By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter10:00PM BST 02 Sep 2014
A Briton will be the next hostage murdered by Islamist terrorists, the British extremist known as “Jihadi John” threatened on Tuesday as he beheaded a second American journalist and announced “I’m back”.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) carried out its threat to murder Steven Sotloff, the US citizen who was shown last month in the video of the murder of his fellow American, James Foley.
Just as Mr Sotloff appeared as the next potential victim at the end of the Foley video, the British hostage, wearing a Guantánamo Bay-style jumpsuit, is shown on his knees as the latest video draws to a close.
In a clear message to David Cameron, the British terrorist says: “We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone.”
The killer does not refer to the Briton by name, but his name is shown on screen as a signal of Isil’s intent that he is the next intended victim.
Steven Sotloff ‘beheaded by Islamic State’ – as it happened 02 Sep 2014
British hostage was left behind in failed US rescue attempt 02 Sep 2014
Jihadists appear caught offguard by release of Steven Sotloff video 02 Sep 2014
Sotloff beheading will arouse righteous anger of US public 02 Sep 2014
Steven Sotloff apparently murdered despite his mother’s plea to Islamic State for mercy 02 Sep 2014
Where does the Islamic State’s fetish with beheading people come from? 02 Sep 2014
In a horrific carbon copy of the murder of Mr Foley, Mr Sotloff was made to read a statement condemning America’s foreign policy in Iraq before his decapitated body is shown on screen.
Mr Cameron said: “If verified, this is a despicable and barbaric murder. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Sotloff’s family and friends tonight as they deal with this appalling and tragic situation.
“As I have said consistently over the last few weeks, Isil terrorists speak for no religion. They threaten Syrians, Iraqis, Americans and British people alike and make no distinction between Muslims, Christians or any other faith.
“We have already been working hard to keep British people safe and we will continue to do all we can to protect our country and our people from these barbaric terrorists.”
The Briton was abducted in March last year near the Atmeh refugee camp on the Turkish border with the northern Syrian province of Idlib.
Mr Cameron has been regularly briefed on attempts to free the British hostage, and Whitehall sources have told The Daily Telegraph that a failed attempt by US special forces this summer to free 40-year-old Mr Foley was also intended to free the Briton, among others.
Still from video which shows the beheading of American journalist James Foley
The Prime Minister said that he would lead a meeting of the Cabinet’s emergency Cobra committee this morning “to review these latest developments”.
The British hostage, whose identity has not been formally confirmed by the Foreign Office, is a father in his mid-40s who works in logistics.
The Foreign Office said the man’s family, who live in Scotland, had been informed. Members of his family, including his brother, were on their way to his parents’ home to comfort them.
A relation would only say last night: “We’re not allowed to say anything.”
The new video will intensify pressure on MI6, Scotland Yard and the FBI to identify the British jihadist, who has a deep voice and a London accent.
He appears in both films and is assumed to be the murderer of both Mr Sotloff and Mr Foley. He is thought to be one of more than 500 Britons who have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with Islamist terrorist groups.
There were fears last night that the British hostage could already be dead, after sources in the US suggested that the Sotloff and Foley murders may have been carried out at the same time.
Both videos appear to have been filmed in the same location, and unnamed US government sources quoted by the Wall Street Journal said some officials believe that Mr Sotloff was killed immediately after Mr Foley, whose death was made public on Aug 19.
After beheading James Foley, a masked jihadist is filmed holding Steven Joel Sotloff, another captive reporter
The same source suggested that the British hostage could also have been killed at the same time, with the videos released weeks apart to increase their impact.
Around 20 other Western hostages remain unaccounted for.
In the latest video, titled A Second Message to America, the jihadist who is nicknamed John by hostages, as one of four British kidnappers known as The Beatles, stands by Mr Sotloff’s side, holding a knife in his left hand.
He addresses Barack Obama directly, saying that the US president was to blame for Mr Sotloff’s beheading because of his “insistence on continuing your bombings … despite our serious warnings”.
Mr Sotloff, a 31-year-old freelance journalist from Florida who was kidnapped last year, says in the video: “I am Steven Joel Sotloff. I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing before you. And now this time for my message.
“Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for the preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life? Am I not an American citizen?
“You’ve spent billions of US taxpayers’ dollars and we’ve lost thousands of our troops in our previous fighting against the Islamic State, so where is the people’s interest in reigniting this war?
“From what little I know about foreign policy, I remember a time you could not win an election without promising to bring our troops back home from Iraq and Afghanistan and to close down Guantánamo.
“Here you are now, Obama, nearing the end of your term, and having achieved none of the above, and deceivingly marching us, the American people, in the blazing fire.”
