New Age Islam
Tue May 18 2021, 03:57 PM

Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 2 Sept 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

'Jihadi John' Threatens To Behead a Brit Next: Terrifying Challenge to Cameron After ISIS Executioner Murders Second US Journalist In New Video


By Matt Chorley and James Nye and Michael Zennie and David Martosko and Mia De Graaf

3 September 2014

ISIS has issued a direct threat to David Cameron by threatening to murder a British hostage after beheading a second US journalist.

A masked Islamic State fighter spoke with an English accent as he executed Steven Sotloff in a video released online today entitled 'A Second Message to America'.

He then holds up a British man kneeling in an orange jumpsuit and warns: he is next.

The disturbing threat leaves the Prime Minister with the chilling prospect of a British national murdering another in the name of ISIS.

Steven Sotloff's killer is believed to be the same man that murdered James Foley two weeks ago - known as 'Jihadi John'.

The British hostage, who UK media are not naming at the request of the family but who has been named and pictured around the world, is believed to be an aid worker who was based on the Turkish border of Syria working with victims of war.

David Cameron tonight hit out at the ‘absolutely disgusting, despicable’ murder of US hostage Steven Sotloff and called for a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee tomorrow morning.

He said: 'If verified, this is a despicable and barbaric murder. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Sotloff’s family and friends tonight as they deal with this appalling and tragic situation.

'As I have said consistently over the last few weeks, ISIL terrorists speak for no religion. They threaten Syrians, Iraqis, Americans and British people alike and make no distinction between Muslims, Christians or any other faith.

'We have already been working hard to keep British people safe and we will continue to do all we can to protect our country and our people from these barbaric terrorists. Tomorrow morning I will chair a COBRA meeting to review these latest developments.'

The Prime Minister was addressing Tory MPs in a private meeting in Parliament when gloating ISIS executioners released the footage.

At the end of the meeting of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee, Mr Cameron was seen looking at his Blackberry before emerging to address journalists.

He said: ‘I’ve just seen the news. It is an absolutely disgusting, despicable act.’

In the video, the killer says: ‘I am back, Obama, and I am 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.

‘Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.’

The extremist also warns other governments against entering ‘this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State’.

It comes just 24 hours after Mr Cameron outlined a fresh crack down on extremists returning from the Middle East to wage war on Britain.

He told MPs in a Commons statement that police will be given the power to seize the passports of terror suspects trying to join jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria.

He also revealed the Government was considering new powers to force jihadis living in the UK to relocate, while airlines will be compelled to hand over passenger lists before flights take off.

In the video released tonight, Sotloff, 31, appears in a orange jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

The executioner tells the camera: 'I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.'

Sotloff, 31, from Miami, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, vanished in Syria in August 2013 and was not seen again until he appeared in a video released online last month that showed Foley's beheading.

In the new video that shows the killing of Sotloff, the executioner points his knife menacingly at the camera as he speaks.

Clad in the same black garb he wore during Foley’s execution, the killer has a pistol strapped under his arm in a shoulder holster.

The black flag of the Islamic State can be seen waving in the background.

Sotloff calmly read statement moments before his murder. ‘I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing,' he says.

He adds to the camera: ‘Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?’

While he speaks, a militant calmly holds a knife at his side and stands next to Sotloff.

The man then taunts Obama on camera.

He says: ‘As your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike necks of your people.’

'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 out people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.'

Two hours after the video was released, Mr Sotloff’s family issued a statement to say they believe he has been killed.

‘The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately. There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time,’ the statement said.

Foley’s family released a statement after Sotloff’s execution, calling it ‘just horrific,’ according to WHDH-TV.

The president was in the White House when news broke, preparing for a mid-afternoon departure for Estonia and then Wales, where he will attend a NATO summit. But the White House didn't immediately comment on how and when Obama heard about Sotloff's reported death.

American lawmakers were wuick to condemn the video as another atrocity against the US.

Rep. Ed Royce, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that he was 'disgusted by what appears to be another horrendous killing of an American journalist at the hands of ISIS.'

'Sadly, ISIS is bringing this barbarity across the region – beheading and crucifying those who don’t share their dark ideology,' said Royce. ‘The threat from this group seems to grow by the day.' 

The Pentagon refused to confirm the video of Steven Sotloff's murder today and said they were working to authenticate it with intelligence officials.

