An Islamic Web site showed videotape Tuesday of a blindfolded
American hostage in Saudi Arabia, and said abductors threatened to kill him
unless Saudi authorities free al-Qaida prisoners within three days.
Paul Johnson, 49, of Stafford Township, N.J., was abducted Saturday by a group calling itself al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The organization is believed to be headed by al-Qaida's chief in the kingdom, Abdullah-aziz al-Moqrin, who was identified as speaking on the tape.
"My name is Paul Marshall Johnson, Jr.," the seated hostage says in the tape, an elaborate tattoo on his left shoulder. "I am an American. ... I work on Apache helicopters."
A U.S. official said the threat should be taken "very seriously" because the posting appears to be credible and militants have used the site before. "It has been a good indicator in the past," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The Web site was posted on the same day Saudi Arabia's ruling crown prince warned Islamic militants that the kingdom planned to deploy more security forces than they had ever faced before.
"Be assured that the kingdom has enough men whom you haven't
seen so far, but within the coming few days you will see them," Crown Prince
Abdullah told the militants, whose attacks have increased during the past three
months. His remarks were televised.
The tape on the Web site showed a hooded man read a statement and holding an AK-47 rifle. As the man was reading, a subtitle on the screen identified him as al-Moqrin.
Segments of the tape appeared to have been edited together and showed a blindfolded Johnson sitting in a chair with his profile to the camera. In one sequence, Johnson appeared to have a bandage around his neck, or a gag that had been pulled down from his mouth. The tape, which was first aired by CNN, also displayed his Lockheed Martin identification card.
Adel al-Jubeir, foreign affairs adviser to the Saudi government, said shortly after the video appeared that the kingdom would consult with the Bush administration about how to continue, but Riyadh like Washington has a strict no-negotiation policy.
"We don't negotiate with terrorists. We don't negotiate with hostage-takers," al-Jubeir said in an interview on CNN.
Al-Jubeir denounced the hostage-takers, but said it was premature to be able to verify any of the information on the video, saying, "We can't simply go with what appears on Web sites."
"It shows the cruel and inhumane face of the enemy we're dealing with," al-Jubeir said.
The statement on the Web site says the holy warriors of the Arabian peninsula's Fallujah Brigade has "hit" the engineering team that "oversees the development of the American Apache helicopter that attacks Muslims in Palestine and Afghanistan."
It says: "The Fallujah Brigade has killed the director of this team and kidnapped one of its engineers, Paul Johnson, and if the tyrannical Saudi government wants their American master to be released, then they have to release our holy warriors that are held in Ha'ir, Ruweis and Alisha prisons within 72 hours of this statement's date or else we will sacrifice his blood to God in revenge for our Muslim brothers who have been liberally killed everywhere."
Screen Capture Of The Kidnap
The day Johnson was seized, Islamic militants shot dead another
American, Kenneth Scroggs, from Laconia, N.H., in his garage. Scroggs was the
third Westerner killed in a week, after the shooting death of an Irish cameraman
for the British Broadcasting Corp. on June 6 and another American who was killed
in his garage June 8.
Saudi security forces arrested a militant north of Riyadh on Tuesday as they stepped up their presence in and around the city in a hunt for Johnson's kidnappers.
The Web site statement addressed Muslims all over the world, saying: "We have made a promise to ourselves to defend you. We will not let you down, and you should know that the treacherous tyrants who have helped the Americans against you, and shared your blood with them, do not represent the Muslims of Saudi Arabia . They are our enemies as much as they are your enemies. They are the enemies of God and his prophet."
The militants have previously threatened to treat Johnson as U.S. troops treated Iraqi detainees, a reference to the month-old abuse controversy at Abu Ghraib prison.
