SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)
This is a controversial subject for anyone who’s willing to discuss the topic. The two most prevalent theories are both horrifying. Either an insurgent group in the Middle East is capturing and beheading civilians, or an allied intelligence agency staged the beheadings in order to gain support for a war.
Frequent readers that are aware of my personal belief that the US is attempting to manufacture consent for a full-scale Syrian war will probably be surprised by my conclusion. Understand that it is not even debatable whether the US is waging a full-scale propaganda war to obtain the support necessary to oust Assad. I believe this with the same intensity that I believe the sky is blue. It isn’t theory; it’s fact. However, that does not mean that every piece of propaganda used was independently created by western intelligence.
The largest problem with the intelligence agency faked theory is that it doesn’t pass the logic test. Let’s assume for the moment that the US government wanted to drum up support for a war in Syria. Would they be above murdering a few journalists to achieve their goal? Of course not. Their own documents demonstrate very clearly that the US government is prepared to inflict US casualties in order to precipitate war. The Northwoods documents clearly show that US is willing to stage mortar attacks, killing US Marines in order to cause a war. The Department of Defense is willing to kill its own troops; do you really think that the government would suddenly become squeamish at the thought of killing a few journalists?
That theory, if followed through, implies that the US government is prepared to start a war that will kill hundreds of thousands of people, but all of sudden becomes weak-kneed when it is time to kill some nosy reporter. So instead, the US government, with an unlimited budget, hires the worst green screen team in the US to stage the video. All for the purposes of making a video that will be questioned because it isn’t the same as the other Middle Eastern insurgent videos. When you spell the whole theory out, it has some pretty large holes.
But what about all of the anomalies in the video?
This is where it gets interesting. While I have no proof of green screen use, it seems the most likely possibility. Some experts believe the beheading video was in fact staged, but that the beheadings did indeed take place off camera. There is a slim chance that when using a cheap camera with a high number of megapixels in extreme heat that a halo will develop around items with high contrast (such as a man dressed in all black against a distant desert), but the green screen theory seems most likely.
If the idea of the US intelligence services using a green screen seems illogical, what about the insurgents?
Is there a logical reason for the insurgents to use a green screen?
ISIS has good cause for using a green screen. The whole purpose of a green scene is to make the viewer believe that those on film are in a different location. Kidnapping people tends to cause governments to look for your hideout. If a green screen is used to mask the location of the kidnappers, they are more secure than they would be if they filmed the beheading against the wall of whatever building that they happen to be hiding in. That building might be somehow identified by someone and give away their location.
Does ISIS have the technological capabilities to run a green screen?
Yes. It is the most tech-savvy group the US has encountered. They publish a magazine that rivals any mainstream press in the US, and they recently released a 55-minute propaganda video that clearly demonstrates the production quality that the Jihadists are capable of.
After determining the fact that ISIS has good reason to make the video in such a manner and the skill set to do it, it is time to address some of the other reasons people believe the murders never happened.
The English-speaking Arab: It is extremely common for wealthy Arabs to receive their higher education in the United Kingdom or the United States. It is also well-known that ISIS has had their ranks filled with British and American extremists. An English-speaking Arab should be expected. US propaganda in the region is distributed in Arabic, not English. This is just good Public Relations.
Editing the brutality: To the Western mind, a beheading is an insanely brutal act meant to intimidate, and you can only intimidate by showing the gory details. The issue here is that in the Middle East, it isn’t anything special to behead someone. It is the most common method of execution alongside stoning. The brutality was edited most likely because the insurgents learned from Israel’s recent experience with civilian casualties in Gaza. Remember their goal is to intimidate, not infuriate. They want to keep the United States out of the fight, not provoke it to enter the war.
Clouds and wind: The clouds seem to be in different spots at the same time. The answer is simple, multiple cameras and multiple takes outside, or a green screen. The lack of wind is either an extremely calm outdoor area, or it was filmed on a green screen.
The calm of the captives: Mock executions are common for hostages. Day in and day out the prisoner is told that today is the day he will die. Eventually it causes them not to care if they live or die; they just want the wondering to end. More importantly, it makes the prisoner more docile and more willing to comply with script reading because they have read it over and over again and they are still alive. It is possible that the hostages believed this to be another mock execution until the blade cut their throat.
No blood: In at least one video, the knife doesn’t cut the hostage’s neck when it drags across his throat, and then the video cuts away. If you were staging a beheading and the knife you chose, or more likely the person you chose couldn’t cut the throat of the victim, you would edit it too.
Two Knives: Backing up the theory above, one knife is used in the propaganda portion of the video and a different knife is seen next to the decapitated bodies. It is likely that the propaganda portion occurred at different times, possibly by different people.
Skin tones: The heads have different skin coloration than the bodies. This has led to the belief that maybe they are mannequins. Imagine you were moving a prisoner around the United States. Would he be more noticeable if he was dressed as an Arab? Of course, he would draw more attention. Conversely, if you wanted to move a prisoner around the Middle East, you would dress him in Arab garb to make him blend in. Traditional Arab clothing covers men everywhere except for their faces. It is completely logical for the faces to have more coloration than the bodies.
Family’s microfacial expressions during interview: A video was produced attempting to cast the family members of Foley as liars because of a certain smile, known in microfacial studies as a “Duping Delight.” A Duping Delight is made after the speaker believes their lie has been accepted by the person they are telling it to. Of course, the problem is that Foley’s sister wasn’t the one speaking when she made the expression, so it is highly unlikely that the smile was anything more than just an uncomfortable smile. After she speaks, the smile is lopsided and uneven. An uneven smile is a sign that it is forced, which means she isn’t happy. This lends credibility to her, it doesn’t detract from it. Foley’s brother makes a one-sided “Shoulder Shrug” when talking about the victim’s first captivity. The “Shoulder Shrug” can be indicative of a lie, if it is incongruent with speaker’s words. Foley’s brother’s next words were “He was… I think… I don’t know.” The shrug was natural and fitting with his speech and since it was not incongruent, it was not indicative of a lie. Sometimes a one-sided shoulder shrug means the subject is lying, and sometimes it means they are uncertain about their information.
Katie Foley is Alex Israel: A number of sites are insisting that Katie Foley is, in fact, Alex Israel, who was a friend of Adam Lanza. Adam Lanza was the Sandy Hook school shooter. Admittedly the women look similar, but for it to be the same person, the teeth, gum lines, cheekbones, and chin would have all had to have been changed. In a desperate attempt to hold on to theory, some are even suggesting plastic surgery. Alex Israel is still around so she must have had the surgery to change her back to her former self. Wouldn’t it make more sense that they simply aren’t the same people? After all, just a little preliminary digging shows that Alex Israel was the editor of the yearbook at Newtown High School. That’s a long time to work to establish a cover identity. Katie Foley was in nursing school at the time.
With all of the information available, it seems that the most likely scenario is that the ISIS insurgents did in fact behead the journalists and that the incident is genuine. This doesn’t mean that the United States is not attempting to manufacture a war. This does not mean that somebody is dumb for questioning the official story. This just means that for once, the government had it right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
I tried to address the main fuel for the intelligence agency theory, I’m sure there will be questions. Feel free to ask. Understand that I thought about this and looked into this for as long as I did because it is completely plausible that the government would lie about something along these lines. Please run each piece of the puzzle through the theory that ISIS used a green screen to help conceal their location before asking though. I imagine that will answer most questions.