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The Men Who Killed James Foley

World  (tags: 'HUMANRIGHTS!', conflict, corruption, crime, death, government, middle-east, politics, society, violence, terrorists )

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The voice of Foley's black-hooded executioner is heard in the video; he appears to have a British accent. This has alarmed many in the United Kingdom, including its security services, which have become increasingly aware that they have a problem-->

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Kit B (276)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:46 pm
Photograph: Tung via AP

A video showing the beheading, by a black-garbed executioner, of the American journalist James Foley is the latest in a series of sickening acts that the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, has visited on the world in recent months. Foley’s execution was presented as a choreographed “message to America” by this band of performance-minded terrorists, who seek to be seen, heard, and feared by as many people as possible. Jim Foley, who was forty, was a handsome and quietly intrepid man who reported for GlobalPost, a Boston-based news site. He was in the field in northern Syria when he was abducted, two years ago. He had previously reported on the revolution in Libya, and had spent six weeks in the custody of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime after being captured, with several other journalists, on a battlefield in the Western Desert. It was a traumatic experience for Foley and the others, who feared for their lives after witnessing a friend, the South African photojournalist Anton Hammerl, be shot in the stomach and left to die. In the video of Foley’s execution, a masked ISIS fighter threatens to execute Steven Sotloff, an American reporter who has written for Time and other outlets, if President Barack Obama does not take the proper “next steps.” As proof of deadly intent, the masked fighter drags Sotloff before the camera as well.

On Wednesday, President Obama said that he had spoken to Foley’s family, and joined them in being “heartbroken.” Of ISIS, he said, “Their ideology is bankrupt,” offering nothing but “slavery to their empty vision.” The future, he continued, belonged not to them but to people like Jim Foley. The day before, his mother wrote in a Facebook post, “We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.” She added a plea for the lives of the remaining hostages, and wrote, “We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person.”

Foley’s murder evokes sad and painful memories of the videotaped murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. That execution—of an innocent man, chosen for victimhood merely because of his nationality and, perhaps, his religion (Pearl was Jewish)—set the pattern, and a new benchmark for terrorists. Since then, hundreds and perhaps thousands of people, many of them noncombatants, have been similarly murdered, their last moments videotaped, at the hands of extremists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. There is no longer any doubt that the Internet, with its power of contagion and usefulness for recruiting, has become a preferred, particular tool of terrorists.

The last time I met Jim Foley was in the summer of 2012, in Turkey near the Syrian border. Foley had been reporting in Syria for several weeks, but had left on a break and thrown himself into the search for two Western colleagues who had been kidnapped by extremists just inside Syria. We swapped notes. It happened that I had been in a Syrian rebel safehouse on the border the day before our colleagues were taken; there, I had stumbled across two British Muslim men with long beards who were about to enter Syria. They were clearly jihadis and uncomfortable in my presence.

About ten days later, Foley’s colleagues made it out of Syria. They had, it turned out, been taken prisoner by foreign Muslim radicals, the most vicious of whom spoke with British accents. They were interrogated, beaten, and shot, but they survived. They were very lucky; they had been rescued by a group of more moderate rebels who, in those days, still held some power on the battleground. Foley reëntered Syria and, in November, 2012, was taken prisoner. His family has said that there were no demands for ransom. (Update, August 22nd: In comments made after Foley’s death was confirmed, Global Post said that there was eventually a demand for a hundred million euros.)

The voice of Foley’s black-hooded executioner is heard in the video; he appears to have a British accent. This has alarmed many in the United Kingdom, including its security services, which have become increasingly aware that they have a problem on their hands. Last year, two British converts to Islam publicly beheaded Lee Rigby, an off-duty British serviceman, in a London suburb. Hundreds of British and other European citizens have travelled to Syria and Iraq and joined in ISIS’s depredations. A feature of the group’s psychopathic campaign to establish a Muslim caliphate in the Middle East is that these volunteer killers upload their atrocities to the Internet. Not long ago, an Australian jihadi filmed his young son holding a man’s sawed-off head. There have also been webcasts of mass executions of Shiites, seen as apostates by the Sunni extremists of ISIS; of crucifixions; and of fatal stonings of women. The brutality goes on and on. Freed and encouraged to kill and to horrify, it seems, many people will do so, even people raised in Western democracies.

Just before ISIS’s offensive into Iraq in June, a number of Western hostages in Syria, mostly journalists, were released from captivity, renewing hope that long-held hostages like Jim and others might yet be freed. Sadly, if it was once difficult to conceive of people capable of such unfathomable cruelty, it is no longer. Yesterday’s guerrillas have given way to terrorists, and now terrorists have given way to this new band, who are something like serial killers. ISIS, an organization of thugs, is the Middle East’s answer to the psycho-killer narco gang Los Zetas, trying to out-bad their enemies, to frighten them into submission, and to somehow draw themselves into an ugly cartoon of evil.

