ISIS Beheading Video Took Up To 6hrs. To Film; $200K/Produce; Reveals Clues To Jihad John’s Identity
John Hall, writing on the December 8, 2014 online edition of London’s TheDailyMailOnline, that “fresh details have emerged about last month’s sickening filmed beheading of 22 Syrian soldiers by a group of international killers fighting for the Islamic State. Operational details, such as the expense of the professionally produced and edited footage, how long the film took to shoot; and, exactly where it was filmed — were uncovered by British and American researchers, who spent weeks extracting clues from the 16-minute long video clip.”
“The propaganda video, titled “Though The Unbelievers Despise It,” was known to have been filmed in the religiously symbolic town of Dabiq in North West, Syria; and, also showed the severed head of captive American aid worker Peter Kassig, who was apparently murdered off screen,” Mr. Hall wrote.
“However,” writes Mr. Hall, “experts from TRAC (Terrorism Research And Analysis Consortium) ; and, U.K.-based counter-extremism think-tank — Quilliam — believe they have pinpointed the exact stretch of desert in which the savage murders took place.”
“They also raise a number of questions about why non-speaking militants are seen wearing microphones, why some militants are filmed at the start of the video; but, not later; and, bring to light new evidence suggesting ISIS ‘killer-in-chief’ Jihad John — may have been played by a body double.”
How The Video Was Shot
“According to joint research, carried out by TRAC and Quilliam, and published by CNN, “events leading to ISIS ‘horrific’ beheading of 22 Syrian soldiers were filmed over a four to six hour period,” TheDailyMail noted. “Close analysis of shadows and the direction of sunlight suggests that scenes that appear to have been shot without pause — were in fact broken up and filmed over a number of hours. This is likely to have been in order to re-shoot scenes if, for example, one of the murderers made a mistake in the heavily choreographed sequences captured before the murders actually take place. The experts believe the 16-minute long video would have cost ISIS approximately $200,000 to produce, such was the sophistication of the editing equipment required; and, the quality of the HD-cameras needed to produce such a slick and professional piece of propaganda.”
“Despite the money spent, basic continuity errors have crept into the film,” Mr. Hall wrote, “including militants and prisoners standing in a different order — in apparently successive scenes. The frame-by-frame analysis also revealed several moments where ISIS militants are seen in the background of the clip standing around and talking — apparently killing time before being called to take part in group filming.”
Mystery Still Surrounds Identity Of Killers
“Other than the killer known only as Jihad John, all of the ISIS militants who appear in the murder video are seen with their faces uncovered, making no attempt whatsoever to conceal their identity,” The Daily Mail Online noted. “Despite this,” the publication wrote, “only one of the terrorists featured has been formally identified — 22yr, old Frenchman Maxime Hauchard, who friends have described as a mild-mannered, former Catholic who used to sell scooter parts in Normandy, until his conversion to Islam at age 17. Although the names of a second Frenchman, Michael Dos Santos, and Belgian national Abdelmajid Gharmaoui have been put forward as other suspected executioners, official confirmation has not been given by either government.” “In fact,” the publication notes, “the mayor of Vilvorde, the town where Gharmaoui lived before traveling to Syria in 2012, said “Gharmaoui is not at all in the video,” adding that claims to the contrary are “completely wrong.” “We don’t recognize anyone in Vilvorde in it,” Hans Bonte said. “I can be sure 99 percent that no one from Vilvorde is in it,” he added.
“Another name put forward as a suspect,” Mr. Hall wrote, “was Cardiff medical student turned Islamic State militant Nasser Muthana. However, video experts ruled that although the man in the clip resembles Muthana, there are subtle facial differences suggest they are not the same person. Meanwhile,” TheDailyMailOnline notes, “Kurdish sources familiar with the movement of ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq also identified one of the men as a Filipino national.”
Was Jihadi John A Body-Double?
“Within minutes of the Syrian solder murder video being released,” the DailyMailOnline writes, “experts began questioning whether the ‘Jihadi John’ who appears in the footage is the same person as the militant who savagely cut off the head of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff; and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning. These questions were largely raised by reports that the militant had been seriously injured, or perhaps even killed by an American airstrike only days before the footage was shot,” the publication said. TRAC and Quilliam’s research has suggested another clue backing up their claims that more than one person may be playing the role of ‘Jihadi John.’ In one, split-second scene, the experts have identified a second man wearing Jihadi John’s distinctive black mask; and, matching uniform — standing in the background of a sequence in which ISIS’s executioner in chief — is also clearly pictured.”
“One theory,” Mr. Hall writes, “with the terror group’s leadership the prime target for American-led coalition drone and airstrikes, several men may be pretending to be the militant in the hope of creating a few moments of confusion that could help save the real Jihadi John’s life.”
The Exact Location Of The Video Shoot – Identified As Desert Road In Northern Dabiq
“The exact location of the film has now been confirmed as the same stretch of desert running parallel to a road in the north of the town, that had previously been identified as the location by an anti-ISIS activist group, “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.”
According to Mr. Hall, “the resistance group produced a map to show the location in the northern suburbs of the small; but, highly symbolic Syrian town of Dabiq, north of Aleppo.” “The ISIS video,” he adds, “featuring the brutal filmed murder of Syrian soldiers was shot in Dabqi — an area of increasing symbolic importance to Islamic State terrorists. ISIS militants identify Dabiq “as the first step towards ushering in the Apocalypse. A key feature of this prophecy involves attracting the ‘infidel horde’ into Dabiq for a huge ground battle.”
Hopefully, we will oblige the Islamic State — just not in they way they choose or prefer; but, on our terms. V/R, RCP