Hostages: Wikis


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Police often train to recover hostages taken by force, as in this exercise

A hostage is a person or entity which is held by a captor. The original definition meant that this was handed over by one of two belligerent parties to the other or seized as security for the carrying out of an agreement, or as a preventive measure against certain acts of war. However, in modern days, it means someone who is seized by a criminal abductor in order to compel another party such as a relative, employer, law enforcement, or government to act, or refrain from acting, in a particular way, often under threat of serious physical harm to the hostage(s) after expiration of an ultimatum.

A person or party which seize(s) (a) hostage(s) is/are known as (a) hostage-taker(s); if the hostages are present(ed) voluntarily, then the receiver is known rather as a host.


Historical hostage practices

The English word "hostage" probably derives from French ostage, modern otage, from Late Latin obsidaticum (Medieval Latin ostaticum, ostagium), the state of being an obses (plural obsides), "hostage," with a supposed etymological connection also to Latin hostis ("stranger," later "enemy"). This long history of political and military use indicates that political authorities or generals would legally agree to hand over one or usually several hostages in the custody of the other side, as guarantee of good faith in the observance of obligations. These obligations would be in the form of signing of a peace treaty, in the hands of the victor, or even exchange hostages as mutual assurance in cases such as an armistice. Major powers, such as Ancient Rome[1] and the British who had colonial vassals, would especially receive many such political hostages, often offspring of the elite, even princes or princesses who were generally treated according to their rank and put to a subtle long-term use where they would be given an elitist education or possibly even a religious conversion. This would eventually influence them culturally and open the way for an amicable political line if they ascended to power after release.

The practice of taking hostages is very ancient, and has been used constantly in negotiations with conquered nations, and in cases such as surrenders, armistices and the like, where the two belligerents depended for its proper carrying out on each others good faith. The Romans were accustomed to take the sons of tributary princes and educate them at Rome, thus holding a security for the continued loyalty of the conquered nation and also instilling a possible future ruler with ideas of Roman civilization.

The practice continued through the early Middle Ages. The Irish High King Niall of the Nine Hostages got his epithet Noígiallach because, by taking nine petty kings hostage, he had subjected nine other principalities to his power.

This practice was also adopted in the early period of the British occupation of India, and by France in her relations with the Arab tribes in North Africa. The position of a hostage was that of a prisoner of war, to be retained till the negotiations or treaty obligations were carried out, and liable to punishment (in ancient times), and even to death, in case of treachery or refusal to fulfil the promises made.

The practice of taking hostages as security for the carrying out of a treaty between civilized states is now obsolete. The last occasion was at the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, when two British peers, Henry Bowes Howard, 11th Earl of Suffolk, and Charles, 9th Baron Cathcart, were sent to France as hostages for the restitution of Cape Breton to France.

In France, after the revolution of Prairial (June 18, 1799), the so-called law of hostages was passed, to meet the royalist insurrection in La Vendée. Relatives of émigrés were taken from disturbed districts and imprisoned, and were liable to execution at any attempt to escape. Sequestration of their property and deportation from France followed on the murder of a republican, four to every such murder, with heavy fines on the whole body of hostages. The law only resulted in an increase in the insurrection. Napoleon in 1796 had used similar measures to deal with the insurrection in Lombardy (Correspondence de Napoléon I. i. 323, 327, quoted in Hall, International Law).

In later times the practice of official war hostages may be said to be confined to either securing the payment of enforced contributions or requisitions in an occupied territory and the obedience to regulations the occupying army may think fit to issue; or as a precautionary measure, to prevent illegitimate acts of war or violence by persons not members of the recognized military forces of the enemy.

During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the Germans took as hostages the prominent people or officials from towns or districts when making requisitions and also when foraging, and it was a general practice for the mayor and adjoint of a town which failed to pay a fine imposed upon it to be seized as hostages and retained till the money was paid. Another case where hostages have been taken in modern warfare has been the subject of much discussion. In 1870 the Germans found it necessary to take special measures to put a stop to train-wrecking by parties in occupied territory not belonging to the recognized armed forces of the enemy, an illegitimate act of war. Prominent citizens were placed on the engine of the train so that it might be understood that in every accident caused by the hostility of the inhabitants their compatriots will be the first to suffer. The measure seems to have been effective. In 1900 during the Second Boer War, by a proclamation issued at Pretoria (June 19), Lord Roberts adopted the plan for a similar reason, but shortly afterwards (July 29) it was abandoned (see The Times History of the War in S. Africa, iv. 402).

