People who were captured along with Foley say he received the harshest treatment because he was American. They say ISIS starved him and hung him upside down by his ankles. Cellmate:
You could see the scars on his ankles. He told me how they had chained his feet to a bar and then hung the bar so that he was upside down from the ceiling.
He was also waterboarded by the group.
Gen. Dempsey tells the Senate that the mission to rescue Foley – which ultimately failed – was the riskiest ever attempted:
Having been at this some time, it was the most complex, highest risk mission we’ve ever undertaken.
He says this may provide some solace to Foley’s family, who have said that the government did not offer them enough help.
The British militant believed to be responsible for the beheadings of Foley and Sotloff is reported to have been known to MI5 before he left the country. He was considered a low-risk target as he worked as a street collector raising funds for legitimate Arab charities. Doubt remains as to whether the British voice on the execution videos – belonging to the ISIS militant called ‘John’ by former captives, as part of a group of four British militants nicknamed ‘The Beatles’ – is that of the person who carried out the killings. It is also suspected that some parts of the videos, including Sotloff’s apparent message to America before he is killed, were faked, however ‘John’ is one of the most wanted among hundreds of UK fighters believed to be operating in Syria and Iraq. A source:
MI5 has identified this man and they have known exactly who he is for some time. He was even being looked at before he travelled abroad. At the time he was considered a very low-level risk because he was merely believed to be making street collections. Like so many jihadists before him, he then seems to have become radicalised almost overnight and disappeared to travel to the Middle East.
The man is thought to have traveled to the Middle East around a year ago, and became battlehardened within months.
U.S. and UK authorities have identified the ISIS militant believed to have carried out the executions of Sotloff and Foley, and are expected to announce the identity of the man referred to as ‘John’ within days. Investigators have also identified two of the other men that make up the group of four Syria-based British ISIS militants referred to by former captives as ‘The Beatles,’ and an FBI team working with Scotland Yard is closing in on 12 people suspected of forming John’s support network, including assisting him to travel to Syria. A source:
It has been a coordinated effort to track down the support network around the British Islamic State executioner. Our inquiries have given us leads across the country. We are 99.9% certain now as to who ‘John’ is but investigators have had to tread softly in charting and approaching his wider network in the UK.
The source says an announcement is imminent:
This approach has been successful in helping to collate evidence and possibly pinpoint the target’s location in Syria. Familiar names of what can only be described as hardened extremists with a jihadi background have cropped up in this investigation. I expect an official announcement disclosing the executioner’s identity will be made in the coming days and it is only a matter of time before we bring him in.
Biden says the U.S. is grieving the deaths of Foley and Sotloff and will bring ISIS to justice:
They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside.
He says America will not be intimidated by brutal acts like the beheading by ISIS of the two journalists:
We came back after 9/11. We dusted ourselves off and we made sure that Osama bin Laden would never, ever again threaten the American people. We came back after Boston strong, blaming no one but resolving to be certain that this didn’t happen again. As a nation, we’re united, and when people harm Americans, we don’t retreat. We don’t forget.
Foley was among at least four Western hostages waterboarded by ISIS. A source says the militants have mastered the ‘enhanced interrogation’ technique used by the US on some terror suspects after Sept. 11, 2001:
They knew exactly how it was done
Peter Bouckart creates RememberingJim.org to honor the memory of Foley. The site includes photos of supporters holding up written messages and testimonies from people who knew Foley directly or were affected by his story. The New Yorker‘s Jon Lee Anderson recalls meeting Foley:
In the basement press room of the Benghazi courthouse where the Libya revolution began in February 2011. I had noticed him, a good-looking, fair-haired man in his thirties, and his sidekick and fellow freelancer, Clare Morgana Gillis, ever since I had arrived
A Pentagon spokesman says dozens of elite U.S. Special Forces commandos from units like Delta Force and Seal Team 6 flew into Syria aboard helicopters during the summer in a mission to rescue ISIS captives including Global Post journalist James Foley, but were unable to locate the hostages. Rear Adm. John Kirby:
Unfortunately, the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location
Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo announces that the platform is “actively suspending” accounts which are tweeting beheading pictures. This is in response to the tweeting of pictures allegedly showing the Islamic State (ISIS) beheading James Foley, an American journalist. Screenshots of the video, which remained on You Tube for four minutes and 40 seconds, as well as other images were then posted and shared on Twitter.
Philip Balboni, the president and chief executive of GlobalPost, where Foley worked, tells The Wall Street Journal ISIS demanded money from GlobalPost and Foley’s family in exchange for Foley’s release. He says the captors demanded a ransom of 100 million euros ($132.5 million), and states the messages started last fall:
The captors never messaged a lot. There was a very limited number with a very specific purpose. … They made demands.
He goes on to say that last week Foley’s family was notified by the captors and were told he would be killed:
The message was vitriolic and filled with rage against the United States. It was deadly serious. Obviously, we hoped and prayed that would not be the case. … Sadly, they showed no mercy.
He says Foley’s family responded to the email begging for mercy, but they never received a reply.
Obama tells reporters on Martha’s Vineyard that “the entire world is appalled” by Foley’s murder:
No just God would stand for what they did yesterday or every single day,” he said. “A group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century…They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. There has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it doesn’t spread.
His full remarks can be seen here
Cantlie is traveling in the same vehicle with Foley when both were abducted. A media blackout is put in place that lasts almost a year and a half, in an effort to protect the two.
The Committee to Protect Journalists issues a statement expressing its concern for around 20 journalists believed to be held by ISIS:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned for all journalists, most of them Syrians, still held captive by the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State, which has repeatedly kidnapped, killed, and threatened journalists in the territories over which it holds sway.
CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney:
Local and foreign journalists already knew that Syria was the world’s most dangerous place to be a reporter before the beheading of James Foley brought that knowledge to the general public. The members of the Islamic State who murdered him use violence and intimidation to silence all independent reporting in the areas they control. Despite that, Syrian and foreign reporters like Jim Foley are prepared to put their lives at risk, in an attempt, in the words of another U.S. journalist killed in Syria, Marie Colvin, to ‘bear witness.’
Kissinger says Iran poses a bigger threat than ISIS:
There has come into being a kind of a Shia belt from Tehran through Baghdad to Beirut. And this gives Iran the opportunity to reconstruct the ancient Persian Empire — this time under the Shia label — in the rebuilding of the Middle East that will inevitably have to take place when the new international borders [are] drawn. Because the borders of the settlement of 1919-’20 are essentially collapsing. That gives Iran a very powerful level from a strategic point of view. I consider Iran a bigger problem than ISIS.
Iran has a greater opportunity to build an Islamist empire:
ISIS is a group of adventurers with a very aggressive ideology. But they have to conquer more and more territory before they can became a strategic, permanent reality. I think a conflict with ISIS — important as it is — is more manageable than a confrontation with Iran.
He says the U.S. should conduct strikes on ISIS in retaliation for the murders of Sotloff and Foley:
They have cut the throat of an American on television. This is an insult to the United States, which requires that we demonstrate that this is not an act that is free. I would strongly favor a strong attack on ISIS for a period that is related to the murder of the American.
In the long term, cooperation is key to addressing the threat the group poses:
Then, we have to go into the long-range problem. I think when we are dealing with a unit like ISIS, we should not get into a position where they can lead us by establishing ground forces. But we should set strategic objectives where we thwart any goal they set themselves, which we should be able to do by superior air power. And then, if we can enlist other countries, or other more local groups to do the ground fighting, we might actually destroy them.