Hostage ruse’s fake Web site irks group with similar name

Fascinating stuff… according to CNN, the story is, in order to secure the release of 15 hostages, the Colombian military set up a fake website that borrowed heavily from a real organization’s identity.

The organization’s logo — a stylized red bird on a white background in the centermost of three concentric circles, with blue leaves on white in the middle circle and the organization’s name on a blue background in the outermost circle — is featured prominently throughout the site.

That same logo was pasted on the side of a helicopter used on the rescue mission that brought former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three American contractor and 11 Colombian police and soldiers back from the jungle, according to unpublished video shown to CNN by a military source who had been looking to sell the material.

The emblems can’t be seen in the heavily edited video released by the Colombian Defense Ministry. CNN declined to purchase the unpublished material.

But Mision Humanitaria Internacional doesn’t exist. Although the site said the group was registered with the Spanish Interior Ministry and the regional Department of Justice, Spanish Interior Ministry spokesman Alvaro Pena said the organization was not registered with the ministry and was not in its records. is turning up 404 now, but there are a few pages left in the Google cache.