Video: Greta’s exclusive with Centanni/Wiig

posted at 12:49 am on August 30, 2006 by Ian

Greta van Susteren interviewed FOX reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig earlier tonight. Centanni’s brother and Wiig’s wife also got airtime. The captors believed Centanni was a spy for Israel or the CIA. Wiig said they discussed killing Centanni because he was an American. The main motivation of the kidnappers from the start, Wiig said, was making a video. Centanni/Wiig were asked to write scripts for the video. Wiig noted that the captors heatedly discussed kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Centanni added that the captors asked them to write a letter to Bush defending Islam, calling on the President to free the Gitmo muslims, and demanding that he not use the term “Islamic fascists.” Centanni: “Yeah, they were very angry about that.”

Some highlights:

Fox has more.

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I just sent Allah the link to my post… I spent the last 3 hours working on this, hon…

I have all 5 segments of the video on my post… please???

Ms. U

MsUnderestimated on August 30, 2006 at 1:26 AM

I had it on, but wasn’t listening/watching closely.

While there was some mildly interesting stuff there, it seemed like a typical fluff interview. I didn’t hear any ‘hard questions’ from Greta and I didn’t hear any unequivocal statements or answers from Centanni, Wiig or their family members.

Was there a repudiation of their forced conversions to islam? Was there any strong condemnation of the tactics of palestinian terrorism?

Squishy? is squishy the word I am looking for?

LegendHasIt on August 30, 2006 at 1:28 AM

How much you wanna bet…

Harrison Ford and Viggo Mortensen star in the movie about the terrifying moments captured by terrorists.

Yep, I can see it…

Kini on August 30, 2006 at 1:34 AM

I kept waiting for the repudiation of their conversion as well but it never happened and in fact it was never really touched on. The first interview with “the non fashionable track suits” was discussed a bit but nothing on the second video. I also didn’t quite get the Jennifer Griffin thing with her discussion on the Palestinian Mafia and their being played for fools either.
Kini, I don’t see Harrison Ford ever playing anyone who worked for Fox, he would think it beneath him and his stellar acting abilities.

Catie96706 on August 30, 2006 at 1:37 AM


Yeah, but I like on an Island, far , Far, Away.

All kidding aside, it’s a very PC interview.

Just peace, love and understanding .. yes!

Kini on August 30, 2006 at 1:41 AM

It was very interesting I thought. Not dramatic, but informative in terms of the process of striping away the self-identity of the captives and creating increased dependence on the captors.

It was also interesting to hear how they were interpreting what was happening around them.

bluestarchronicles on August 30, 2006 at 3:21 AM

Just like watching Oprah!

Kini on August 30, 2006 at 4:18 AM


You nailed it. I knew some of Centanni’s mannerisms reminded me of someone. Thanks; now I can turn my mind to weightier matters.

mikeyboss on August 30, 2006 at 7:31 AM

The one part that stuck in my mind was early on when one of them said they were told something like “all of the conflict could be easily ended if your country would simply convert to Islam”. Did anyone else catch that? If I’m remembering that about right, it seems like one of the fundamental issues that many on the left and right don’t comprehend or want to comprehend… it’s not just about Israel, it’s also very much about converting the world.

MT on August 30, 2006 at 7:52 AM

Don’t call us “Islamic Fascists”… We’re going to kill you… unless you convert to Islam.

Huh? And these people have the temerity to consider themselves the victims?

The Monster on August 30, 2006 at 9:22 AM

The one part that stuck in my mind was early on when one of them said they were told something like “all of the conflict could be easily ended if your country would simply convert to Islam”. Did anyone else catch that? If I’m remembering that about right, it seems like one of the fundamental issues that many on the left and right don’t comprehend or want to comprehend… it’s not just about Israel, it’s also very much about converting the world.

I caught that as well. And that is what these IslamoFascists believe. The Caliphate worldwide. Anyone who resists is doomed.
I thought the interview and show was interesting. The initial descriptions about being taken to the noisy warehouse was chilling. Then Olaf talks about how he is told they are going to kill Steve and vows to himself not to tell Steve. I think that in itself was very moving. Can you imagine making that decision and every time you talk to or look at your friend, knowing he is marked for death?
These guys did what they had to do to survive. Now let’s see what they do to expose the hypocrisy that is Islam.

labwrs on August 30, 2006 at 9:30 AM

Sorry, Catie; Kini nailed it. They can play it like Ford/Centanni is quietly sympathetic to the plight of the Pali People, and is there to “tell their story.” Wait…isn’t that exactly what he said?

