That Steven Sotloff is Jewish isn’t exactly a secret. But what many media titles this morning have glossed over is that he studied at Tel Aviv’s Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC) before beginning his career. Located on the same campus at the core of of IDCs philosophy is the International Institute for Counter Terrorism. Its links to Mossad are well known. The Slog tries to join up some dots.
Having watched the second ‘beheading’ video and looked into Mr Sotloff’s background, my aim – as with James Foley’s apparent execution – is to offer key observations that I find significant:
There is no blood at all in this video. This time the ‘assailant’ isn’t even seen attacking his victim. There is no headless body seen at the end. The voice is identical to the first video.
Some excerpts from around the Web so far today: ‘A video has been released today showing the gruesome murder of Steven Sotloff‘ (The Mirror – it shows no such thing). ‘The killing of Sotloff ‘disgusting and despicable’ (David Cameron – this film offers zero evidence that he is dead). ‘A video that shows the beheading of American Steven Sotloff (CNN – it doesn’t show anything). ‘Sotloff family watched grisly video of Sotloff’s death’. (NBC – well then, they didn’t watch the one I did).
Youtube has blocked all copies of the video. Google is not showing any relevant results for ‘watch Sotloff beheading video’. Once again, senior politicians and most news anchors are advising against any viewing, on the grounds of it being ‘gruesome’, ‘gorey’, ‘disgusting’ or ‘disturbing’. Wikipedia already has an entry on him confirming his death.
Assumptions are being routinely presented as facts.
As with the Foley video, Mr Sotloff betrays no signs of fear whatsoever.
He may well simply be a very brave man, but the apparent calm of both ‘victims’ is, to say the least, odd.
As with James Foley (see last Slogpost about him) facts in Sotloff’s background cast doubt on the ‘innocent journalist just doing his job’ line.
He worked in Egypt, Turkey and Bahrain for the Christian Science Monitor….a tiny niche outfit favoured strongly for agent and story placement by the CIA. He then went on to work for Time Magazine – the definitive CIA-linked publication whose close association with the Agency goes back to Allen Dulles in the 1950s.
Before that he worked for The National Interest – a far-right conservative magazine. It’s latest editorial opines that ‘The Obama administration’s dispatch of a few hundred U.S. military personnel [to Iraq] although they will be serving legitimate purposes, is probably best understood as a response to the pressure to do something. It was the minimum military measure the administration could get away with without incurring intense accusations of doing nothing.’
Earlier this year, Time Magazine co-sponsored, and gave extensive coverage to, The National Interest’s highly critical seminar on ‘pussy-footing’ US foreign policy.
Steven Sotloff would appear to have come from the same stable as James Foley, in terms of the commonality of links involved. Like Foley’s TGP employer Charles M. Sennott, he has also been remarkably lucky on being ‘on the spot’ to ‘report’ events that remain in doubt as to the motives and catalysts involved. For example, having gone to Yemen to become fluent in Arabic, Sotloff was in on the start of Egypt’s ‘Arab Spring’. And astonishingly, he just happened to be near the Benghazi compound when the US base there was stormed…resulting in the death of Ambassador Stevens. This last event has been riddled with ‘false flag’ accusations from Day One.
Steven Sotloff isn’t just Jewish – he is connected to right-wing Israeli centres, which are in turn closely linked to Mossad.
Some time before learning Arabic in the Yemen, Mr Sotloff studied at Tel Aviv’s Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya (IDC) before beginning his career. Located on the same campus at the core of of IDCs philosophy is the International Institute for Counter Terrorism (IICT). Its links to Mossad are far from covert.
Efraim Halevy, the former Director of Mossad, is a regular speaker at both the IICT and the IDC. The IICT liaises with Mossad specifically in relation to ‘Targeted Killings’ of jihadists and Hamas leaders.
In his Wikipedia entry, the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya is listed as Steven Sotloff’s almer mater.
Here again, as with James Foley, we are left with multiple potential interpretations:
1. As suggested in The Slog’s Foley piece, ISIS is simply letting the CIA/Mossad axis know they are on their case, are identifying their agents….and will wipe them out if necessary.
