Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Turning the tables: Iraqi Police Use Kidnappers' own Videos to Fight Crime

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Iraqi Police Use Kidnappers' Videos to Fight Crime

In one scene, the videotape shows three kidnappers with guns and a knife, preparing to behead a helpless man who is gagged and kneeling at their feet.

In the next, it is one of the kidnappers who is in detention, his eyes wide with fear, his lips trembling, as he speaks to his interrogators.

“How do I say this?” says the kidnapper, identified as an Egyptian named Abdel-Qadir Mahmoud, holding back tears. “I am sorry for everything I have done.”

In the first week after the elections, the Iraqi Interior Ministry and the Mosul police chief are turning the tables on the insurgency here in the north by using a tactic - videotaped messages - that the insurgents have used time and again as they have terrorized the region with kidnappings and executions.

But this time the videos, which are being broadcast on a local station, carry an altogether different message, juxtaposing images of the masked killers with the cowed men they become once captured.
…officials in Mosul, short on manpower, apparently hope the psychological force of the broadcasts will help undermine the insurgency, making its fighters appear weak and encouraging citizens to call up with their reactions or information about those still at large. A program loosely based on “most wanted” crime shows in the United States is also being developed, a Mosul television official said.

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