Latest ISIS Defector Discussing Mohammed Emwazi

Sky News has a new interview with an Isis defector who says in very broken English he worked as a translator for ISIS, attended the killing of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, and then ran away to Turkey. He is referred to as Saleh, which is not his real name. More details are here.

Salah describes Emwazi, whom he calls John, as "the boss" of the foreign hostage killers. He says John is with ISIS' media arm. He says anyone is allowed to kill a Syrian, but only John executes foreigners. [More...]

He says the hostages were subjected to multiple mock executions, so that they never suspected they would actually be killed when the time came. During the mock executions, he says he was ordered to tell the hostages nothing was going to happen to them.

The interview doesn't mention what languages he speaks, but his English is terrible. It's not clear why ISIS would use him to translate, or why he would be present at Kenji Goto's killing, since there is no indication he speaks Japanese. He also says he viewed Goto's killing from a short distance, and that afterwards, four or five ISIS members put his body in a car while Emwazi left in another car.

He said Emwazi is well respected. He also says there's another boss, a Turkish guy, who mostly gives orders about where to place the cameras.

"The big boss was there with them. Turkish man say 'put this camera there, change place there' but John [was] the big boss. All time, all time say to all 'fastly, fastly, fastly, we should finish'. So respect him. Only he talks orders – others do."

Saleh seems very scared to be talking, and expresses his feelings of guilt over assuring the hostages they would be fine when instead they were killed. He says ISIS would give them Arab names to make them feel they were safe.

Saleh claimed hostages were given Arabic names to convince them they were amongst friends in order to calm them down. He says Kenji Goto was given the name "Abu Saad".

He talks about a British or Dutch journalist who spoke such fine English he had trouble understanding him. It's not clear who that is, but he describes the questioning.

ISIS reportedly recruited fixer/translaters to kidnap foreign journalists. Was Saleh one of them? Or was he orignally kidnapped with a hostage and then forced to become an ISIS member? He also doesn't say how long he was with ISIS.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Does the defector actually identify (none / 0) (#1)
    by Peter G on Tue Mar 10, 2015 at 04:57:35 PM EST
    "John" as Emwazi?  Or are you just describing his discussion of "John" to being about "Emwazi" based on the recent press reports claiming to have determined "John"'s identity?

    He calls him John (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 10, 2015 at 04:59:15 PM EST
    and at another point says Emawazi is John.

    Looks like John is (none / 0) (#3)
    by Slado on Wed Mar 11, 2015 at 04:07:13 AM EST
    very comfortable in his role as executioner.