Subject: ISIS: Second beheading? Second hoax? “To lose one may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.” (With apologies to Oscar Wilde)
Message Body: ISIS: Second beheading? Second hoax?
“To lose one may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.” (With apologies to Oscar Wilde)
As to the alleged capture and execution of Foley and Sotloff, we might reasonably concur with Oscar Wilde, (well almost!) that “to lose one may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.” As to whether their roles and the circumstances of their alleged demise, were quite as those portrayed by western government and media is discussed below, but the strong suspicion exists neither were innocent journalists merely seeking the truth nor their deaths happened in the way suggested.
The reliability of the video footage of the first alleged beheading execution on or about the 19th August 2014, to James Wright Foley, has been discussed previously on this site. (1) Suffice it to say that experts in such matters concluded the widely circulated video of the gory event was fraudulent. Whether Foley is alive or dead, or if the latter, he was killed in the manner, or on the date, suggested, is still very much open to question.
The alleged representation of Foley’s murder by decapitation was then closely followed by a second, of similarly dubious nature, this time to Stephen Joel Sotloff on or about the 2nd September, 2014. (Note despite the claimed break of nearly two weeks between the events, the claimed assailant appears not to have changed at all)
As part of the same video, another victim was paraded and a similar fate threatened. This third man was later named as a British national, David Haines. According to the Mirror, tonight (13.9.2014) the extremists posted a new video lasting 2 minutes and 30 seconds which appears to show the beheading of David Haines. At the end of the video, ISIS parade another middle-aged hostage who has of yet not been identified. (5)
The British Government it is said to have made strenuous efforts to locate and negotiate Haines’ release, whilst maintaining it was not prepared to pay ransom that has secured the release of other detainees. If this third video can be believed, efforts proved unsuccessful. Having watched it here (6) the same reservations apply, in so far as during the “cutting strokes” of the knife no blood is apparent and the video fades at that point. It has to be said that when the image cuts to a prostrate body with severed head it appears very convincing. The possibility therefore exists that if not a sophisticated forgery, the unfortunate Mr Haines was murdered off-camera either by the unconvincing executioner or someone else. The bottom line however is that the video does not conclusively prove Mr Haines was decapitated by “Jihadist John” in the way suggested.
The possibility that the events have been staged to influence public opinion, particularly in the United States and Britain. cannot be ruled out. If so, it has been very successful, shifting the proportion in favour of US military intervention from 12% to 30% and opposition down from 71% in December to 41% now according to one source. (2)
The effect on the British public has yet to be determined although we may assume it will replicate that in the US. Mr Cameron and the MSM are certainly intensely using the death of Mr Haines to promote a return to military involvement in the area which has already started.
Before the latest Haines murder, family and governments went into overdrive to express outrage and despair in equal measure over the deaths of Foley and Sotloff. Mr Cameron was immediately quoted as saying ‘If verified, this is a despicable and barbaric murder.” with which no one would disagree. The crucial issue is whether it has indeed been verified. Nothing has emerged since the event to verify it, but conversely government has continued to treat it as reliable.
This was confirmed by President Obama’s speech to the nation on the poignant eve of 9/11. The alleged beheading of two Americans figure large in his thinking and have been used to influence public opinion in support of the intended military action.(3)
He said, “anyone who threatens America will find no safe haven”. In other words the American President reserves the right to bomb wherever and whenever, irrespective of where it might be. (In view of the recent claim that there maybe 300 terrorist cells in England maybe we should watch out also!) It certainly required a delegation of twenty or more CIA agents visiting these shores to discuss the matter we were told. (4)
In this regard the Daily Mail reported Professor Anthony Glees, of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at Buckingham University as saying, “The US is worried about the British situation. They fear there might be a knock-on effect for them. The throat-cutting between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq and Syria has not yet spread to the UK, but it is a real threat. It is conceivable you could see Shia ‘hit squads’ in Britain targeting Sunnis preparing to go out to the conflict zones to fight.”
The incidents have been used as a main plank in the American justification for resuming bombing missions (I am not sure “missions” is the most appropriate verb that should be employed but there we go) not only in Iraq but also in Syria, with or without the consent of the Syrian Government.
Apart from its dubious legality under the United Nations Charter and a serious escalation of violence and aggression, it appears suspiciously akin to finally carrying out war with Syria by some other means and pretext, the “beheadings” being a significant element in getting the American population to back it. Since he made the speech Russia, China, Iran and Syria have all come out publicly with the view that this would be a serious breach of international law. Yet again we have a very dangerous alignment reminiscent of the Cold War era.
Mr Obama is seeking an EXTRA half a billion dollars to train up “moderate” Syrian rebels (as if such a thing exists!) in Saudi Arabia, creating the preposterous situation of the acknowledged main backers of the Sunni ISIS organisation, being responsible for eradicating it! Unless of course the target is not ISIS at all but Syria or even Iran? Congress is reported as being supportive of the plan.
