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Iraq Transition

Carroll takes shot at her kidnappers

Journalist says she was forced to make video praising insurgents


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Jill Carroll

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Former hostage Jill Carroll said Saturday that she did not willingly make a video in which she praises Iraq's insurgents and said in a statement that she "abhor(s) all who kidnap."

Carroll, saying "I'm happy to be here," arrived in Germany on Saturday, two days after her captors released her in Baghdad. But her arrival in the West was overshadowed by the airing in recent days of a video her kidnappers filmed before letting her go.

The video, which appeared on an Islamist Web site, showed Carroll saying that President Bush should stop the "illegal" war in Iraq and that the insurgents ultimately would prevail.

Carroll said in her statement that she was forced to film the propaganda video as the price for her freedom. (Watch The Christian Science Monitor editor read Jill Carroll's statement -- 4:49)

The statement was released by The Christian Science Monitor, which published a story Friday stating that Carroll's father had spoken with his daughter and she told him the video was coerced.

In her statement, Carroll thanked everyone who worked for her release, but devoted a significant portion of the statement to defending herself against criticism regarding the video, in which she said the insurgents were "very smart" and had treated her well.

"During my last night in captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video," she wrote. "They told me they would let me go if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and wanted to go home alive. I agreed.

"Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not."

She even lambasted her captors, who allegedly killed her interpreter, Alan Enwiya, when they abducted her in western Baghdad in January.

"They robbed Alan of his life and devastated his family. They put me, my family and my friends -- and all those around the world, who have prayed so fervently for my release -- through a horrific experience," she wrote. "I was, and remain, deeply angry with the people who did this."

Saying she wants to be regarded as a journalist, and not a hostage, Carroll said she would not engage in polemics against her kidnappers, "but let me be clear: I abhor all who kidnap and murder civilians, and my captors are clearly guilty of both crimes."

Earlier, a smiling Carroll was greeted at Ramstein Air Base in western Germany and was taken to a hotel, a Ramstein spokesman said. (Watch a smiling, relaxed Jill Carroll get off the plane -- 1:06)

She was expected to arrive in Boston, Massachusetts, on Sunday, said Monitor Editor Richard Bergenheim, who read her statement to reporters.

Carroll, who is described as emotionally fragile after 82 days in captivity, spent Friday in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

Forced praise

In the propaganda video released by the insurgents, Carroll discusses her release with a man who may be one of her captors. She says that the mujahedeen has treated her well, kept her safe and was able to elude the U.S. military because its members are "very smart."

"The mujahedeen are the ones that will win in the end," she says, adding that the insurgents "are good people fighting an honorable fight while the Americans are here as an occupying force treating the people in a very bad way." (Watch the controversial video and experts' comments -- 3:00)

After her release Thursday, Carroll showed up at the offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party and granted an interview in which she said her kidnappers treated her very well and never threatened her.

Carroll explained those comments, too, in Saturday's statement.

"The party had promised me the interview would never be aired on television, and broke their word," Carroll wrote. "At any rate, fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely. Out of fear I said I wasn't threatened. In fact, I was threatened many times."

In closing, Carroll denied two more claims that have risen since the release of the propaganda video: "that I refused to travel and cooperate with the U.S. military and that I refused to discuss my captivity with U.S. officials. Again, neither is true." (Read the full text of Carroll's statement)

In its article Friday on the video, the Monitor quotes Jill Carroll's colleagues -- including a U.S. Marine Corps public affairs officer -- praising the 28-year-old's neutrality on matters she was reporting.

"Her professionalism and objectivity were unparalleled within the media community," Capt. Patrick Kerr told the Monitor.

CNN cannot authenticate the source of the propaganda video. It is not clear when or where it was taped.

CNN's Octavia Nasr and Susan Garraty contributed to this report.

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