James Foley (journalist)(Redirected from James Wright Foley)
James Wright Foley (October 18, 1973 – c. August 19, 2014) was an American journalist and video reporter. While working as a freelance war correspondent during the Syrian Civil War, he was abducted on November 22, 2012, in northwestern Syria. He was beheaded in August 2014 purportedly as a response to American airstrikes in Iraq, thus becoming the first American citizen killed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Foley in 2011.
|Born||James Wright Foley
October 18, 1973
Evanston, Illinois, United States
|Died||c. August 19, 2014
|Cause of death||Beheading|
Before he became a journalist, Foley was an instructor for Teach For America. In 2009, he became an embedded journalist with USAID-funded development projects in Iraq, and in 2011 he wrote for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes in Afghanistan, and GlobalPost in Libya. There, he was captured by Gaddafi loyalist forces and held for 44 days. The next year, James Foley was captured in Syria while he was working for Agence France-Presse and GlobalPost.
Foley was born in Evanston, Illinois, the oldest of five children (John Jr., Mark, Katie, Michael) born to Diane and John Foley of Rochester, New Hampshire. He grew up in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, where he attended Kingswood Regional High School. He was raised as a Catholic. He graduated from Marquette University, a private, Jesuit Catholic institution, in 1996, from the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2003, and from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 2008.
Foley began his career as a teacher in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois for Teach For America (TFA). In the mid-2000s he changed careers to journalism. Starting in 2008, Foley worked for USAID-funded 'Tatweer' development projects in Baghdad. He helped organize conferences and training seminars for a program designed to rebuild Iraq's civil service, crippled by decades of isolation and autocratic administration. In 2010, he left Iraq and applied for military embed-journalist accommodation status in Afghanistan to become a freelance journalist. He was an embedded journalist with US troops in Iraq, where his brother was serving as an officer in the United States Air Force. In January 2011, Foley joined Stars and Stripes as a reporter on assignment in Afghanistan. Two months later he was removed from his post after being detained by US military police at Kandahar Air Field on suspicion of possessing and using marijuana. On March 3, 2011, Foley admitted that he had marijuana in his possession and resigned his position.
2011 detention in LibyaEdit
According to media reports, on the morning of April 5, 2011, Foley, fellow American Clare Morgana Gillis, a freelance reporter (Atlantic Monthly, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today), as well as Spanish photographer Manu Brabo, were attacked and captured near Brega, Libya, by forces loyal to Gaddafi; fellow photojournalist Anton Hammerl was killed. When the shooting started, Foley and Gillis both heard Hammerl yell out, "Help!" Foley, Gillis, and Brabo were beaten by the pro-Gaddafi forces and then taken as their prisoners. Foley stated: "Once I saw Anton lying there dead, it was like everything had changed. The whole world has changed. I don't even know that I felt some of the blows." Gillis said, "We all glanced down at him as we were being taken by, and I saw him just lying in a pool of blood. And then we were put into the truck and our heads were pushed down. We weren't able to see anything that happened after that to him."
Foley was released from jail 44 days later. On May 18, Foley, Gillis and Brabo, as well as Nigel Chandler (an English journalist also being held), were brought to the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli after release. Foley returned to Milwaukee to thank the community for praying for his safe return. In an interview, he said, "You go through different emotions when you're in captivity... These weird extreme ideas of where you are based on this capture. You don't want to be defined as that guy who got captured in 2011. I believe front line journalism is important [without it] we can't tell the world how bad it might be." Foley also wrote an article for Marquette Magazine about how rosary prayers helped get him through his captivity. His experience of being captured did not deter him; he quickly returned to Libya, and was at the scene of Muammar Gaddafi's capture with GlobalPost correspondent Tracey Shelton on October 20, 2011.
Kidnapping in Syria, hostage negotiations, and rescue attemptEdit
Foley continued working as a freelancer for GlobalPost and other media outlets like Agence France-Presse during the Syrian Civil War. He was kidnapped by an organized gang after departing from an internet café along with his translator and British journalist John Cantlie, in northwestern Syria on their way to the Turkish border on November 22, 2012. Their taxi driver and Foley's translator were not taken. They were reportedly working on a film depicting Cantlie's abduction and dramatic rescue by four members of the Free Syrian Army in July 2012. An Iraqi media outlet reported Cantlie's alleged death on July 28, 2017.
