Centanni, Wiig freed (Update: Conversion video added) (Update: A Gilad Shalit connection?)

posted at 9:49 am on August 27, 2006 by Allahpundit

The boss never sleeps.

“Khaled” celebrates his freedom:


There’ll be some sort of video here soon. Stand by for updates.

Update: There are four different video clips in the sidebar of Fox’s article on this. Ms. Underestimated has been recording Fox all morning.

Update: Fox News Sunday is interviewing Centanni right now. I’ll have video of that and, I think, the conversion video very shortly.

Update: Are we about to get more good news on the hostage front?

Update: Here’s their “conversion” video, courtesy (as always) of the Jawa king. Note how it’s introduced by the line from the Koran about there being no compulsion in religion.

Update: Here’s the clip from Fox News Sunday. There’s nothing new here if you’ve watched the other videos; if you haven’t, it’ll bring you up to speed.

Update: Yay, Hamas!


Update: Two sensational charges by Debka:

2. Although the foreign intelligence agencies with a presence in Gaza knew where the Fox reporters were being held, neither the Americans, the Israelis nor the British – the senior US ally in the war on terror – were willing to go in and recover them by force, or even lay hands on Dughmush and his gunmen…

3. Various Palestinian middlemen were used by British agents at the request of the US to bring the Fox journalists home. They worked out a convoluted deal which entailed their public conversion to Islam, an anti-American harangue on air and a six-figure cash ransom paid under the table to Dughmush to fund his terrorist militia’s operations in Gaza.

Update: Abbas and Haniyeh obviously know who the kidnappers are. Are they going to arrest them? Probably not, no:

Haniyeh was evasive Sunday when asked whether he would try to arrest the kidnappers. Before Hamas ousted Fatah in March, it frequently had criticized the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority for cutting deals with kidnappers and letting them go without punishment.

Update: DU debates the “conversion.”

Update: He’s been through hell, so of course he gets a pass. But I don’t mind telling you that these photos of Centanni gazing adoringly at Haniyeh are making me ill.



Update: So moved is Lieutenant Smash by the “conversion” video that he too has embraced Islam.

Update: Just across at Time. Was Debka right about there being a Gilad Shalit connection here?

Palestinian security sources close to the negotiators told TIME that the two Fox Newsmen — reporter Steve Centanni, 60, from Washington D.C. and New Zealand cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36 — were kidnapped from Gaza to embarrass Haniyeh’s government. The militants, who earlier identified themselves as members of the previously unknown Holy Jihad Brigades, were enraged with fellow Hamas militants because they too had joined in the daring capture on June 25th of Corp. Shalit, in which Palestinian gunmen tunneled under a wall and attacked an Israeli army post. But according to these security sources, the militant groups fell out after Hamas’ military wing took control of Shalit and elbowed the other co-conspirators aside.

In revenge, these militants, who belong to a splinter group of the late Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, struck back by seizing the two journalists, these sources said.

Haniyeh was able to secure the journalists’ freedom, but at a high price: he has agreed to give these armed extremists a role in deciding the fate of the Israeli soldier, these sources said.

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There is NO ignorance like the ignorance of those that think you can FORCE someone to come to spirituality of any kind through duress. Yes, yes, I know…it was all about the video footage.

tickleddragon on August 27, 2006 at 10:46 AM

There is no compulsion in religion, but my AK-47 is chock full of it! Allahu akbar!

Pablo on August 27, 2006 at 10:49 AM

Reminds me of captured US Marines in Vietnam denouncing their Corps, God, Country at gunpoint, broadcast to the whole world, too.

Niko on August 27, 2006 at 10:54 AM

Thank you for the Video.

Wild Thing on August 27, 2006 at 11:01 AM

Relieved to have these guys back safe. No comment on the video.

RobertCSampson on August 27, 2006 at 11:39 AM

I certainly hope that the U.S. Govt. takes appropriate measures to isolate and cut off all external funding to the Hamas thugs who call themselves the Palestinian government. Those murderers need to learn that bad acts have bad consequences.

As for Centanni, he should be immediately fired from Fox News. I base my view not on the video here, but what he has said since his release, under no duress whatsoever. Let him seek employment with the Islamo-Nazi loving BBC or Al Gaziera.

ptolemy on August 27, 2006 at 12:30 PM

When I turned on the news this morning they were showing the footage of Steve and Olaf but I turned it on *after* Steve hugged his friend. What I saw was Olaf being pushed around, his head whipping back as if he were struggeling and pushed up the stairs. I thought it was the abduction video! Then they show it again and I see Steve hugging some guy and thought “I hope this is the ‘release’ video and not the’I’m so glad I converted to islam that I just wanna hug a muslim’ video.”

Thank God (the real one) thay they’re safe, but if a ransome was paid, expect to see even more of this. The terrorists’ cash registers will be cha-CHINGing all over the middle east (no intrest paid, of course).

