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Italian $ecret agents try to $ave Bigley
Telegraph News ^ | (Filed: 03/10/2004) | By Damien McElroy in Baghdad and Bruce Johnston in Rome

Posted on 10/02/2004 7:17:03 PM PDT by 11th_VA

Italian intelligence officials who secured the release of two hostages in Iraq are working with their British counterparts to try to free Kenneth Bigley, the captive Briton.

They believe that Sunni Muslim insurgents who kidnapped Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, the aid workers freed last week, have links with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Tawhid wal Jihad, the group holding Mr Bigley. The engineer, 62, was captured 16 days ago with two American colleagues, who have been beheaded.

An Italian diplomat said: "Italy's intelligence is working very closely with Britain's to lend every assistance to free the hostage. It has developed expertise in this area which may help."

During negotiations over the Italians, a Lebanese businessman with close ties to the Italian government took a leading role. An Iraqi said: "We have already secured a statement from Zarqawi that Mr Bigley was well. Now we want to meet Mr Bigley to assure both sides that progress can be made, but it's a volatile situation."

The Lebanese negotiator, who wishes to remain anonymous, is believed to have discussed with British intelligence officers how to resolve the crisis. A ransom of $1 million (£555,925) was paid for the two Simonas, but talks about Liverpool-born Mr Bigley centre on consideration for his apologies for being in Iraq, his mother's ill health and criticism by his brother, Paul, and other family members of Tony Blair.

Paul Bigley has called for Mr Blair to stand down, saying that this would ensure his brother's "immediate release". "He should go because his policy in Iraq is absolutely shocking," Paul Bigley said. "He is helping to create a new Vietnam." Mr Bigley, who has had an offer of help from Saif Gaddafi, son of Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan president, remained optimistic that the terrorists would release his brother if "we give them a way to do it without losing face".

• The Army of Ansar al-Sunna, which is linked to al-Qaeda, posted a video on its website yesterday of an Iraqi hostage being beheaded after "confessing" to being a contractor with US forces.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alzarqawi; ansaralsunna; appeasement; armyofansaralsunna; beheadings; bigley; codepink; decapitations; gaddafi; hostages; iraq; islamichaircut; italy; jodieevans; kadaffi; kaddafi; kennethbigley; kidnapping; leftists; leftwingnuts; libya; medeabenjamin; obamabundlers; pari; paulbigley; qadaffi; qaddafi; ransom; ransoms; saifgaddafi; saifqadaffi; simonapari; simonatorretta; tawhidwaljihad; terretta; terrorfinancing; terrorfunding; terroristfinancing; tonyblair; torretta; uk; zarqawi

1 posted on 10/02/2004 7:17:04 PM PDT by 11th_VA
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To: 11th_VA

Going to pay ransome?

Big mistake.


2 posted on 10/02/2004 7:31:55 PM PDT by Max Combined (I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine...)
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To: Max Combined

ransom


3 posted on 10/02/2004 7:32:38 PM PDT by Max Combined (I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine...)
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To: 11th_VA

It's not good policy to fund terrorism through ransom ... .


4 posted on 10/03/2004 11:36:30 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: nmh

Yes, particularly since the "Simonas" for whom $1 million was paid to the terrorists turned out to be two members of the umbrella organization for Code Pink, thanked the Muslims for their release, and did not even thank the Italian government (and one of them is converting to Islam). Bigley's situation is a little suspect, too...


5 posted on 10/03/2004 11:39:27 AM PDT by livius
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To: Fedora
In light of what we were speculating about in the Guiliana Sgrena/Italian Intel agent incident on another thread, check out the post above... also look at this from this thread about an earlier hostage case in Iraq involving Italian aid workers:

During negotiations over the Italians, a Lebanese businessman with close ties to the Italian government took a leading role.
An Iraqi said: "We have already secured a statement from Zarqawi that Mr Bigley was well. Now we want to meet Mr Bigley to assure both sides that progress can be made, but it's a volatile situation."
The Lebanese negotiator, who wishes to remain anonymous, is believed to have discussed with British intelligence officers how to resolve the crisis. A ransom of $1 million (£555,925) was paid for the two Simonas, but talks about Liverpool-born Mr Bigley centre on consideration for his apologies for being in Iraq, his mother's ill health and criticism by his brother, Paul, and other family members of Tony Blair.

6 posted on 03/13/2005 12:46:32 AM PST by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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To: All
Thread on newer Italian hostage incident:

Italy steps up row with US over slain secret agent

7 posted on 03/13/2005 12:52:25 AM PST by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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To: piasa

Thanks; wonder who the Lebanese businessman is.


8 posted on 03/13/2005 10:51:42 AM PST by Fedora
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