Uneasy dreams and monstrous vermin
Here are two items on different topics related by their common absurdity.
Reuters is reporting that some of the ransom money paid for the German government for the release of Susan Osthoff (the archaeologist who was kidnapped by Iraqi militants and later released in exchange for Mohammad Ali Hammadi, the man who killed Navy diver Robert Stethem in a hijacked TWA flight) was found on her effects. (Hat tip: Davids Medienkritik)
BERLIN (Reuters) - Part of the ransom money alleged to have been paid by the German government to win the freedom of Iraq hostage Susanne Osthoff last month was found on Osthoff after her release, the German magazine Focus said on Saturday. Without citing its sources, Focus said officials at the German embassy in Baghdad had found several thousand U.S. dollars in the 43-year-old German archaeologist's clothes when she took a shower at the embassy shortly after being freed. The serial numbers on the bills matched those used by the government to pay off Osthoff's kidnappers, the magazine said.
Medienkritik quoted Osthoff's earlier interview at Al Jazeera that:
her captors told her not to be afraid as her kidnapping was "politically motivated". "Do not be afraid. We do not harm women or children and you are a Muslim," she quoted them as saying. "I was so happy to know that I had not fallen into the hands of criminals." ...
"They said we don't want money ... Maybe we want from Germany ... hospitals and schools in the Sunni triangle [area northwest of Baghdad], and they would like to get money in the form of humanitarian aid." She described her captors as "poor people" and said that she "cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter [Baghdad's heavily fortified] Green Zone to kidnap Americans."
Copies of the Koran were handed to the jurors in the Abu Hamza trial yesterday as his defence argued that some of the cleric’s “offensive” statements were drawn directly from Islam’s holy book.
Edward Fitzgerald, QC, for the defence, said that Abu Hamza’s interpretation of the Koran was that it imposed an obligation on Muslims to do jihad and fight in the defence of their religion. He said that the Crown case against the former imam of Finsbury Park Mosque was “simplistic in the extreme”.
He added: “It is said he was preaching murder, but he was actually preaching from the Koran itself.”
The problem is there are literally no logical responses possible to these lines of argument. In fact, composing a reply would almost be an act of madness in itself, similar to starting a serious debate with inmates in a psychiatric hospital. It's true there's a certain superficial coherence to the idea that one can't blame kidnappers from abducting whoever they can on the grounds that they can't kidnap who they want; and one struggles to think of how Edward Fitzgerald, QC's argument is at all different from the serial killer's defense that "the Devil made me do it", but the sanity is only surface deep. I'm reminded of the man who, when I asked him when he was going to repay a personal loan I made him said "if I had any money to pay you back why would I have borrowed money in the first place?" It's statements like these which actually put a stop to the conversation. They annihilate the history of any dialogue that may have gone before because they prove that whatever was said, wasn't.