ISIS operatives in Syria and Iraq have been accused of brutally torturing their hostages before executing them, reportedly in retaliation for U.S. involvement in the region. ISIS rebels control large areas of Iraq and Syria, in their attempt to re-establish the Muslin caliphate. ISIS operatives have beheaded at least four Westerners in an attempt to limit involvement of Western governments in the push to impose Sharia law on all Sunni Muslims. It has been reported that Western hostages were tortured before they were executed, and this fact has not been publicly noted, for fear of reprisal.
It was reported in August by the Washington Post that hostage James Foley was tortured and brutalized in the days and weeks prior to his execution. He was reportedly water-boarded repeatedly before his execution on Aug. 19. The CIA has been accused of using this torture technique to extract information from captives previously. This unnamed source of the Washington Post article indicated that the ISIS operatives used Mr. Foley as a guinea pig, repeatedly water-boarding him and using him for practice, to learn the proper CIA technique.
Belgian National and former Islamic convert Jejoen Bontinck reportedly spent several weeks of his captivity in the same cell with Foley. He indicated that Foley was tortured by being chained to a bar by his feet, and was hung “upside down from the ceiling” during his captivity. Waterboarding is one of the most common forms of torture due to ease of material access, and the resulting quick acquiesce to the torturers’ demands. This torture mimics drowning, and the brutal torture is only a prelude to execution.
Steven Sotloff, an ISIS hostage and an Israeli-American journalist, was reportedly tortured numerous times by ISIS operatives before he was executed by beheading, receiving multiple mock executions and instances of waterboarding at the hands of his ISIS captors, similar to the treatment Khalid Sheik Mohammed – mastermind of the 9/11 attacks – received at the hands of the CIA at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Khalid Sheik Mohammed reportedly was water-boarded over 180 times, according to the Justice Department. Additionally, he was said to have endured numerous mock executions, another brutal torture technique.
British National David Haines was also brutally tortured and beaten by his ISIS captors before being beheaded. Haines appeared in the video of the execution of Steven Sotloff. He had been working in Syria for a humanitarian aid group named ACTED, when he was abducted in March 2013 by anti-government rebels fighting the Syrian regime, and later sold to ISIS rebels. He was executed on Sept.13 by his ISIS captors.
Alan Henning, like Haines, was a British National and an aid worker trying to provide humanitarian relief to war-torn northern Syria, when he was abducted by ISIS rebels in the city of Al-Dana. He was brutally tortured and then executed like the other three, by beheading. Mind control is another method of torture used by these Islamic State operatives. Allowing the hostages to see other hostages gain their freedom, giving them hope they too would be freed someday, if only they could provide the answers that the captors were seeking.
Many of the people were held hostage for ransom, a ploy by the rebel group to procure funding for their terror organization. It has been reported that a Russian hostage – Sergey Gorbunov – was executed as punishment for the government of Russia’s refusal to pay his captors ransom money.
ISIS operatives have brutally tortured and executed numerous Western hostages in the battle to create their Islamic State. The have also tortured many Syrian, Lebanese and Kurdish soldiers as well, in an effort to force Sharia law on all Sunni Muslims.
By Jim Donahue