Tony737 on August 27, 2006 at 12:51 PM

As for Centanni, he should be immediately fired from Fox News. I base my view not on the video here, but what he has said since his release, under no duress whatsoever.

I’m glad to see that you have a handle on what “no duress whatsoever” is. Is that what you call it when they park you next to Ismael Haniyeh and in front of a camera? Just what did he say that you think should be a firing offense from his journalism gig?

Pablo on August 27, 2006 at 12:54 PM

They have a problem now.

Those who are thinking that the two can simply go back to the way things were before do not understand Islam.

A renounce will be considered a chance to issue the Fatwah on them dontcha know.

But then again, as a confirmed Christian, I would likely have to end up beheaded in the same situation. Christ said, “Do not deny me.”

Does anybody remember that Italian who told the islamofascists, “Let me show you how an Italian dies!”

The members of our modern Culture of Death are extremely afraid of death when it comes to their own hides.

A deal with the devil is a deal with the devil.

It appears that the secularists and humanists can only talk the talk, don’t expect them to walk the walk.


The Machine on August 27, 2006 at 12:55 PM


I doubt the Italian had any other option besides death. He just chose the manner of his death.

Centanni and Wiig were given a “life” option..just make a “conversion” video.

And yes, it effectively neutralizes them from ever being assigned to any moslem country because if they “renounce” their conversion, they are apostates and under sentence of death from ANY moslem.

They will forever have to look over their shoulders in public.

This change in tactic is not good. It is allowing the PA a “rescuer” stance while their co-religionist kidnappers achieve their propaganda goals against American media.

Oh. BTW… the idiots on demoncrat underground think this is a big conspiracy to “push” Fox ratings.

Darleen on August 27, 2006 at 1:26 PM

But I don’t mind telling you that these photos of Centanni gazing adoringly at Haniyeh are making me ill.

The fear of death by beheading followed by Centanni’s unexpected release from his captors would throw any person into an understandable state of shock. Who’s to qualify what acceptable behaviour is or should be under these surreal circumstances?

Expect to hear the truth, the whole truth, when Steve sets his feet on American soil.

fogw on August 27, 2006 at 1:27 PM

Yeah, like Allah said, he gets a pass. It’s way too soon after release to expect them not to be emotional.

mikeyboss on August 27, 2006 at 2:08 PM

Let’s also keep in mind that as long as Centanni and Wiig are in Gaza or anywhere within arms reach of the kidnappers co-religionists, they have NOT been “freed.”

As with the ordeal Jill Carroll when through, what really happened will not be known until they are safely back in the US.

Darleen on August 27, 2006 at 2:45 PM

A forced conversion when the person confessing doesn’t already acknowledge religion as anything other than moral equivalent philosophies, isn’t really a conversion. Is it?

These two guys are lucky. Smart to play along with the conversion game, but still lucky.

I am glad they came home safe.

Lawrence on August 27, 2006 at 2:51 PM

Yes, like the Jill Carroll video, I think they should also be given a pass until their back in the US or UK where Olaf lives. I can’t imagine the stress they’ve been under for the past two weeks. Like others have said, they get a pass. I’m glad they are both safe and that they’re home with their respective families soon as well.
That “conversion” tape was really surreal though. They obviously were under duress there and God knows what they had to go through when that was being done.

Catie96706 on August 27, 2006 at 2:53 PM

…Centanni gazing adoringly at Haniyeh are making me ill.

Good grief, I could care less if Centanni kissed Haniyeh.

I’m glad both Centanni and Wiig were released unharmed. I also pray that the Israeli soldiers are released unharmed as well.

moonsbreath on August 27, 2006 at 2:59 PM

I’m glad they are safe, but I’d rather they weren’t released, as the cost is too high. Not the 6 figure under the table bribe-they just put a pricetag on every other prominent journalist/civilian working not just in Gaza, but also Iraq, Iran, Mexico, France, etc. See, Islam is not only a religion of Peace, but it’s also Prophetable. Sorry.

Doug on August 27, 2006 at 3:31 PM

Centanni gazing adoringly at Haniyeh also makes me sick. It sickens me that Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad and Haniyeh are considered the “good guys” of the world (as opposed to Castro, Chavez and Kim Jong Il, or is it Bush, Blair and Olmert?)

On a more understanding note I looked up the time-span within which the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in:

The name derives from a 1973 hostage incident in Stockholm, Sweden. At the end of six days of captivity in a bank, several kidnap victims actually resisted rescue attempts, and afterwards refused to testify against their captors.

Let’s see what Mr. Centanni has to say after it leaves him.

If there was exchange of money we’re in for many repeats.

