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A Deeper Looker Behind Beheadings

Knia Frank |
January 25, 2015 | 10:23 p.m. PST

Web Producer

ISIL distributed videos of Japanese hostage, Kenji Goto Jogo, holding a picture of Haruna Yukawa, a hostage allegedly beheaded by ISIL on Saturday. 

The U.S. National Security Council responded to Friday’s video in a statement that said, “the intelligence community is working to confirm its authenticity,” according to The Daily Beast. While countries have taken the hostage situations very seriously in the past, there seems to be a little more skepticism about what is seen in the videos and what has actually occurred. 

Japanese hostages Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa held by ISIL (AP Photo/file).
Japanese hostages Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa held by ISIL (AP Photo/file).

For over a decade now, Americans have been exposed to videos made by extremists, some including demands and others showcasing beheadings of American citizens such as, American freelance journalist James Foley, who was captured by ISIL in 2012.There are skeptics who believe the footage of his beheading is staged on camera as discussed in this New York Daily News article. 

READ MORE: Pentagon Briefs Nation On ISIL Strikes

Whether the propaganda videos and recording of the beheadings are ethical or not, they go viral on news sites and social media, which creates a platform for extremists and their agendas. 

An increase in access to laptops, editing software and the Internet has made global communication much easier and effective, especially for rebel groups.  A Slate article discusses how rebel groups are able to incorporate more of the western culture in their videos with “action-style cuts”, hip-hop music, and even the use of English. With the theatrical touches and the level ofproduction behind the videos, it could be possible that viewers are not actually seeing what they think they are. 

Some militants on an Islamic website are even having their doubts about the legitimacy of the newest propaganda video, according to a article posted on the New York Post website. A militant posted on the site that they noticed that the video didn’t originate from al-Furquan, “a media arm of the Islamic State group” who published beheadings and other videos in the past.

However, extremists are not the only groups to partake in deceitful propaganda. In 2010 former Army Intelligence Officer Jeff Stein wrote in a blog published on the Washington Post website about how the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group entertained ideas of depicting Saddam Hussein having sex with a teenage boy in order to weaken Saddam’s following. One of the ideas was actually filmed using CIA employees, but the project was never completed. 

With more propaganda videos likely to follow the release of Saturday’s, countries must decide whether validity will be a determining factor in how they decide to respond.

Reach Knia Frank here. Follow her on Twitter here.

Related Articles:

New York Times Describes Beheading Video of Japanese Hostage

Watch Leaked Video of Saudi Beheadings on CNN Website   



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