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EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDED

“We strive to exceed the expectations our readers, advertisers and viewers have of us,” claim the publishers of the Melbourne Age. And they have! Here’s Age editor Andrew Jaspan mourning freed hostage Douglas Wood’s insensitivity:

“I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood’s use of the a—-hole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else.

“The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive.”

Politenessman Jaspan believes hostages should be sensitive to murderers. He thinks someone held captive and beaten by extortionists and killers ought show some respect. And how, precisely, does Wood’s use of the term call into question “his motives”, whatever Jaspan imagines those to be?

Andrew Jaspan is a moral vacuum who should be fired. Or, alternatively, kidnapped and kicked in the head; if the little bastard complained about it afterwards, well, that would merely make us sceptical. Send letters-to-the-editor here. Cancel subscriptions here (if you haven’t already). Find Jaspan a new job back in England here. Meanwhile, yet more awful insensitivity is on display:

A hostage held alongside Australian Douglas Wood in Iraq has hired bounty hunters to track down his former captors, promising to eliminate them one by one.

Swede Ulf Hjertstrom, who was held for several weeks with Mr Wood in Baghdad, was released by his kidnappers on May 30 ...

Now, he wants to find those responsible.

“I have now put some people to work to find these bastards,” he told the Ten Network today.

“I invested about $50,000 so far and we will get them one by one.

How dreadfully coarse.

UPDATE. Hjertstrom’s pledge came during a satellite interview joined by Wood. Ten News just played a further extract:

Hjertstrom: “I invested about $50,000 so far and we will get them one by one.”

Wood: “The sooner the better!”

Hjertstrom: “These scum should be put out of business.”

Will the insensitivity never end?

Posted by Tim B. on 06/26/2005 at 07:41 AM
  1. Now that’s free enterprise in action!

    Posted by Evil Pundit on 2005 06 26 at 09:00 AM • permalink

  2. Jesus called the moneychangers assholes, if I recall the story correctly.

    Posted by rhhardin on 2005 06 26 at 09:01 AM • permalink

  3. If the Swede got the whole bounty hunter thing on tape, that would make for some kick-arse TV. Anyway, I like the way he thinks.

    Posted by Drunk Fade on 2005 06 26 at 09:10 AM • permalink

  4. Wood has a few spare bucks after getting paid for his story by the TV stations ...

    Posted by Evil Pundit on 2005 06 26 at 09:13 AM • permalink

  5. Shouldn’t the armed forces be finding them?

    Posted by R_W_F on 2005 06 26 at 09:23 AM • permalink

  6. Is Mr Hjertstrom accepting contributions? It seems like the worthiest cause since the Tsunami Appeal. He only needs to get it registered as a charity for tax purposes.

    Posted by squawkbox on 2005 06 26 at 09:34 AM • permalink

  7. Andrew Jaspan should be bitch-slapped on national TV.  What a dick!

    Posted by Mystery Meat on 2005 06 26 at 09:34 AM • permalink

  8. An equally despicable fleabag is Paul McGeough after this piece in yesterday’s SMH:

    The allegations by Zadaan’s son and guards that Australians beat them need further investigation. The detainees said they were blindfolded for much of their captivity and, for some of the time, Iraqi and American troops and officials were present. If, as they claim, they were beaten, it would have been difficult for them to identify their assailants - by name or nationality.

    But credible reports of US tolerance of Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence as an acceptable law-and-order tool require a response from Canberra.

    Wood is kidnapped, beaten and yet I dont see any calls from the SMH for any similar response or inquiry. Receiving similar treatment sees him villified for stating, fairly soberly, the obvious.

    Posted by Nic on 2005 06 26 at 09:35 AM • permalink

  9. “He said he was fed everyday ...”

    The animals at Gitmo are fed, quite well, every day.  They are allowed to practice their religion, which I sincerely doubt Wood was.  Has Jaspan criticized them for their ungraciousness????

    Posted by Buzz Crutcher on 2005 06 26 at 09:35 AM • permalink

  10. The Swede has seen too many Mel Gibson movies. But if the imams can raise money for mercenaries to fight the Great Satan, the capitalists ought to be able to raise money to kill those mercenaries.

    Posted by Some0Seppo on 2005 06 26 at 09:39 AM • permalink

  11. “...to turn around and use that kind of language…”

    To betray his captors, in other words, after all they’d done for him. Call the Lancet: this is the first known case of Stockholm Syndrome by Proxy.

    Oh yeah - maybe not the Lancet.

    Without doubt, the most compelling piece of fuckwittery of the year. Send this penisless individual back to Blighty - somebody.

    Posted by C.L. on 2005 06 26 at 09:39 AM • permalink

  12. How could someone speak about the brave minutemen like that?

    Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2005 06 26 at 09:47 AM • permalink

  13. Stockholm Syndrome by Proxy

    Nice.

    Also a good name for a rock band.

    Posted by Pixy Misa on 2005 06 26 at 10:03 AM • permalink

  14. There’s one problem with sending mercenaries into Iraq to take out the bad guys—it’s called the rule of law.

    There’s enough murder by terrorists and criminals in Iraq as it is, folks.  I appreciate that the bastards who kidnapped Wood and Hjertstrom deserve to die, but I won’t go vigilante to do so. 

    If we are going to let Iraqis stand up their own government, that means not breaking their own laws.  Mr. Hjertstrom and Mr. Wood are better off donating money to a school in Iraq, or some other worthwhile program.  There are plenty of those around.

    Leave the needless violence to the barbarians, and the necessary violence to the soldiers and police.  It works well enough in the rest of the world.

