tv Inside Story Al Jazeera November 23, 2014 9:30am-10:01am EST
market day by marching through the streets of the mexican capitol dressed in silver button suits and bow ties and hats and honoring patron st. cecelia, up to date the news we are following on al jazeera.com. when the world's bad guys extremist, gorillas, thugs kidnap people and demand ransom, should they get anything from the u.s. government? it's inside o. hello, i'm ray swarez. as the armies of iorack
and levant, isil has rampaged across syria and iraq, there's been the uptut of prisoner of journalists. some so quietly been released and headed home, but ransom demanned and paid through obscure channels. porn james foley and steve sot love were killed. but propaganda filmed made in the dessert of the ritualistic of their terrible murders. discouraging others from doing it, it is the official position of our government, that when you pay kidnappers you get more kid p thatting. >> capitalizing on the kay your of the war, the islamic state, better known as isil, may be holding as many as 20 foreigners in detention centers. that's not new, for decades they have used ran. sos to raise money and
build power, but paying for the release has put countries at war with those militants in a tough spot among european countries the answer appears to be just pay up, despite a 2013 agreement among leaders not to pay ransoms. earlier this year, 12 were handed back, after european nations paid on average $2.5 million for their release. the long standing policy of not negotiating with hostage takers and and policies like that don't prevent families companies and others from trying to raise money, and find themselves attain release for a loved one. earlier this year, after american joust list was beheaded by isil militants it was revealed that the american military tried without success to rescue folly. his murder was followed by the killing of another american journalist, and most recently american
aid worker. let us be clear, we are not intimidated. now his administration may be rethinking it's policy. wrote this month, the president recently directed a comprehensive review of the u.s. government policy, on overseas terrorist related hostage cases. with specific emphasis on examining family engangment, intelligence, and diplomatic engangment policies. >> but as the administration reviews this, it seems the stance against paying ransomes is unlikely to change. >> well, it is a matter of long standing policy that we don't grant concessions to hostage takers. we kneel that doing so
would only put more americans at risk highing ransoms or making it clear to others that we are willing to pay, only puts american citizens at greater risk. and that's something that the president and his team are focused on. the question now is what would a new policy on hostage taking and negotiation look like, if it doesn't include paying ransom? who can request the government do to protect americans overseas captured by other militants. how should the united states deal with kidnappers and extortionists today on the program? mow do you place a monetary value on a life, or a principle, when you refuse to pay, say $11 million how do you calculate the costs that flow from the release of videos like those depicting the murders of british and american hostages.
we will begin the days program with dianne foley. ms. foley's son was kidnapped two years ago he was killed by isil in august. dianne, welcome to the program. >> thank you, ray. i appreciate being on the program today. >> when it was clear that your son had been taken, what was the nature of the relationship between the united states government and your family. >> you and your family, were visible, active advocates was there a constant communication between you and the state department? >> no, there wasn't. we -- we did have an fbi agent, who was assigned to us. and we were told to keep kie yet about it, for the first six weeks we did. all through that christmas we said not a word to anyone. finally in january of 2013, i felt it was
necessary to be public, because nobody knew where jim was. he had disappeared so at that time, i began frequent trips to washington. and i would go to the state department, go to the fbi, i went to tushish ambassador, and began a routine of doing this about every other month. would seek out people to speak to. just to remind them that jim was still missing. >> rei rated to you and the family don't try to cut your own resolution? >> no. nobody told me anything about the policy.
