LONDON, ENGLAND -- Barely a week after returning home following his kidnap ordeal in Iraq, peace-loving pensioner Norman Kember has been plucked from the streets again.
The charity-worker was snatched by a gang of heavies in ill-fitting suits and pork pie hats as he strolled to the newsagents to buy his daily copy of the Guardian. They bundled him into a van and whisked him away before his publicly funded police escort could retaliate.
Initially the evil swoop was feared to be the work of British-based al-Quaeda operatives, but yesterday evening renegade tabloid newspaper The Sun came forward and claimed responsibility. It emerged that the 74-year-old is being held in a top secret cell deep in the bowels of News International’s Virginia Street offices.
In a statement released to sister TV channel Sky News, the red-top claimed it had acted in protest at Kember’s “disgusting pacifism” and disrespect for the British armed forces who facilitated his original rescue in Baghdad.
“Norman Kember is a vile human being with no sense of patriotism," the statement read. "Our brave boys risked their lives springing him from that Iraqi hell-hole and his snivelling lack of gratitude will make any right-thinking Brit sick to their stomach. It is in our readers’ interests to ensure this dangerous Pinko is removed from the public domain where he is at liberty to spout his poisonous views. We’ll keep him here until he fully recants his anti-war bigotry, or until he dies. Whichever comes sooner.”
Shocking video footage accompanying the statement shows the hostage back in his orange boiler suit and chained to a radiator while Page 3 girls Keely and Nicola T, dressed provocatively as Navy Wrens, tickle him with feather dusters. Utterly humiliated, Kember is then subjected to relentless insipid interrogations by Jane Moore, John Gaunt and other Sun columnists.
Though there is no sound on the tape, it is clear his captors are taunting him over his opposition to the war in Iraq. At one point, a figure believed to be political editor Trevor Kavanagh forces Kember to kiss a photograph of US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. When he protests, he is given a brutal wedgie by Jeremy Clarkson.
Keely: Feather attack
“This is the height of cruelty,” said Anita David from action group Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). “At least in Iraq he was fighting for what he believed in. Knowing Norman as I do, I am sure he would prefer an honourable throat-slitting at the hands of some crazed Islamic fundamentalist over the kind of demeaning malice he is enduring here.”
But Sun editor Rebecca Wade was unrepentant: “Get over it,” she said briskly. “We’ve already rid Britain’s streets of terrorist filth like Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri – you think we can’t deal with a few wishy-washy liberals?”