The Germans also, between the surrender of a town and its final occupation, took hostages as security against outbreaks of violence by the inhabitants.

Most writers on international law have regarded this method of preventing such acts of hostility as unjustifiable, on the ground that the persons taken as hostages are not the persons responsible for the act; that, as by the usage of war hostages are to be treated strictly as prisoners of war, such an exposure to danger is transgressing the rights of a belligerent; and as useless, for the mere temporary removal of important citizens till the end of a war cannot be a deterrent unless their mere removal deprives the combatants of persons necessary to the continuance of the acts aimed at (see W. E. Hall, International Law, 1904, pp. 418, 475). On the other hand it has been urged (L. Oppenheim, International Law, 1905, vol. ii., War and Neutrality, pp. 271-273) that the acts, the prevention of which is aimed at, are not legitimate acts on the part of the armed forces of the enemy, but illegitimate acts by private persons, who, if caught, could be quite lawfully punished, and that a precautionary and preventive measure is more reasonable than reprisals. It may be noticed, however, that the hostages would suffer should the acts aimed at be performed by the authorized belligerent forces of the enemy.

Article 50 of the Hague War Regulations provides that no general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, can be inflicted on the population on account of the acts of individuals for which it cannot be regarded as collectively responsible. The regulations, however do not allude to the practice of taking hostage.

In May 1871, at the close of the Paris Commune, took place the massacre of the so-called hostages. Strictly they were not hostages, for they had not been handed over or seized as security for the performance of any undertaking or as a preventive measure, but merely in retaliation for the death of their leaders E. V. Duval and Gustave Flourens. It was an act of maniacal despair, on the defeat at Mont Valrien on the 4th of April and the entry of the army into Paris on the 21st of May. Among the many victims who were shot in batches the most noticeable were Georges Darboy, archbishop of Paris, the Abbé Deguery, curé of the Madeleine, and the president of the Court of Cassation, Louis Bernard Bonjean.

Illegal hostage taking

Taking hostages is today considered a crime or an act of terrorism; the use of the word in this sense of abductee became current only in the 1970s. The criminal activity is known as kidnapping. An acute situation where hostages are kept in a building or a vehicle that has been taken over by armed terrorists or common criminals is often called a hostage crisis.

Hostage taking is still often politically motivated or intended to raise a ransom or to enforce an exchange against other hostages or even condemned convicts. However in some countries hostage taking for profit has become an "industry", ransom often being the only demand.


Hostage Taking In the United States

Hostage Taking Act

The United States makes hostage-taking a federal offense pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1203. Generally, the Act applies to conduct occurring within the territory of the United States. However, under Subsection B, an offender may be indicted under the Act even if the hostage-taking occurred outside the territory of the United States if the "offender or the person seized or detained is a national of the United States; the offender is found in the United States; or the governmental organization sought to be compelled is the Government of the United States."[2] These provisions are consistent with the fundamental principles of international criminal law, specifically active nationality principle, universal principle, and the effects principle, respectively.[3]

18 USC 1203: Hostage Taking Act

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure, or to continue to detain another person in order to compel a third person or a governmental organization to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the person detained, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life and, if the death of any person results, shall be punished by death or life imprisonment.

(b)(1) It is not an offense under this section if the conduct required for the offense occurred outside the United States unless—

(A) the offender or the person seized or detained is a national of the United States;
(B) the offender is found in the United States; or
(C) the governmental organization sought to be compelled is the Government of the United States.
(2) It is not an offense under this section if the conduct required for the offense occurred inside the United States, each alleged offender and each person seized or

detained are nationals of the United States, and each alleged offender is found in the United States, unless the governmental organization sought to be compelled is the Government of the United States.