Sources close to the family said that they believed he was kidnapped by Shabiha militia, a group loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. He was later reportedly held in a Syrian Air Force Intelligence complex in Damascus.
During negotiations from November to December 2013, Foley's captors demanded 100 million euros in ransom (approximately 132 million US dollars) from Foley's family, GlobalPost (his employer), and the US in exchange for his release. The chief executive officer of GlobalPost, Philip Balboni, stated that the company spent millions on efforts to bring Foley home, including hiring an international security firm, Kroll Inc. In September 2013 the firm was able to locate Foley and track his location. He was moved many times during his captivity. Kroll's research led to GlobalPost reporting that Foley was being held in a Damascus prison run by Syrian Air Force Intelligence, along with at least one other Western journalist, possibly Austin Tice.
In June 2014, Danish photojournalist and fellow hostage Daniel Rye Ottosen was released by ISIS, and called the family to recite a memorized message that came to be known as Foley's final letter. In it, Foley addressed members of his family and described his captivity in a cell with seventeen other hostages, who passed the time with improvised strategy games and lectures. The family released the letter on their Facebook page shortly after Foley's death.
In July 2014, US President Barack Obama authorized a "substantial and complex" rescue operation after the US intelligence community said a "broad collection of intelligence" led to believe that the hostages were being held at a specific location in Syria. However, the mission failed because the hostages had been moved. The operation involved special operations forces from multiple branches of the US military, including the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and drones. When Delta Force commandos landed in the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, they were met with gunfire and it became apparent that the hostages had been moved. ISIS suffered numerous casualties while American forces suffered a single minor injury. The operation was only de-classified after Foley's death. It represented the first confirmation of US troops operating on the ground within Syria during the Syrian Civil War.
On August 12, 2014, Foley's parents received an email from his captors taking issue with the US government, saying it had refused to pay ransoms, unlike other governments, refused to negotiate prisoner exchanges, and "had no motivation to deal with the Muslims except through force". The email's authors said they had left the US alone since its "disgraceful defeat in Iraq," but would "avenge" the US bombings, initially with the death of Foley. John Foley, the father of James, said he didn't realize how brutal his captors were. Even after receiving the email, he held out hope his son's release could still be negotiated. The family had reportedly been preparing to break US law by offering to pay a ransom for his release. For being an American, Foley was subjected to many mock executions and regular torture, and beatings during his captivity.
Foley's whereabouts were unknown to most until August 19, 2014, when ISIS uploaded a video to YouTube entitled "A Message to America". Though quickly deleted, it continued to circulate widely on other Internet sites.[note 1] Filmed in several takes, the video starts with Obama's announcing the first U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. It then cuts to Foley kneeling in the desert next to a masked, black-clad ISIS terrorist, and reading a long message expressing regret. After Foley stops, the executioner condemns the U.S. airstrikes and threatens that any aggression by America "will result in the bloodshed of your people."
The actual beheading takes place in less than ten seconds, although the entire recording uses over four-and-a-half minutes. It does not show the actual moment of Foley's decapitation, unlike previous beheading videos, which typically show the entire act. After Foley's beheaded corpse is shown, his executioner reveals that ISIS is holding another American journalist, Time magazine contributor Steven Joel Sotloff, and that he will be killed if President Obama does not halt air strikes against ISIS. A video showing the beheading of Sotloff was released on September 2, 2014.
The video of the Foley beheading was shot at an unknown desert location, and media sources gave the name Jihadi John to the man (later discovered to be Mohammed Emwazi) who made the threats and spoke with a "Multicultural London English" accent. The video was produced and distributed by Al Hayat Media Center, a media outlet of IS that is under the authority of the IS's official propaganda arm, the Al-Itisam Establishment for Media Production, which targets Western and non-Arabic speaking audiences.
Foley's family confirmed his death on August 19. His mother, Diane Foley, posted on the Free James Foley page on Facebook: "We have never been prouder of our son Jim, he gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people".