    As for Jaspan—to hell with him.  He’s a fuckwit with the moral capacity of a dog turd.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 06 26 at 10:06 AM • permalink

  15. Well said JeffS.

    Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2005 06 26 at 10:10 AM • permalink

  16. “Mr. Hjertstrom and Mr. Wood are better off donating money to a school in Iraq, or some other worthwhile program.”

    Well said Jeff.

    Posted by C.L. on 2005 06 26 at 10:12 AM • permalink

  17. How can I contribute to this worthy cause?

    Posted by Rob Read on 2005 06 26 at 10:21 AM • permalink

  18. It needed saying, C.L., Mr. Bingley.

    But I do want to make one point clear—I don’t think Mr. Hjertstrom and Mr. Wood are being insensitive in any fashion, merely overexcited.  They are reacting in a perfectly normal human fashion in the wake and relief of their release and survival, raging againt the animals that abused them, and demanding justice for the victims (remember, the same gang that kidnapped Mr. Wood murdered at least two other Iraqis). 

    I don’t blame them at all for what they say.  I am simply correcting their approach before they go to far.  Myself, I agree, the “people” that kidnapped Mr. Wood are arseholes.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 06 26 at 10:27 AM • permalink

  19. There is no reason why bounties cannot be placed on the terrorists.  Substantial bounties were placed on Saddam and his two sons in April of 2003, and the same principle applies.

    As for the “rule of law”, these are unlawful combatants.  They have no such protection.

    Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2005 06 26 at 11:04 AM • permalink

  20. As for the “rule of law”, these are unlawful combatants.  They have no such protection.

    That’s not the problem.  They’re scum, and we’d all like to see them shot in the head.

    The problem is having still more armed men wandering about Iraq trying to kill people.  This time it’s in a good cause, but how are the police and the armed forces supposed to know that?

    Posted by Pixy Misa on 2005 06 26 at 11:10 AM • permalink

  21. Unfuckingbelievable!  Mr. Wood is being insensitive?  The nerve of him!  After all, they fed him every day!  What more could a hostage ask?  Really, I am just left… speechless.

    I’d say The Age has managed to exceed my expectations of them.  In spades.

    Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 06 26 at 11:19 AM • permalink

  22. “The problem is having still more armed men wandering about Iraq trying to kill people.”

    Given the proliferation of militias and insurgents, I doubt a handful of professional bounty hunters will add to the problem.  And to the extent it dissuades terrorists from seizing hostages, so much the better.

    Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2005 06 26 at 11:22 AM • permalink

  23. Of course, in the US we never even see the interviews.  Too pro-US and all that—don’t want to encourage the ‘jingoists’!

    Posted by Patricia on 2005 06 26 at 11:32 AM • permalink

  24. Given the proliferation of militias and insurgents, I doubt a handful of professional bounty hunters will add to the problem.  And to the extent it dissuades terrorists from seizing hostages, so much the better.

    It won’t dissuade terrorists, especially the foreign jihadists, not if we are killing them by the carload already.  And it’ll piss off the Iraqis, and rightly so.  It is their country, not ours, even if we fighting a war in it. 

    No, this would aggravate the problem, not resolve it in any fashion.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 06 26 at 11:44 AM • permalink

  25. i don’t suppose anyone has a media link to the channel ten interviews? i’d love to see this.

    Posted by sshumo on 2005 06 26 at 11:46 AM • permalink

  26. Besides, they create to much paperwork.

    I’m half-serious with that.  Cops and soldiers hate bounty hunters because they don’t fit.  They’re not good guys, can’t trust ‘em.  They’re not bad guys, can’t shoot ‘em.  Sand in the gears.

    Posted by Pixy Misa on 2005 06 26 at 11:48 AM • permalink

  27. It won’t dissuade terrorists, especially the foreign jihadists, not if we are killing them by the carload already.

    Contrary to your assumption, the typical terrorist is not indifferent to his own life or death.  If they were, we’d see far more suicide bombs. The prospect of being hunted by bounty hunters, possibly for the remainder of their lives, would tend to dissuade them.

    And it’ll piss off the Iraqis, and rightly so.

    Really?  The typical hostage is Iraqi, not western.  You base this assumption on what? 

    It is their country, not ours, even if we fighting a war in it.

    Irrelevant.  I suspect that if they thought bounty hunters would help them with the hostage-taking problem, they would support the approach.

    No, this would aggravate the problem, not resolve it in any fashion.

    A conclusory statement unsupported by the facts.

    Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2005 06 26 at 11:54 AM • permalink

  28. Besides, they create to much paperwork.

    What paperwork?  You brings in the bodies, you collects the money.  What could be more straightforward than that?

    Cops and soldiers hate bounty hunters because they don’t fit.  They’re not good guys, can’t trust ‘em.  They’re not bad guys, can’t shoot ‘em.  Sand in the gears.

    Bounty hunters are used all the time.  Try skipping bail in the States and see who comes looking for you.  Hint: It won’t be the local constabulary. Likewise, there are bounties on Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda heirarchy.

    Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2005 06 26 at 12:00 PM • permalink

  29. I watched the interview with Douglas Wood on Channel 10. I can’t say I liked the way the show was done. Too sentimental for my tastes.

    But I greatly enjoyed watching and listening to Douglas Wood!

    A wonderful, intelligent, good and benevolent soul! He made me feel very proud to be an Australian.

    As for tracking down the kidnappers, I would encourage such a course of action.

    The_Real_Jeffs wrote:
    Mr. Hjertstrom and Mr. Wood are better off donating money to a school in Iraq, or some other worthwhile program. There are plenty of those around.

    I don’t agree with this.

    For one thing, getting rid of thugs, criminals, and terrorists may be one of the best ways to help the schools and other peaceful, constructive projects of Iraq.

