In a bizarre choice former hostage Susanne Osthoff
appeared on German TV channel ZDF for an interview dressed in what appeared to be suicide bomber attire claiming she didn't want anyone to know what she looked like. During the interview she rambled in portions incoherantly. She also refused to go into detail on how she was abducted saying that it wasn't of interest to people.
I actually took up this woman's choice to return to Iraq and continue her archaeology work a few days ago. Her decision pissed off the German government and I can't help if some of the slamming she's taking in the German press is due to this "slap to the face" of Germany and their efforts to secure her release. Then again she could be just a loony, psychopath who will go from victimized hostage to terrorist. The future for Susanne Osthoff seems interesting indeed.
In the interview, Osthoff tied the terrorist group that took her hostage to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. She also denied reports that she would return to Iraq.
"I was quite clearly told about whom it concerned, namely a grouping of the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi group," Susanne Osthoff said in an interview conducted by German public television station ZDF on Tuesday and broadcast on Wednesday.
Asked by ZDF if it was indeed her intention to head for Iraq, Osthoff replied:
"That's a lie, I have the cassette here ... I have never said that, I wouldn't do so to such a dumb question and it has never been asked by the Arabs."
She ended by thanking former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who made a televised appeal for her release, but pointedly declined to thank her sister who did the same.
What an ungrateful bitch! I don't care what kind of fallout the two may have, but when your family comes out to save your life a little thank you wouldn't hurt. Even if put this way "I do thank her though we do not get along."
Of the interview Der Spiegel had this to say:
On Wednesday night, 10 days after her release from captivity, a televised interview with Osthoff, who had been held in Iraq for three weeks, was broadcast on the German public television channel ZDF. In the interview's introduction, the presenter explained that Osthoff's choice of dress was supposedly intended to preserve her identity --a bizarre thought considering that Osthoff's face has been all over the front-pages since November and most people in Germany must be quite aware of what she looks like. Besides, she didn't wear a headdress in her interview with Arab broacaster Al-Jazeera earlier this week.
The second shock for viewers was the rambling, incoherent nature of Osthoff's answers. Even the heavily edited version (ZDF spokesman: "We wanted to protect Osthoff from herself.") of the original 15-minute interview was barely comprehensible. Questions were left unanswered and at times Osthoff rambled off into non-sequiturs about how badly she had been treated by her landlord back in Germany. When asked how the kidnapping had been carried out, she was evasive, simply responding: "I think these details are not interesting. That doesn't interest anyone. Generally kidnappings are carried out quite violently. People watch a lot of television and realize perhaps that you don't let yourself get abducted voluntarily."
Media scrutiny of Osthoff on Thursday was intense, with the mass-circulation Bild leading with "Susanne Osthoff: Crazed TV Appearance," complete with a half-page picture of the headscarf-adorning former hostage. The entire second page is taken up with what the paper calls "The Osthoff Mystery," which links her to Saddam Hussein's regime and asks where she got the money to send her daughter to an exclusive boarding school. "The puzzle of Susanne Osthoff will preoccupy us for a long time to come," the paper concludes, ominously.
What an odd answer to the abduction question. There is speculation by some that this is all a hoax and that she's really working with the terrorists or was complicit in her capture. For her to use words like above, that you don't voluntarily let yourself be abducted, seems rather suspicious as if she's trying to cover her bases and dispel those types of questions before they are even asked. They seem like pre-planned statements ahead of time.
This is an interesting story and I'll continue to report as more comes in.
Tipped by: In The Bullpen