Thursday, February 5, 2015

ISIS Hostages Likely Faced Mock Executions Before Beheadings, Officials Say

After scrutinizing intelligence and every frame of videos featuring high-profile ISIS hostages, many counter-terrorism analysts and experts have concluded that some captives appeared compliant before being killed because they had already faced repeated mock executions on camera, current and former counter-terrorism officials told ABC News.
In this file photo dated as April 25, 2014, Japanese 
journalist Kenji Goto Jogo, captured by ISIS
The staged executions were possibly made under the guise of an effort to scare their families and governments into meeting the terrorists' demands, the sources said.
Since ISIS slaughtered Japanese journalist Kenji Goto in a video released Saturday -- its seventh high-profile hostage beheaded -- government analysts have been looking for clues in the images about the location of other hostages and the British spokesman called "Jihadi John," who has presented himself as each victim's executioner wielding a notched blade, officials said.
But if Jihadi John did kill any hostages it may not have been on camera, as ISIS would have the public believe, according to the current and former officials familiar with the long investigation of the group's complex kidnapping and ransom operations.
Many analysts and investigators have assessed, based in part on some freed hostages' debriefings and also on intelligence collection, that the seven ISIS killings were likely perpetrated off camera, after hostages were subjected to repeated staged executions before lights and cameras set up in the desert just south of the ISIS stronghold in the city of Raqqa.
The captives may have become conditioned to being returned to their cells after making the terrifying videos, which are not believed to have ever been sent to their families.
"The point was to eventually have compliant hostages on camera," said one counter-terrorism official.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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