We know these have been the objectives of a US/Israeli/Saudi strategy for a long time, so the new policy looks increasingly suspicious. That the alleged beheadings have formed such an important emotive element in changing public opinion, they need to be treated with the greatest caution, particularly if the video evidence on which it is based does not stack up.
With some degree of certainty we can say it is not convincing in the first Foley case and is no more convincing in the second with Sotloff. The events become even murkier when the background of the two “victims” is revealed and the events leading up to the alleged executions.
As with the downing of MH17, it is extraordinary how Western governments have jumped to conclusions and responsibilities prior to the evidence having been collected or analysed objectively. No-one appears to question the source of the videos or the absence of reliable corroboration, nor pose questions about elements of the videos themselves. If nothing else, this indecent haste, this credulous approach, strongly hints the events at least do not interfere with a prior strategy for the region.
With the assistance of the mainstream media (MSM), the attitudinal damage is done and it proves very hard to later shift public perception – as demonstrated by the fraudulent official story of 9/11, that has been incredibly difficult to dislodge from the public consciousness, despite its obvious flaws and incredulities.
In his eve of 9/11 speech Obama managed to conflate the lie of 9/11 with the deaths of Foley and Sotloff, and use both as justification for more war. Given what we now know about 9/11, rather that giving credence to the murders, it supports the view that these too could have been fabricated to influence public opinion and therefore should be treated with the greatest caution.
Perhaps at this point we should remind ourselves of Hermann Goering’s famous quote regarding influencing public opinion on going to war: “Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”
So returning to the videos of the alleged decapitations, on which so much further violence turns (American forces have already carried out more than 150 bombing raids in the past month) not only is there reason to doubt the assumptions made but also to state categorically that in neither video widely circulated, was a claimed decapitation carried out! This it must be stated is beyond controversy and attested to by experts in the field.
Whether Foley and Sotloff were killed by this or other means at another time or place is a separate issue. (Some sources claim for example that Foley was in fact murdered a year before) They may have been but by the same token, particularly if the video is the only evidence, they may not. They may well be still alive and captive or be in a place of safety, we do not know. All we can say is that the videos definitely do not demonstrate what they purport, so eagerly promulgated by western governments and media.
Incontrovertibly, despite numerous feigned cutting actions by knife on neck there is no evidence of one drop of blood coming from the injury in either case. This is simply impossible. Nor does either video reveal the head being removed. Both break off at this crucial point and only a body and “head” is shown after the act. (The latest video of the Haines’ murder repeats these characteristics) It could be genuine or a fake, we just do not know, but clearly the videos do not prove heads were removed or even serious injuries inflicted. This when added to the many other documented flaws and reservations discussed elsewhere, is sufficient to throw serious doubt on the events.
If it was designed to outrage public opinion in America and the West it has been successful. The question remains, by whom?
The videos also for the first time directly implicate Britain in the ISIS organisation and the beheading, by showing the alleged executioner as British, suspiciously and jauntily named “Jihadist John” as part of a “Beatles group” of “John, Paul, George and Ringo” and the next prospective victim, Mr Haines, to be British also. This cries out propagandist manipulation. It conveniently supports Mr Cameron’s assertion that British-born Jihadists fighting in Syria are a direct threat to the United Kingdom and the raising of the terrorism threat level to “severe”- only one away from the highest – although no concrete or specific evidence has been made public. Australia it may be noted has dutifully followed suit, specifying the same fear of returning Jihadis. Strange how this threat has only just been appreciated and acted upon simultaneously either side of the globe. Now rather ominously, Mr Cameron has adopted the macho script of Mr Bush, that he intends to “hu nt down” the perpetrators. It seems on every level of policy and rhetoric it is impossible to get a cigarette paper between London and Washington. But who is writing the script?
Perhaps it is worth noting that the alleged British left-handed Jihadist wielding the knife, who appears on both videos, makes a very unconvincing speech in a SE London accent with Israeli or Jewish inflections to his voice. Despite being fully covered from head to foot apart from the eyes, a name has been released by the British authorities and a photograph published by the British press as British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary. This might point to good detective work. Equally it might suggest prior knowledge all along. Rather suspiciously, the announcement of his suspected identity was first made in the New York Times presumably from a US government source!
In addition we are told that the executions were held some time apart but the executioner appears to have changed not a jot. Surely it could not be that both Foley and Sotloff “executions” were staged at the same location within minutes of each other? Nor can we be sure that one of the groups either supporting or fighting Assad, but not ISIS, have fabricated it, blaming it on the latter, to precipitate the action against ISIS units, which we are told America, with British support, is carrying out.
So to summarise, these events fit a pattern and rather too conveniently support a line being adopted by the main protagonists and supporters of further military intervention – Britain and the United States, where public opinion has been influenced by them. Both the sudden emergence of ISIS and its brutal deeds shout yet more western (for which read predominantly American) meddling in a region where past involvement has been both disastrous for those that live there and counter productive as regards terrorism. END.