The message was very clear: the Soviet Diplomat was released unharmed immediately.

The message is still abundantly clear: No Russian Diplomat has been kidnapped in the Middle East since.

Funny, this was not done by the cruel, murdering, torturing US. But by the enlightened peace-loving Russian state.

This could not have been done by a so-called modern European nation without a military. Bismarck would have been the first to say he understood this.

What kindergarten is this?

The Osthoff interview makes me feel drunk. Very drunk. Did she fall into the brewage kettle as a kid? Maybe that explains her conversion to Islam. Heinrich Schliemann would have been pissed off by her poor performance. If you have carefully practiced to talk of a seizure as a kidnapping, it does not mean that your talk of a kidnapping as a seizure will be equally as convincing!

And then that ex-diplomat who seems to have turned in his brain at the wardrobe and career-married the daughter of an Egyptian filmmaker whose family also includes the wife of the British ambassador. Youssef Gohar must be laughing how easy it is to twist these naive T.E. Lawrence fans around his fingers. Did nobody tell you that the Lawrence of Arabia flicks are porn?

The primary weakness of both victims is their Dixie Chicks Syndrome, i.e. their belief they could make contradicting statements in places across the world apparently distant enough from each other to get away with the inconsistency. Talk differently about the Zarqawi terrorists on Al Jazeera and on ZDF, or travel with your family into a warzone just as if you'd never been a high-profile diplomat... I can only hope that the Krisenstab will play it safe and not relapse into Dixie Chicks mode. The global public will mercilessly exploit any such inconsistencies.

Apropos inconsistency... is Muslim Brotherhood spokesliar Nadeem Elyas offer to trade in himself for the hostage still valid, or did it somehow get lost over Christmas?

Seems poor misunderstood Susan Osthoff has taken a few hits in the german M$M. Maybe she could, in an act of solidarity with the greater german masses, exchange herself as a hostage for these noble and worthy captives. This might in some way make the average german taxpayer feel not so much as if he had been fleeced by her release.

This would however do nothing to address the real issue of the exchange of her freedom for that of a murderer of a US service member.

Then again it is possible she is already there acting as a technical advisor to the kidnapppers. She does know about standards of kidnapping professinalism.


Since I can read (and write to a certain degree) Englisch und Deutsch ich moechte mich recht herzlich bedanken for your interesting and informative site. Sehr gut und mit Humor. Ich gratuliere. Alter USA Fallschirmjaeger.

Chris L.
>>As Deputy Foreign Minister, Chrobog was involved in the release of 14 Europeans who had been kidnapped in 2003 (a 15th died during the 5 months in captivity). Responding to reports that a large ransom was paid, "Mr. Chrobog said criticism of the affair should be put aside." Ironic, eh?

Soory to take so long to get back to you - I've been on the road.

The Europeans who were kidnapped in 2003 - are you referring to Iraq hostages?

Yes, it is ironic. And if it were not for the fact the man's family was taken, I'd think this was staged also.


No, not Iraq. The 2003 hostages were tourists kidnapped in southern Algeria, by a group calling itself the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (!). It was widely believed that a large ransom was paid, although Chrobog issued the usual non-denial denial ("Chrobog deferred any questions about reported payments of ransom to win their release, and with it concerns by some politicians in Germany that the freed hostages should help pay for their rescue.") I can't seem to make a link work here, but a google search should turn up plenty of news reports.

Apparently there's a brisk trade in kidnapping sightseeing Europeans in exchange for large sums of cash and/or prisoner trades. I'm not happy that Chrobog and his family were taken, but seldom do you see an official so directly affected by his own government's lunatic policies; usually it's some innocent shmuck who pays.

A very interesting series of articles about the chaotic situation in Yemen recently appeared in the Washington Post:


Apparently Chrobog didn't read them.

Chris L., Pamela,

One of the reasons, if not the main, that the US refrains from paying for hostages is that we believe it encourages more hostage taking. Ironic that the Ambassador is now hoisted by his own governments petard. Naturally I imagine the Ambassador will not want to be ransomed for the usual price of a vacationing Bochum coal miner, but something fitting his station and class. No doubt the kidnappers deduced the added value of Herr Ambassador. I wonder who instigated this? After all an Ambassador is very underpaid considering the work they do and things are so expensive, and the taxes.....

Well, they've been released. Seems they got themselves caught in the middle of a "tribal dispute." Sounds like they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (I know, understatement of the year).