(c) As used in this section, the term “national of the United States” has the meaning given such term in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1101 (a)(22)).[4]

The Hostage Taking Act is a subsection of the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages. It became enforceable in the United States January 6, 1985.[5]

Other use

In old Germanic peoples the word for "hostage" (gīsl and similar) sometimes occurred as part of a man's name: Ēadgils, Cynegils, Gīslheard, Gīslbeorht, etc; sometimes when a man from one nation was hostage in another nation, his position as hostage was more or less voluntary: for example the position of Æscferð son of Ecglāf, who was a Northumbrian hostage in Wessex; he fought under Byrhtnōð against Vikings in the Battle of Maldon on 10 August 991 AD (ref. lines 265 etseq), and probably died in battle there.

See also Homeric Question, as Greek `Ομηρος means "Homer" and also "hostage".

Sometimes the word "hostage" is used metaphorically, for example: "The school did not buy the land because its headmaster missed the train to the meeting because of a road traffic accident; the whole matter thus proved to be hostage to one misbehaving carriage horse.[6]."

Famous hostages include


Recent times

See also


  1. ^ For more on Roman and Celtic practices of hostage-taking as a customary part of treaty-making, see discussion of Julius Caesar's hostage crisis in Armorica in 56 BC.
  2. ^ 18 U.S.C. § 1203 (b)(1)(A)-(C)
  3. ^ Beth Van Schaack & Ronald C. Slye, International Criminal Law and Its Enforcement: Cases and Materials (2007);
  4. ^ Cornell University
  5. ^ Cornell University
  6. ^ This happened to Weisse, the second headmster of Lawrence Sheriff School; that is why the school did not buy Reynolds Field; the land is now Moultrie Road and Elsee Road in Rugby.

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Box artwork for Hostages.
Developer(s) Infogrames Entertainment, Bit Managers, Superior Software
Publisher(s) Mindscape (DOS, Apple II)
Kemco (NES)
Infogrames Entertainment (other)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action
System(s) Commodore Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, Acorn Archimedes, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Mac OS, MSX, NES, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron

Hostages (also released as Hostage Rescue Mission, Rescue: The Embassy Mission, and Operation Jupiter) is a strategy action game developed by Infogrames Entertainment. The plot is presented in the form of a telegram: "An EMBASSY has been overrun by a group of terrorists STOP. Their demands are unacceptable STOP. It's up to you to free the EMBASSY and disarm the terrorists STOP". The NES version waters this down slightly, describing the attackers as "political fanatics".

The game has three basic stages: you first move snipers into position, then take out terrorists and position men to rappel into the building, and finally breach the Embassy to rescue hostages. This game is seen as a forerunner of more recent games such as Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, which feature plots and gameplay of a similar nature.

This guide is written with the Amiga and MS-DOS versions in mind, with notes for changes made for the NES version; other releases may have minor differences from what is described here.



Sniper placement
Computers NES
 ↑  ↓  Neutral dpad move
Space / Esc A buttonB button view map (when hidden)
n/a Start button pause
 ↓  Down dpad crouch (left/right while holding to crawl)
 ↓  /  ↓  A button / B button roll
Sniper controls
Computers NES
 ↑  ↓  Neutral dpad move crosshair
n/a B button speed up crosshair
Space A button fire
Esc Select button view map (time pauses when looking at the map)
n/a Start button pause
Rappel controls
Computers NES
Down dpad move down
Up dpad stop
 ↑  Up dpad climb up
, Space A button break window and enter Embassy
Esc n/a view map (time pauses when looking at the map)
Assault controls
Computers NES
 ↑  ↓  Neutral dpad move
Space +  ↑  ↓  A button + Neutral dpad aim gun
Esc Select button view map
n/a Start button pause
Team controls
Computers NES
F1 (n/a) Switch to Delta (sniper)
F2 (n/a) Switch to Echo (sniper)
F3 (n/a) Switch to Mike (sniper)
F4 (n/a) Switch to Hotel (SWAT)
F5 (n/a) Switch to Tango (SWAT)
F6 (n/a) Switch to Bravo (SWAT)

Ranks and missions

The game has three ranks (Lieutenant, Captain, Commander) which act as difficulty levels, making the searchlights and guns harder to avoid and the terrorists inside the building more deadly. Lieutenant is the easiest, with slow searchlights and the ability to take several hits before dying. Captain is the middle ground, with a good level of difficulty, faster searchlights, and stronger enemies. Commander is significantly harder: spotlights move rapidly, many enemies aren't shown on the mini-map, and there are lots more hostages to worry about accidentally shooting.

