Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Jill Carroll Forced to Make Propaganda Video as Price of Freedom

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Jill Carroll Forced to Make Propaganda Video as Price of Freedom

Article excerpt

The night before journalist Jill Carroll's release, her captors said they had one final demand as the price of her freedom: She would have to make a video praising her captors and attacking the United States, according to Jim Carroll.

In a long phone conversation with his daughter on Friday, Mr. Carroll says that Jill was "under her captor's control."

Ms. Carroll had been their captive for three months and even the smallest details of her life - what she ate and when, what she wore, when she could speak - were at her captors' whim. They had murdered her friend and colleague Allan Enwiya, "she had been taught to fear them," he says. And before making one last video the day before her release, she was told that they had already killed another American hostage.

That video appeared Thursday on a jihadist website that carries videos of beheadings and attacks on American forces. In it, Carroll told her father she felt compelled to make statements strongly critical of President Bush and his policy in Iraq.

Her remarks are now making the rounds of the Internet, attracting heavy criticism from conservative bloggers and commentators.

In fact, Carroll did what many hostage experts and past captives would have urged her to do: Give the men who held the power of life and death over her what they wanted.

"You'll pretty much say anything to stay alive because you expect people will understand these aren't your words," says Micah Garen, a journalist and author who was held captive by a Shiite militia in southern Iraq for 10 days in August 2004. "Words that are coerced are not worth dying over."

Shortly before her release, her captors - who refer to themselves as the Revenge Brigade - also told her they had infiltrated the US diplomatic compound in Baghdad, and she would be killed if she went there or cooperated with the American authorities. It was a threat she took seriously in her first few hours of freedom.

Carroll worked at the Wall Street Journal's Washington office in early 2002 when that paper's reporterDaniel Pearl was abducted and beheaded in Pakistan. "Many of her colleagues knew him and it was very emotional in the office,'' Jill told her father. "She had that memory in the back of her head while she was being threatened."

In making their last video, Mr. Carroll says her captors "obviously wanted maximum propaganda value in the US. After listening to them for three months she already knew exactly what they wanted her to say, so she gave it to them with appropriate acting to make it look convincing."

Jill Carroll will undoubtedly speak for herself once she's had time to recover from her ordeal and spend time with her family. But her friends and colleagues say she made it clear that she's no friend to those who kidnap or harm civilians.

Those who encountered Carroll in a professional context repeatedly praised her fairness and compassion, as demonstrated by some of the thousands of letters the Monitor has received in her support. …

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