"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Monday, 22 June 2009

Two British Hostages Killed in Iraq

The bodies of two British hostages murdered by Islamists in Iraq will be returned to British soil today.

The men were part of a group of 'forgotten' hostages which included IT consultant Peter Moore and his four security guards, seized by Shi'ite fanatics from outside the Iraqi Ministry of Finance in 2007.

The case had been subjected to a news blackout, as Foreign Secretary David Miliband felt that would be the best way forward. Today, however, he was admitting his failures and his competence has been called into question.

From the Mail:

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has had his competence called into question after two British hostages in Iraq were handed back dead.

The devastated families of Jason Swindlehurst and Jason Creswell were told their bodies had been identified two years after they were abducted with three other Britons in Baghdad.

As Mr Miliband confessed he had 'failed', the father of one of the other captives dismissed him as a 'waste of space' and angrily accused the Foreign Office of 'completely mishandling' the case.

In the wake of the attack, Gordon Brown was today claimed the government had 'left no stone unturned' in attempts to secure the released of the hostages.

'We looked at all possible means by which we could free them,' he said.

The five Britons were seized by Shi'ite fanatics in May 2007, and their plight has been shrouded in a news blackout as the Foreign Office assured the anxious families it was the best way of getting their loved ones home alive. The fate of the remaining three men is still not known.

Their ordeal began when 40 gunmen grabbed 35-year-old bachelor Peter Moore, an IT specialist from Lincoln, and his four British bodyguards at the Finance Ministry in Baghdad.

They paraded their haggard-looking captives on video and demanded freedom for several Iraqi prisoners.

In one chilling video clip, released in December 2007, Mr Swindlehurst, 38, told the camera: 'My name is Jason. Today is November 18 ... I have been here now for 173 days and I feel we have been forgotten.'

Late last Friday, his remains and those of 39-year-old Mr Creswell were handed over to authorities in Iraq and passed on to British diplomats.

The condition of the bodies suggested they had been dead for some weeks, and all five families endured 36 hours of unimaginable anguish over the weekend as they waited to learn their identities from DNA tests.

Government sources said neither of the bodies had been mutilated.

British forensic scientists were continuing in their efforts to establish the cause of death.

As Gordon Brown sent his condolences to the bereaved families, Mr Moore's father Graeme hit out at the Government's efforts to resolve the kidnapping saga.

He said: 'David Miliband is a total waste of space - how he can run the Foreign Office drifting along not doing anything, I just don't know.' At his home near Leicester, divorcee Mr Moore, 59, a delivery van driver, added: 'They have done damn all for Peter.'

A grim-faced Mr Miliband described the developments as 'distressing' and said the British authorities had worked hard behind the scenes with the Iraqi authorities to try to secure the captives' freedom. But he said: 'In this case we, all of us, have clearly failed to achieve that goal.'

Mr Swindlehurst and Mr Creswell, who both had young children, worked as security guards for the Canadian security firm GardaWorld, which last night paid tribute to them as ' outstanding individuals'.

The rest of the article describes the anguish of the families - including how Gordon Brown would regularly ask after singer Susan Boyle, but not the hostages or their loved ones.

This tragic case highlights what most of us know - we are run by a government full of incompetent non-entities. Miliband is seen as one of the best hopes the Labour Party has for the future - but in light of his performance over this incident, he should be sacked.

Sincere condolences to the families of the men killed - let's hope the other three make it home alive.

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