The Arabic version of Aljazeera, the Doha-based broadcaster funded by the House of Thani in Qatar, has joined the growing chorus questioning the beheading of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
The news channel says the videos are “unconvincing” and Foley and Sotloff are actors right out of “Hollywood” casting. It believes the videos were produced as a pretext ahead of a U.S. invasion of Syria.
“Perhaps the first thing that draws the attention of the viewer” in the first beheading video is that “Foley was playing the role of champion not the victim only, for he recites a lengthy statement in peerless theatrical performance, and it seems from tracking the movement of his eyes that he was reading a text from an autocue,” Aljazeera reports.
The news network poses questions similar to those asked by Infowars.com and other alternative news sites soon after the video appeared. For instance, a clue the video was staged is the lack of blood when Foley and Sotloff supposedly have their throats cut by a masked jihadist. The “knife being moved on the neck of the victim six times triggered no blood,” Aljazeera notes.
Moreover, neither of the supposed victims display fear despite the fact they are about to have their heads sawed off.
“It also raised questions over how Foley, who was kidnapped since 2012, reached the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Even more, it raised doubts over the identity of the executed man, claiming that he does not look like Foley,” reports Al Arabiya News.
“It quoted unidentified ‘activists’ as claiming that Foley had previously worked for the U.S. Department of State and that he might have had links with intelligence, ‘which could mean that he colluded in the fabrication of the tape.’”
Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned pan-Arab television news channel, questions why the report criticizing the alleged beheading videos only appears in Arabic. It notes “there was no translation or mention of the article which doubts of Foley and Sotloff found on Al Jazeera English website.”
Al Arabiya quotes a Lebanon-based media specialist and commentator who tries to prove a negative in order to claim the beheadings in fact occurred.
“If, as he claims, it’s all staged, can he prove that without a shadow of a doubt? Does he have tangible proof it didn’t happen, or is he just rehashing others’ suspicions? In a court of law, one would need solid data, not just circumstantial evidence. Were there witnesses?” Abu-Fadil said, casting doubt on the Aljazeera writer who posted the report.