And now the dreaded confirmation from the White House. Yes, freelance journalist James Foley was indeed beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The video — on line and for a while on You Tube, then taken off — was authentic. [icopyright one button toolbar]
The video showing the beheading of an American journalist by the militant group Islamic State is authentic, the Obama administration said Wednesday.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said intelligence officials analyzed the video and confirmed its authenticity. The journalist, James Foley, was freelancing for the website GlobalPost when he was kidnapped in Syria almost two years ago.
On a personal note, I freelanced overseas in India, Bangladesh and Spain from 1973-1978 writing for the Chicago Daily News and the Christian Science Monitor. When you freelance you are freelancing in more ways than one: it’s you, alone, out there. Small and big things can happen. And this was tragically big.
The video of the execution-style murder of Foley was posted by the Islamic State, an Al Qaeda offshoot that has seized a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq. Its stated goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.
The group recently has suffered setbacks in Iraq as the U.S. has given air support to the Iraqi military and Kurdish militias fighting them, and in the video, Foley is forced to call the U.S. government his “real killers.” It’s not clear when or where the video was made.
As I noted HERE, ISIS potentially could be a far bigger and more brutal threat to the United States’s national security and its citizens here and around the globe than is currently perceived (or publicly admitted) by U.S. officials.
Use of the beheading tactic really tells it all. Al Qaeda and some of its branches had started using the tactic and the internet to show their handiwork starting most infamously in Feb. 2002, when Daniel Pearl, kidnapped while working as the South Asia Bureau Chief of The Wall Street Journal, based in Mumbai, India, was beheaded and the video pumped into the Internet. Some other beheadings followed — but the tactic then suddenly seemed to fizzle out. The reason, some analysts said, was that Al Qaeda felt it was hurting the group, creating a backlash from many Muslims.
Beheading is the most barbaric way of m-u-r-d-e-r-i-n-g (let’s not skip using the word) someone to make a political statement. It’s used to inflict terror, beat down those who might dare to oppose the group or divulge its secrets, and propel a groups message into the headlines due to the barbarism, cruelty, and inhumane nature of the “execution.”
Meanwhile, get ready for this to be the first in a series. ISIS is getting its moment in the sun.
But it’s more like a Devil’s moon.
The video appeared following a threat made last week, GlobalPost CEO Phil Balboni told NBC on Wednesday.
…Late on Tuesday evening the family acknowledged there was a small chance the video may still prove to be fake, but nonetheless released the following statement:
“We have never been prouder of our son and brother Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people. We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.
“We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”
Earlier Tuesday, Philip Balboni, GlobalPost CEO and co-founder, made the following statement: “On behalf of John and Diane Foley, and also GlobalPost, we deeply appreciate all of the messages of sympathy and support that have poured in since the news of Jim’s possible execution first broke. We have been informed that the FBI is in the process of evaluating the video posted by the Islamic State to determine if it is authentic. … We ask for your prayers for Jim and his family.”GlobalPost, for whom Foley had reported in Syria, has mounted an extensive international investigation since November 2012 to determine who kidnapped Foley and where he was being held. Significant research has been undertaken throughout the Middle East, including along the Syria-Turkish border, in Lebanon, in Jordan and in other locations.
“Although GlobalPost’s investigation at one point led us to believe that James was being held by the Syrian government, we later were given strong reason to believe he was being held by Islamic militants in Syria,” Balboni said. “We withheld this information at the request of the family and on the advice of authorities cooperating in the effort to protect Jim. GlobalPost, working with a private security company, has amassed an enormous amount of information that has not been made public.”
…Foley was on a freelance assignment for GlobalPost when he was abducted in northern Syria on Nov. 22, 2012. He was on his way to the Turkish border when he was stopped by a group of armed men. Foley reported for GlobalPost from Libya and Afghanistan before traveling to Syria in the early days of the now long-running civil war that has taken the lives of more than 170,000.
Beginning his statement, Obama refers to Foley the way his friends do: Jim, not James.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 20, 2014
NEW: White House confirms President Obama called the parents of beheaded American journalist James Foley – @jonkarl
— ABC News (@ABC) August 20, 2014
— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) August 20, 2014
Just blocked all the @Reuters accounts, which have been tweeting disturbing photos of Jim Foley’s murder all day. Suggest you do the same.
— Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) August 20, 2014
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 20, 2014
Everything has changed after the execution of James Foley by ISIS « http://t.co/tFVPBcMzB0 Obama should take tough stance against ISIS.
— Mark Eckenrode (@GovernRight) August 20, 2014
— The Independent (@Independent) August 20, 2014
TWITTER suspends accounts for sharing gruesome images… http://t.co/zm8jFkXHUI
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) August 20, 2014