Do they think that many non-Muslims will not convert to Islam, just by watching the video? What was the intent on that? I simply don’t get this. Must be my naive day. I sincerely welcome explanations,

Entelechy on August 27, 2006 at 3:41 PM

As is often the case, I think of one more line, after hitting the ‘submit comment’ button…

“We’re not a religion which believes in interest but we do vehemently believe in ransom money” –one more reason to consider why I’d should join…

Entelechy on August 27, 2006 at 3:44 PM

Do they think that many non-Muslims will not convert to Islam, just by watching the video? What was the intent on that? I simply don’t get this.

This demonstrates that the kidnapping was good for them.

Pablo on August 27, 2006 at 4:15 PM

Huge correction: meant to write:

“Do they think that many non-Muslims will now convert to Islam, just by watching the video?”

Entelechy on August 27, 2006 at 4:19 PM

I was a bit unsettled with Steve Centanni praising the Palestinians as a “beautiful people”. Possibly, Mr. Centanni and Mr. Olaf Wiig may not feel comfortable enough yet to speak freely -and when they know their loved ones are safe – until they are back on American soil.

Their “conversion” to the Muslim religion is questionable. Rejecting afterwards becomes you an apostate with a death sentence.

I wonder of appeasement.

doingwhatican on August 28, 2006 at 4:00 AM

[Entelechy] Do they think that many non-Muslims will now convert to Islam, just by watching the video? What was the intent on that?

Agree up front it’s something only losers would do. Nevertheless:

One purpose of the taped conversion might be to prove to the entire umma that Centanni did, in fact, convert to Islam, thus making the consequences of such an act unavoidable.

Now he can’t deny it. Under Islamic law he loses a right that he used to have: namely to retain his religion and pay the jizya. Now he can be killed at will simply for renouncing Islam (apostasy) and arguing he wasn’t, and couldn’t have been, sincere (“irrelevant”).

As to the statement & the rest: I detect a certain fascination, a sense of genuine (not cynical) joy and elation, in seeing a Western hostage convert to Islam and adopt talking points. It’s silly, but it’s real – I remember coverage going back to the eighties that bears this out. The closest thing I can compare it to is the perceived witnessing of a miracle. (A sick, twisted “miracle” obviously…)

The desire to win over a hostage’s loyalty appears to be genuine. (Satisfaction in a job well done? “Doing God’s work”?) What’s odd is that the hostage’s lack of sincerity doesn’t appear to detract from the joy in the spectacle, and one might therefore be tempted to argue the joy couldn’t possibly be sincere either, but I’m not so quick to agree. If this scenario follows the the same honor/shame rules as the rest of society, then perhaps pro forma gestures are as “persuasive” as the real thing. (Once someone has shamed themselves in public it is too late, as it were, to take it back.)

At least without clear “restorative” retaliatory measures that “restore honor” – measures a freed Western hostage is unlikely to undertake.

RD on August 28, 2006 at 5:10 AM

Interesting comment thread on AP’s Indepundit link.

RD on August 28, 2006 at 8:07 AM

Look, we’ve got fans! Aren’t they cute?

Pablo on August 28, 2006 at 9:21 AM

I just saw a pic of Wiig and Centenni sitting in native garb. Wiig looked like he was mad as hell and if he could get ahold of a weapon, katie bar the door. Centenni looked scared to death (which I’m sure would have been my look).

msflea on August 28, 2006 at 10:02 AM

Glad they’re alive. Hope they don’t spend the rest of their lives hating themselves for these televised moments of dhimmi praise for the puppetmasters that orchestrated this charade. Especially Centanni. Yecch.

Jaibones on August 28, 2006 at 10:06 AM

RD, thanks for your thoughtful and plausible analysis. Also, the link you provided in the next post had very interesting comments, to complement yours. Learned quite a bit. Best regards,

Entelechy on August 28, 2006 at 1:17 PM

Being Forced to convert? Isnt this “Faith Rape?” For someone that is truly religious and faithful to their beliefs, being forced at gunpoint to renounce your faith is deeply wounding to the soul, and a real violation or their being.

BelchSpeak on August 28, 2006 at 2:30 PM

My wife said that she would rather die than be forced to convert or deny her God. She then said, “I hope that would be okay with you”.

ar_basin on August 28, 2006 at 2:40 PM

Will they be able to to live withemselves for doing whatever it took to live?

spacemonkey on August 28, 2006 at 3:41 PM

For a Christian denying Christ, even under duress, would be anathema. But if these men are atheists or uncommitted to any religious belief they may just look at it as self-preservation. They wouldn’t see it as shameful, but rather as somthing they just felt they had to do for their families’ sakes. For this reason perhaps only athiests should be chosen to be foreign journalists to these muslim countries. Otherwise you would probably have a lot of dead Christian journalists because most would feel as ar_basin’s wife feels.

Rose on August 28, 2006 at 8:47 PM