2. The repeat of last week’s “far too gruesome to watch” smokescreen and virtual blackout on social media suggest that the West is not keen for people to examine the video. The further attempt to ratchet up the jingoism is illustrated by an almost universal reportage of ‘the beheading’ of the victim. Nothing in the video shows or even suggests this, other than the ‘assailant’s’ threat. All this might suggest a black arts op by intelligence agencies.
3. Having been knocked back by the electorates on Syrian involvement, the West is now softening them up in readiness for a new entry into Iraq. (A US poll this morning shows the percentage in favour of military action by the US is up from 43% to 72%).
4. Having failed to tempt the West into further ‘attacks on Islam’, ISIS is upping the ante. (But this wouldn’t explain the news blackout by Western MSM titles and sites).
Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to make a few things clear.
First, the brutal beheading of anyone is barbaric, unacceptable and tragic beyond description. Second, this piece is in no way intended to cause any harm or pain to the Foley family. Third, I don’t have any proof that James Foley was involved in covert intelligence work for the U.S. government.
All that being said, I do think it is important people understand he worked under USAID in Iraq only three years before he was abducted in Syria. As such, I believe the question as to whether or not he was more than just a journalist is a reasonable one to ask.
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Writing in the Weekly Standard yesterday, David Devoss wrote the following about James Foley:
In the end, Jim Foley died just as he wanted to live, pursuing a story that mattered on the front line of hard news journalism. In Afghanistan, Libya, and finally Syria he recorded the horror, chaos, and occasional compassion that define the war on terror. But it was his gruesome killing on the barren sands of a foreign land that truly conveys the evil that envelops the Islamic Caliphate’s hooded assassins.
I got to know Jim Foley in 2009 when both of us worked on USAID-funded development projects in Baghdad. A former Teach for America instructor, Foley helped organize conferences and training seminars for a program designed to rebuild Iraq’s civil service, crippled by decades of isolation and autocratic administration.
Wikipedia notes the following:
Before journalism, 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 military newspaper Stars and Stripes in Afghanistan, and GlobalPost in Libya, where he was captured by Gaddafi loyalist forces and held for 44 days. When he was captured in Syria the following year, he was working for Agence France-Presse and GlobalPost.
This guy has a resume that reads more like a James Bond film script than that of a journalist with a teaching background. He works for USAID in 2009 in Iraq, then he finds himself kidnapped in Libya two years later by Gaddafi forces. Then, after all of this, he finds himself captured in Syria, only to be beheaded two years later by ISIS (the terror organization funded by our ally Saudi Arabia).
While all these assignments to areas of intense geopolitical interest to the U.S., as well as his being captured twice in two years is interesting in its own right, what is particularly interesting is his connection to USAID. Why? Because the so-called human rights organization has been exposed as an intelligence front on several occasions within the past year alone.
In April, I highlighted the fact that the U.S. government had covertly created a “Cuban Twitter” called ZunZuneo in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban regime. The post was titled: Conspiracy Fact – How the U.S. Government Covertly Invented a “Cuban Twitter” to Create Revolution, and in it I noted:
In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a U.S. government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government.
McSpedon didn’t work for the CIA. This was a program paid for and run by the U.S. Agency for International Development, best known for overseeing billions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid.
Most recently, I composed a post titled: U.S. Government Caught Using Humanitarian HIV Program as a Front to Foster Cuban Dissent, in which I noted that:
According to internal documents obtained by the AP and interviews in six countries, USAID’s young operatives posed as tourists, visited college campuses and used a ruse that could undermine USAID’s credibility in critical health work around the world: An HIV-prevention workshop one called the “perfect excuse” to recruit political activists, according to a report by Murillo’s group. For all the risks, some travelers were paid as little as $5.41 an hour.
All of this should make us question whether or not James Foley was more than just a journalist. Was he knowingly working as a covert intelligence operative? If so, how many other journalists and people in other professions are actually in the paid service of U.S. intelligence agencies? While his beheading is tragic no matter what, these questions need answers in any country claiming to be free.
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