Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Barbarians Burn Pilot Alive: ISIS Will Never Release A Living Prisoner

Report from The Daily Beast:

ISIS has released a video of a man, which The Jordanian government said Tuesday was captive pilot Muadh al Kasabeh. The video shows a trail of lit gasoline leading to Kasabeh’s cage, where he is engulfed in flames. Jordanian state TV claims Kasabeh was killed on Jan. 3, exactly one month ago. 

Unlike the recent videos of the Japanese captives beheaded by ISIS, which were brief, hastily produced amalgams of a few still photographs and a recorded voice, this one has sophisticated animated effects, music, narration and an extended “confession” by the young first lieutenant in a studio setting. The production values alone lend credence to the idea he was killed long before ISIS offered to spare his life late last month in exchange for that of a failed female suicide bomber in Jordanian custody. That now appears to have been a bit of opportunism in the middle of the failed negotiations to ransom the Japanese.

So, once again ISIS is producing horror films that it hopes will have a political impact, and in this one there is no doubt its target is Jordan’s government and its military, which ISIS accuses of supporting the “crusaders” fighting against the so-called “caliphate.”

This is the kind of video using 21st-century technology to promote medieval brutality that has played well among gullible young men, and a few young women, who have flocked to the ISIS banner from abroad. The question is how it will play with the Jordanian and other Arab coalition partners arrayed against ISIS, because they clearly are the targets of this psychological operation.

Al-Kasasbeh, who has a black eye in the video, presents a detailed picture of the Arab and Western air forces deployed against ISIS and the munitions they use, with interspersed pictures of burned babies and men being dug out from under rubble. Then he is paraded in front of uniformed men wearing balaclavas and carrying Kalashnikovs. He is put into a cage amid the wreckage of buildings presumably bombed by coalition planes. His orange prisoner suite is wet with some substance. He is set ablaze. The camera stays on him until his blackened flesh begins to melt away from his face and he falls over. Then a backhoe dumps earth on top of the cage and rolls over it. A burned hand is shown protruding from beneath shattered concrete.

But it is the beginning of the film (after the invocation, “In the name of God, most Merciful, most Compassionate”) and the end that tells us the most about the ISIS psy-war strategy. 

The first image in the video is of Jordan’s King Abdullah speaking on the Charlie Rose Show in the United States on December 5. The king says that when Jordan joined the coalition, the F-16 pilots were told only volunteers had to take part. “Every single pilot raised his hand and stepped forward,” the king tells Charlie Rose in the video clip used by ISIS.

In fact, in Jordan there was some negative reaction to that interview at the time. It appeared to many Jordanians as if the king was playing to an American audience, not to their own concerns. Many had expressed doubts about whether the coalition war really was Jordan’s war. 

ISIS, in this video, is trying to up the ante, not only denouncing Jordan’s intelligence and military cooperation with the “crusaders” and with Israel, but also naming 11 more Jordanian Air Force personnel at the end of the 21-minute video, showing pictures of them and pinpointing their alleged residences on a satellite map. “Wanted Dead,” says the legend above each figure’s name and photograph. 

The information and photos could easily have been obtained from al Kasasbeh’s cell phone if he had it with him, but the effect that ISIS clearly wants in the video is one of omniscience.

A statement posted in the middle of this montage, coming shortly after the horrific immolation, says: “On this occasion, the Islamic State announces a reward of 100 gold dinars to whoever kills a crusader pilot. The diwan for state security has released a list containing the names of Jordanian pilots participating in the campaign. So, good tidings to whoever supports his religion and achieves a kill that will liberate him from hellfire.” Such is the reward, apparently, for assassins.

King Abdullah clearly is undeterred. He arrived in Washington on Tuesday where his government signed a new memorandum of understanding with the United States upping support payments from $600 million a year to $1 billion a year. 

Meanwhile some unconfirmed reports out of Amman suggest that several prisoners with connections to ISIS, including the woman whose freedom it demanded, will be executed in short order. 

In what is likely to be a long war, more such incidents can be expected. What is unlikely is that any government will take seriously from now on overtures by ISIS to ransom or otherwise negotiate the release of prisoners.

By killing the Jordanian pilot after (or even before) his government had offered a prisoner swap, the terrorist group has affirmed that it has no interest in negotiating seriously, and that will compel Jordan and other governments to launch military rescue missions rather than try to dialogue for their citizens’ release, a former U.S. official with extensive experience in hostage negotiations and rescues told The Daily Beast. 

***end Daily Beast report

Question: Mr. President, when will you recognize the savage evil of Radical Islam? Of course, you're too busy attacking Christians and Tea Party members, and bemoaning Global Warming as the greatest threat facing our country. 

Our president is doing in phases what dictators like Chavez did to Venezuela. He is spending beyond our limits to buy the votes of the poor, for one thing. He is flooding our country with illegal, diseased immigrants, and is turning a blind eye to terrorism by releasing prisoners from GITMO to be returned to jihadist activity. 

What is President Obama's real agenda on terrorism? Because from where I'm sitting, it doesn't look like he's actually concerned about putting a stop to it.

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