I thought this sentence from the article announcing their release was interesting:

"The family and three Yemeni assistants were kidnapped Wednesday when armed tribesmen stopped their two-car convoy on a remote mountain road in Shabwa province, east Yemen, where they were vacationing."

Vacationing in a remote mountainous region of east Yemen? What were they thinking?

Good News - Freedom for the german hostages.

Now one must wonder just what germany paid for their freedom.

It should be interesting when and if the details ever come out.

I think it was still the spirit of the season which the kidnappers found themselves - no money changed hands, no terrorists were released.

It was the efforts of the government in Berlin. All germans should feel wonderful this New Year's eve.

Free at last, free at last.. Thank God free at last.

@joe - This would however do nothing to address the real issue of the exchange of her freedom for that of a murderer of a US service member.

Martin Jäger said that "there is no connection between these two cases", and Sean McCormack said that "this was a decision that was taken within the confines and the context of German law."

Your statement that submission to Hezbollah was a component of German foreign policy is just like the assertion that reloaded Hollywood characters were a component of American foreign policy. These Jungian synchronicities are only there if you want to see them. If it looks like popcorn, smells like popcorn and tastes like popcorn then it is reasonable to say that it is popcorn even if it is not.

Though, an Islamic terrorist should not have been released under such circumstances in the first place. If a Krisenstab dealing with Islamic terrorism cannot suspend relatable activities of other branches of the government then it is as ineffective as an ambulance siren that cannot force the drivers to switch to the curb.

Some dhimmi official used the opportunity of his life to vomit at the feet of the United States Marine Corps, and maybe that even spared the Krisenstab from doing its real job. But could the White House prevent the CIA from vomiting at Angela Merkels feet? These things probably happen because Germany is just as entangled with Iran as the United States with Saudi Arabia.

Lets see whether the Chrobog release really was a sucessful instance of cheating the devil, or whether another act of vomiting occured which could be relatable to it. I presume that the stomach content of rogue elements in both governments is limited, and hope that limit is reached already. In the course of this process, the probability that Germany again hires Saif al-Islam Qaddafi is decreasing.


And old Martin should be believed because?

hmm.... because of Germany's long history of standing up to terrorists, not sucuming to blackmail, not paying ransoms, etc?

Please tell me.

@joe - As I said, he should be believed just as much as anyone else in the entertainment industry. These guys surely know how to play with an audience.

The depth of your doubt reminds me of the saga of the space aliens trying to contact Earth by deploying an atrappe orbital station according to their quarantine rules. When human commanders on the ground, even though galactic law prohibits the external use of such devices, challenge the relay with a Dante vortex, the space aliens answer their declaration of war by obliterating the hostile planet. Which side would you believe in this story, the humans, the space aliens, the narrator, or all of the above?

I, personally, do not believe Mr. Jägers statement, but I do believe that Germany is just as capable of adjusting the management as the U.S.

"Arab extremists kidnapped another German"
Arab extremists???

"He will need any kind of power now, soft or hard."
He just needed patience, i.e. wait for the Yemenis to solve their tribal feud.

"Having a history of sharp anti-American criticism ("America is turning into a police state"), Chrobog probably assumed he'd be safe..."

Why would he think that?
You are just polemic, I assume. You do not really assume that folks in Yemen know more about Chrobog than the average German or American knows. You do not really think that he was kidnapped as some kind of anti-American plot?

PacRimJim: "O Schadenfreude, O Schadenfreude, Wie Glücklich ich bin heute."

I am disappointed by you and anyone else who displays Schadenfreude against anyone (Americans, Germans others). Schadenfreude is never good.
Where is your moral high ground? Your criticism of the German media's Schadenfreude cannot be taken seriously anymore. You are not better than they are.

Actually, Chrobog did the US unintentionally a favor re Libya and the LaBelle attacks:

Interesting concept that you view your government as a entertainers. I could say they do tend to act like a bunch of clowns most of the time but that surely would not be a valid statement for me to make. You are much better qualified to do so being German.

For all I know this might be as good as it gets. It sure seems to be.

Please explain this concept of management. Again this seems to be either beyond my ability to understand or your's to explain and link.

Breaking News!

Al Qaeda offering rebates to ransomed hostages ...

Dateline: Irbil, Iraq - (CNT) Al Qaeda unveiled a massive marketing campaign today designed to spread the word about a new hostage ransom rebate program. The rebates are designed to encourage Germans and other citizens of spineless, equivocating nations to vacation in violent areas and make themselves vulnerable to kidnap and ransom efforts.