fbi told me they -- the fbi wanted information from us three the family they did a good job debriefing whenever we had information. the state department that first year was very supportive. we appreciated david wade secretary kerry's chief of staff was always very kind and accommodating to me. they said the search was jim for a high priority, and i trusted in that, and kept going. and however, the first year we had no information whatsoever. and no interaction, we did not know if he was alive or where he was. >> now, ms. foley, one of the stated objectives of this re-examination of american policy is to take a look at family engangment, what should have been different? what could have been different with the way your family was dealt
with by our government, while it was working for the release of your son. >> you know, i am so appreciative of representative hunter, bringing this before the president. i think it is a very important need to look, relook at the policy. here we have lost two talented, young american journalists. and a very good hearted aid worker in peter kassig. these are the best of america. and i think it is very important as americans that are administration values these idealistic crankous americas. i am so delighted that it is being revisited, all i would ask is that families be invited to the discussion. because i think it is very hard for the government to understand how bewildering it was. i have no one who was my
advocate, and no particular -- there's no unit or group of people who was accountable for jim's capture always big groups of people. but there can be no bun that could share anyone information with us so it is a very lonely experience, i am delighted they are looking at this, i am all for it, i just ask that we be part of the discussion. >> thank you for joining us on inside story, and please know that anybody who has ever done this work, gone somewhere else in the world to bring americans the news of what is going on in the rest of the world, sends their condolences to the folly family, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> we will return after a short break, we will talk with a former kidnap victim, and a politician and diplomate who has negotiated for the release of hostages. should the u.s. abandon it's no ransome policy,
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friday. 9:00 am eastern. only on al jazeera america. you are watching inside story. today on the program, a look at u.s. policy regarding the negotiations for release of american hostages. it is the official policy of the united states not to pay ransoms demanded by captain tors. we are taking a closer look at that policy and other parts of it this time on the program. joining us, former u.s. ambassador, and governor of new mexico he has l has led negotiations around the world. matthew advantage dine, who was held hostage a friend of james foley, he was held in libya at the same time as his friend james, and zachary goldman, director of law and security at new york university school of law.
let me start with you, you heard dianne talk about how in the dark the family was for much of the time of james' captivity, are hostages themselves just as much in the dark? i am sure it varies from case to case, but were you aware of efforts to win your release. >> when knives libya, i was essentially a prisoner of war. i had been captured on a reconnie sans mission, but no i had no idea. what was going on, the government denied having me in custody, they told the world they had no idea what happened to me. so there was in information coming out, and certainly no information coming to me. i had no idea if people even knew i was still alive. the whole isle of knowing you are still alive, that must deep. isolation the depression that goes along with this. >> it certainly did, and
i was held in solitary con finement for nearly six months. nothing to do but stair at the wall and really having no idea what i was accused of. although i had a pretty good idea. or if i would ever be released i could hear people being tortured. it was quite horrifying. >> most of the time, you have been an official representative of the united states government, when trying to win the release of captives, flesh out our policy, we have been talking a lot about ransom, but what's the policy overall towards people who hold americans somewhere else in the world? quell, i am glad the administration is doing a review, but i basically agree with the tenants of the policy, one, you don't negotiate with terrorists, secondly you don't pay ransom, now that doesn't mean that you can't do third party encouragement of other countries.
special envoys, groups, people that specialize in these negotiations. that doesn't mean that for instance, i would just listening to mrs. foley, i think it makes sense to create some units in our government, in the state department. that keep as lot of these families better informed. that encouraging them that because they are devastated and confused that giving them access to information but at the same time, even though there's been a proliferation of these kidnapping and those groups are using kidnapping as a policy tool, i think if you start paying ransom, if you start dealing directly that's going to proliferate in more hostage situations and i think what we need to do is yes, beef up our spell jens, about these hostage cases. within the government,
within the middle east, within the c.i. a. because maybe we need more of a dedicated strike force, to deal with these kidnappings which are only going to continue, especially with isis and these terrorist groups. >> governor that policy, don't deal with terrorists, don't do direct negotiations? what's the difference? if we have a third party, is thereless of a loss? are we putting less on the line? why is it so important with people that are stealing americans in. >> well, because, what happens if you are dealing directly with them it is another reason why these kidnaps and hostage takes are going to continue. they will think they can get something directly from the rimmest government in the world.
in that case, of the marina afghanistan that we don't use third parties that we don't use the united nations. that way don't opeople like myself, and president carter and others that have dealt with these negotiations successfully. our government has a sense of a policy, but i would have them expand the number of policy tools that they use, dedicate more, keep families better apprised, and also find ways to utilize third party entities that can be just as effective. who you don't want, i got involved in a marine case, we got the marine out, but you don't want the president, or the secretary of state trying to pressure the leader of mexico and the leaders to get this done. it works against you. so you want to do it quietly and effectively. >> are americans more
vulnerable in this regard? more than bell junes or romanians or slovakians. >> well, i do think it would be difficult to envision the world in which the u.s. government became known for paying ransoms and the threat in dangerous parts of the world didn't rise. so i think the policy is currently generally the right one. i think it is also important to remember the scale of the payments we are talking about here. both the u.s. and the british governments have released figures inkading that the amount of ransom payments that have gob to terrorists grouped cross it is $100 million threshold. so we aren't talks about trivial sums is that the really empower groups to augment their possibilities. and clearly if the objective as we all share, the object save to reduce the number of americans put at risk in this way, and to reduce
the effectiveness depriving them of the source of support is incredibly important. >> matthew vandyke, whether the money comes from privately raised funds, orr from the government is that a distinction without a difference. if they get the money. basically it is, because in the mind of most, they will know that the united states paid or looks the other way while the money was paid. if the money is paid yes, they may be encouraged to take more hostages. prisoner exchange, that isn't even about the money. in particularly in the case of the islamic state, which has an economy more diversitied. so in the case of folly, sotloff, and kassig, i don't know that paying would have helped. >> we will be back with more inside story.