    Posted by PRODOS on 2005 06 26 at 12:04 PM • permalink

  30. There have also been letters about Wood in “The West Australian.” I mention two published on Friday: Stephen Price of East Fremantle castigated Wodd for being “tactless” on his release @with ihd God Bless America war-cry.” Andrew Bright of Belmont concluded: “Your private education should have afforded you the knowledge, Mr Wood, that you were in a dangerous place at a dangerous time. The simple fact that you were not decapitated and dumped in an Iraqi gutter to rot should be compensation enough. Shame on you.”

    Posted by Susan Norton on 2005 06 26 at 12:12 PM • permalink

  31. Sorry, that should be: “With his God Bless America war-cry.”

    Posted by Susan Norton on 2005 06 26 at 12:13 PM • permalink

  32. Bruce, I am not going to get into a long, drawn out argument about this.  Nor am I going to preach about the moral highground here. 

    But I don’t speak from ignorance, wishful thinking, nor unfounded assumptions.  My information comes from open source reporting (which you can get, as easily as I), but my analysis and attitude comes from being a soldier, currently deployed in the Middle East. 

    Trust me on this one.  No matter how satisfactory this might be in the short run, the long term results simply ain’t worth it. You don’t want to send mercenaries on a mission of revenge into Iraq.  There are far too many moral, legal, tactical, strategic, and diplomatic pitfalls to make it a worthwhile venture.  Not for a simple act of revenge.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 06 26 at 12:19 PM • permalink

  33. Amazing.  Imagine the howls from people like Jaspan following a ‘well-at-least-he-was-fed-everyday’ defense of Gitmo. 

    Are these guys simply unaware of these double standards, or are they so cynical their counting on their readers not noticing?  I’d bet the latter.

    Posted by cosmo on 2005 06 26 at 12:30 PM • permalink

  34. The last thing the Coalition needs is more armed folks running about who are answerable to noone. They would be as likely to be shot by Coalition troops than by terror scumbags. Plus, Coalition forces would be at risk in getting the mercs sorry asses out of situations that they cause. No, we do not need any mercs there.

    Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2005 06 26 at 12:30 PM • permalink

  35. Sorry, “they’re counting”

    Posted by cosmo on 2005 06 26 at 12:30 PM • permalink

  36. Sometimes I wonder, when a person calls another person “insensitive”, is that also not being insensitive? 

    Shouldn’t Andrew Jaspan apologize and maybe resign in disgrace?

    Posted by wronwright on 2005 06 26 at 12:45 PM • permalink

  37. You don’t want to send mercenaries on a mission of revenge into Iraq.

    You are conflating mercenaries with bounty hunters, and as you appeal to your own authority and unspecified “open source reporting”, there is no way I can specifically respond to your line of logic.

    But as for mercenaries, there are already thousands of them in Iraq, and one complaint is that they have been largely unaccountable to both U.S. and Iraqi law in a way that bounty hunters presumably are not. Firms such as Blackwater are paying top dollar for experienced special forces and commando veterans.

    Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2005 06 26 at 12:55 PM • permalink

  38. Blair, your insensitive comments have already undermined my new business*, and I will be seeing you in court.

    My new B & B on the coast offers guests the best of treatment. They will be treated sensitively and educated on important social issues. What’s more, they will be given meals every day—that’s right, not just every third day, but every day, and what’s more ALLOWED to take their blindfolds off for five minutes every three hours. What more could the discerning self-hating white Western liberal guest require? Regular beatings and the threat of beheadings? Well, we have that in spades! Our <strike>guards</strike> staff are all highly trained butchers, and are all forbidden from taking their Western anti-psychosis medicines.

    (Any complaints about the service can only be attributed to the unrealistic expectations raised by Western fantasy advertising—after all, we’ve had no problems with Amnesty or the UN).

    *As featured in The Age, and sponsored by the Victorian Government.

    Posted by Blithering Bunny on 2005 06 26 at 01:08 PM • permalink

  39. Bruce, you are the one who is confused.  The security forces in Iraq are not mercenaries under the Laws of War,  although the distinction is a thin one, since they are working for a recognized combatant (generally a member of the Coalition).  And there still have been problems with them. 

    “Bounty hunters” are yet one more unstabilizing influence within Iraq.  But hiring a “bounty hunter” is not the same thing as placing a bounty on the criminal’s head.  Since the “bounty hunter” is not working for a recognized State within the conflict, they become a mercenary.  That is, a criminal.  They will be treated as such.

    Look, we could argue back and forth about this for days.  But the bottom line is simple enough:  Iraq is unstable enough as it is.  Don’t throw more wildcards into the game.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 06 26 at 01:20 PM • permalink

  40. Jaspan says:

    >one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives

    Yes, I’m sceptical of his motives as well. Did he get himself kidnapped in order to give Islamic loonies a bad name? (I thought arranging your own kidnapping was the sort of thing only leftist European journalists did?)

    I bet the bastard would have got his head cut off in order to prove a point: “C’mon Abdul, you know you want to. That chainsaw is sitting there begging you to pull its chain. One little waffer-thin neck, that’s all that’s stoppinfg you? What would the seventy-two virgins say? I bet they’ve all gone lesbian waiting for you”.

    Posted by Blithering Bunny on 2005 06 26 at 01:55 PM • permalink

  41. As emotionally satisfying as it would be to see Mr. Hjertstrom’s hired guns hunt down and kill every last one of those jihadi bastards, I have to go with JeffS’s judgment on this, since he is there and we are not.

    Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 06 26 at 01:56 PM • permalink

  42. “Andrew Bright”

    Not especially.

