A propaganda video showing the execution of kidnapped US reporter James Foley by a militant from the Islamic States (formerly ISIS) that appeared to be British has appeared on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
Under the title “A Message to America” or “رسالة إلى أمريكا”, the graphic video opens with a snippet of a press conference by US President Barack Obama authorising military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq. It then goes on to show Foley in an orange jumpsuit coerced to recite an anti-US message blaming the US air strikes for his death.
The executioner, speaking in a British accent and dressed in black and his face covered, then goes on to blame Foley’s death on US “aggression” towards the Islamic State and proceeds to decapitate the journalist.
The video closes with an ultimatum to the US to stop its air strikes or another kidnapped journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, will be executed.[spoiler title=”Transcript of video”]Foley:
“I call on my friends, family, and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government. For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality.
My message to my beloved parents, save me some dignity, and don’t accept some meagre compensation, for my death, from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with their recent aerial campaign in Iraq.
I call on my brother John, who is a member of the US air force. Think about what you are doing, think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family. I call on you John, think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq recently and kill those people, whoever they may have been. Think John, who did they really kill? And did they think about me, you, our family when they made that decision?
I died that day John, when your colleagues dropped that bomb on those people they signed my death certificate. I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope of freedom and seeing my family once again. But that ship has sailed. I guess all in all I wish I wasn’t American.”
“This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and have gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq, your strikes have caused casualties among Muslims. You’re no longer fighting an insurgency, we are an Islamic army, and a state that has been accepted by large number of Muslims world wide, so effectively, any aggression towards the Islamic State, is aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who has accepted the Islamic caliphate as their leadership, so any attempt by you Obama to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.[Picture of Steven Joel Sotloff]
“The life of this American Citizen Obama, depends on your next decision.”
The White House has said that its is “appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist” and Prime Minister David Cameron has called his execution “shocking and depraved”.
Throughout his career, Foley, 40, reported extensively across the Middle East for news outlets such as AFP and US publication Global Post. He was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012 when reporting on the bloody uprising against Bashar al-Assad. His last article for GlobalPost described the growing frustration with the war among civilians in Aleppo, Syria.
After hearing the news of the death of her son, Diane Foley said on Facebook:
“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.
“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.”