ISIS Beheads Kidnapped Photojournalist James Wright Foley in Horrific Video Message to the US

James Foley, reportedly beheaded by the ISIS today as a message to the US to stop its intervention in Iraq. Photo credit: Nicole Tung

James Foley, reportedly beheaded by the ISIS today as a message to the US to stop its intervention in Iraq. Photo credit: Nicole Tung

A video allegedly showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Wright Foley, who has been missing in Syria for 636 days, by the terror organisation the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was released today. In their video, which has not been verified yet, the group claims that the beheading is “a message to the US to end its intervention in Iraq.”

According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the freelance journalist was abducted by an “organised gang” in northern Syria on November 22, 2012:

On November 22, 2012, James Wright Foley, a freelance photo journalist, was taken by an organized gang after departing from an internet café in Binesh, Syria. Foley had employed a translator to help him travel across the Syrian-Turkish border. The translator was also taken, but later released.

Condolences are pouring on the Free James Foely page, set up by family after his kidnapping and which had appealed for his release unharmed.

Zaid Benjamin, a Washington DC-based journalist, reported the news for his 43.3K followers on Twitter and posted still photographs taken from the video:

Benjamin's Twitter account was reportedly suspended for about half an hour for sharing footage from the video at the centre of this story. The account has now been restored.

The video, which has also been removed from YouTube, has sparked a discussion online on whether such material should be permissible on the world wide web on the grounds that it allows the ISIS to share its “propaganda.” Brown Moses provides a transcript of the video here.

Ruwayda Mustafah, a UK-based Kurdish blogger with around 40K followers on Twitter, noted:

Like many, Mustafah calls for an ISIS blackout on social media:

Mustafah drives home her point by adding:

And Jousha Foust tells his 17K followers:

Online, the ISIS has been active showing off its horrific exploits in Syria and Iraq for the world to see. The ISIS came to prominence last year after jihadists from around the world joined its fighters in Syria, first to fight against the Assad regime, and later to fight other armed factions in the war-torn country. In June, the Al-Qaeda splinter group, which controls parts of Syria, annexed Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, as the world watched in horror.

Zeynep Tufekci, an assistant prof at UNC iSchool, a Princeton CITP fellow, and a Harvard Berkman faculty associate in sociology, explained to her 36.4K followers on Twitter:

And real-time news DJ Andy Carvin reminded his 103K followers of the difficulties journalists face in the field on a daily basis:

In 2011, Foley was also captured in Libya. BBC journalist Faisal Irshaid shared this video of Foley speaking about it:


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