Skip to main content
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
WORLD

Videotape shows kidnapped American

Gunmen threaten to kill him unless al Qaeda prisoners freed


story.video.2.jpg
The man shown in the video posted on the Internet identified himself as Paul Johnson.
more videoVIDEO
Footage includes a list of demands.

Bound man: I am an American
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Saudi Arabia
Al Qaeda

(CNN) -- Al Qaeda gunmen posted a videotape online Tuesday showing a man who identified himself as Paul Johnson, an American who works for Lockheed Martin and has been missing in Saudi Arabia since Saturday.

The gunmen threatened to kill the man within 72 hours unless their demands are met.

In the four-and-a-half minute videotape, which was extensively edited, Johnson spoke for 25 seconds, identifying himself by name.

"I'm an American out of the United States. ... I work on a Apache helicopter," he said, stumbling over some of the words.

He was blindfolded with a white cloth secured with tape. There also appeared to be a bandage around his neck.

He was shown from the front and the side, and his shirt was torn to expose a tattoo on his left shoulder.

A masked man armed with an automatic weapon also spoke on the video, identifying himself as Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin, the self-proclaimed military leader of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. His identity has not been independently verified.

"If the tyrants of the Saudi government want their master -- Paul Marshall Johnson -- to be released, they must release the mujahedeen held in the prisons in Haer, Ar-Ruwais and Allecha within 72 hours," the gunman said. "Otherwise, we will execute him to avenge our Muslim brothers whose blood has been spilled freely in several parts [of the world.]"

He added that the blood of Westerners "will fill up the Arabian Peninsula this year."

The masked man, speaking on behalf of a group called the Falluja Squadron that claims to have ties to al Qaeda, also claimed that at the time of Johnson's kidnapping, one of the American's colleagues was killed. On Saturday, when Johnson went missing in Riyadh, another American, Kenneth Scroggs, was found slain.

U.S. intelligence officials said the Web site where the video was posted has been used in the past by al Qaeda affiliates.

"We take the warnings seriously," an intelligence official said.

Adel Al-Jubeir, an adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, said the tape "shows the cruel and inhumane face of the enemy that we're dealing with."

"We're determined to ensure the safety of the hostage, and, hopefully and God willing, we'll be able to free him and restore him to his family," Al-Jubeir told CNN.

But Al-Jubeir indicated it is unlikely the gunman's demand for release of prisoners would be met because the Saudi government has a policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

He said Saudi authorities, who have been coordinating with their American counterparts on the Johnson kidnapping, are still trying to verify the claim by the Falluja Squadron that it carried out the abduction.

On Saturday, the Falluja Squadron posted a statement signed by the al Qaeda group of the Arab Peninsula on the Web site Voice of Jihad. The statement claimed to have taken an American hostage.

The statement identified the missing American by name and described him as a "specialist" and an engineer who works as a systems developer for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.

The statement said the United States and its allies have used the Apache helicopter in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

"We have our legal right to treat [hostages] the same way they treat our people," it added. "We will publish more details about the man kidnapped and explain the mujahedeen's demands."

Lockheed spokesman Tom Jurkowsky said officials at the company had not seen the videotape.

When told that Johnson appears to be alive, Jurkowsky called it encouraging, but he also said the company remains concerned for his safety.

Candlelight vigil planned

Cindy Adams, a family friend, said a candlelight vigil is being organized for Saturday evening in Florida, where Johnson's son lives. A fund has also been set up to benefit the family, she said.

A State Department spokesman said officials were in contact with members of Johnson's family, who have been sequestered at a family home in New Jersey.

The spokesman said that though it was U.S. policy "to use every appropriate resource to gain the safe return of American citizens," the American government "makes no concession to individuals or groups holding our citizens."

The State Department has urged Americans to leave Saudi Arabia after a series of attacks on Westerners.

In a televised address Tuesday, Abdullah warned Islamic militants that Saudi authorities plan to deploy more security forces to deal with the violence.

"Be assured that the kingdom has enough men whom you haven't see so far, but within the coming few days, you will see them," he said.

Addressing an audience of clerics, writers and intellectuals, the de facto Saudi ruler urged them to oppose the militants.

"Silence is a crime against your religion, against your country and against your people," the crown prince said.

CNN's Henry Schuster, Octavia Nasr and Justine Redman contributed to this report.


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
Search JobsMORE OPTIONS


 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.