WASHINGTON — Journalist James Foley’s jihadist captors sent his family a taunting and rambling email threatening to kill him, just a week before making public a video of his execution, the American reporter’s employer said Thursday.
GlobalPost said it released the full text of the email from Islamic State (IS) militants “in the interest of transparency and to fully tell Jim’s story.
“We believe the text offers insight into the motivations and tactics of the Islamic State,” it added.
Following is the full text of the letter:
HOW LONG WILL THE SHEEP FOLLOW THE BLIND SHEPPARD?
A message to the American government and their sheep like citizens:
We have left you alone since your disgraceful defeat in Iraq. We did not interfere in your country or attack your citizens while they were safe in their homes despite our capability to do so!
As for the scum of your society who are held prisoner by us, THEY DARED TO ENTER THE LION’S DEN AND WHERE EATEN!
You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted,
We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi, however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in.
You have no motivation to deal with the Muslims except with the language of force, a language you were given in “Arabic translation” when you attempted to occupy the land of Iraq!
Now you return to bomb the Muslims of Iraq once again, this time resorting to Arial attacks and “proxy armies”, all the while cowardly shying away from a face-to-face confrontation!
Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS ALIKE! AND WE WILL NOT STOP UNTILL WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD.
You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours!
You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings!
The first of which being the blood of the American citizen, James Foley!
He will be executed as a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us!
The release comes after the GlobalPost told AFP that Foley’s captors had demanded a ransom of 100 million euros — $132 million — for his release.
The email claims that “other governments” had accepted “cash transactions” for the release of hostages and says that the militants had offered prisoner exchanges for Foley’s freedom, naming Aafia Siddiqui, the scientist jailed for 86 years for attempting to murder US military officers.
IS, which has marauded across large areas of Iraq in recent months, on Tuesday published a video showing one of its members beheading Foley.
Foley, a photojournalist, was reporting from Syria for GlobalPost and other outlets, including AFP, when he was abducted in November 2012.
Prior to disclosing the email, GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni said the captors made contact with GlobalPost and the Foley family fewer than a half-dozen times, and “the kidnappers never really negotiated” over their huge sum, but simply made their demand.
“We never took the 100 million [euro] figure seriously,” Balboni told CNN.
The US government opposes paying such ransoms, arguing that it only encourages more hostage-taking.
“We do not make concessions to terrorists. That includes: We do not pay ransoms,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Thursday.
Such payouts, she added, would only serve to “fund and finance exactly the groups (whose capabilities) we are trying to degrade.”
Balboni referred to the release of several European hostages by the extremist group earlier this year, likely upon payment of ransoms that were “dramatically less” than what the group sought for Foley.
The family and GlobalPost were seeking to raise money “in the range” of the amount paid for the other hostages, Balboni added, without mentioning a dollar amount.
Harf referenced the other countries’ ransom payments to the group, saying that, in 2014 alone, they amounted to millions of dollars, although she too did not provide a figure.
And she stressed that the US government “does not have contact with ISIL.”
Balboni said he and the family provided all information about their search for Foley and their contact with his captors to authorities at the FBI and State Department.
After initial messages and the ransom demand, he said, the line of communication with the jihadists went cold until August 13, when they sent the terrifying message telling the Foleys that their son would be killed.
The Pentagon revealed Wednesday that US special forces were sent into Syria earlier this year to try to rescue American hostages but they came up empty-handed as the captives were not at the targeted location.
“This operation was a flawless operation, but the hostages were not there,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters.