Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared broken and beleaguered in a new video made public by his captors on Friday. In the 20 second video, the clearly uncomfortable and terrified hostage is mockingly asked by one of his off-screen captors "What's for breakfast, Gov?".
The former Massachusetts governor - with pancakes in a Styrofoam container perched awkwardly on his lap - then nervously confirms that "I am [being held somewhere] in Rosemont, Illinois," before describing the meal he is supposedly eating. The FBI believes he is being coerced into presenting a normal facade in an effort by his captors to prove to the public that he is not being mistreated and remains well fed.
However, Professor Lee Harrington of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology believes that the video easily shows that all is not well. "I've studied the video several times since it was released hoping to decode any unconscious and also covert body-language and facial signals that the captor may be trying to convey," says Harrington. "And there are clear signals here, which suggest that Mr. Romney is under an extraordinary amount of psychological stress - this is a horrendous ordeal for him, despite the superficial and forcibly affected rosy facade."
The professor pointed to several specifics he spotted in the tape. "Notice the cowed position and the forced smile at the end. Also notice that Romney doesn't even swallow the food before him - perhaps the pancakes are just for show too and his captors won't really allow him to eat them. This is someone who is really at the end of their tether - an absolutely broken man. I'm really not sure how much longer he can take the humiliation of this."
The brief video released by Mitt Romney's captors on Friday.
Mr. Romney has been held hostage since June 2, 2011. For months, his captors have been releasing increasingly incoherent (and often contradictory) "statements" and videos by their captor. However, the authorities - who have thus far failed to locate where Romney is being imprisoned - continue to remain in the dark over the demands of the hostage takers. "This whole thing is truly weird," said one FBI source who requested to remain anonymous. "But despite the creepy and odd nature of this whole affair, our main focus remains on releasing the Governor from this clearly horrendous ordeal."