The killer says: “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings … despite our serious warnings.
“Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”
Mr Sotloff’s mother recorded a video after the death of Mr Foley pleading with the terror group for her son’s release.
A spokesman for the Sotloff family said last night: “The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately.”
The video appeared within days of US air strikes around the Iraqi town of Amirli that helped break a two-month siege by Isil on the area.
Jihadi John mentions US air strikes on the Mosul Dam, which helped break an earlier Isil siege.
Jen Psaki, a spokesman for the US State Department, said that the US was “sickened by this brutal act”, adding: “Our hearts go out to the Sotloff family”.
By Joseph R. Carducci
September 2, 2014
When Obama flippantly dismissed ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as a ‘JV’ team recently, he was basically giving us the business yet again. After all, it was already becoming clear to anyone following the situation that this terror group was more than a bunch of bumbling militants without a game plan or any financial backing.
Now there is actual evidence that Obama had been receiving information about the growing threat of ISIS on an almost daily basis for more than a full year. This was reported by Catherine Herridge of Fox News. Her source also described these daily briefings as very detailed and that the intelligence on ISIS’ capabilities and potential was “exquisite.” Furthermore, this official (who has asked not to be identified) also said there was no way that Obama and his White House was ‘blindsided’ by the rise of ISIS and that the Regime was even offered a number of strategic chances to hit ISIS targets. Each time, Obama declined or failed to respond.
Yet, our own Muslim in Chief wants to claim that ISIS became a force and threat only after an unexpected collapse of the Iraqi military. Even if that were true, had our wonderful leader obtained a status of forces agreement, we still may have been able to avoid this or cut down ISIS before it did become a real threat.
Allies Begin to Worry Over Obama’s Lack of Leadership
Once again, we are seeing that our leader is really just as incompetent and weak as ever. This fact alone should start to have our allies worried about the ability of the US to continue leading, not to mention our almost total abdication of global engagement.
“What’s unique about our times is the nature of threats—suicidal, homicidal, genocidal terrorists, well armed and organized, seeking the destruction of the United States. The other difference: the lack of Western leadership, starting with the president himself…You could almost hear the eyes rolling in his Cabinet, not to mention in European capitals, where potential partners are gathering this week in a crisis-packed summit with Obama. In the Washington Post on Monday, veteran reporters Karen DeYoung and Dan Baltz wrote that allies are ‘waiting to see whether Obama has the capacity to chart a clear, decisive course.’
Americans are waiting, too. Instead of clarity, we get condescending lectures, like the one Obama gave rich supporters about a messy world and social media. Rather than decisiveness, the White House stalls with defensive spin, such as this gem from senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer: ‘There’s no timetable for solving these problems that’s going to meet the cable-news cycle.’ As if the enemy is CNN, and not ISIS, which has proved to be more nimble and quick than Obama. The White House public relations staff must think Americans are pretty dumb. How else do you explain the way chief spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri defended Obama for playing golf immediately after an address about the slaughter of journalist James Foley?”
Most Incompetent President Ever?
It would have been hard to imagine a president this incompetent before Obama. Honestly, he has lied to the public ever since taking office. Actually, if you include his ObamaCare statements, he has been lying to us since well before taking office. And now, he can’t even admit that he knew ISIS was a growing threat for as much as one year before he made his idiotic JV statement. Once again, we are seeing our lovely president doing whatever he can to weaken our once-great nation. It’s getting so bad that even a number of powerful Democrats now question Obama’s actions and foreign policy decisions.
What do YOU think? If Obama has been receiving daily briefings on ISIS for more than a year, what does that mean, given that he still has no strategy? How about the fact that he has been lying to us, saying that this terror group is nothing to worry about? Why does he want to continue weakening the US…what is his end game?
White House Correspondent
White House spokesman Josh Earnest used his Sept. 2 press conference to prepare President Barack Obama’s escape pod from his sinking project to amnesty millions of illegals.
Obama’s departure preparations have already demoralized the top-level advocates for greater immigration who have helped Obama’s push for amnesty.
A group of five despondent advocates, including Frank Sharry, the director of America’s Voice, and Charles Kamasaki, a vice president of a main Latino ethnic group, La Raza, were seen leaving a Sept. 2 White House meeting. When asked about the meeting, the five declined to detail who they met, or what they were told at the meeting.
However, said Sharry, “as usual, our long-term prospects are good.”
In June, Obama promised the leaders during a White House meeting that he would implement a major unilateral action before the end of summer.
