Production and Edits of Sotloff’s Video Similar To James Foley’s

Still image from video of Sotloff kneeling next to a masked Islamic State fighter
A video purportedly showing U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff kneeling next to a masked Islamic State fighter holding a knife in an unknown location in this still image from video released by Islamic State September 2, 2014. The Islamic State released a video purporting to show the beheading of Sotloff, a monitoring service said on Tuesday, as the militant group raised the stakes in its confrontation with Washington over U.S. air strikes on its fighters in Iraq.

Islamic State's video of Steven Sotloff's execution has discernible similarities with how James Foley's execution video was presented, experts were one in saying.

The video of Sotloff's execution released on September 2 was presented in the same manner with how Foley's video was.

Both of the videos follow the same narrative or storyline:


A snippet showing US President Barack Obama speaking about foreign policy and its plan of action against the ISIS begins the storytelling. With Sotloff's video, Mr Obama was making a speech as a reaction to the execution of Foley.


Sotloff is then shown kneeling, wearing an orange jumpsuit like the one Foley was wearing. Beside him was a man wearing a black mask and tunic and holding a similar knife with his left hand.

The same distinguishable British accent - described as the same accent used by multi-cultural neighbourhood of London - was used by the masked man.

Sotloff then gave a well-scripted speech attune to what Foley's message was - addressing Obama with reproach.


The beheading of Sotloff then begun but cuts away before the actual moment of death. A footage of his body and decapitated head lay on the desert floor was then followed.

At the end of Foley's video, the then hostage Sotloff was also shown kneeling and held by the collar by the masked man.

In Sotloff's video, a British hostage was presented in the same manner.

Other elements:

The landscape in the background of both videos shows expansive desert view.

Aki Peritz, former CIA Counterterrorism Analyst, however noted that with the Foley's video, dated August 19, Sotloff had shaven head and beard. With Sotloff's video, dated, Sept 2, Sotloff has stubbled hair and beard - this indicates that Sotloff's killing took place days after Foley's, Peritz said.

Peritz highlighted that there are clues that can help investigators to track the masked man whom he believed appeared in both videos.

He underlined that the man has droopy eyes. Also, the man lifts up his boots in a very strange manner. He does not lift them up all the way up. In both videos, he lifts his boots half way.

In Peritz's opinion, the masked man is not the executioner. He said that this can be said after watching the video up to the very end.

At the very end, his hands are clean; his tunic bears not a single splatter of blood.

As horrific as both of the videos were, a forensic consultant interviewed by CNN said that such videos serve as very effective tools for the recruitment of ISIS.

According to the expert, the people persuaded by beheading videos had almost a pornographic attraction to the brutality of the acts shown.

For the ISIS, the videos showcase their being strong, fearless and being more powerful than any authorities or countries that attack them.

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