Image From The Kidnap Website
Members of Johnson's family, through a police officer stationed
outside their home in Little Egg Harbor Township, N.J., declined an offer by CNN
to view the video before it was aired. They could not immediately be reached for
On Monday, Johnson's son spoke to reporters about his father's love of Arabic culture. Paul Johnson III said his father once sent a copy of the Quran to his sister, with passages highlighted from the Islamic holy text that he felt were especially important.
"He felt he never had any fear for his safety and respects and honors their traditions and cultures," Johnson III said. "Dad said many times he loved living in Saudi Arabia."
Westerners in Saudi Arabia are responding to the attacks by moving to high-security compounds or even to Bahrain, and by pushing for the right to armed private guards, according to diplomats and real estate agents.
Western embassies in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, are negotiating with the government for a relaxation of the ban on private security guards carrying firearms, a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Video Itself
We found way back with the Paris Hilton Full Length Video, and learned again with the Nick Berg video that we cannot support distributing video from our site - it's just too expensive for a free site. When we have posted video the site gets crashed each time there's something out there everyone wants to see - and for some reason, a lot of other sites don't bother to post the stuff people are truly curious to see. So, what we did at first was to link directly to the website that had leaked the Paul Johnson video. As it turns out, and for the first time apparently, Al-Qaeda actually hacked a website to get access to someone else's web space and using their bandwidth, distributed the video. I was on this site surfing around and saving the index page for future reference - but had no idea obviously - otherwise I wouldn't have put a direct link to that video feed. We have re-encoded the video in Divx and put it on P2P as we have with all the previous videos we have attempted to serve up. Above is a screen cap of the error you get if you go to www.hostinganime.com/sout18/index.htm, where the pictures were initially released. The screen caps and images above are from the site. How many more Nick Bergs, Paul Johnsons and Daniel Pearls are there going to have to be?
View The Videos Yourself Here
The Kidnap Video w/Released Stills Of The Execution Added At The End
The Beheading Video Itself
Videos Require Divx
If our enemy is willing to die
for their cause
but we are not willing to kill for ours
who will win?
Beheading Video Surfaces 7-17-04
A video tape of the beheading of U.S. aviation engineer Paul
Johnson by al Qaeda militants in Saudi Arabia a month ago appeared on the
The tape shows what appears to be the motionless body of Johnson being decapitated and his severed head held up for the camera.
The nearly two-minute tape, posted on the Web site of al Qaeda's cell in Saudi Arabia, begins with shots of destroyed houses in what appears to be Iraq interspersed with images of U.S.-made Apache helicopters, which Johnson trained the Saudi air force to use.
The U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia said Thursday a search for Johnson's body was drawing to a close after U.S. experts sent to the kingdom failed to find his remains.
A Head In A Freezer 7-21-04
At 9am Paul Johnson got the news: Saudi Arabian security forces had recovered his father's head. It was in a freezer at a villa in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Since Mr Johnson's father, also called Paul, was reported missing on June 12, his family had sought assistance from government officials. Mr Johnson visited Washington on Tuesday to meet Florida senator Bill Nelson and officials at the FBI, State Department and Saudi embassy.
Wayne Johnson And Dr. K. A. Paul Outside The Embassy
Paul's Brother Arrested At Saudi Embassy 7-20-04
Wayne Johnson, brother of beheaded engineer Paul Johnson, was
arrested Tuesday for protesting outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington.
Johnson was joined by the nonprofit Global Peace Initiative to protest what the group characterized as neglect by authorities at the Saudi Embassy.
Group founder K.A. Paul said Johnson requested his brother's remains and information about his death. Paul said he and Johnson asked for a meeting with Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar but were denied.
"I believe that I'm finally doing something good," said Johnson. "I have to show (the Saudi government) that I'm serious."
After approaching the entrance to the embassy alone, Johnson was warned three times to leave the property by U.S. Secret Service. He refused and was arrested for unlawful assembly.
Johnson was taken to the Third District Station of the Metropolitan Police Department. Global Peace spokesman Doug Dodson said the organization would pay bail for Johnson to be released.
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