That action would have used Obama’s power over agency administrators to award work-permits to several million illegals, despite the public’s strong opposition to illegal immigrants, to foreign workers and to amnesty, amid a depressed economy.
Last week, Obama and press secretary Earnest started to back away from the deadline, even as he insisted that Obama was determined to someday take action.
Today, Earnest repeatedly refused to acknowledge the end of summer deadline.
Note to State Department flack Jen Psaki: Don’t mess with Fox News correspondent James Rosen.
During a press briefing at the State Department Tuesday, Rosen artfully guided Psaki into revealing the Obama administration’s contradictory policy in dealing with the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS): while the administration is using the War Powers Resolution to strike ISIS in Iraq, it refuses to say we are actually at war with the group.
See below the transcript of Rosen’s back and forth with Psaki:
Rosen: What is the legal authority under which President Obama has launched the more than 100 air strikes that you just referenced?
Psaki: In Iraq? Well, the Iraqi government has invited the United States in to help them address this threat and that’s the legal authority.
Rosen: And he has reported to Congress on this subject, has he not?
Rosen: Under the aegis of what statute?
Psaki: He does War Powers Acts every time there’s a need to notify Congress.
Rosen: So we have a commander in chief that launched more than 100 air strikes at a given enemy who is reporting to the Congress under the aegis of the War Powers Act. Who is watching our people beheaded by this enemy, but who for some reason feels queasy about saying that we are in fact at war with this enemy?
Psaki: James, I think — I’m not going to put new words into the mouth of the President of the United States. My point is that his actions to authorize these strikes, his effort to send Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, any resource we have in the United States to lead the building of a coalition speak to his commitment to his commitment to taking on this threat. And of course we want to see ISIL destroyed, but that is not an overnight effort.
Supposed terror threat belied by government’s refusal to secure nation’s porous southern border
by INFOWARS.COM | SEPTEMBER 2, 2014
The threat posed by jihadist Islamic State terrorists towards America is belied by the fact that the federal government has done little to secure the nation’s porous southern border.
For months several politicians speculated that terrorists could exploit holes in the border which scores of illegal aliens from other countries were easily bypassing, but a report by government watchdog group Judicial Watch demonstrated the threat was not to be taken lightly.
Prior to James O’Keefe crossing the border wearing an Osama Bin Laden mask, Infowars reporters traveling to El Paso, Texas, witnessed first hand (above) how the border is virtually unguarded and basically runs on an honor system.
A month later, Infowars went to Hereford, Arizona, where reporter Joe Biggs demonstrated how gaps between large barricades could effortlessly be exploited.
If the Obama administration is genuinely concerned with an ISIS threat, wouldn’t it make sense for them to beef up security at the nation’s most regularly penetrated entryway?
Egypt set for military intervention as Libya spirals toward failed state
BY: Bill Gertz
September 2, 2014 4:55 pm
Islamist militias in Libya took control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners last month, and western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa.
Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.
“There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing,” said one official. “We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.”
The official said the aircraft are a serious counterterrorism concern because reports of terrorist control over the Libyan airliners come three weeks before the 13th anniversary of 9/11 attacks and the second anniversary of the Libyan terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the Benghazi attack, which the Obama administration initially said was the result of a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Muslim video.
A senior State Department counterterrorism official declined to comment on reports of the stolen jetliners.
A second State department official sought to downplay the reports. “We can’t confirm that,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials said Egyptian military forces appear to be preparing to intervene in Libya to prevent the country from becoming a failed state run by terrorists, many with ties to al Qaeda.
Libya remains an oil-rich state and if the country is taken over completely by Islamist extremists, U.S. counterterrorism officials believe it will become another terrorist safe haven in the region.
The officials said U.S. intelligence agencies have not confirmed the aircraft theft following the takeover of Tripoli International Airport in late August, and are attempting to locate all aircraft owned by two Libyan state-owned airline companies, as security in the country continued to deteriorate amid fighting between Islamists and anti-Islamist militias.
Video surfaced on Sunday showing armed fighters from the Islamist militia group Libyan Dawn partying inside a captured U.S. diplomatic compound in Tripoli. The footage showed one fighter diving into a pool from a second-story balcony at the facility.
Tripoli airport and at least seven aircraft were reported damaged during fighting that began in July. Photos of the airport in the aftermath showed a number of damaged aircraft. The airport has been closed since mid-July.
The state-owned Libyan Airlines fleet until this summer included 14 passenger and cargo jetliners, including seven Airbus 320s, one Airbus 330, two French ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, and four Bombardier CJR-900s. Libyan state-owned Afriqiyah Airways fleet is made up of 13 aircraft, including three Airbus 319s, seven Airbus 320s, two Airbus 330s, and one Airbus 340.