On August 20, the United States National Security Council confirmed that the video was authentic. An unnamed forensics expert, however, commissioned by The Times (UK) to analyze the video, said, "I think it has been staged. My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped". The Times concluded, "No one is questioning that the photojournalist was beheaded, but camera trickery and slick post-production techniques appear to have been used." Jeff Smith, Associate Director of the CU Denver National Center for Media Forensics said, "What's most interesting is that the actual beheading that takes place in the videos, both of them are staged." Particularly, it was noted that no blood can be seen in the video, even though the knife is drawn across the neck area at least six times.
The US Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into Foley's death, Attorney General Eric Holder announced on August 21: "We will not forget what happened and people will be held accountable, one way or the other". On August 22, fellow hostage Peter Moore, who had been held with Foley before his release, called on their captors to release Foley's body to his family. British analyst Eliot Higgins offered photographic and video forensic evidence that Foley was executed at a spot in the hills south of the Syrian city Raqqa.
In December 2014, ISIS offered to give Foley's headless body to his family in exchange for one million US dollars. The swap would take place at the Turkish-Syrian border, through three Syrian negotiators who demanded the body, with DNA evidence, not be given unless the money is paid first. The negotiators claim the initiative is humane, to help end the family's ordeal. "We seek to gather more information about the subject", said the US State Department; Foley's family did not comment on the story.
In response to the widespread posting, viewing, and commenting on the video depicting Foley's murder, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warned "We would like to remind the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under terrorism legislation." He went on to explain that while viewing the video was technically a crime, his officers would be focused on tracking down those who shared the footage or glorified it. Twitter and YouTube executives also warned objectionable material would be deleted and accounts that posted or spread it blocked.
Pope Francis called Foley's family to express his condolences. Foley's brother said he believed the US government could have done more to save James during hostage negotiations, adding he hoped the government would "take another look at our approach to terrorist and hostage negotiation." On September 12, 2014, Foley's family started the James W. Foley Legacy Fund. Its stated purpose is to build a "resource center for families of American hostages", build a "global dialogue on governmental policies in hostage crises" and "support American journalists reporting from conflict zones." It also states a purpose of promoting "quality educational opportunities for urban youth." Former students and colleagues from Lowell elementary (where he taught for three years) have since started a scholarship in his name.
On August 22, 2014, Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a sculpture depicting the face of Foley, made of four tons of sand on the beach of Puri city in the eastern province of Odisha. The sculpture, with a message reading "Don't kill innocents!", drew a sizeable crowd on the beach.
The Boston-based GlobalPost, for which Foley had been a contributor, released a statement saying, "While we continue to send staff correspondents to Syria, we no longer accept freelance work from that war zone." Agence France-Presse (AFP) also released a statement saying that it would "no longer accept work from freelance journalists who travel to places where we ourselves would not venture."
- 2014 American Intervention in Syria
- 2014 ISIL beheading incidents
- Austin Tice
- Daniel Pearl
- Foreign hostages in Iraq
- Islamist beheading
- Kenneth Bigley
- Nick Berg
- John Cantlie
- Steven Sotloff
- The Beatles, terrorist cell of ISIL that held Foley and eventually beheaded him
- Mohammed Emwazi, Kuwaiti-British terrorist who beheaded Foley
- A copy of the YouTube video that was posted to LiveLeak was deleted by that site out of concerns of promoting ISIS. A copy of the video that was posted to the shock site BestGore.com on August 19 has remained available. The video has also been available on LiveLeak, via Bittorrent, and tracked by sites such as The Pirate Bay. The legality of viewing or sharing this document in Britain has been questioned.
- Alyssa Newcomb (August 20, 2014). "Another American hostage threatened with death". CBS News. World News. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "James Wright Foley Obituary". Fosters. September 16, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014 – via Legacy.com.
- "James W. Foley". Foleyfund.wpengine.com.
