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article imageExperts hired by UK Times say Foley video staged

By Ralph Lopez     Aug 26, 2014 in World
Forensics experts hired by the British newspaper the UK Times say that a video purporting to show the beheading of American journalist James Foley was staged to at least some degree.
The experts do not challenge the Obama administration's contention that Foley was beheaded, but say that it must have happened off-camera because of the complete absence of blood as the executioner made sawing motions at Foley. The film fades to black as the "execution" begins, then returns to what appears to be a lifeless, headless body.
US intelligence agencies and the FBI earlier declared the video to be authentic. James Foley's body has not been recovered.
The UK Times reported today:
"The video of a British jihadist beheading an American hostage was probably staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, according to forensic analysis...
Firstly, no blood can be seen, even though the knife is drawn across the neck area at least six times. Secondly, sounds allegedly made by Foley do not appear consistent with what may be expected."
(Longer text of UK Times article here.)
The video, which shows lengthy speeches by Foley and his hooded captor as Foley kneels in what appears to be desert sand, cuts away after the hooded man makes a few apparent sawing motions with a small knife, as Foley utters no sound or cries of anguish. No blood at all is seen. The video cuts back in to an apparent lifeless body with a head propped on it. No pool of blood from the prodigious neck wound is visible.
The experts' conclusions come after Internet sleuths across the globe questioned many aspects of the video, including the timing, just prior to an Obama announcement to resume airstrikes in Iraq. The skeptics also question the calm, monotone delivery by Foley, apparently read from cue cards, and the professional, studio-like feeling of the production. Even the prestigious International Business Times jumped into the fray, remarking that a desert background can be generated on a "green screen."
In the video a faint breeze can be seen blowing at Foley's clothes, although no sand is blowing behind him. Skeptics also questioned why a terrorist organization such as ISIS, which presumably revels in violence and gory spectacles, would cut away in the video just as the alleged beheading begins. The International Business Times cites another skeptical news article at the Global Mirror, saying:
"The Global Mirror noted that though the video is meant to portray violence of extreme form, the Islamic State has gone on to censor the beheading scene. Islamic State, which is known for its brutality, will not shy away from streaming the beheading. Doubts have been raised as the actual beheading is never shown in the video."
The Times then casts doubt on the body shown even being Foley's, saying:
"Meanwhile, the decapitated head could be created with modern make-up facilities."
Although no body has been recovered, British authorities have nevertheless named a suspect for the hooded man, wanted for murder, British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary. British authorities said they went by such clues as skin tone and voice.
Videotape skeptics now accuse UK authorities of attempting to back away from and conceal a botched job, by suggesting it may be a crime to watch the video. The news station London24 reports:
"A statement issued today by the Met [the London polioce] said: “The MPS Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) is investigating the contents of the video that was posted online in relation to the alleged murder of James Foley. We would like to remind the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under Terrorism legislation.”"
The Obama administration has not commented on the discrepancy between US intelligence agencies' conclusions on the authenticity of the video and those of the UK experts hired by the Times.
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