Obama and Kerry Address Beheading of James Foley

President Obama today addressed the beheading of reporter James Wright Foley.

“The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”

Here is John Kerry's statement.

And make no mistake: we will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil. ISIL and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed, and those responsible for this heinous, vicious atrocity will be held accountable.

The Defense Department says it conducted 14 strikes today.


Since Aug. 8, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 84 airstrikes across Iraq, the release said, and of those 84 strikes, 51 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam.

Also today, the U.S. is considering sending 300 ground troops to Iraq. The U.S. and U.K. are trying to identify Foley's English-speaking executioner.

They have confirmed through his accent he is from Britain, probably London, and think he is one of three guards of foreign prisoners in Syria. He may have been a negotiator in the release of other prisoners.

The militant who appeared on the Foley video, who called himself John and is believed to be from London, was said to be the main rebel negotiator during talks earlier this year to release 11 Islamic State hostages – who were eventually handed to Turkish officials after ransom demands were met.

Here's more on the prisoners released in 2013.

From the video, he's left-handed. How many left-handed British executioners in Syria can there be? I think he looks a lot like one of the two guys on the left in this non-violent video with ISIS commander Abu Omar Shishani taken at a prison in Syria. They even shuffle their feet like the guy in the execution video.

Shishani addresses mujahideen in prison, saying that they should know the mujahideen are in Syria and are in “Vilayat Hasaka.”

Here's a similar one.

Many more are here (some have violence.) Then again, there are so many photos and videos of ISIS in Syria, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.

On a related note, Brian Fishman's "Don't BS the American People on ISIS, Iraq and Syria" is getting a lot of praise on Twitter today. Brooking's Charles Lister says, "Excellent by @brianfishman, took the words out my mouth: "Don’t BS the American People About #Iraq, #Syria & ISIL". Aaron Yellin also recommends it.

Also ISIS related, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has released a report finding that ISIS gained 6,300 foreign fighters in Raqqa and Aleppo since July -- one month. Most, around 5,000 are from Syria. Around 800 defected from opposition militias such as Jabhat a-Nusra. The rest are from all over the world. They are using the Turkish border to reach ISIS. The attraction is partly financial: Many are poor and ISIS is paying a stipend of $400 a month per fighter and another $100 for wives and $50 for each child.

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  • Display: Sort:
    ISIS videos.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 05:07:57 PM EST
    now that the US is engaged just seem to run the risk of tipping off the CIA about identities, whereabouts and other clues. Whatever benefit ISIS used to have by posting terror videos now seems to be outweighed by the potential information they provide.

    If there's any hope for the family of the second journalist in that video, it's that CIA capabilities aren't just the myth of Hollywood, that the CIA can determine identifications, locations and other helpful information from yesterday's video and that something can be done.

    400 a month (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 05:42:23 PM EST
    With a family bonus must be a lot of money on that part of the world.

    Equivalent to Blackwater? (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 05:44:17 PM EST

    No idea (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 06:02:33 PM EST
    Wiki says a skilled worker in Iraq gets about 10 bucks a day unskilled less that 4.50.

    So I guess that would be considerably more than a skilled worker.


    Yes (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 06:07:31 PM EST
    Mercs all the same, IMO

    Except Blackwater's Erik Prince was/is a Christian Crusader.