Rear Admiral John Kirby said: 'We still can't confirm this next video and potential new murder... We are trying to find out the ground truth here.'

On Thursday, Sotloff’s mother Shirley Sotloff went on television to make a direct appeal for her son’s life. She addressed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-claimed caliph of ISIS.

'My son is in your hands,' Ms Sotloff said. 'As a mother I ask Your Justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life.'

The SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S. terrorism watchdog, first reported about the video's existence.

Unlike Foley's beheading, which was widely shared on Twitter accounts affiliated with the Islamic State group, the video purporting to show Sotloff's killing was not immediately posted online, though several jihadi websites told users to expect it Tuesday.

The fighter who beheads Sotloff in the video called it retribution for Obama's continued airstrikes against the group in Iraq.

Sotloff's mother had pleaded for his release last week in a video directed at the Islamic State group.

Addressing the leader of the Islamic State group by name, Shirley Sotloff said in a video her son was 'an innocent journalist' who shouldn't pay for U.S. government actions in the Middle East over which he has no control.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest offered his sympathies to the Sotloff family. He said of the video: 'This is something that the administration has obviously been watching carefully since this threat against Mr. Sotloff's life was originally made a few weeks ago,' he added.

'I'm not in a position to confirm the authenticity of that video, or reports, obviously,' he cautioned, 'since I just walked out here.'

'But if there is a video that has been released, it is something that will be analyzed very carefully by the U.S. government and our intelligence officials to determine its authenticity.'

'Our thoughts and prayers, first and foremost, are with Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Sotloff's family and those who worked with him,' he said. 'The United States, as you know, has dedicated significant time and resources to try and rescue Mr. Sotloff.'

At the State Department a rattled spokeswoman Jen Psaki confused the executions of Foley and Sotloff.

'We certainly consider this act, this reported act, the act of the killing of James Foley, as a horrific terrorist act.' she said.

Foley was the first U.S. journalist beheaded in an ISIS video. His death first aroused Americans' anger two weeks ago.

'If the video is genuine,' Psaki said, 'we are sickened by this brutal act, taking the life of other innocent American citizens. Our hearts go out to the Sotloff family.'

Asked if the Obama administration will regard Sotloff's execution as an 'act of war,' she refused to engage in semantics.

'We certainly – I'm not going to put new labels on it,' Psaki said.

'I don't think it's a useful exercise to go back and forth about new terms,' she said later. 'What's important is what we're doing about it.'

Videos like the one that surfaced Tuesday, she told reporters, have 'been one of the motivating factors in the effort to undergo the creation of an international coalition to address this threat.'

Psaki would not say how many other captives ISIS is holding from the U.S. and other Western nations.

'We don't get into specific numbers, for the safety and security of individuals,' she said.

'We've said "a few." That continues to be accurate.'

The chilling threat to execute a UK hostage is a direct challenge to Prime Minister David Cameron and will send shockwaves through the British government.

Only last week  Mr Cameron warned that ISIS was now a ‘greater threat to our security than we have seen before’.

After the beheading of journalist James Foley, Mr Cameron rushed back from his holiday in Cornwall to condemn ‘the barbaric and brutal act’.

Tonight, he condemned the second video.

Ed Miliband also issued a statement, saying: 'The killing by ISIL of another hostage and the threat of more violence demonstrates again their murderous barbarism.

'Their cold-blooded brutality against the innocent offends the values of people throughout the world, wherever they live.

'This shows, as we have recently have said, that they are a threat which cannot be ignored.

'Our thoughts are with the families of the victims.'

Government sources stressed that Britain has a longstanding principle not to publicise kidnappers or terrorists.

However, it is understood Mr Cameron has chaired a number of secret Cobra meetings in recent months focused on the British hostage and options for secure a safe release.

Tonight the Prime Minister was briefed by his senior security officials on the developing situation, ahead of tomorrow morning's meeting of Cobra.

Mr Cameron is not thought to have spoken to President Obama, who is travelling to Estonia ahead of the NATO summit in Wales later this week.

Last month the Pentagon revealed it had launched an attempt to try to rescue hostages held in Syria, including Foley, but failed to find them.

It is now understood that the group sought by the secret mission also included the British hostage.

On Friday the Prime Minster warned that the killers were likely to be British.

He announced that police will be given the power to seize the passports of terror suspects trying to join jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria.

