[ISN] US firm spread hostage video

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Fri Jun 18 2004 - 01:55:34 PDT

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    Edited by Anthea Jonathan
    Berlin - Video images of a US engineer taken hostage in Saudi Arabia,
    possibly by the al-Qaeda network, could have been put on the internet
    via a US firm based in California, Der Spiegel magazine reported on
    The video was released on Tuesday and shows relatively high-quality
    film of hostage Paul Johnson, who kidnappers from a group called
    "al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula" have threatened to kill by Friday.
    The origin of the video was traced to Silicon Valley Land Surveying
    Incorporated, a California land surveying and mapping company, said
    Spiegel online, the internet service for the respected German weekly.
    The magazine said that according to its research the move was the
    first time al-Qaeda had "hijacked" a website to broadcast its
    The network usually spreads its message through Islamist sites but
    this time, Spiegel maintains, hackers created a special file at the
    company's web address at least an hour before global news agencies
    broke word of the video.
    The magazine said that company chief Tim Redd had refused to comment.
    In the video, the group had demanded that hundreds of Islamic
    militants being detained in Saudi Arabia be released within 72 hours.
    The hostage, a 49-year-old aviation engineer, was shown blindfolded
    with a piece of white fabric and tape. He was wearing a red shirt torn
    in parts so a tattoo on his left shoulder was visible.
    In a brief statement Johnson gave his identity, nationality and said
    he was working as an aviation engineer.
    An armed man wearing a balaclava and a belt containing explosives then
    introduced himself as Abdel Aziz Al-Muqrin, leader of an "al-Qaeda in
    the Arabian Peninsula" group.
    He read a lengthy statement containing the threat to kill Johnson.
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