welcome back to inside story. it's a common observation, that every human life is valuable that the normal rules of buying and selling are suspended when we are talking about saving the life of a living breathing person. can governments afford to abandon cherished principle break their own rules because of test race. still with us, former american diplomate, author of how to sweet talk a shark, strategies and stories from aer negotiator
and zachary goldman of nyu school of law. you were part of the efforts to cut off terrorists groups and stop this from happening be uh the bringing in of youtube views millions of people, being able to see hostages doesn't that add another weapon on their side of the table? compared to just doing a one on one negotiation? >> i think it certainly changes the diem thattic. but i think it is important to recall the breadth of what is at stake here. we aren't just talking about the islamic state in iraq, we are also talking about groups like al quaida, and yemen, al quaida in the islamic in the saw hill region. these are groups that both derive significant sums of money for kid p thatting for ransom. and it isn't clear to me, and in fact it is quite clear to
me, that the use of social media to generate emotional responses does not override the imperative to starve these groups of funding. maybe not override, but can it undermine governmental resolve to hang in there with a policy that almost seems to system, who militate for the hostages release, a little cold blooded? >> i don't think so. i think the u.s. and the british government have taken a very firm stance that they do not provide ransomes in exchange for terrorist groups and officials have spoken pucklily about the ways in which that has led terrorist groups to avoided targeting british citizens for capture. it still happens, obviously, but i think we are fairly confident that terrorist groups understand that if they target u.s. and british
nationals, it will be substantially more difficult for them to obtain ransome payments for those. let me turn to matthew vandyke, in addition to being a prisoner, you are a film maker and you understand the power of image, does that add another weapon. >> it certainly does. it makes the united states look particularly weak and open defiance of influence around the world, that alone should be reason to making ransom payments. >> so there is a cost if we don't make those, and something like the execution of stephen sot love goes viral and is seen by millions around
the world? yes the propaganda value, it instantly propelled them into a world power, and that's not something that we should be giving to them. if there had been an opportunity to pay a ransome quietly, it should have been done. whether that existed is still unclear, but certainly a few million dollars is worth paying to avoided a terrorist group being able to do that and gain that propaganda value. governor, does it mean it is no longer the negotiator verses the hostage, but now there are other party whose are stake holders in the outcome of these encounters? yes, there is i do believe that social media, especially when the beheadings, those cruel beheadings of the americans and the britts, this does put more pressure on policy makers on american british
policy makers. the whole world is watching and everyone is clammoring for a response. this gives our intelligence agent wees with their sophisticated efforts, i hope, a detecting and finding out where the social media is emanating from, additional tools to find out about their location, their motivations. the fact that we were able to aid ofie the killer of james folly, or the british were able to, but my point here, ray, is yes, there's an array of new players. but it's still up to the direct negotiator, with the terrorists or with the country involved that holds these hostages and we are also talking about cases in nigeria, with those young girls, in columbia waythe farc,
they recently took up a general, so this is a worldwide phenomenon with different capabilities by each of the terrorist groups. and in this cases it is also involved countries that the united states has a relationship with whether we are interesting in getting the release. we want to see the release in egypt. i think the united states wants to be help. , but at the same time what is needed here, is some effective third party nongovernmental efforts to make this happen. quickly, before we go in the foley matter, we just found out that there was an unconstitutional successful military operation. do governments feel pressures to move in this way when they want to stick with their policy of not dealing directly, and certainly not paying them for their crimes. >>
well, i think certainly rescue of operations can be a successful way of obtaining the release of hostages. those depend, of course, on timely accurate intelligence. and so i think as the letter to representative hunter indicated that's where the government is going to be focused the efforts. it is important to note, this is not only a matter of u.s. policy, but also a matter of international policy. the u.n. adopt add resolution, calling upon countries and companies to refrain from paying ransoms. governor rich are charredson, great to talk to you all, thank you for the conversation. that brings us to the end of this edition, thank you for being with us, in washington, i'm ray swarez.