Forensics Team: Foley Beheading Video Staged

Visual forensics experts say execution actually happened off camera

An international forensic science company is convinced that the video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley at the hands ISIS militants was staged. The video, the team believes, was manipulated using post-production techniques to make it appear as if Foley was executed on camera, when in fact he was executed while the camera was off.

The UK Times commissioned the forensics team (which asked to remain anonymous) to study the film. Their conclusion: the video was almost certainly manipulated.  

“I think it has been staged,” one visual forensics expert told the UK Times. “My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped.” summarizes the rationale behind the team’s findings:

Firstly, no blood can be seen, even though the knife is drawn across the neck area at least six times. Secondly, sounds allegedly made by Foley do not appear consistent with what may be expected.

The forensic analysis expert said that no incision could be seen on Foley’s neck, though the right hand of the jihadist partially blocked the shot.

While the forensics company, which asked to remain anonymous, did not reach a definitive answer they did conclude that at some point an execution of Foley did take place.

ISIS militants have consistently implemented higher level video production elements in their propaganda to heighten its impact, a trend noted by experts such as Aymenn al-Tamimi, a fellow at the Middle East Forum think-tank.