Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Persuasive Tactics of Islamic State

"Intensive efforts are ongoing behind the scenes to secure the release of the remaining three colleagues, through the ICRC's broad network on the ground. We cannot provide details about this for the sake of the ongoing safety of our colleagues still abducted."
International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson

"Can you go back on all the teaching and the values you have tried to instill for a lifetime? Can you change your daughter, who has these values and has strong ideals about solidarity and human empathy?"
"When you hear your daughter say 'Mamma, in that country they are killing children, I must go and help', what can you say?"
Antonella Ramelli, mother of Greta Ramelli, 20, abducted aid worker

"James [Foley] was a very good friend and a great support. He was always there when you were feeling not so well with some kind words. He managed to make seven months of captivity easier."
French reporter Nicolas Henin, held prisoner earlier, with James Foley in Syria
Sick propaganda: James was forced to say in the beheading video: 'Think about what you are doing. Think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family,' before he was murdered
Sick propaganda: James was forced to say in the beheading video: 'Think about what you are doing. Think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family,' before he was murdered
"The colleague with whom I was abducted was good friends with James. When we missed our appointment with him, somewhere in Syria, alarm bells immediately went off for Foley. He pulled back across the border to Turkey, and put all his journalistic contacts gathering information on us."
"James was the first to hug me [when freed by opposition forces]. I did not know him, but because he had been so closely involved with our liberation he knew me well."
"You must know very well who you go into business with; your contacts must be 100% reliable. And even then, James was hugely experienced and had those contacts. Yet it happened to him."
Jeroen Oerlemans, Dutch journalist

What happened to James Foley was unspeakably, cruelly barbaric. He knew the odds, he was aware of the difficulties and the danger. He had previously experienced what it was like to be in the hands of people motivated to be the direct cause of harm to others. People who were unconcerned about the pain and fear they caused, other than to celebrate their ability to strike terror into the hearts of those they targeted, proud of their fearsome reputations, and determined to live up to those standards they themselves set for mounting atrocities.

Snatched: Foley was taken by an armed gang in Syria on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. He was then held with other journalists in terrible conditions. They spoke out about the harsh treatment Foley endured
Snatched: Foley was taken by an armed gang in Syria on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. He was then held with other journalists in terrible conditions. They spoke out about the harsh treatment Foley endured

Still, the lure of being actively engaged in a profession that spoke to his inner instincts compelled him to return to that theatre of brutality and chance. He took his chances and in the end a chance abduction led to his miserable incarceration and finally a death too gruesome for him ever to have imagined would be his. His life will not be the last to be forfeited to the murderers of the Islamic State of Iraq & Al Sham. Twenty other non-combatants, from journalists to aid workers are being held incommunicado in dreadful, soul-destroying conditions.

Two Italian aid workers, 21-year-old Vanessa Marzulio and 20-year-old Greta Ramelli, among them. Employed by the ICRC, three of their workers also remain hostages after their October abduction. And ISIS has threatened it has the appetite to murder additional hostages, particularly Americans in their hands whose government has been engaged in air strikes in Iraq against ISIS forces. The two young women had been taken into the wretched custody of ISIS a month ago.

Former hostages, now free, who had been held with Mr. Foley, described his having been singled out for special treatment, as an American. Mr. Foley was tortured when his captors discovered photos on his computer of his brother, working for the U.S. Air Force. He was subjected to agonizing mock executions, one where he was "crucified against a wall". "He was an extraordinary guy -- a companion in imprisonment who was very agreeable, very solid", said Didier Francois a reporter with the French radio station Europe 1.

Mr. Francois spent eight months a captive with Mr. Foley, in underground cells, where no natural light penetrated. For 2-1/2 months of that period Mr. Francois and fellow French hostages Nicolas Henin, Edouard Elias and Pierre Torres were chained together.  Now, it appears, it will be the turn of journalist Steven Sotloff, who as an American, will be singled out for the kind of special treatment that was awarded Mr. Foley as his country continues to deploy warplanes in airstrikes against Islamic State.

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