I must say while the family are joyous and rightly so there are many aspects of this case that leave me very uneasy.
- In the wake of the rescue - colleagues of Sooden are quoted as saying it was the US and Bush that got Harmeet 'into this mess'. Well hello - Sooden went to Iraq under his own steam with his own agenda months AFTER Saddam was toppled. To blame Bush is hypocrisy and misguided.
- Not one word of thanks to his rescuers - risking their own lives. Remember Sooden and his mates put themselves at risk travelling to Iraq - on their 'peace' mission. This story now picked up by the UK press - see here.
- I see today TVNZ are coughing up for the travel and accommodation of Sooden's father and brother-in-law. These people who have used the media widely to keep Sooden's incarceration in the public eye have now blocked access by TV3 - given their lucrative arrangements with TVNZ. Not exactly New Testament behaviour or thinking by the travellers.
- Worse - Sooden and his mates are refusing to assist the rescue group with intelligence on the hostage takers - intelligence that might prevent a similar incarceration and could lead to the rescue of others.
- The impression is this refusal is not some form of Stockholm Syndrome - it is Sooden's group's policy to not cooperate with foreign soldiers in Iraq. Of course Sooden was not a foreign soldier...Onward Christian Soldiers and all that...
- Usefully the international Press describe Sooden as a Canadian. Good - make sure he stops there on the way out of Iraq. Call it home Harmeet. Call on the troops that risked their lives to save you.