In exchange, Al Qaeda is offering cash rebates of up to 1/3 of the ransom price to any hostages successfully ransomed under the program.

"It's just our way of saying "Thanks" to all the nations who, by looking the other way for so long, have made all our successes possible to this point," said Abu Musab al Zarqawi, President and CEO of Al Qaeda's Iraq division in a statement. "We're very excited to be able to make this offer, which we believe will be competitive with anything offered by any of our competitors in the terrorist industry."

Early demand has been strong, with hundreds of morons signing up for vacations in the Sahara, hoping for a chance to take advantage of the offer. A lucky German diplomat has already gone missing in Yemen.

Former hostages Nick Berg, Kenneth Bigley, Kim Sun-Il, Paul Johnson, Daniel Pearl, and Margaret Hassan did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.


@joe - Which individual in the German government is a clown and who not is up to your own estimation. But the link between politics and entertainment is no American exceptionalism - just take Chrobog as an example. You see him advertising full adventure without any actual risk just as if he was the CEO of the Karl-May-Festspiele. Hey, the tribal themeparks in Germany are even better than the Islamic original, you can bring your dog and enjoy your beers during the experience! ;-)

As for the management, I didn´t want to use the name, but as you ask empathically: Abu Ghraib is an example how America did wrong but was right to keep the government in the saddle and let it adjust its behaviour. The release of the murderer of Robert Stethem is a similar management challenge.


Your management example is equally as silly.

You are comparing the actions of individuals to those of a government.

The individuals were punished by a government. The actions of your government are to pass as what??????

Realize also this is the first time a terrorist has been exchanged for a hostage.

Now I ask you again why should we believe old Martin... ?

@joe - They pass as what I said above. The government can punish rougue officials when the threat of Hezbollah is lifted, up to then I hope that it can at least stop them and avoid to produce more than one instance of each type of management failure. If that seems silly it's because that is how the situation in central Europe is.

Now I ask you again why should we believe old Martin... ?

To give a chance to the new Angela.


Gee I thought The Frau was doing great. Look at her accomplishments to date. She has managed to discredit the previous red-green government when did her press conference with US SectState Rice.

She followed this up with a trade of a murderer for a hostage. Something no other NATO nation has ever done to include the french, of all people. Thus building a better partnership with the US.

She saved the EU budget by increasing the German contribution.

Now she is going to save the EU constitution.

Oh and she has spoken "firmly" to Iran.

I think she has done SUPER so far. To think all of this in less than what 60 days?

Just think what The Frau is going to be able to accomplish in 4 years. It should make everyone's head spin.

Now back to Old Martin. .. So even if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it really is just giving The Frau a chance.

So it is OK for the German government to lie. Sounds fair enough to me. Maybe your masses and elites will now move on to some new topics. They sure were most uninterested in Gerhard... and his job. I did love the part about to pass an ethics law would in fact be against The Basic Law.

Compare that to the attention they paid and continue to pay to VPOUS, you would think they all wanted/want to be Americans.

BTW, this does seem to undermind the moral high ground the Germans hold for themselves. But am sure they do not see that. Heniz surely does not. Besides remember Germany signed Kyoto.

So you are of the belief...

It was either the effectiveness of the German Crisis Management team OR the kidnappers, who were not that, just got caught up in the spirit of the season, which lead to dear Susan's release.

This demostrates Germany is a nation which should be taken seriously.

I am sure any day now the EU3 lead by Germany will return from Iran and claim "Pease in our time."

And we will believe them, because Old Martin told us.

@joe - Your insistence about that particular Foreign Ministry official goes beyond the realm of politics, so there we are. Germany learned of the cooperation of the preceding government with the CIA from the American media, and Angela Merkel accepted without turning a hair that this publicistic surprise attack was not an action orderered by the White House. It is up to your own estimation how much faith such a posture requires in the Germany of these days. I thought you had already understood the stakes when we talked about the German-French relationship in the aftermath of Hurricane Langley.

I don't know what your Plan B is, but my faith in Old Martin depends on the continued existence of NATO. My gut feeling tells me that the release of the Robert Stethem killer was decided by someone who has nothing further up this sleeve but thought he would achieve a decisive blow to Atlanticism. I may be wrong, but if I ever start thinking about mixing my guts with these of an American animal, duck or other, I may lose my ability to keep focus and end up with a serious health problem like Der Fliegende Robert. I do know however that the Vice President of the United States and the Vice Chancellor of Germany both love their daughters, and how could such a man not follow the path out of the limbo of scandal that opens up in front of him?

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