Once you have chosen a difficulty level you then choose a mission; despite what the name indicates these are all variations set in the same building. The street level and Embassy floor plan remain identical but the number of terrorists and hostages will change. There are five missions to choose from, each with its own time limit:

Mission Computers NES
Training 2:24 20:00
Target 1:09 16:00
Ultimatum 0:46 14:00
Rescue (Trigger) 0:36 12:00
Assault (Jupiter) 0:29 10:00

The timer only stops when you open the map or pause the game. The timer appears in the expected hours:minutes format, but in the computer versions it counts down much faster than in real life (in the Amiga version it takes about ten seconds). In the NES version the clock counts down in real time.

Stage 1: Sniper placement

The three sniper spots (shown below in order)

In this stage of the mission you take control of three snipers sneaking down the street to designated sniping spots with a time limit (the timer pauses on the map screen). The goal of this stage is to guide each man to one of the "X" symbols on the map. Each sniping spot lets you target one of the three walls of the building, letting you take out some of the terrorists before sending your men in, so getting them there is crucial.

This part of the game plays like a regular platform game. You can run about as well as crouching and crawling (on the NES version you can also roll by pushing A button). The only dangers during this section are the searchlights: if a searchlight touches you when you are out in the open the terrorists will open fire, and unless you dodge out of the way you'll be quickly gunned down. You don't have any health, so all it takes is a few direct hits. If a sniper dies he can no longer be used, and if all three are killed it's game over. Scattered around the map are various open windows and doorways which you can hide in by pushing up (to jump out simply push down). The searchlights can't see you when you are hiding. The searchlights move in predictable patterns, so with patience you can get around them. On the computer versions you can change men when hidden by pressing F1 for Delta, F2 for Echo, and F3 for Mike; in the NES version you can only control them in order.

As you move, consult the map to see where you are going (you can only open the map when hiding). The doorways you are looking for are larger than the ones you can only hide in, and the first has a sign saying "hot club". Once a man is in the proper place the map will show a picture of him in a sniping position rather than standing up. If you wish you can place more than one man in a particular sniping spot, but this will reduce the number of walls you can target. Once all your men in position open the map and hit Enter to continue, or F10 to restart the game (on the NES version you will proceed to the next stage automatically).

Stage 2: Sniping and rappelling

The deployment map
A terrorist (top) and a terrorist with a hostage (bottom). Never shoot double silhouettes.

A helicopter will drop your SWAT team off on the roof. You are now presented with a different map. Here you can change between men with F1-F6 (on the NES version hit A button and choose a man from the list). First, select one of your snipers.

In the sniper mode you move your view around the side of the building. There are three rows of windows on each side, and each has three windows (making a total of nine windows). Ignore the building itself and focus on the windows: when a single silhouette shows up in the window shoot him immediately (Space or A button). If you see two silhouettes do not shoot because one of them is a hostage. You have unlimited ammo so don't worry about taking careful shots. Terrorists will still enter rooms with broken windows, so don't rule them out when looking for targets. You can only shoot at the outer rooms of the building; the terrorists move around inside and won't always be in rooms you can see from a sniper spot. If a figure disappears from view try a window on either side and there's a chance he's moved there. Once you have taken out a few men on this side change to a different sniper and repeat the process. Once you haven't seen any terrorists for a while it's likely their forces have been depleted (or else they are on the sides where you don't have snipers), so it's time to send in your SWAT team.

Rappelling mode

Select one of your SWAT men and push a direction or Space until he moves to a side of the building with (ideally choose one for which you have a sniper). There are three spots on each side, just as there are three rows of windows. If you want him in a particular place keep moving him around until you're satisfied, then confirm his placement with Esc or A button. Now it's time to rappel down to a window. To drop, push or Down dpad, and then quickly stop with or Up dpad; if you don't do this you'll fall off the rope. The computer versions give a reasonable amount of time to halt your progress (meaning you can rappel to a window within a few jumps) but the NES version has a very small margin of error, so for the NES it's best to go down in tiny, rapid jumps rather than long ones.