Last week, I met with Faisal Ali Waraabe, a politician in the Justice and Welfare Party, from Somaliland. He is a candidate in next year’s Presidential elections. As a younger man, he was a socialist and a devotee of Che Guevara. Last year, he lost his twenty-two-year-old son Sayid, who was born and raised in Finland, to the dark enticements of ISIS. His son had also persuaded his young, new wife to join him, and the two now live, according to his father, near the town of Raqqa, ISIS’s main urban stronghold in Syria. Faisal showed me a recent video of his son, posted on an ISIS Web site, on his smartphone; it shows a black-turbaned young man mounted on a horse, talking in heavily accented Finnish, and smiling into the camera. Calling himself Abu Shuaib al Somali, Sayid says, “The rule of Sharia will even come to Finland, and if you get called then, alhamdulillah, you’ll enter Jannah”—paradise—“inshallah and Allah will take care of the ones you’ve left behind.” I asked Faisal what he thought of ISIS, and about what his son is doing. He shook his head sadly, raised his hands helplessly in the air, and said, “They are the new barbarians.”

By: Jon Lee Anderson | staff writer | The New Yorker Magazine |


Kit B (276)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:49 pm

There will be no video of the beheading of James Foley posted here. This is in memory of a reporter that was given no choice but to die. The horrors inflicted by ISIS are now well known. This is about a man that was a part of the press, his job was to report news, to send it out for the world to learn, to become knowledgeable about what was happening.

Lone F (67)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:36 pm
Noted. Thank you Kit!

JL A (281)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 6:21 pm
Is this truly a new barbarism or is it only that now it is confirmed and visible to all rather than hidden away in torture prisons or the like?

Robert B (60)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 8:45 pm
Sociopath bullies posing as faux muslims. There are just little losers who have fooled themselves to be something they are not. Just like Hitler and countless other loser sociopaths throughout history. They have to be stopped.

Shirley S (187)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 11:22 pm
To all the barbarians out there. There is no paradise because when you die you are dead! fines! GONE !!

Stella G (403)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 6:55 am
L'estremismo religioso è una barbarie, qualsiasi religione sia professata non implica la morte di coloro che non condividono lo stesso pensiero. Grazie per la condivisione

Hent catalina - maria (95)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 10:13 am

Gene Jacobson (290)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 10:49 am
"Freed and encouraged to kill and to horrify, it seems, many people will do so, even people raised in Western democracies."

There is deep within the soul of homo sapiens the leftover, useless, primeval lizard brain stem which contains the "fight or flight" modality. It is this less evolved part of our brains that allows serial killers lone and and in groups like ISIS to do what they do. Eventually that portion of our brains would be shed as no longer useful through the process of evolution. I don't think we're going to give evolution time to work. If we don't murder each other through another World War in response to the middle eastern threats or in response to the Russian threats or even through some major problem between the west and China, global warming will kill us off anyway. In the meanwhile, we simply do what we can to enforce the rules of civilized behavior even in such uncivilized areas as those under the control of ISIS. Don't not notice the silence of Saudi Arabia - their brand of Islam is every bit as bloody and ISIS are their closest cousins. This 1400 year old war between Sunni and Shia may yet engulf the world - they'd certainly love that as they intend the world be like them, or die. There is no in between there. The only hope of that not happening are other, larger world events and the efforts of moderate, modern Muslims to eradicate these beasts who shame their religion and their faith.

Kathleen M (211)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 2:08 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Kit. What a bunch of cowardly thugs! Sociopathy unchained and free to wreak havoc wherever they go. Uploading videos of their crimes might come to bite them in the ass, eventually. Videos=Evidence.

Wilde T (10)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 3:15 pm
I'm sorry but he can just as easily be suspected as a spy by those who are bombed by us and aren't civilized in our ways of hermetic killing via million dollar missile and drones and white phosporus or other ways of sanitary war. They wish to get our goat and provoke us since they have few other weapons at their disposal. If we were not fomenting war there or in Libya or Syria he may not have been there knowing the risk to his life. Our soldiers and he chose risk. The people of Iraq didn't, we gave it to them. Now we use his life to promote more killing and they are saying bring it on like on of our wisemen once said. Remember civilized waterboarding or in the old days draw and quartering and beheading Queens?

Wilde T (10)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 3:27 pm
Also remember the war of the Roman God versus the British Empire God vs Russian God and now the American God Empires for long time sectarian squabbles. I have posted a article somewhere of an Iranian describing the well being of his mixed Shia / Sunni family immediately prior to this invasion. Sometimes we like to take advantage of internal sectarian divisiveness as a weapon for our strategic purposes. I'm highly suspect of our long term interests in the Iranian affiliated vs Saudi affiliated sects. We probably were just hoping for a coup that didn't happen to replace Saddam. Once a group loses its usefulness then they are enemies as in Afghanistan after the Soviets were routed.

. (0)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 8:10 pm
barbarian to terrorist. i don't know why but today one journalist was released. not the one they threatened to behead next our culture is so different it is hard for me to conceive of this way of life. rip to all who have given their lives. anytime anywhere
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