American Hostage Roy Hallums Begs for Life on Video

U.S. Hostage Pleads for His Life in Iraq (AP)

Photo: American Hostage Roy Hallums Begs for Life on VideoAn American hostage pleaded for his life with a rifle pointed at his head in a video released Tuesday while 11 Iraqi police died in fierce clashes and gunmen assassinated a senior judge in slayings highlighting security risks ahead of this weekend’s elections. […] In the video, hostage Roy Hallums spoke slowly, rubbing his hands as he sat with the barrel of the rifle inches from his head. He said he had been arrested by a “resistance group” because “I have worked with American forces.” He appealed to Arab leaders, including Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, to act to save his life.

Hallums, 56, was seized Nov. 1 along with Filipino Robert Tarongoy during an armed assault on their compound in Baghdad’s Mansour district. The two were working for a Saudi company that does catering for the Iraqi army. The Filipino was not shown.

“I am please asking for help because my life is in danger because it’s been proved I worked for American forces,” the bearded Hallums said. “I’m not asking for any help from President Bush because I know of his selfishness and unconcern for those who’ve been pushed into this hellhole.” Hallums said he was asking for help from “Arab rulers especially President Moammar Gadhafi because he’s known for helping those who are suffering.”

Rusty Shackleford, who has an extensive roundup on this story, notes that the Filipino hostage was released some time ago–which would explain why he isn’t shown in the video. I agree with Rusty, too, that the words here are rather stilted, clearly written by someone for whom English is not a native language. I have no idea what Hallums’ political beliefs are, but my guess is he’s not a huge Gadhafi fan.

Michelle Malkin has more as well. Both link the family’s Roy Hallums tribute page.

This ABC News report on the story, though, shows the bizarre mindset of some so-called human rights groups:

Hallums is one of more than 100 foreigners to have been taken hostage in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Around a third of those have been killed, several by beheading.

There has been international condemnation of the insurgents’ tactics, but a leading rights group Tuesday also accused U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces of Saddam-style abuses. Human Rights Watch said international police advisers, mostly Americans, had turned a blind eye to Iraqi violations. It said prisoners had been beaten with cables and hose pipes, had suffered electric shocks to their earlobes and genitals and some had been starved of food and water.

The report follows a scandal over U.S. treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, which broke last year after the discovery of photographs showing prisoners being tortured. Iraqi Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin acknowledged in a Reuters interview that abuses had occurred and said it would take time for Iraqi forces to change their behavior after decades of dictatorship under Saddam.

To mention Abu Ghraib and the overzealous tactics of amateur security forces in the same breath as the kidnappings and beheadings of hostages by the terrorists is simply ludicrous. They’re hardly in the same category.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. David Harris says:

    As long as someone still has their head, there had better not be complaining on their behalf about the condition of their earlobes.