Justice for Jill Carroll?

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When Jill Carroll — a freelance reporter working for the Christian Science Monitor in Iraq — was kidnapped by a group calling themselves the Revenge Brigade Jan. 7, she was taken to a safe house where she sat in a room with two couches and an overstuffed velvet chair, and watched Oprah on satellite television with her guard. For the following 82 days of captivity, Carroll, then 28, was moved to six separate safe houses. She says she was treated well: apart from being kept in confined spaces and denied exercise, she was well fed and allowed to bathe. She also bore witness to the curious behavior coming from her captors: they watched Tom and Jerry cartoons when the television set wasn't tuned to the Koran channel; one guard insisted she interview him again and again, forcing her to copy down every word in perfect detail. Another, whom she describes as one of the better-educated guards, spent his time reading from the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. The Revenge Brigade neglected, however, to consider the possible consequences of her fastidious attention to the details of her captivity.

The U.S. military announced Wednesday that four Iraqis suspected of involvement in her kidnapping had been arrested. At a press briefing, the top military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, showed pictures of houses in insurgent strongholds between Fallujah and Baghdad that officials believe were used to hide the journalist. Caldwell did not specify when exactly the arrests occurred, but another U.S. official, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, tells TIME the suspects were detained in mid- to late May, not two months after Carroll was recovered. He says the story was withheld to give the military enough time to investigate possible connections to other terrorist cells in Iraq. Also, he says, "we were simply trying to respect Jill's wishes — we didn't want to talk about these events before she was ready to talk about it."

The announcement comes just days before the Christian Science Monitor begins publishing Carroll's 11-part chronicle of her abduction and detention — the first installment will be available on the paper's website Sunday night. With the help of Monitor senior writer Peter Grier, who offers a contextual narrative of what was happening in Boston, Washington and Baghdad while she was shuffled from safe house to safe house, Carroll recounts the hardship and, often, the irony of her captivity: "How do you channel-surf with the mujahedeen?" she writes at one point. Dave Cook, the Monitor’s D.C. bureau chief who has acted as Carroll's spokesperson, says that Carroll has a phenomenal memory. "The story is granular in terms of detail: descriptions of the house," he says. "Descriptions of the people, all of it."

Both the U.S. military and the Monitor refuse to comment on Carroll's level of involvement in the hunt for her kidnappers — the military says they are reluctant to discuss intelligence-gathering efforts and Carroll herself is fearful of any retribution possibly aimed at her family in the U.S. or her colleagues in Baghdad. But when she was released into Baghdad's Green Zone on March 30, Cook says, "she told what she could remember as a victim — not as a journalist — to prevent others from having to go through the same thing." He adds: "I wasn't there for the debrief, but I do know Jill well enough to know she’s got a fantastic memory for detail.”

According to Cook, the Christian Science Monitor had known about the arrests for several weeks, but wanted to corroborate the specifics before going public with the story. In a statement also released Wednesday, Monitor editor Richard Bergenheim expressed gratitude for the military's efforts and warned that "the daily threat of kidnapping remains acute for all." Carroll meanwhile has been editing stories as a full-time Monitor employee since the beginning of July, and continues to refuse requests to write books, give interviews or make speeches. "I don't want to be rich, I don't want to be famous," Cook says she told him recently. "I just want to be a foreign correspondent."