The aircraft were reportedly taken in late August following the takeover of Tripoli International Airport, located about 20 miles south of the capital, by Libyan Dawn.
Al Jazeera television reported in late August that western intelligence reports had warned of terror threats to the region from 11 stolen commercial jets.
In response, Tunisia stopped flights from other Libyan airports at Tripoli, Sirte, and Misrata over concerns that jets from those airports could be on suicide missions.
Egypt’s government also halted flights to and from Libya.
Military forces in North Africa, including those from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt have been placed on heightened alert as a result of intelligence warning of the stolen aircraft.
Egyptian military jets reportedly have conducted strikes inside Libya against Libyan Dawn positions recently, and U.S. officials said there are signs a larger Egyptian military incursion is being planned.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi was quoted as denying Egyptian air strikes into Libya have taken place but suggested that military action is being considered.
Secretary of State John Kerry last week told his Egyptian counterpart that the United States would speed up the delivery of Apache attack helicopters, although it is not clear the Apaches would be used in any Libyan operations.
Egypt’s military-backed government appears to be seeking a more significant role in regional security after the Obama administration helped engineer the ouster of Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi in 2011. Since then, the Obama administration, through its announced policy of “leading from behind,” has stood by while Libya gradually has spiraled into chaos.
The Libyan government announced Sunday that it no longer controlled the capital of Tripoli.
“We announce that the majority of the ministries, institutions, and associations in the capital Tripoli are no longer under its control,” a government statement said.
Libya’s parliament in August declared both Ansar al Sharia and Libyan Dawn as terrorist organizations working to overthrow the government.
Ansar al Sharia, which is based in Benghazi, recently publicized on social media that it has obtained large numbers of more sophisticated weapons, including SA-6 surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, assault rifles, and armored vehicles. The group is closely aligned with al Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria.
Abderrahmane Mekkaoui, a Moroccan military expert, told Al Jazeera television, which first reported the airline theft Aug. 21, the alert regarding the stolen jetliners was preventive and covers the region from Cairo to Lagos Nigeria.
Mekkaoui said the jets being held by the Libyan group called Masked Men Brigade that was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in December.
The Masked Men Brigade is linked to al Qaeda and Ansar al Sharia—the group behind the Benghazi terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2012.
Until the Libya Dawn takeover of the airport, announced Aug. 24, two other militia groups, known as Al Qaqa and Al Sawa controlled the airport and all aircraft belonging to Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways.
Mekkaoui said “credible intelligence” reports given to states in the region indicated the Masked Men Brigade “is plotting to use the planes in attacks on a Maghreb state” on the 9/11 anniversary.
Counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka said that if the theft is confirmed, the stolen aircraft could be used in at least two ways.
“The first would be how commercial airliners were used on Sept. 11, 2001, literally turning an innocent mode of mass transit into a super-high precision guided missile of immense potency,” said Gorka, who holds the Maj. Gen. Charles Horner chair at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va.
“The second tactic could be to use the airframe with its civilian markings as a tool of deception to insert a full payload of armed terrorists into a locale that otherwise is always open to commercial carriers,” he said.
Michael Rubin, a counterterrorism specialist with the American Enterprise Institute, said commercial jetliners in the hands of terrorists could be formidable weapons.
“Who needs ballistic missiles when you have passenger planes? Even empty, but loaded up with fuel they can be as devastating,” Rubin said.
“Each plane could, if deployed by terrorists to maximum devastating effect, represent 1,000 civilian casualties.”
Among the potential targets are urban areas and economic targets, like Saudi Arabia’s oil fields.
“Anyone who has ever flown over Saudi Arabia at night can see refineries like Yanbu lit up like Christmas trees against the blackness of the desert,” Rubin said. “One Saudi security officer once told me that they would only have about 90 seconds to shoot down a hijacked plane from the time it left international airspace to impact in one of the region’s most important refineries.”
Rubin said in 2003 a Boeing 727 went missing in Africa fueling concerns about a terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi.
“What is striking is that more than a decade later, the United States hasn’t taken the need to safeguard what are effectively giant guided missiles seriously,” he said.
A former Libyan general, Khalifa Haftar, has been leading anti-Islamist forces. His group has access to Libyan air force MiG jets that have conducted strikes on Libyan Dawn positions in recent days. Haftar also has conducted military raids in Benghazi.
The United Nations Security Council on Aug. 27 announced plans for new sanctions on Libyan militias and terrorists. In a resolution the U.N. warned of the “growing presence of al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups and individuals operating in Libya.”