Re: Funding

1

That was interesting. Maybe governments should start having their nationals (citizens and subjects) sign a kidnapping waiver when they go to kidnappy places?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-29-14 10:28 PM
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Since this is in the NY Times, I assume that they're lying about something. Specifically, I assume that they're lying about the US policy of not paying ransoms, because telling would-be kidnappers "hey, the US will pay $$$ for its kidnapped citizens" is an invitation to kidnap Americans. Getting the message "we don't pay ransoms" out there is a major policy success, whether or not it's true.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 1:36 AM
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re: 2

Yeah, much like Thatcher's 'We don't negotiate with terrorists' stance. Which, iirc, wasn't actually true, however widely avowed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 2:15 AM
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It is a little evil to accompany it with the message "hey, but the French totally pay ransoms. They may say they don't but they do. Millions of dollars! So, conclusion: kidnap French people."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 2:28 AM
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I read "A House In the Sky" which was a pretty awful account of two journalists being kidnapped by Somalians. ISTM she was Canadian and he was Australian. Those governments certainly didn't cough up squat, and I think after about 18 months, the kidnappers settled on a sum with the families. Spoiler: it's extra awful to be female and kidnapped.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 2:48 AM
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Those governments certainly didn't cough up squat, and I think after about 18 months, the kidnappers settled on a sum with the families.

I'm not sure there's any "certainly" about it. The governments didn't cough up squat according to the published accounts but that's exactly the sort of thing that published accounts wouldn't tell the truth about, either as part of a deal where the government paid the ransom, or because the hostages honestly didn't think the government had paid anything. "If you kidnap a Canadian, you won't get much, because the government won't pay up so you're stuck with what little you can screw out of the families": also a good message to get out there.

Take kidnap and ransom (K&R) insurance, for example; big business, very common in certain parts of the world for expats. And you can, legally, invalidate your policy by publicising either the coverage limit or even just the fact that you have it. A lot of people don't even know that they have it - their employers keep it secret from them.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 3:00 AM
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7

Good point. It seemed convincing, though - her family actually didn't have access to any money, and it dragged on (according to the public story, of course) because her family was trying to get his family to cover her too. Of course, I wasn't reading the book critically on this point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 3:16 AM
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Proof by contradiction: let us suppose that the NY Times discovered that the US government was, in fact, paying ransoms, despite protestations to the contrary. Which is more likely:
a) it goes ahead and publishes the story
b) it suppresses or falsifies the story because its Senior Government Sources let it be known that publishing would, I don't know, "endanger American lives" or "jeopardise national security" or something?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 3:30 AM
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the kidnappers settled on a sum with the families

In some places (e.g. Mexico), they are quite sophisticated about that. Obviously if you're wearing a Rolex and carrying a key card to the Four Seasons, they can infer that you have some money. But even if you're wearing old clothes and carrying a backpack, they look up your LinkedIn profile to see your job title, Glassdoor to see how much money you probably make, Zillow to see what your house is worth, etc. Same with your family (as identified from Facebook).

I had a colleague who was kidnapped in Mexico while being stupid. He has some darkly humorous anecdotes about the experience.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 4:14 AM
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Maybe my children really are best being monitored 24/7.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 4:23 AM
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A lot of people don't even know that they have it - their employers keep it secret from them.

I'm pretty sure we're covered by K&R insurance, but I don't know if we have the special rider that says Russell Crowe will swoop in and shoot the fuckers.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 4:57 AM
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I'd be lying if I said it hadn't occurred to me while in Yemen and Afghanistan that someone might make the stupid mistake of thinking there might be money in kidnapping me. Because there certainly wouldn't be.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 6:04 AM
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someone might make the stupid mistake of thinking there might be money in kidnapping me. Because there certainly wouldn't be.

A common misconception. The mere fact that you have money to fly halfway around the world makes you unimaginably rich by the standards of most Yemenis. If all the kidnappers did was force you to withdraw the maximum daily amount from an ATM every day for a while (a common tactic), they'd pocket the average annual income inside of a week.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 6:12 AM
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Not to mention, I'd totally throw $25 into your GoFundMe page.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 6:25 AM
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Underwriters (and reinsurers) of K&R coverage don't know whom they are covering, either.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 6:32 AM
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13: quite. Not to mention the amount your loving parents (frex) could raise by selling their house. And they would, if the alternative was seeing you beheaded on video.

The US government has certainly paid ransoms in the past - that's what Iran-Contra was about, after all. The US government is actually so determined to pay ransoms, even to the most unpleasant of its enemies, that it will break its own laws to do so.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 6:53 AM
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17

Another really well-reported story from the Times

Is there an emoticon (or German word) to indicate whether statements like this are sincere or sarcastic? Because it's a hella confusing opening.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 7:25 AM
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18

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 8:30 AM
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19

It was sincere. The other one I linked was about the handling of a rape complaint at a college. Both are really good work.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 9:30 AM
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18 is banned, isn't it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 9:32 AM
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21

18 to 20


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-30-14 9:38 AM
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