When you get to a window you may spot a terrorist's silhouette. If you try to enter the window he'll kill you, so you need to change to a sniper (if you have one on that side) to take him out or else wait for him to leave. Note that if you hit your SWAT member when doing you will kill him, so be sure to aim around him (or ideally make sure the SWAT man is out of the way before you change to the sniper). In the NES version the SWAT member will sit on the upper part of the window when in sniper mode (regardless of where he is actually sitting on the window) so he can't be shot.

Once you're in front of a window you can break in. Even if you've already broken it you must break it again in order to enter. To do this position your man directly over the window and hold , then tap Space. On the NES version simply hit A button to break the window automatically.

Stage 3: The embassy

The map of the Embassy (the hostage deposit area is marked with an X)
The terrorist list added to the NES version.

You'll now change to the third stage, a first- and third-person exploration mode in the manner of Dungeon Master (the perspective used is chosen based on what room you are in). The embassy has three floors, just as you saw in sniper mode. You also have a mini-map, showing you rooms, stairs, terrorists, and hostages (on higher difficulty levels not all terrorists and hostages show up on the map); terrorists are yellow dots (green on the NES version) while hostages are white (blue on the NES version), and your position and perspective is shown as a red arrow. The NES version also has a useful list of the number of terrorists on each floor as well as a total. Moving and turning changes the entire view, rather than gradually moving the camera as in an FPS. The movement and firing controls work as you would expect. Just like the sniper placement mode you don't have health, so it only takes a few hits from the terrorists to take you down. If all three SWAT members die it's game over.

Doors are always shut but can be moved through at will; the exception is if a terrorist is trying to go through the door at the same time as you (in which case neither will get through and you will have to choose another way into that room). In addition you can aim your gun around the room by holding the fire button and using the movement controls. Note that the terrorists can shoot you from a distance or when your back is turned; if you don't want to hunt them down a reasonable solution is to choose a place where they aren't likely to come around behind you and let them come to you. You can also change to other men at any time through the map or function keys to have multiple men in the building or even snipe off targets you can see on the mini-map, but you may find it's better to control one at a time so the terrorists can kill your men when you're not looking. It takes a while for your men to die so it is possible to leave one somewhere and quickly bring in backup if necessary, but you have to know exactly where you're going to and how to get there in time. Note that if you enter sniping mode while you have men in the building their shadows will show up just the same as terrorists and hostages, so be careful not to kill them. When one of your men is being attacked by the terrorists his name will flash rapidly whether you are controlling him or not, and on the computer versions it will also be displayed in sniping/rappelling mode along with the function key used to quickly jump to him.

A terrorist and a hostage

Terrorists move freely about the building and between floors, but hostages stay where they are unless moved by you or a terrorist. When leading a hostage, the terrorist will use him as a human shield. Terrorists take a few shots before they die but hostages don't take as many. When you go meet a hostage he will follow along behind you, and it is up to you to lead him to safety (note that you can only lead one hostage at a time). In order to rescue the hostages you must lead them one by one to the small room in the upper right corner of the third floor (this room has no windows). Once there he will stop following you. Note that once you have moved a hostage there a terrorist may decide to go there to secure the hostage, in which case you will have to fight him while trying not to hit any hostages you have already left there. To make matters worse if you are leading a hostage when you enter the room he will join in the human shield around the terrorist.

To win the game either rescue all the hostages or kill all the terrorists. You will be shown a picture of the outcome. Push Space to advance to the outcome (the NES version advances automatically).

Stage 4: The press

After the photo you will see a newspaper (except for the Training mission) describing how successful you were, how much time you took, and how many men and hostages you lost (if any). Killing hostages or losing men reflects badly on the outcome. On very rare occasions the terrorists will leave hostages in rooms with windows so there is a small chance you have unknowingly killed a hostage. If you did a perfect job the newspaper will say "total victory!" If you failed the mission you will be able to start over from Stage 2 to try again.


Sinclair ZX Spectrum POKEs

Description 48k POKEs 128k POKEs
Infinite Time Stage 1 37359,0 41396,0
Enemies Don't Shoot Stage 1 36528,201 39667,201
Infinite Time Stage 2 37132,0 36028,0
Immunity Stage 2 39570,0 39402,0
Hostages Never Die Stage 2 37020,1 35887,1


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