Kini, the Vigo/Olaf matchup is perfect. Genius. And Vigo is far enough left to carry it off like he was born to play the part!

Going back to the disturbing thread on embracing Islam at the point of the knife: maybe that’s easier for the non-religious. But a practicing Christian should have a very hard time watching that video, steeped as we are in the Gospels of Jesus Christ and the story of Peter the Apostle.

Christ is not to be denied…

Jaibones on August 30, 2006 at 10:11 AM

I was particularly impressed by both Olaf and his wife Anita during the interview. They gave an astute and articulate account of the incident and the backdoor diplomacy that was undertaken to hasten the release of Steve and Olaf. Quite frankly, I think Fox or some other network should hire one or both of them as reporters.

Anita, with both beauty and brains, would make a good fit into the Fox family of female anchors and reporters. Olaf exhibited some obvious reporting skills of his own. IMHO his observations and descriptions of the event were far more intriguing than those put forth by Steve. Maybe it’s that’s Aussie accent, but I just thought the guy was terrific; calm under fire, controlled and calculating under duress.

They both made Greta look like an amateur.

fogw on August 30, 2006 at 11:10 AM

Those who anxiously await Centanni and Wiig’s public renouncement of their imposed oath to mohammedism should remember that their captors had possession of their personal documents exposing both Centanni and Wiig (as well as those close to them) to further threat well beyond the terror endured in Gaza.

I am happy enough to see they both came through this terrorizing ordeal alive and well. Jennifer Griffin and Eli Fasman (Fox bureau chief) are truely amazing heros.

Perhaps the Israeli drone (mentioned by Jennifer Griffin int he interview) that was apparently flying overhead during Friday’s 2 a.m. “Dons of Gaza delegation” provided adequate intel for special delivery packages to be dropped from the heavens on each and every don in the near future. In shallah.

heroyalwhyness on August 30, 2006 at 11:15 AM

I doubt very seriously there will be any talk about their conversions. As stated before, to deny Islam after “converting” can get you a death sentence. I know I sure wouldn’t want it brought up.

StephC on August 30, 2006 at 12:22 PM

their captors had possession of their personal documents exposing both Centanni and Wiig (as well as those close to them) to further threat well beyond the terror endured in Gaza.


Jaibones on August 30, 2006 at 1:59 PM

Uh…Steph? Are you somehow unfamiliar with the basic tenet of Christianity? The whole “eternal life” concept?

Sometimes I wonder if the blog world is just a sibling rivalry among the secularists… Either that, or some large percentage of the “80+% of Americans” who claim to be Christians are lying…

Jaibones on August 30, 2006 at 2:03 PM

Jailbones –

their captors had possession of their personal documents as noted here (listen at marker 7:20 as Steve and Olaf describe how their captors empty their pockets and take their personal effects)

and in this jawa report . . .

August 24, 2006

The Global Islamic Media Front today released a copy of the Steve Centanni & Olaf Wiig hostage video in an internet posting. Along with the video, the al Qaeda propoganda production and distribution outlet also released photos of personal IDs found on the hostages, and a copy of the statement faxed to two Arab media outlets yesterday. The posting was made at an Islamist forum with ties to al Qaeda.

heroyalwhyness on August 30, 2006 at 2:40 PM

So, they’re gonna come after these news guys now if they denounce their conversions?? I highly doubt that. Hell, Salmon Rushdie’s still alive and he denounced the whole religion, not just a personal conversion.

The whole point of that video was to have something to show to the ignorant Islamo-masses to get them to give their lives for the cause of killing the West. These two guys mean nothing in the big scheme of things to these goons.

That’s just my take, I recognize.

tickleddragon on August 30, 2006 at 3:24 PM

…and as to converting under duress… I do not know for sure what I’d do if in this position, but do know that Islam, FOR ME, is about as valid a spiritual choice as satanism. So, having to deliver the lines that these guys did, I’d probably first throw up and then ask them to kill me.

