Thursday, November 23, 2017

  • Thursday, November 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

This past Sunday, I went to hear Jere Van Dyk speak at an event sponsored by the Algemeiner.

Jere Van Dyk is a journalist and author who has been a consultant for CBS news on Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaeda. In 2008, he was captured by the Taliban. He has written about his experience and spoken about it. When he spoke on Sunday about it with Dovid Efune, the editor-in-chief of the Algemeiner, the title of his talk was "From Daniel Pearl to Steven Sotloff - Jews and Political Kidnapping."

Jere Van Dyk. Screenshot

The main focus of his talk that night was Daniel Pearl, and in his book THE TRADE: My Journey Into the Labyrinth of Political Kidnapping goes into more detail.

By The Trade, Van Dyk refers to political kidnapping that has been honed and perfected
The Trade is the new cold, cruel weapon of modern warfare, like drones with no visible pilot, a barter process without official structures, a new criminal enterprise, a form of terror open to anyone...The Trade is a weapon for the poor and the weak, like suicide bombing, against the strong. It exists from the Philippines to the Sahara, and it is growing, part of the kidnap and ransom business. It coarsens everyone. [page 386]
He writes that kidnappings per se in the modern era started in 1985 with the Hezbollah kidnapping of Terry Anderson in Lebanon. In that incident, there was no ransom demand. Instead, his captors used him as a political pawn against the US. Anderson was released in 1991.

  • Sometimes the kidnappers use their hostages to coerce action.
  • Other times they demand a ransom, such as money.
  • The ransom could also be weapons.
  • Hezbollah, which used Anderson as a protest against US action, has also used kidnap victims as protection -- as they did after sending suicide bombers to murder US troops.

The political kidnappings Van Dyk writes about, and which he himself experienced, were in the area of Afghanistan and Pakistan -- areas that we would not normally expect Jews to be found. Yet we know that Jews have in fact been kidnapped and executed by these terrorist groups.

Among those who have been kidnapped and killed are Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, Warren Weinstein (killed in an American air strike) and Steven Sotloff -- all of whom were Jewish.

Was that the reason they were kidnapped and killed?

In 2010, after giving a talk, Van Dyk was approached and asked, “Do you think you would have survived if you were Jewish?...You were the next person after Daniel Pearl and he was Jewish.” The question came from Dovid Efune, the editor at the Algemeiner. At the time, Van Dyk had no answer. But he does offer one now.

Daniel Pearl was kidnapped on January 23, 2002.

Daniel Pearl. Source: Wikipedia.
Used under fair use

According to Vanity Fair, as part of the strategy to get him released, US media organizations agreed not to reveal that Pearl was Jewish so as not to put his life in danger. That secrecy didn't last long:
But on January 30, Danny's Jewishness leaked. In a story in The News, Kamran Khan, the paper's chief investigative reporter, wrote that "some Pakistani security officials — not familiar with the worth of solid investigative reporting in the international media — are privately searching for answers as to why a Jewish American reporter was exceeding 'his limits' to investigate [a] Pakistani religious group. [emphasis added]"

...Khan's revelations stunned colleagues. But there was no wondering about the source of his information: he was well known for his contacts at the highest levels of the ISI [Pakistan's intelligence agency].

The same morning Khan's story appeared, the kidnappers released a second note, changing Danny's supposed spying affiliation from the C.I.A. to the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service
A connection between the terrorists and Pakistan would also explain why, besides demanding the release of Pakistani al-Qaeda suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Pearl's kidnappers also demanded the US deliver the F-16's Pakistan had ordered in the early 1990's in a deal that was eventually cancelled, in response to Pakistan's continuing efforts to build a nuclear weapon.

The kidnappers wouldn't care about those F-16's being delivered to Pakistan.
But the ISI would.

On January 29, before the leak, it was already being reported that US intelligence officials believed that the Pakistan's ISI was involved in Pearl's abduction.

But why should Pakistan care about Daniel Pearl, whether he was Jewish or that his father was Israeli?

Van Dyk believes the answer is Azerbaijan:
In Pakistan, the Trade is not just about money, but part of the quiet war, I believe, that Pakistan feels compelled to lead. More than once, I heard in Pakistan that it was afraid that the Israelis would attack Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, from their secret base in Azerbaijan. That is why, I realized later, the Taliban I met with high in the mountains south of Tora Bora, said, for the first time, that the Taliban would go anywhere, “even Azerbaijan.” I wondered then how they even knew where that secret Israeli base was. I believed one reason why I survived, and Daniel Pearl, Adam Gadahn, and Warren Weinstein did not, was because I wasn’t Jewish. Because of the visceral fear of Israel among some members of the Pakistani security apparatus, a Jewish journalist or a Jewish kidnap victim is always more vulnerable than a non-Jew. [page 343]

As he put it in another interview, “kidnapping is not done in a vacuum” -- there is state involvement. The states back up these terrorist groups for their own geopolitical reasons.

The terrorist group that killed Pearl is identified as Al-Qaeda, and used the beheading of Daniel Pearl, in part, to again make itself known to the world. That would explain, Van Dyk believes, why Pearl was executed in a matter of days while Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped in April 2011, was held for years till he was accidentally killed by US forces in January 2015. Al-Qaeda didn't need to prove themselves.

Yet, while he discusses the question whether Daniel Pearl was murdered because he was Jewish, Van Dyk does not suggest that Daniel Pearl -- or anyone else -- was actually abducted because they were Jewish.

But that doesn't make those areas any safer, neither for Jews nor for anybody else as long as The Trade flourishes.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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