Foley Beheading Fake, Say Experts: Verifying Evidence a Crime, Say Police


By The Plymouth Institute for Peace Research


3 September, 2014.





It appears that Britain is poised to attack Iraq again, this time using the alleged kidnapping of a British citizen by the Islamic State (IS) as a pretext.


On 25 August 2014, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported that ‘ a study of the four-minute 40-second clip’ of US journalist James Foley’s apparent beheading by IS members was ‘carried out by an international forensic science company which has worked for police forces across Britain’. Experts from the team:



‘suggested camera trickery and slick post-production techniques appear to have been used. A forensic analyst told The Times that no blood can be seen, even though the knife is drawn across the neck area at least six times … One expert commissioned to examine the footage was reported as saying: “I think it has been staged. My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped”’.1



The UK Metropolitan Police appear to have been aware that the video was likely staged because they cautioned that it would be ‘illegal’ to watch the video, i.e., to verify the evidence. The Met issued the following statement:



‘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 evidence of fakery in the Foley video didn’t stop British newspapers from responding to the alleged beheading of a second man, Steven Sotloff, with the following headlines:


‘Islamic State ‘beheads US hostage Steven Sotloff’’, BBC News Online, 3 September, 2014.


‘Stephen [sic] Sotloff murder: operation to rescue British hostage’, Telegraph, 3 September, 2014.


 ‘We will look at every possible option to protect this person’: UK to consider new rescue mission for British hostage held by ISIS after ‘Jihadi John’ taunts Cameron in chilling beheading video’, Daily Mail, 3 September, 2014.


‘I’m back… and I’ll kill a Brit’: Jihadi John’s sick taunt as he beheads US journalist – before parading ‘Brit’ hostage’, Mirror (‘The intelligent tabloid’), 3 September, 2014.

‘IS releases video of ‘beheading of second American journalist’’, The Sun, 2 September, 2014.


‘I’M BACK: Jihadi John ‘beheads’ 2nd US journalist and threatens to kill British hostage’ , Daily Star, 3 September, 2014.


‘Obama says US won’t be intimidated by Isis ‘barbarism’’, Guardian, 3 September, 2014.





The alleged beheadings of Foley and Sotloff are headline news. The events are being sensationalised by Western media in an attempt to shock the conscience of Western audiences into supporting more war.



Media hide Saudi Arabia’s state beheadings.


What the media don’t mention—minus a few exceptions—is that within the same month as the two apparent beheadings, Human Rights Watch reported on Britain and America’s closest Islamic ally in the region, Saudi Arabia. The HRW report had little-to-no media coverage for the simple reason that one set of beheadings was carried out by an enemy (IS) and another by an ally (the Saudis). HRW:



‘Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world, and applies the death penalty [including beheadings] to a range of offenses that do not constitute “most serious crimes,” including drug offenses [smuggling hashish], adultery, sorcery, and apostasy. According to [Saudi] media reports, Saudi Arabia has executed at least 34 people in 2014, including … 19 between August 4 and August 20’.2




And the reality of drone murders.



Another side to the hypocrisy is the absence of images in Western media of Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Somalis, and Yemenis beheaded by British, American, and Israeli drones, airstrikes, proxy militia, and guns. To quote a British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report:



‘The dehumanisation of victims of conflicts that is seen in the media in Britain rarely occurs in the local media where Iraqi, Palestinian or Lebanese casualties are covered extensively and their stories are told. London was traumatised by the 7 July bombings which killed 52 people, but this is a daily occurrence now in Iraq, and less than the monthly average fatality count for Palestinians since the Intifada began in 2000’.3




And the reality of Israel’s deliberate targeting of civilians.  





While there is little doubt that Foley and Sotloff are dead (based, for instance, on the families’ grief), how can we be sure that the individuals were murdered by IS and beheaded? Military psychological operations’ (PSYOPs) specialists understand that Western media sanitizes the State-crimes of America, Britain, France, Israel, et al., and focuses on the brutality of others. Thus the media perspective: A Western strike is clean and surgical, a beheading is medieval and barbaric.


The first beheading PSYOP occurred within a year of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003. An American businessman, Nicholas Berg, had been arrested by US forces. A video was later released in 2004 purporting to show his beheading by a gang led by an alleged terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Like Foley and Sotloff, Berg was undoubtedly murdered, but how? And by who?


Zarqawi—either the man or the myth—was being used by US PSY operatives in order justify further military action by US and British forces. In 2006, Thomas E. Ricks of the Washington Post obtained PSYOPS documents. He wrote:



‘The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq [Zarqawi], according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program … The documents explicitly list the “U.S. Home Audience” as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign … [Col. Derek] Harvey said, “Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will — made him more important than he really is[“]’.




Media’s response to Berg’s supposed beheading.  



One document says:



‘Through aggressive Strategic Communications, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi now represents: Terrorism in Iraq/Foreign Fighters in Iraq/Suffering of Iraqi People (Infrastructure Attacks)/Denial of Iraqi Aspirations’.4



On Berg’s beheading, allegedly by Zarqawi: In 2004, Ritt Goldstein interviewed Drs. John Simpson of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Jon Nordby, fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.



Amnesty International says a thousand largely innocent

Iraqis are on death-row by the US-backed al-Maliki regime.



Both thought it ‘highly probable that Berg had died some time prior to his decapitation. A factor in this was an apparent lack of the “massive” arterial bleeding such an act initiates’. Referring to Berg’s total lack of reaction to being pulled in preparation for the decapitation, Simpson said: ‘The way that they pulled him over, they could have used a dummy at that point’.5


Without being allowed to verify evidence, how do we know that Foley and Sotloff were not the victims of a current PSYOP aimed at Western audiences? In the age of Full Spectrum Dominance, including ‘info dominance’, blind trust of rulers and their systems of propaganda is being codified into law.





1. Bill Gardner, ‘Foley murder video ‘May have been staged’’, Telegraph, 25 August, 2014,


2. Human Rights Watch, ‘Saudi Arabia: Surge in Executions’, 21 August, 2014,


3. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, ‘Global Security: The Middle East’, HC 363, 13 August, 2007.


4. Thomas E. Ricks, ‘Military plays up role of Zarqawi’, Washington Post, 10 April, 2006,


5. Ritt Goldstein, ‘Berg beheading: No way, say medical experts’, Asia Times, 22 May, 2004,