    Posted by Jim Treacher on 2005 06 26 at 01:56 PM • permalink

  43. Neither the U.S. nor Iraq is a signatory to Protocol 1, on which the whole Wikipedia article and definition of who is a mercenary hinges. Also, I’m not sure the article supports your argument. For example:

    “With the handover of power to the interim Iraqi government it could be argued that unless they [i.e. a person working as an armed guard] declare that they are a resident in Iraq i.e. a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict (APGC77 Art 47.d), they are now mercenaries.”

    Even assuming the Protocal 1 is relevant, referring to the contractors as “guards” can also be a bit of a stretch—unless these companies are paying up to a $1,000 a day for veteran special forces “guards”.

    The question about the bounty is an interesting one, and I think it probably depends on Iraqi law, with which I am not familiar.  The easy solution to that question would be to have the bounty authorized through the government, just as the U.S. government has authorized bounties against other terrorists.

    I’m not clear on why bounties on al Qaeda leaders are considered helpful, but those on the people who snatch and kill hostages would not be.  As I recall, the bounty on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is $25 million.  Perhaps you can explain the difference?

    Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2005 06 26 at 01:58 PM • permalink

  44. Wiki

    Bounty hunters can also run into problems if a fugitive enters another country. Laws in other nations can be quite different, and taking a fugitive may even be considered kidnapping.

    Noted bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman had been arrested after crossing into Mexico, apprehending Andrew Luster, and not turning Luster over to Mexican authorities. He was later declared a fugitive by a Mexican prosecutor.

    Daniel Kear pursued and apprehended Sidney Jaffe at a residence in Canada. Kear was extradited to Canada, and convicted of kidnapping.

    While the United States Government is generally willing to tolerate the activities of bounty hunters in the United States since they help the justice system, the government has not been so willing to tolerate these activities when they cause problems with other sovereign nations.

    Posted by 13times on 2005 06 26 at 02:11 PM • permalink

  45. What people tend not to notice about W is what a touchstone he is, through his choices, actions, and leadership, causing sundry corrupt &/or crazy to expose themselves for what they are for everybody to see.

    Posted by ForNow on 2005 06 26 at 02:29 PM • permalink

  46. I don’t buy the argument that bounty hunters are a bad idea.  But perhaps, given that there are already a lot of folks in Iraq hunting the bastards in question, this private effort would be more productive if they went after Jaspen and his ilk.

    I would gladly contribute…

    Posted by profeti on 2005 06 26 at 03:30 PM • permalink

  47. “The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive.”

    Oh joy, the Fiskian notion that Westerners should be grateful for the beatings they receive in the Middle East writ large…

    These are the moments that make it awfully hard to remain libertarian for me…what I wouldn’t give to send Jaspan and his ilk on a little forced assignment to Iraq right about now. The pompous little twit probably wouldn’t even make it through the first day without using the a-word towards a driver that cuts him off on the street, let alone an “insurgent” that captures him and threatens to cut off something else.

    Posted by PW on 2005 06 26 at 04:36 PM • permalink

  48. Note that police are citizens and have the rights of every citizen, as do citizens have the rights of every policeman (granted, all countries don’t have the same laws as the U.S. and sometimes the rules and rights are different for citizens and non-citizens). 

    If a policeman or citizen (including people paid or with other motivations, like “surety investigators”, bounty-hunters, those committed to justice like Simon Wiesenthal) apprehend a suspect and then if in the process of arresting and delivering him to higher authorities kills in self-defense, that itself can be a get-out-of-jail-free card (just don’t make a mistake).

    Posted by Ari Tai on 2005 06 26 at 04:39 PM • permalink

  49. The Real JeffS—Not that I disagree with your basic premise, but what if Olaf the Well-Funded hires Iraqi locals?

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 06 26 at 04:42 PM • permalink

  50. Jaspan’s comments are further evidence of just how insane and destructive the msm is everywhere in the western world. Western civilization has no greater enemy than those who benefit most from it.

    Posted by maxx on 2005 06 26 at 04:56 PM • permalink

  51. I don’t know if this has been mentioned (I’m sorry but I haven’t been paying attention) but the Guardian story “France accused of requesting journalist’s expulsion from Iraq” at http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,11882,1512219,00.html
    is interesting as
    “The French government has been accused of asking for a freelance journalist to be expelled from Iraq. Anne-Sophie Le Mauff, a reporter working as a stringer for newspapers and radio stations, has been told by Iraqi interior ministry officials that she will receive an expulsion order” … “The claims come amid speculation that the French government paid a ransom for the release of a newspaper journalist held in captivity for five months in Iraq - claims the government denies.”
    The real news is that everyone in France knows that the French government (directly or indirectly) pay big ransom to release their hostages, and hence French hostages have become the otage du jour in Iraq. So with the French economy now in such a mess that they dependent on British handouts, they want Ms Le Muff to leave Iraq asap.

    Posted by arnienelly on 2005 06 26 at 07:12 PM • permalink

  52. Y’all,y’all dwell on the delicious mantra- Jaspan’s Age- savagely reduced costs- fired vicious extreme left scribes,falling sales-..Andrew’s loss of face.
    .....and another thing-why does abc use a PAID Wood interview if it is using aseptic technique to present it.Handling it with barbecue tongs does not mean you are exempt from moral contagion.If you do NOT believe in paid interviews abc then don’t use them.Don’t try and make a buck out of them.

    Posted by crash on 2005 06 26 at 07:41 PM • permalink

  53. Meanwhile back at our local Religion of Peace Chaos Spot, Aceh in Indonesia, a Red Cross worker has been shot and wounded.
    Who would do this?
    Aceholes, I guess.

