This morning I awoke to find a couple of articles in my news-feed, one in French and one in English, both accompanying a video that appears to show either Islamic State or people pretending to be Islamic State filming a mock execution in a studio or warehouse, complete with green screen background sets and multiple cameras to catch the action from different angles. The man playing the role of the victim in the scene is wearing the familiar orange jumpsuit and the man playing the role of executioner is dressed in the black outfit with a black face mask and appears to either be “Jihadi John” or someone intentionally approximating his look.
The video in question was allegedly hacked by a pro-Russia Ukrainian hacktivist group called CyberBerkut (who were involved in attempts to disrupt Ukraine’s elections) from the computer of a member of US Senator John McCain’s staff. rather than describe the video in further detail I will let you watch it for yourself. Both the French language website http://fr.sputniknews.com/ (The French version of website of the Russian government owned Sputnik News) and the English language website http://www.veteranstoday.com/ , which is run by noted anti-American and anti-Israel conspiracy theorist, 9/11 “Truther” and former Lyndon Larouche activist Jim Fetzer, which basically just re-ran the original Sputnik News article in English, make the spurious allegation in their headlines that Rita Katz and her SITE Intelligence Group are somehow involved with the making of this video and with al Qaeda videos in the past.
The leaps of logic involved in coming to such a conclusion cross the border into pure insanity. First of all anyone who has closely followed the news and intelligence about the actions of the Islamic State already knows that Islamic State runs their hostages through multiple mock executions, giving them propaganda scripts to recite and teasing them with their own demise so that when the time comes for their actual execution they are caught off guard, relaxed, compliant, and fully cooperating, thinking that it is yet another dry run for the cameras.
Secondly, and it is so sad that the people behind such websites as these are so uninformed about Islamic State and/or their readers are so uninformed about Islamic State, that I should even have to say this, but yes Islamic State has lots of money and lots of state of the art film and video equipment and many members who are trained and experienced filmmakers.
Now I must point out what, were it not for the extremely illogical and misinformed conspiracy theories accompanying the postings of this video, should have been the first point brought up regarding this video.neither CyberBerkut nor Sputnik News nor Veterans Today knows the source of that video and yet they see fit to allege that John McCain and his staffer and Rita Katz and SITE Intelligence are behind its manufacture with not a shred of evidence pointing toward that claim simply because it, along with, most likely many other videos related to Islamic State was allegedly on the computer of a member of McCain’s staff.
Are we to suppose that all of the many people around the world who have watched Islamic State beheading videos are also involved in those beheading videos because they have also downloaded and studied those videos? Of course not. However, the truth is always a casualty with the sick minded people who cannot help but aid Islamic extremism at every turn by blaming it always on “The West”, the USA, Israel, “Zionists”, anything other than radical Islam itself.
The facts are:
1. The true origin of the video is not known.
2. The date of the video’s recording is not known.
3. The persons in the video are not known but the executioner does appear to either be “Jihadi John” or someone approximating his appearance and the victim is wearing the kind of orange jumpsuit seen in Islamic State execution videos.
4. There is nothing incriminating in and of itself, in a member of John McCain’s staff or anyone else for that matter, having such a video on their computer.
5. Most of the conspiracy theorists getting excited with logic leaping far-fetched conclusions regarding this video are unaware that Islamic State puts its hostages through multiple mock executions to keep them relaxed and compliant enough to get them to calmly read their anti-American propaganda before their actual executions.
6. I suppose one could think that the remote possibility also exists, no matter how doubtful in this case, that the video could be part of one of the many comedic re-enactments of Islamic State executions filmed for various mostly Arabic TV shows mocking Islamic State. In this case I strongly doubt it. It is highly unlikely that an out-take of a satirical program mocking Islamic State would be on the computer of a Senatorial staffer traveling in Europe. In my opinion it is more likely that the video is authentic.
7. John McCain never “met with ISIS”. He met with members of the Free Syrian Army. “ISIS” is an Iraqi group. FSA is a Syrian group. “ISIS” are international jihadists. The FSA is a Syrian nationalist group. “ISIS” are Salafist followers of one Caliph dedicated to one Islamic Caliphate. FSA are a Syrian rebel group, founded by defecting members of the Syrian military. “ISIS” are an outgrowth of the anti-American, anti-Iraqi government, anti-Shia al Qaeda in Iraq founded by the late Zarqawi. “ISIS” and Free Syrian Army are at war with each other in Syria.