- Hoai-Tran Bui (August 20, 2014). "Foley set out to record 'most dangerous things'". USA Today. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Marquard, Bryan; Sampson, Zachary T. (August 21, 2014). "James Foley, exemplar of bravery to many, dies at 40". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Levitz, Jennifer (August 20, 2014). "In Fear and Violence, Slain U.S. Journalist Found Humanity". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Reston, Maeve (August 20, 2014). "Slain journalist James Foley's hometown in New Hampshire grieves". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Johnson, Annysa; Barton, Gina (August 20, 2014). "Islamic militants execute journalist, MU grad James Foley". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Lederman, Diane (August 20, 2014). "James Foley, journalist reportedly slain by ISIS, is UMass-Amherst graduate". The Republican. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Carter, Chelsea J. (August 20, 2014). "Video shows ISIS beheading U.S. journalist James Foley". CNN.
- "Profile: James Foley, US journalist beheaded by Islamic State". BBC News. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Tatweer Project: Quarterly Progress Report October-December 2008" (PDF). USAID/Tatweer Project. January 31, 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Devoss, David (September 1, 2014). "James Foley, 1973-2014". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Stars and Stripes reporter resigns after admitting to drug possession in Afghanistan". Stars and Stripes. March 3, 2013.
- Anderson, Wayne (August 20, 2014). "Remembering James Foley". The Anderson Report. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Before Killing James Foley, ISIS Demanded Ransom From U.S". The New York Times. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- Harris, Elizabeth A. (April 7, 2011). "Four Foreign Journalists Held in Libya". New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Begley, Patrick (August 20, 2014). "James Foley describes his capture in Libya". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- McGeehan, Patrick (May 19, 2011). "Missing Photographer in Libya Is Presumed Dead". New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
- "Photographer Anton Hammerl 'killed by Libyan troops'". BBC News. May 20, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- Conway, Brendan (December 6, 2011). "Video: Man Held Captive In Libya Thanks Marquette University". WISN 12 News (Milwaukee, WI). Archived from the original on December 8, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
- Sater, Terry (August 19, 2014). "Kidnapped journalist James Foley reportedly killed". WISN-TV. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- James Foley (May 27, 2011). "Global Post journalist James Foley talks about being captured in Libya". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- "Faith, prayer sources of strength for slain U.S. journalist, his family". Catholic News Service. August 20, 2014. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Foley, James. "Phone call home". Marquette Magazine. Marquette University. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- "Foley beheading video followed prior threat". GlobalPost. August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- "Foley beheading video shocks the world, Obama says". BBC News. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Seibel, Mark; Prothero, Mitchell (September 18, 2014). "British hostage John Cantlie, seized by Islamic State with James Foley, appears in new video". McClatchyDC. Archived from the original on September 24, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- "American journalist likely being held by Syrian government". Salon. May 3, 2013.
- Meek, James Gordon; Schwartz, Rhonda (September 18, 2014). "Missing British Hostage John Cantlie Surfaces Alive in New ISIS Video". ABC News. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
- Guru-Murthy, Krishnan (August 5, 2012). "British photographer freed by FSA". Channel 4.
- News Desk (July 28, 2017). "British journalist held hostage by ISIL reported dead in Mosul: Iraqi media". Al Masdar News. AMN - Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- Nickisch, Curt (May 3, 2013). "N.H. Family: Missing Journalist James Foley In Syrian Prison". Boston: WBUR-FM. NPR. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Kelley, Michael B. (August 20, 2014). "One Big Question Surrounds The Murder Of US Journalist James Foley By ISIS". Business Insider. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Cassandra Vinograd and Erin McClam (August 21, 2014). "ISIS Demanded $132 Million for Release of Journalist James Foley". NBC News. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- "Report: ISIS Demanded $132 Million Ransom For James Foley's Release". CBS. Washington D.C. AP. August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Harkin, James (May 1, 2014). "Evaporated in Syria". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- "GlobalPost CEO Shares Details Of Fight To Save James Foley". National Public Radio. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Sampson, Zachary T. (August 20, 2014). "Militants sent e-mails to James Foley's family, GlobalPost CEO says". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- "James Foley's last message to his family: 'I am going to need your help to reclaim my life.'". Washington Post. 2014-08-25. (includes original letter)
- Julia Pace (August 20, 2014). "Officials: US rescue mission in Syria failed". Yahoo! News. AP. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Ackerman, Spencer (August 21, 2014). "US reveals failed special forces rescue mission within Syria". The Guardian. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- Oliver Holmes and Jason Szep (August 23, 2014). "U.S. hostage rescuers dropped from night sky, Syria activist says". Yahoo! News. Reuters. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- "had no motivation to deal with the Muslims except through force". GlobalPost. August 21, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
- Gordon Rayner (2014-09-04). "British hostage 'was tortured during first months of his captivity'". The Telegraph.