I’m only partially kidding. ;o)

tickleddragon on August 30, 2006 at 3:33 PM

So far the only captive who kept his honor was that guy who tore off his hood and shouted “I’ll show you how an Italian dies!” A better man than most of us would be in such circumstances, certainly a better man than I.

dhimwit on August 30, 2006 at 4:37 PM

I remember the tears of pride that flowed from my eyes the moment I learned of the LITTLE GIRL in the COLUMBINE shooting WHO REFUSED TO RENOUNCE HER LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. I cried like a baby, humbled by her faith. When I look at Centanni and Wiig, I am DISGUSTED. To live is Christ and to die is gain, to suffer with Him is the reason why he came. For many are the afflictions of the Righteous, but the Lord knoweth how to deliver him out of them all. These men are cowards IHO. And before someone shoots off their mouth about me not being in their shoes and I wouldn’t know what I’d do, so how can I judge…blah blah blah. In 2004 I was shot four times, shoulder, arm, chest and face. With a cry to Jesus I received the strength to break the bones of my left hand by repeatedly smashing my attacker on top of the head until he fell unconscious. So I know quite well how I would respond. When I look these men, all I am is sad.

Matthew 10:31-33 (King James Version)

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Soothsayer on August 30, 2006 at 4:59 PM

Soothsayer, God Bless You.

I cannot imagine exactly how hard it would be to look physical death in the face and stare back unafraid, but I can certainly well imagine that in that moment, denying my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in favor of these Satanic demons would make living impossible.

Whatever I wrote before, I am not judging Wiig and Centanni. Just noting that this is the millionth reason Christians can literally thank God for his everlasting Grace and Love. Without Him, you end up proclaiming faith in Allah at the barrel of a gun.

Jaibones on August 30, 2006 at 5:41 PM

Jai Bones

Not to be confused with Jail Bones.


Jaibones on August 30, 2006 at 5:47 PM

Jaibones, yes I am familiar with the whole “eternal life” concept. I am a Christian (and no, I’m not lying.)

All I’m saying is they “converted” to Islam (under duress.) They may not be Christians, so the eternal life concept might not mean much to them. They “converted” to save their butts. To deny publicly is signing a death warrant. That doesn’t mean that someone will go out and stalk and kill them, but it is something they have to think about.

StephC on August 30, 2006 at 6:30 PM

I’m rereading “Not Without My Daughter” by Betty Mahmoody. Anybody who wants a true story of what life is like in an Islamic State such as Iran, should visit or revisit this book. (The movie sugarcoated the reality.) For instance, the “pasdor,” the secret police who roam the streets of Teheran in search of wrinkly socks on a completely covered woman, or a stray hair poking out from beneath her roosarie. These are causes for the pasdor to jump out of a car and scream and berate the woman. Birth control is worthy of the death penalty.
PS I agree with fogw re Anita and Olaf.

BeeCharmer on August 30, 2006 at 7:18 PM

Quite recently a young (15) Pakistani woman converted to Christianity, was beaten by her father, mother and other family members, then the father took her to a river and threaten to kill her by shooting her in the head if she did not renouce Christ and go back to Islam; since the young girl refused to renounce Christ, even though she could not swim her father threw her in the water next to a giant Cobra in hopes one or the other would kill her. Still, she would not renounce her faith in Christ even at the cost of her own life and suffering great pain. By God’s Grace she escaped and is well and living for Christ today.

Yet, this big bad journalist and a news photographer seeking the Pulitzer prize for a great story, absent any reported real torture or credible threats of immediate death folded like the cheap, gutless ‘men’ they are and accepted Islam rather than suffer anything for a moment.

Now which of the three could be described as people of courage and having solid core beliefs? Yeah, the FOX reporters, right?

Umnumzana on August 30, 2006 at 7:51 PM

“We probably should have locked the doors and drove away.”

Did I really hear that pinhead say that?

B Moe on August 31, 2006 at 10:12 AM

Well, for one I’m glad they are alive. Yeah, the interview was pretty soft, but it was interesting to actually hear it directly from Centanni and Wiig themselves. What about Jennifer Griffin’s recount of what happened? Meeting in a dark alley with men with machine guns and drones flying overhead? Sounds like something out of a movie, maybe a little too much like something out of movie.

The Harrison/Vigo matchup is pretty good. I’m thinkin’ Selma Hayeck/Anita.Maybe?

vcferlita on August 31, 2006 at 11:08 AM

Wow, some of you self-professed Christians on here kinda turn my stomach. So some of you can look into the hearts of these “gutless men?” Judgements of these two have been made. Disgustingly so. Too bad there are no quotes from Scripture on casting the first stone. Perhaps God has a plan for these two? Who are you to question?

moonsbreath on August 31, 2006 at 11:12 AM