    Posted by blogstrop on 2005 06 26 at 07:51 PM • permalink

  54. An excellent editorial in today’s Australian (Imre?)  here

    Posted by Nic on 2005 06 26 at 08:07 PM • permalink

  55. I think we have just identified where Fairfax can save some money: Jaspan must go.

    Posted by captain on 2005 06 26 at 08:16 PM • permalink

  56. Bounty hunters. I like that.

    Obviously there are difficulties and complications accompanying a bounty operation in Iraq. And so what? Civilization is the methodical conquest of difficulties and complications. So let’s have more of it. The reason why the current irruption of Islam’s historical propensity for death-cults has festered to the present level is that too many people were, and are, afraid that counteraction may introduce “instability.” Some sorts of stability we can do without.

    I wonder just who, or what organization, Hjertstrom has in mind for the job.

    Posted by big dirigible on 2005 06 26 at 08:21 PM • permalink

  57. Excellent - is Hjertstrom up for donations?
    I have always thought that we should track down terrorists and destroy them - why leave the enemy to fight another day? Although ‘fighting’ is not really what the cowardly scum do - beating the daylights out of unarmed, bound hostages is more their style.

    And oh! Douglas!! the INSENSITIVITY!! How could you? How coarse of you to call murdering scum ‘arseholes’. Rather, Douglas should try to UNDERSTAND them! FORGIVE them, they know not what they do ...

    I think Jaspan and his like are as dangerous as any Islamic freak. I wont say what I think should happen to him, but it involves being tied up for weeks, being subjected to mock executions, being beaten up regularly—would the word ‘arsehole’ then pass his lips?

    Posted by dee on 2005 06 26 at 08:42 PM • permalink

  58. Y’all try and be ‘sensitive’ when you email Mr Jaspan ok? .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Posted by Lucky Nutsacks on 2005 06 26 at 09:00 PM • permalink

  59. If an asshole is “a thoroughly contemptible, detestable person” what is Jaspan?

    (Thanks to dictionary.com for the definition)

    Posted by lingus4 on 2005 06 26 at 09:21 PM • permalink

  60. Re the bounty hunter: Clint Eastwood could be available - for a few dollars more.

    Pity Charles Bronson is no longer with us.

    Posted by mr magoo on 2005 06 26 at 09:30 PM • permalink

  61. The_Real_Jeff writes:
    “Bounty hunters” are yet one more unstabilizing influence within Iraq ... Iraq is unstable enough as it is.  Don’t throw more wildcards into the game.

    This is a fair point and a reasonable concern.

    Private “justice” efforts should not get in the way of what the Coalition forces and projects are doing in Iraq.

    However, I would be surprised if any efforts by Ulf Hjertstrom - or Douglas Wood for that matter - would be conducted in such a way as to be a nuisance to the Coalition.

    I would hope that they would seek cooperation with the Coalition and local military and police.

    Given my brief and admittedly incomplete impression of these men on TV I would expect them to go about things in an honourable and considerate manner.

    They struck me as both thoughtful and proud men.

    I support any and all private efforts to hunt down and capture or kill the kidnappers, provided it does not impede current Military or Police efforts.

    Posted by PRODOS on 2005 06 26 at 09:36 PM • permalink

  62. This is an interesting thread but not a lot has been focused on the story of a man who was abducted from his house, kept in captivity with a blanket over his head, beaten, heard his fellow hostages apparently randomly shot right at his feet, made to appear in a humiliating video, beaten etc.  The man is 63 years old and a non-combatant.  The way his family reacted was nothing less than noble.

    Put in his position, calling my abductors assholes would be the least of what I said.  Praising my liberators would also be on the top of my list.  If Mr Jaspan, or anyone else cannot empathise this far then they really are tragic cases.  To make the statements attributed to Mr Jaspan is to be a fool.  There cannot be a place at the head of a key and influential newspaper in Australia for a fool.

    As to the use of bounty hunters.  This action, while understandable is probably (although I am not an authority on the laws of Iraq) illegal.  There may have been grandstanding going on here but it was ill-advised at best to declare it on tv.

    Posted by allan on 2005 06 26 at 09:47 PM • permalink

  63. Ditto to Allan. It also so frustrating that to choose to work in a dangerous environment as an engineer (and as many Australian engineers do) is argued to be a contemptible thing to do while to work in dangerous environments as a journalist or humanitarian worker is an honourable thing to do. So to fix the water or power is selfish and to hand out food is good.  And who do journos think they are. How is it that their services in Iraq serve the common good and the work of engineers doesn’t.
    Is it that they work for free and the organisations they represent are just being charitable. No special allowances for journos in dangerous environments?
    Australia, I think, has had 1 engineer and 1 journalist killed in the middle east. 1 engineer kidnapped and 1 journo.
    But media such as Fairfax honours the journos and condemns the engineers.
    Richard Ackland says that Doug Woods has “sunk to be the new pin-up boy of the US-Australian alliance.” So any journo would have fair warning as to any attempt to report positive outcomes or events in Iraq. Effectively Ackland has said that to speak well of the US is to be venal and will not be tolerated.
    And then they complain about being accused of being a group think left wing lobby.
    To condemn Wood for using the word arseholes is just bizarre. Would it have been alright for him to call them criminal murderers, which they are. Or would that have been insensitive.

    Posted by Ros on 2005 06 26 at 10:49 PM • permalink

  64. Seeing it will not be published at its destination, let me share with you my letter I sent to The Age regarding Jaspin’s comments about Wood:
    Dear Letters editor,
    So Andrew Jaspin thinks Douglas Wood’s description of his captors is coarse and very ill-thought through. Oh how jolly perceptive of little Andrew.
    I’m sure no coarse or ill-thought through gesture would ever emenate from such a well-bred little mother countryman had it been his misfortune to be abducted into a terrorist enclave, beaten, threatened with execution, witnessed the slaughter of associates or been forced to perform for ransom.
    Of course not, the toffy-nosed little socialist git would be pissing his pants, begging them to do with him what they will, and crying for mummsy.
    Tell Andy-pandy it hasn’t taken him long to earn the eternal Australian cry of derision:
    WHAT A WANKER!!!!!!