- Cook, James (August 22, 2014). "ISIS banned from controversial video site LiveLeak after James Foley execution video". Business Insider.
- McTreblar (August 19, 2014). "Islamic State Executes Journalist James Foley". Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- Halliday, Josh (August 20, 2014). "Police warn sharing James Foley killing video is a crime". The Guardian.
- Foley execution footage 'may have been staged', au.news.yahoo.com.
- Rukmini Callimachi (August 19, 2014). "Militant Group Says It Killed American Journalist in Syria". New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "IS Beheads Captured American James Wright Foley, Threatens to Execute Steven Joel Sotloff". SITE Intelligence Group/Jihadist News. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2014. This account gives a complete written transcription of the entire video.
- Becker, Olivia (July 12, 2014). "ISIS Has a Really Slick and Sophisticated Media Department". Vice News.
- Parts of James Foley execution video may have been acted: experts, theaustralian.com.au.
- Wilner, Michael (September 2, 2014). "Islamic State claims murder of Jewish-American journalist in latest beheading video". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Nick Allen and Philip Sherwell (August 20, 2014). "Hunt for 'British' Islamic State killer of US journalist James Foley". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Rise of "Jihadi John"". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Christoph Günther (August 20, 2014). "Der 'Islamische Staat' agiert hochgradig rational". Deutsche Welle.
- "New ISIS Media Company Addresses English, German And French-Speaking Westerners". The MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor by The Middle East Media Research Institute. June 23, 2014.
- Rik Steves (August 19, 2014). "American killed in Syria a journalist at heart". Yahoo! News. AP. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Lerman, David (August 19, 2014). "Islamic Extremist Video Shows Beheading of U.S. Reporter". Bloomberg News. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Video of U.S. journalists is authentic: NSC". Yahoo! News. Reuters. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "James Foley execution video staged: experts". The Australian. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Deborah Haynes (August 25, 2014). "Foley video with Briton was staged, experts say". The Times. Archived from the original on August 28, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
- "Media Forensics Experts Analyzing ISIS Video In Denver". CBS Denver. September 3, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- S.A. Miller. "Justice Department investigating terrorist killing of James Foley". Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
- Lincolnshire Echo (2014-08-22). "James Foley's body must be returned to his family, says freed Lincoln Iraq hostage Peter Moore". Lincolnshire Echo.
- Higgins, Elliot (August 23, 2014). "The Hills of Raqqa – Geolocating the James Foley Video". Bellingcat. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- "Exécution de James Foley : la traque de "Jihadi John" est lancée" (in French). France 24. August 25, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Burnett, Erin (August 25, 2014). "Is this where James Foley was killed?". OutFront. CNN. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- "Former ISIS hostage identifies Foley executioner". HearsayCentral. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
- Evans, Martin. "Viewing or sharing beheading video could be a criminal offence, police warn". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on September 10, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- "Pope Francis Calls Slain Journalist James Foley's Family". NBC News. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Katie Couric and Liz Goodwin (August 22, 2014). "James Foley's brother: The US could have done more for Jim". Yahoo! News. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- "James W. Foley Legacy Fund Launched". jamesfoleyfund.org. September 12, 2014. Archived from the original on September 12, 2014.
- "James Foley scholarship, Marquette University" Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- "Foley's parents say his Marquette experience sparked his life's mission". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
- "Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik condemns murder of US journalist in Iraq". Business Standard. August 22, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Bender, Bryan (August 28, 2014). "Perils abound for freelance reporters in hot spots". Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Taibi, Catherine (September 18, 2014). "AFP Says It Will No Longer Accept Work From Journalists Who Travel To Syria". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- "Sting / Empty Chair / Irving Plaza Fan Club show 11.09.2016 (4:41)". YouTube. 9 November 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2016.