The popular Islamist-jihadist forum www.alhesbah.org, hosted by RealWebHost in Texas, U.S., recently posted an anonymously written document from 2003 titled “The Excellent Summary of the Rules of the Art of Kidnapping Americans.” The 60-page guide describes each
stage of the kidnapping, explaining how to select the target and then how to follow him, seize him, transport him to a safe location, and hold him there, as well as how to conduct negotiations. The guide also explains how to execute the hostage should negotiations fail.
The following are the details:
The guide begins by enumerating goals that a kidnapping can achieve, including the release of prisoners, extraction of information from the hostage, weakening the enemy’s morale and creating deterrence, raising international awareness of conflicts in which the kidnappers’ organization is involved, blackmailing the enemy for money, and generating anti-government sentiment in the hostage’s country of origin.
In the section dealing with selecting a target, the guide recommends choosing someone of importance to the enemy (such as a high-ranking military officer or a prominent businessman). However, he should not be a physically strong person who can put up significant resistance. In order to ensure that the operation goes smoothly, it is recommended that he be knocked out with tranquilizers.
As for the kidnappers, the guide states that they should be devout and in good physical condition. In addition, they must be familiar with the locale, and must be able to disguise themselves and to blend in with their surroundings. The guide gives various scenarios and explains how to deal with them – for example, what to do if the target enters a building or turns around suddenly while being followed. The guide states that, ideally, the kidnapping should be carried out at night, and in an isolated spot.
Next, the guide explains how to transport the hostage to the hideout. It recommends using a vehicle of a type that is common in the locale, and that it be prepared by removing the handle on the inside of the door where the hostage will sit. As for the hideout itself, it must be a large apartment with several exits, and the hostage must be kept in a windowless room. The apartment must not be on a road where there are checkpoints.
The last section of the guide deals with the demands stage, and states that after stipulating their demands and setting a deadline, the kidnappers must conduct negotiations using a mobile phone registered under a false name, or else a pay phone (a different one for each call). The guide also explains that if it becomes necessary to execute the hostage, this is best done by hanging or poisoning rather than by shooting. This is because soldiers regard death by shooting as an honorable death, and because shooting leaves considerable bloodstains at the scene.
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