8. It is very disgusting to be making false accusations against an Iraqi Jewish woman refugee whose father was killed by Saddam Hussein, and who has dedicated her life to investigating and combating jihadist violence.
9. These are the kind of things hostages have been forced to say in mock executions numerous times before being forced to say them in their real executions, not knowing that it was not yet another rehearsal/mock execution. This is not exactly useful propaganda for “the West” now is it? Islamic State are true Islamic fanatics and they are running a state.
The final words of Steven Sotloff are transcribed below as well as the brief speech from Jihadi John.
A Second Message to America:
“I am Steven Joel Sotloff. I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing before you. And now this is the time for my message:
“Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be the preservation of American lives and interests, so why is that I am paying the price of your interference with my life? Am I not an American citizen? We’ve spent billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and we’ve lost thousands of our troops in our previous fighting against the Islamic State, so what are the people’s interests in reigniting war?
“From what little I know about foreign policy, I remember a time when you could not win an election without promising to bring our troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan and to close down Guantanamo. “Here you are now, Obama, nearing the end of your term, and having achieved none of the above and deceivingly marching us the American people in the blazing fire.”
“I’m back Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic state, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings and . on Mosul Dam, despite our serious warnings. You Obama, have but to gain from your actions but another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.
“We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone.”
10. It is also important to note the sources of this news and the ridiculous conspiracy theory being alleged here. CyberBerkut is a pro-Russian Ukrainian propaganda organization and Sputnik News is a news/propaganda service owned and run by the Russian government and the website of a noted professional liar and bigoted conspiracy theorist Jim Fetzer.
11. Are we to suppose, if we believe your absurd allegations against SITE, that all of the thousands of jihadist videos they , locate, analyze and distribute from all around the world are manufactured by them? You must truly think your readers are idiots. Well, clearly they are.
In conclusion, if we are to believe that Russian propagandists CyberBerkut and Sputnik News are telling the truth about how and from where they obtained this video, we should also assume that they are intelligent enough to know that John McCain and his staffer were not behind its production. They also know very well that Islamic State has filmed numerous mock executions. They also know that McCain is very involved in the fight against Islamic State.
There is an agenda here and it has nothing to do with fighting Islamic State or exposing legitimate wrongdoing by the US or anyone else. Yes, Mr. Fetzer I have got you “false flag” right here. I am speaking of the “false flag” of laying blame for the existence of the Islamic State on the USA, Israel, Turkey, NATO, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and so on. I would suggest that you read up on the Islamic State, its founders, its origins, its beliefs, it’s ideology, but I already know that both yourself and Mr. Putin and the vile oppressors of the Iranian people in the Islamic Republic who peddle lies about “ISIS” Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being “Israeli” know fully that your stories are lies.
I think the video is most likely an authentic Islamic State video. Islamic State puts their captives through many filmed mock executions before actually killing them, each time having them recite pro-Islamic State propaganda. This is why hostages cooperate and seem less frightened than they otherwise would. We know this from both ex-hostages and ex-ISIS members. McCain and Rita Katz have nothing to do with making these videos anymore than you or I do and the pro-Putin Russian and Ukrainian propagandists of CyberBerkut and Sputnik News know it. The deranged conspiracy theorist Jim Fetzer who runs Veterans Today is another story. I have spent 20 years trying to figure out if he’s a spy or just a lunatic.
Congratulations on all of the blood on your hands. Good job.
Now if the naive and gullible readers of CyberBerkut, Sputnik News, Veterans Today, RT, and Press TV would like to actually learn about Islamic State I would suggest starting by reading books such as these:
Review: ‘ISIS: The State of Terror,’ by Jessica Stern and J. M. Berger, and ‘ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror,’ by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
Or keeping it online, spend a little time on the following websites which are actually run by experts on terrorism rather than by experts at wild conjecture and dishonest propaganda:
…and yes SITE Intelligence Group
P.S. Well what do you know? After debunking the anti-McCain and anti-Rita Katz conspiracy theory being peddled by the likes of Sputnik News (Russian state run) and Veteran’s Today (Jim Fetzer run)…it seems I have been hacked by someone and my computer has crashed after giving me a warning about a threat to my data. I suppose this is the price I pay for kicking the hornet’s nest that is Putin’s propaganda network.