    Posted by slatts on 2005 06 26 at 10:59 PM • permalink

  65. Jaspan, damn it, Jaspan. Just think—a pan of Jas.

    Posted by slatts on 2005 06 26 at 11:03 PM • permalink

  66. Gee, Slatts, I wonder why they wouldn’t publish that?  As for the ‘bounty-hunter’ thread, didn’t the forces who rescued Doug Wood engage with at least two of the “arseholes”?  What became of them, I wonder?  Something nasty, I hope.

    Posted by cuckoo on 2005 06 26 at 11:08 PM • permalink

  67. Here’s my letter to the editor…
    <<<<
    This statement by Andrew Jaspan is egregiously stupid. I can only hope and pray that someday your Jaspan dumbass gets his opportunity to be taken hostage by terrorists. Perhaps they’ll shove an AK-47 straight up his ass, though I suppose he’d enjoy that.

    Posted by Supercat on 2005 06 26 at 11:21 PM • permalink

  68. For some reason I don’t think they’re going to publish that.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 06 27 at 12:37 AM • permalink

  69. From Bruce:

    I’m not clear on why bounties on al Qaeda leaders are considered helpful, but those on the people who snatch and kill hostages would not be.  As I recall, the bounty on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is $25 million.  Perhaps you can explain the difference?

    A valid point, Bruce.  OTOH, the real intent of this particular bounty is to engage the local population in the war on terrorism, not to encourage bounty hunters to move in for the hunt.  I recall at least one free lancer being arrested in Afghanistan while looking for Osama bin Laden.

    The Real JeffS—Not that I disagree with your basic premise, but what if Olaf the Well-Funded hires Iraqi locals?

    Hmmmmmm…...see the above paragraph.  ‘Twould be the same thing, wouldn’t it?  ;-)

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 06 27 at 12:42 AM • permalink

  70. I think Wood should use the money to run for office.  If he can’t get elected in Oz, he should emigrate to the USA and run for office here.  As a naturalized citizen, he couldn’t become President (although we could amend the Constitution), but we need good governors, mayors, Congressional reps and Senators.

    Posted by JimC on 2005 06 27 at 01:24 AM • permalink

  71. A one-armed man cannot play guitar.

    Posted by hogchild on 2005 06 27 at 02:27 AM • permalink

  72. Well, this is what I sent the wee little micro-Scot:


    I was astounded to see your statement, to wit:
    “I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood’s use of the a—-hole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else.
    The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive.”

    Let me see now, an engineer who is returning the basic services you enjoy without thinking about them to Iraqi citizens is kidnapped by ruthless, barbaric murderers.

    He is confined, beaten, (which surpasses what your ‘newspaper’ considers torture, according to your fantastical tales re Guantanamo Bay), he is forced to read statements against his will, at gunpoint, and subjected to having people murdered in the same room where he is imprisoned.

    And you believe that he is being ‘insensitive’ to these demonstrated murderers? For describing them via a somewhat crude colloquialism as “thoroughly contemptible, detestable persons”?

    Are you normally this biased and illogical?

    In what wise are murderers, kidnappers and extortionists entitled to respect? Simply because they gave him bread and water?

    In that case, why does your own ‘newspaper’ refuse to give the US Government the respect it obviously deserves by your own logic for its extremely humane treatment of persons whose activities lie outside the LOAC (Law of Armed Conflict), and who are supposed to be dealt with under international law and precedent by being shot out of hand on capture?

    Your true motives are as transparent as fine crystal. You are angered that he has refused to blame the US and Australian governments for his kidnapping. He has refused to countenance that your own perverse worldview bears the slightest resemblance to reality.

    The thing you will never be able to understand about this is that most Australians identify much more closely with his viewpoint than with yours. That is why your ‘newspaper’ is in such desperate straits, with revenue falling and circulation plunging.

    And that is why my place of work no longer subscribes to your ‘newspaper’. Because when you treat the majority of your readers with contempt, they stop buying. So have fun trying to maintain your business on the circulation base with such appallingly poor editorial standards and blatantly biased reporting as you have.

    You know, maybe you should try just reporting facts, clearly identified as such, backed by clearly identified dispassionate analysis base don the rules of logic. Oh, too radical for you, I suppose…

    MarkL
    Canberra

    Posted by MarkL on 2005 06 27 at 03:20 AM • permalink

  73. I’m not sure that Ulf Hjertstrom was proposing to kill the terrorists. The direct quotes talk about finding them, getting them, putting them out of business, but nothing about killing them.

    It could have been a misinterpretation by the journalists involved. Ulf may have been planning for the hunters to find them and alert the authorities to it.

    For some reason I don’t think they’re going to publish that.

    You’re censoring letters to the editor as well?

    /joking

    Posted by Andjam on 2005 06 27 at 03:26 AM • permalink

  74. Gee MarkL, your letter may have been a bit too ‘nuanced’ for ‘Papa smurf Jaspan’ . I got straight to the point with my email - ‘Dear Andrew, U R A Cockhead - yours faithfully - Deo’.

    Posted by Lucky Nutsacks on 2005 06 27 at 04:11 AM • permalink

  75. Way to go, MarkL.

    Jaspan is lost in admiration that the kidnappers fed Douglas Wood every day - did it ever occur to the idiot that keeping Wood alive and well was the only way they could collect the ransom?

