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Did Israel kidnap
Alan Johnston of the BBC?

by Christopher Bollyn
9 April 2007

Alan Johnston, a 44-year-old journalist with the BBC, disappeared one month ago in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, where he has lived and worked for the past three years.
Photo: Alan Johnston, the BBC's man in Gaza.

Why would any Palestinian want to silence the best journalist who reported what really happens in the Gaza Strip?

For the last three years, Johnston was the only foreign journalist based in Gaza.  No claims of responsibility or demands for Johnston's freedom are reported to have been made.

Johnston is well known among international journalists for his fairness and professionalism in reporting about events and life in the Israeli-occupied Gaza, which is often called the "world's largest open-air prison." Johnston's very fair and timely reports to the BBC were always delivered in his characteristic monotone style.

Details of what happened when Johnston was kidnapped are sketchy. Palestinian police said that on Monday, March 12, Johnston was kidnapped and that four gunmen had been seen in the vicinity of where Johnston's car was found.

The fact that no claims of responsibility or demands for his release have been made suggest this is not the usual kidnapping of a journalist in order to gain something through an exchange.  This is a very odd and sinister kidnapping.

Palestinian journalists have organized boycotts and protests in order to press the Palestinian authorities to do more to secure his release.

But why aren't the Israeli authorities being asked to do more? The Israelis, after all, control everything that goes in to and out of the Gaza Strip. The Israelis have eyes in the sky and are able to watch most everything that goes on in the streets of the Gaza Strip.

Yet neither the BBC nor the Palestinian journalists are asking the Israelis to do anything to find Johnston.  They don't even contemplate the idea that the Israelis could be involved in Johnston's disappearance.


Why is it assumed by the media that only Palestinians could have kidnapped Johnston?

Israelis kidnap people from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank all the time.  On February 20, 2007, for example, the Israeli military kidnapped 18 Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  They certainly seem to be experts in the art of kidnapping people in the occupied territories.

During the past few years, Israeli forces have kidnapped hundreds of Palestinians, including the most senior members of the Hamas-led government.  The Israelis have a long history of kidnapping people from Lebanon and even distant countries, such as Argentina.  Israeli prisons are full of people who have been kidnapped from their homes.

"This issue is on its way to being solved, God willing," Ghazi Hamad, a Palestinian government spokesman was reported by The Guardian to have said on March 14. "We have definite information regarding the parties behind this kidnapping," he said.  Nothing more has been said about the "definite information" Hamad claims to have received.

Hamad did not identify who was behind the kidnapping, although criminal gangs are said to have been responsible for a string of abductions of foreign journalists and aid workers in Gaza in recent months. The gangs have often demanded money, jobs, or weapons and ammunition from the Palestinian authorities.

"Mostly, they ask for employment, sometimes for weapons and bullets," said Khaled Abu Hilal, a spokesman for the Palestinian interior ministry. "I think this time will not be different."

No one has been convicted of involvement in any of the recent kidnappings, he said.  The previous kidnappings were usually very brief, sometimes only lasting a few hours.

It is, however, an unproven assumption that Johnston's kidnappers are Palestinians.

When a western journalist sympathetic with the Palestinian cause is kidnapped in Israeli-occupied territory, no one raises the obvious question could the Israelis have "snatched" Johnston? The possibility that Johnston could have been kidnapped by Israelis is simply unthinkable.

It is certainly possible that Johnston has been kidnapped by an undercover Israeli team in an operation meant to be blamed on Palestinians.  Johnston's kidnapping and death would serve to discourage any outside journalist from trying to report from Gaza.

The Palestinians can only lose from the kidnapping of Alan Johnston.

Who would want the Palestinians to lose their only voice from Gaza in the international media?  Israelis have nothing but contempt for the foreign journalists who expose to the world their criminal acts in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

If Johnston was kidnapped, which certainly appears to be the case, who would kidnap a leading international journalist from the BBC, a man known around the world, and not ask for a ransom to be paid?

It simply doesn't make any sense unless one considers that Johnston may have been kidnapped for another reason than obtaining ransom and by another party.

Senior BBC colleagues of Johnston have appealed to Palestinian leaders including President Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya (Hamas).

Palestinian Interior Minister Sayeed Sayyam, of the Hamas organization, called his apparent abduction a "criminal act."

Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, declared a state of emergency and set up checkpoints to search for the reporter.

Palestinian government spokesman Ghazi Hamad said the apparent abduction was a "brutal and criminal action, and a shameful action, done by irresponsible people who are trying to create more tension in our society."


Both Fatah and Hamas have said everything possible is being done to free Johnston. These are the two big political factions in the Gaza Strip. If they don't know where he is, who does?

Gaza is a very small place and crowded place. People know what's going on through the "Gaza grapevine." Now how can it be that the most important journalist in Gaza is kidnapped in broad daylight and held for a month and nobody from the biggest organizations the Fatah and Hamas knows where he is? This seems extremely unlikely.

It may be that the people behind the kidnapping are not from Fatah or Hamas or any other Palestinian group from Gaza.  It may be that this high-profile kidnapping is an Israeli operation meant to silence a journalist and discourage any others from taking his place.

If the kidnappers were Israeli agents, they could have easily passed back into Israel through the checkpoints and taken Johnston to Israel. If that's the case, God only knows what they will do with him or have done with him.

I sincerely hope Alan Johnston is still alive, but I fear the worst. Unless Alan is freed un-harmed and the kidnappers proven to be Palestinians, I certainly wouldn't assume that he was kidnapped by Palestinians.

Of course, if something terrible has been done to Alan, you can be sure that whatever happened to him will be blamed on the victims of Israeli occupation the Palestinians.

In this case, the media, which certainly knows all about the decades of Israeli intrigue and "false flag" operations, does not even raises the possibility of Israeli complicity.  The idea that the Israelis would do such a thing is not even broached.

In the same way the media suppressed all discussion the evidence of Israeli involvement in 9/11.

These blinders of the media are bought and paid for by the Zionist owners of the controlled media in Britain and the United States. This is why they refuse to discuss or investigate the crimes being done by Zionists.


Christopher Bollyn and his family are MIA

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