He also revealed the Government was considering new powers to force jihadis living in the UK to relocate, while airlines will be compelled to hand over passenger lists before flights take off.

New laws will also be considered to prevent terrorists returning to 'wreak havoc' on the streets of Britain by removing their citizenship if they are fighting for ISIS abroad.

The Prime Minister admitted the Government would 'continue to consider' what further action Britain could take against the ISIS fighters in the Middle East - including what 'military measures we might take'.

In the Commons, Mr Cameron was asked directly if he was 'open to the idea of direct military participation in airstrikes'.

He replied: 'I don't rule anything out. I don't think we should.' He added: 'We should consider everything.'

The Islamic State group which has taken over a third of Syria and Iraq has terrorized rivals and civilians alike with widely publicized brutality as it seeks to expand a proto-state it has carved out on both sides of the border.

In its rise to prominence over the past year, the extremist group has frequently published graphic photos and gruesome videos of everything from bombings and beheadings to mass killings.


Was The Steven Sotloff Execution Video Posted Online By Accident? 

The video of Steven Sotloff’s brutal murder may have been accidentally published online too early by an ISIS Twitter user who jumped the gun.

When news first broke of a new ISIS beheading video, it was not widely available on Islamist websites. James Foley’s execution footage, by contrast, flooded social media and the dark corners of the web all at once. reports that only one ISIS Twitter account initially posted the video.

Another ISIS-affiliated social media account called out the early release and told the user to remove it – but by then, the video was already widely available online.

Later, ISIS even issued an apology to its followers for the confusion.

‘Clarification about the mistake was made by “Uyun al-Ummah” account, that has published the video before the official time,’ an ISIS official wrote.

‘The user saw a tweet with the video and thought it was published officially. We tried to remove the video after we understood that his was published by mistake, and we are sorry to the followers of the Islamic State.’

The social media back-and-forth – all of it in Arabic – shows just how sophisticated the social media strategy for ISIS has become.

It appears multiple people had copies of the video and that they were meant to wait until the proscribed time to publish it – in order to flood online channels and ensure it was widely distributed.


Moments before His Death, Steven Sotloff's Final Words:

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.'


Forlorn Last Plea Of Mother Days Before Her Son Met His Fate

By Tom Leonard

Only a week ago, Steven Sotloff’s mother issued a desperate plea to his captors to spare his life.

‘I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands,’ she begged.

‘I want what every mother wants – to live to see her children’s children. I plead with you to grant me this.’

Mrs Sotloff, a teacher at a Jewish pre-school in Miami, recorded the video after the British jihadi who murdered James Foley said her son would be next. But her plea went unanswered.

She insisted Steven had travelled to the Middle East to cover the ‘suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants’.

‘Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson,’ she said. ‘He’s an honourable man and has always tried to help the weak. We have not seen Steven in over a year.’

The 31-year-old freelance journalist had been missing since August 2013 after being kidnapped near Aleppo, Syria.

His last message was on Twitter, talking about his hometown basketball team.

Mr Sotloff’s family were informed that he had been abducted but they decided to keep a media blackout in the hope of negotiating his freedom.

But it became public a fortnight ago when he appeared in the Islamic State video of James Foley’s murder, with a shaved head, his captor grabbing him by the collar of his orange jumpsuit.

Mr Sotloff, a graduate of the University of Central Florida, had had his work published in Time magazine, the Christian Science Monitor and various current affairs magazines, most recently on the crisis in Libya.

When fighting broke out in Aleppo, he travelled to the Turkish town of Kilis, just four miles from the Syrian border.

According to reports, he checked into the Hotel Istanbul at the same time as many other journalists were leaving, fearing for their safety.

Jihadist fighters had recently kidnapped western journalists on the road between Kilis and Aleppo.

Mr Sotloff was also worried. Fellow journalist Ben Taub, writing on the Daily Beast website, met him while in Syria. He said Mr Sotloff had been to Kilis before, adding: ‘He’d been to Syria in wartime, too. And?…?he’d also reported courageously in Libya, Egypt and Yemen.

‘He was experienced. He could speak Arabic. He was careful. And he told me he had had enough.

‘Over beers at Kilis’s only bar, Sotloff told me he was sick of being beaten up, and shot at?…?He told me he wanted to quit reporting for a little while, at least on conflict in the Middle East?…?maybe apply to graduate school back home in Florida.

‘But first he wanted one last Syria run.’

It would be his last run.