Video of American Contractors Held Hostage in Iraq

Posted: Jan 03, 2007 3:51 PM

I blogged about these guys back in November, and as usual, the Jawa boys have kept up with the story. Now, there's video of the hostages that shows four Americans and one Austrian employee of Crescent Security Group seemingly in good health.

Keep them in your prayers and, as always, stay tuned to Jawa for more on them.

John R. Young's family didn't want to comment on the developments, but the Kansas City paper had more info on the tape, Dec. 28, when it got it from an anonymous "provider":

The provider said the video was shot in response to a demand for proof that the men were alive before negotiations for their release could begin.

The provider was confident the men were still living and remained in the hands of a little-known Shiite Muslim militant group that called itself the “Mujahedeen of Jerusalem Company.”

Representatives of the U.S. military; the American Embassy; and the men’s employer, the Kuwait-based Crescent Security Group, said they had not known of the video, and called it the first significant development since the kidnapping.

“The families were relieved and glad to hear some news,” a Crescent Security representative said. “I feel good there’s a tape out there, but I’m more happy that it’s a means to communicate with the kidnappers.”

The Buffalo News in hostage Jonathon Cote's hometown had a bit about him back in November, but his family isn't commenting on the new tape:

Cote's father said prayers and the kindness of loved ones have enabled him and his family to cope so far.

Jonathon Cote, who previously served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division, was working in Iraq for a private company called Crescent Security Group.

Paul Reuben, a former Minnesota police officer, got the most thorough feature treatment I could find:

Fraternal twins, Paul and Patrick grew up as close as could be in south Minneapolis, not far from Diamond Lake, Patrick said. Tall and lanky, they played on the same basketball, baseball and football teams.

The twins have three half-siblings and were raised by their father, Den Reuben, who worked for a delivery service, and their stepmother, Linda, a registered nurse, but spent much time with their mother, Johnnie Reuben.

Paul Reuben served four years in the Marine Corps and, once back in Minnesota, studied law enforcement in college and later was with the St. Louis Park Police Department.

He went to work in 2004 for the high-paying Crescent security firm, telling his brother he wanted to earn enough to buy a house and a Hummer.

Friday night, well-wishers from throughout the nation were sending their thoughts to the Reuben family. In Minneapolis, Patrick Reuben said his boss, Police Chief Tim Dolan, was among those offering support.

Struggling with her emotions after a sleepless night, Reuben's mother, Johnnie, said she was finding strength in the Christian faith she said her son also shared. "I am not ashamed," she said, quoting 2 Timothy 1:12, "for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me."

Josh Munz and Bert Nussbaumer I couldn't find stories on, even in Munz's hometown newspaper in Redding, California. I'll keep looking. It's good to remember there are good people and good families behind these names, waiting and praying. It is to those folks that someone like Markos Moulitsas says, "screw 'em." Classy.