    Guess not.

    Posted by dee on 2005 06 27 at 04:58 AM • permalink

  76. Great letter, MarkL!  But I have to wonder if the halfwit can read—God knows the poor thing can barely think.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 06 27 at 05:38 AM • permalink

  77. Why the hell is Tim wanting to send Jaspan back to England?  I thought he bore at least SOME goodwill towards the land of his fathers. 

    Send Jaspan to France where he belongs.  We have more than enough lefty asshats here in England as it is, mostly working for the BBC.

    Posted by PJ on 2005 06 27 at 06:09 AM • permalink

  78. I found this thread on the Lonely Planet site.

    thorntree.lonelyplanet.com

    While I wasn’t particulary suprised to see it there, I was suprised at the complete lack of opposition to the view presented: that the Wood kidnapping was all staged as pro-war propaganda for the benefit of “Howard’s War”.

    Lonely Planet is undoubtedly left (something I can politely ignore), but I didn’t realise it was hardore loony…

    Posted by heethcliff on 2005 06 27 at 06:25 AM • permalink

  79. “The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive.”

    I missed the intro.  Was he talking about someone released from Guantanamo?

    “A hostage held alongside Australian Douglas Wood in Iraq has hired bounty hunters to track down his former captors, promising to eliminate them one by one.”

    Move the ball against them.  Novel idea.

    Posted by Rittenhouse on 2005 06 27 at 06:57 AM • permalink

  80. The fact that Woods failed to go down with Stockholm sydrome must be very disappointing to those who support the insurgency.  Many now apparently believe that he wasn’t held hostage at all (thanks for that link heethcliff).  I suspect that Woods might have a choice phrase to describe them.

    Posted by rexie on 2005 06 27 at 07:11 AM • permalink

  81. Team Australia: FUCK YEAH!

    Posted by ausdiplomad on 2005 06 27 at 07:16 AM • permalink

  82. I am dissapointed that Mr. Wood called his captors ‘Arseholes’. The arsehole is a very important part of our physiology that’s used to….  anyway we all know it’s important. I also hear that along with lips, arseholes are one of the major ingredients of yummy weiners, a food that you often see served at kids birthday parties and outdoor gatherings.

    A better name for Mr. Wood to call his captors would be ‘Fairfax journalists’ who, as everyone knows, are major arseholes.

    Posted by Arty on 2005 06 27 at 07:25 AM • permalink

  83. That would be an insult to… That would be…

    Come to think of it, that’s about right.

    Posted by Pixy Misa on 2005 06 27 at 07:27 AM • permalink

  84. Well,Media Wank are giving Doug and Channel 10 a caning. Didn’t see that one coming, did we?

    I say more beer to him, and I hope he makes bucketloads of cash out of this. It’s okay for everyone else to make money.

    Oh, hang on, didn’t Andrew Jaspan accuse him of being ‘coarse’?

    I think I’m going to be sick. It’s times like this I seriously consider moving from Melbourne, Victoria to Melbourne, Florida.

    Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2005 06 27 at 07:34 AM • permalink

  85. heethcliff, to visit that site is to be confronted with madness. Is it that people like those have always been around but hide from the rest of the world. The web allows them to verbalise their voices.
    How could Australians (Jaspan makes me ashamed of my Scottish ancestry) say these things.

    Posted by Ros on 2005 06 27 at 07:42 AM • permalink

  86. The Scots used to be a hard and tough warrior race who put the frighteners on their enemies throughout the world.

    Jaspan is a Scot.

    What the hell happened?

    Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2005 06 27 at 07:50 AM • permalink

  87. That has got to be THE most openly biased Media Watch I have EVER seen and that is saying something.  Mind you I’ve usually avoided watching it of late since it is too infuriating.

    Posted by Melanie on 2005 06 27 at 07:51 AM • permalink

  88. I actually thought Dear Liz and MW did better than usual.  True, their focus on DW was predictable - but it was the biggest story of the week.  Also, they actually played the audio of the Jaspan comments - juxtaposed against the written comments of ??? of the Australian - and allowed the viewer to make the judgement.

    Learning a trick or two from Tim do you think?

    Posted by PeterTB on 2005 06 27 at 08:01 AM • permalink

  89. But the way they presented Andrew McGeough as..the man on the ground…award winning…  to imply that therefore he was credible even though he has consistently not been credible.

    Posted by Melanie on 2005 06 27 at 08:10 AM • permalink

  90. Dirty Harry,Rooster Cogburn,Braveheart,Ned Kelly, the Breaker….mmmmmmmm-
    nuh I’m going with the Jeffs.

    Posted by crash on 2005 06 27 at 08:10 AM • permalink

  91. Just Another Stupid Paper. Anyone Notice?

    Just a Socialist Pretence (of) A Newspaper.

    Jesus - A Scot Preaching. Another Nip, (thanks barman).

    Judge A Serious Paper (by its) Anti-american News.

    *

    I know, I’ve done this before and I was bored tonight. But it was fun.

    Posted by ilibcc on 2005 06 27 at 08:53 AM • permalink

  92. SBS had shown the group of journalists at initial press release for Woods. They all let out a gasp of shock when Woods said “arseholes”.

    Glenn Dyer of crikey.com.au seems to think the Woods interview is a new step in the loss of the freedom of the press.

    And now Media Watch… sheesh.

    The guy is not oblidged to talk to the press. He is a free person. If he only talks to whom he chooses, that’s up to him. What do they want, the press to have the right to subpoena anyone for an interview?

    The general advice form people on current affairs shows is to have veto control over interview tape, or go live. TV can do real nasty things to a tape interview with a bit of editting.

    P.S Had he mentioned whether he received the medicine arranged by the Sheik?

