The reported death of journalist James Foley by the Islamic State (IS) is resulting in increasing calls for war not only in Iraq but in Syria, with the Obama administration saying it is considering such attacks. The video of Foley’s death on which these calls for war are in part based has largely been scrubbed from the web. This article reviews the video and questions raised by it. But, we also want to emphasize that the video is only part of the story, another that should not be ignored is who is behind IS. The story is more complex than we are being told.
The death of journalist James Foley spread across the traditional and social media with headlines such as “Video Shows Beheading of American Journalist” published in TIME. And the TIME article declared, “TIME is not publishing the video.” Perhaps in response to widespread concern of assisting ISIS in its propaganda distribution.
There were also responses to the posting and sharing of this video as it was apparently so gruesome that publicizing or even watching the video could get you slapped with a terrorism charge in the UK. If that wasn’t enough, Twitter and Facebook were trying to find people who posted the video and delete their accounts… something that Glenn Greenwald was clearly and rightly concerned may have the down stream consequences of corporate-censored communications.
Now that the video is one of the reasons for escalating war talk, it is important that people view it and examine whether the stories we are being told are true. The fundamental questions are whether IS conducted the murder of Foley and whether his murder was assisted in any way by the United States or its allies.