American who escaped from al-Qaida in Syria tells hair-raising stories–about FBI

If anyone but Nancy Youssef of McClatchy News had written this, I’d have thought someone made it up. A hostage who escaped from al-Qaida in Syria tells how he was abused, mentally and physically, by the FBI, starting from the moment he crossed the border into Turkey. It’s an indictment of the US government’s policy toward hostages.

Matt Schrier after his escape

Matt Schrier after his escape

At one point it’s noted that the attention a hostage gets depends on how much noise the family makes. Contrast that to Israel, where a constant string of events and family pressure led to the government’s agreeing to trade more than 1,000 imprisoned Palestinians, many of them convicted on terrorism and murder charges, in exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in a cross-border raid in 2006 and held in Gaza by Hamas-linked militants for five years.

There’s a widespread belief in Israel that the price was much too high, especially since some of the freed prisoners have resumed their militant ways, and some have been re-arrested as a result.

There’s a proper path somewhere between those two approaches. The challenge is converting that concept into reality when families are wailing on the one hand and the government has different goals and issues on the other.

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