    Posted by Madison on 2005 06 27 at 09:05 AM • permalink

  93. After all this, its time to go back in the time machine to witness what the media said/hyperventilated about St Mamdoh Habib. Quite a contrast, I’ll bet.

    Posted by Nic on 2005 06 27 at 09:16 AM • permalink

  94. The Real JeffS — Is it the same thing?  Are you saying that Iraqis cannot be or should not hire private investigators?

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 06 27 at 09:25 AM • permalink

  95. Pedro,

    Jaspan was born in Manchester, which makes him a pom, not a Scot. His Scottish connection is that, before his appointment as Editor-in-Chief of the Age he was founding editor of the Glasgow-based Sunday Herald, having learned his journalist trade, such as it is, at the Observer, the Sunday version of the Guardian.

    Ros, your pride in your Scottish ancestry remains intact.

    Posted by Tempo on 2005 06 27 at 09:37 AM • permalink

  96. One of the best editorials for a long time in today’s Australian.
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15738022^7583,00.html

    really lays in to Fairfax and the idiotarian Australian academia.
    ‘IF Douglas Wood had emerged from captivity and blamed John Howard, Tony Blair and George W. Bush for his troubles, he would have become an instant hero in some circles. By now he would be have been offered a Chair in Middle Eastern Studies at one of our major universities, and ABC Radio National would have been renamed Radio Doug in his honour’
    Love it!
    and how embarrasing that Doug is no redneck and even an accomplished pianist as shown in last night documentary and for which he is castigated for receiving payment.
    Everyone seems to have forgotten that the Australian taxpayer had to fund a 500k ode to david Hicks documentary , an abomination to laud an avowed Jew Hater and would be killer of Australians.

    Posted by davo on 2005 06 27 at 09:49 AM • permalink

  97. Gagzooks- whatever will Jaspers think of Peter Cundall’s “I’m an 80 year old bugger just sack me..”
    Liz ( whose been raiding the fashionista’s walk in robe then?) Jackson cooed over Pete’s little insensitivity.
    She was being a little verbally violent herself sashaying out with"the conga line of The Australian,Andrew Bolt and Piers Akerman out to get Paul McGeough”,- another sensitive soul.
    Back to Cundall,whose Tasmanian interview was apparently not aired by the abc because he was expressing a personal political point of view.
    Gosh Pete’s been expressing personal political points of view for just ever.
    There were the comments about the Iraq war and the kids Peace Garden.The guesting on radio national’s silly quiz competitions where he expressed strong anti war and anti Bush views.Lapped up by the presenter and other carefuly chosen participants.But it seems he’s always welcome on sentimental old media watch.
    Last comment -no doubt being kicked in the head did not do Woods medically -induced failing sight a whole lot of good.

    Posted by crash on 2005 06 27 at 09:57 AM • permalink

  98. gadzooks?

    Posted by crash on 2005 06 27 at 09:59 AM • permalink

  99. richard—what I am saying is that Iraq belongs to the Iraqis.  If they want to allow bounty hunters, let them call the shots.  Arbitrarily sending in what amounts to mercenaries to possible break their laws, or muscle in on their racket(s), is not why we are fighting a war for.  If they allow a $25 million bounty on Zarqwai, but tell former hostages, “Don’t bother”, that is their business.

    But I still don’t like the idea, as it is still a wildcard thrown into the game.  But I’ll respect their decision.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 06 27 at 10:23 AM • permalink

  100. Second thought- its not Cundall using the abc its auntie using Cundall to bolster its point of view; until it doesn’t suit them anymore to do so.

    Posted by crash on 2005 06 27 at 10:45 AM • permalink

  101. Thank you for the info about Jaspan, Tempo.
    Deepest apologies to all Scots.
    I am seriously relieved he is a Pommy, not a Scot as I thought.

    Probably good mates with Fisk and Pilger and the other Grauniad idiots.

    Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2005 06 27 at 10:46 AM • permalink

  102. Back up a couple of steps: this Jaspan character is “shocked” by the use of the word “arseholes,” but not by kidnapping and murder?  I’m glad I’m not such a sensitive guy.

    Posted by Mitch on 2005 06 27 at 09:25 PM • permalink

  103. I’ve read both pro and con messages concerning the bounty hunters, and offer a question:

    If it would become widely known to the terrorists in Iraq that there are bounty hunters out there looking for them specifically for kidnapping a specific person, by name, address, or other ID, couldn’t this go a long way toward making kidnapping foreigners an extremely unpopular passtime?

    Posted by mamapajamas on 2005 06 27 at 09:42 PM • permalink

  104. Jaspan is your typical whinging pom if you ask me. Weak as piss.
    I reckon after we smack them in the Ashes and New Zealand belts the Lions we ought to get W to send the marines in and put every weak pommy bastard up against the wall. Then we can resettle the place with decent people.

    Posted by Harold on 2005 06 28 at 01:50 AM • permalink

  105. Letter in Today’s SMH:

    Defending Douglas Wood

    As a member of the Wood family I have been overwhelmed by the public interest and response to my uncle’s ordeal. While much of it has been supportive, many articles and letters have contained cynical and personal attacks on Doug Wood’s character. While celebrating the fact that we live in a society that encourages free speech, I am sad that so many people use this freedom to loudly express unfounded opinions.

    If Atticus Finch were here he would remind us that before judging a person we should step inside his shoes and walk around for a while. Perhaps some members of the public should step inside the shoes of an ageing man who has lost his livelihood, his wealth, his health and his ability to sleep easy before railing so gleefully.

    Emma Wood Ballarat (Vic)

    Posted by Dan Lewis on 2005 06 29 at 07:34 PM • permalink

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