New Hostage Tape only 3 of 4 hostages on

BAGHDAD (CP) - Al-Jazeera television on Tuesday broadcast a brief and silent videotape showing three of four hostage Christian activists kidnapped in Iraq, and said that the men asked their governments and countries in the Persian Gulf to work for their release.

The two Canadian hostages - James Loney, 41, of Toronto, and Harmeet Sooden, 32, formerly of Montreal - were shown in the tape, along with British hostage Norman Kember, 74, according to the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Missing from the tape was American Tom Fox, 54, according to members of the aid group who watched the tape in Baghdad.

CPT co-director Doug Pritchard, speaking in a telephone interview in Toronto, said members of the group were "certainly pleased to see that Jim was alive, Norman Kember and Harmeet Sooden were alive."

"They looked similar in condition to the tape that was released a month ago," he said.

"We don't know what Tom Fox's absence from the tape would mean, although we certainly do know what motivated Tom and his colleagues to go to Iraq," he said.

"They were seeking to assist the Iraqi people, to hear their stories, and to advocate for an end to the occupation, and that's certainly what took Tom there."

The tape broadcast Tuesday was dated Feb. 28.

The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigades has claimed responsibility for the Nov. 26 kidnapping.

The four activists were last seen in a videotape aired by Al-Jazeera on Jan. 28 and dated Jan. 21.

Al-Jazeera also aired a video late last month of Loney's family pleading for his release.

Pritchard said the regular video releases, the only form of contact members of the group have had with the kidnappers, have been encouraging.

"The longer they're alive, the more that gives us hope. Certainly in the initial stages of someone's being kidnapped, you don't know what way it's going to go," he said.

"But the fact that they have been kept alive and well for this length of time mean, I think, our captors don't mean them ill, and that certainly is encouraging."

The tape broadcast Tuesday showed the three men sitting in chairs and speaking, although there was no sound. One of those on the tape had white hair and a slight beard, the two others had dark hair and full beards. All three appeared tired.

In the earlier tape, Al-Jazeera said the hostage-takers issued a statement saying it was the "last chance" for U.S. and Iraqi authorities to "release all Iraqi prisoners in return of freeing the hostages, otherwise their fate will be death."

No deadline was set in that tape.

Until Tuesday, there had been no further word on the condition of the hostages.

But Pritchard said no demands or threats were made on the new video, something he also considers encouraging.

He said the hostages were asking for help from Gulf countries in securing their release.

"That's a new thing, we're not quite sure what that means, but we would certainly welcome assistance from anyone that could assist in their release," he said. (external - login to view)
So what do you guys think happened to Tom?

Is this a good or bad sign.

My feeling is that it is a bad sign.
Tom Fox goes to 2 Quaker churches (Friends Meeting
Houses) up the road from where I live, in Clearbrooke
and one I think in the Falls Church/ Fairfax Virginia.

Yeah it looks like a bad sign. Why exclude him from
the video ?

The Swords of the Righteous Brigade. Wonder what they're
doing now ? Maybe sleeping. It's 5am over there.
Don't know, but it seems to be pretty bad over there.
There's a lot more to it than just feeling it is
bad over there.

After all you're watching the painful birth of a
phoenix nation.
Well, it can't possibly be a good sign, can it?

I hope that this is just undue speculation and that everything remain's fine. Well, as fine as they can possibly be under the circumstances. You know what I mean.
I don't think it's a good sign at all. I dare to speculate that there's a reason why the American isn't shown. He's either dead or they purposely kept him out to incite some kind of response from the US govt. There's not a whole lot of anti-Canadian sentiment in the middle east in comparrison to the US...I suspect that's why the Canadians are shown - letting us know that we made the right decision not to go to Iraq... On the other hand my theory falls apart because the Brit was on the tape.....hmmm

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