Pilot Moaz al – Kasasbeh seconds before being burnt alive
The release of a shocking 22 minute video from Islamic State, Al Furqan Media showing captured Jordanian pilot Moath al- Kasasbeh being burnt alive outdid the previous decapitation videos in terms of horror. It is only days since the release of an IS video featuring the decapitation of another hostage Japanese journalist Kenji Goto after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to pay a ransom, see following link,
Journalist Rob Crilly of the Telegraph summed it up tweeting, “ISIS knows Western news values. Jordanian pilot beheaded wouldn’t get so many headlines and tweets as Jordanian pilot burned to death.”
Sajida al Rashawi, Jordanian prisoner, attempts to free her failed (image Independent)
Al- Kasasbeh (26) was on a mission against IS when his plane came down near Raqqa, Syria in December 2014 resulting in his capture by members of the group. Attempts had been made by the government of Jordan to secure the pilot’s release agreeing to free an Iraqi woman Sajida al Rashawi who was implicated in a hotel bombing in Amman, Jordan, though she failed to detonate her explosives. Officials wanted proof al- Kasasbeh was still alive however Jordanian state TV said he was believed to have been killed about a month ago so the deal could not go ahead.
According to the International New York Times Al-Kasasbeh who has is married had intended to go to medical school in Russia but instead “saw a notice in a Jordanian newspaper inviting candidates to see if they qualified for the air force, and, on a lark, Lieutenant Kasasbeh applied for what would be a prestigious position.”
The IS video in Arabic, an astonishing example of the “theatre of terrorism” is entitled, ‘Healing the Believers’ Chests’ looks very professional and is filmed to a high standard. The video illustrates Jordan’s role attacking Syria and shows graphics of what appear to be sorties by F16 and F15 fighter jets over Syria and makes references to GBU lazer guided bombs as al Kasasbeh delivers a commentary. He appears to have bruising under his left eye and left side of his neck. The flag of the US and of coalition forces (referred to as the crusader coalition) appear on the screen. A number of airbases are also shown. There are graphics of aerial snipers, drones, satellites and spies as well as references to Israel, Gaza and Masjid al Aqsa. There is also footage of bombings of urban areas, a burning bus and a crying baby receiving medical treatment. Targets are shown from the pilot’s viewpoint as he/she releases missiles. There are a number of images of badly burnt children which get worse as the shots progress.
Al Kasasbeh walking to his death
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, al- Kasasbeh is then seen walking through rubble past a row of armed men faces covered, wearing desert camouflage outfits. This is interspersed with footage of people that appear to have been buried by masonry after bombing. He looks around seeming bewildered, as if trying to take in what is happening and what might be his fate. The camera uses different angles to convey the scene as if viewing from the eyes of the prisoner.
The next shot shows al- Kasasbeh standing in a cage head down, his jumpsuit is wet appearing to be doused in a liquid. The camera moves to a unlit torch… after slow panning, there is a series of very quick shots (blink and you miss) as if al- Kasasbeh is suddenly aware of his fate and momentarily grabbing the bars. The long torch is lit by “Emir Ahmed” igniting a trail to the cage. There is the sound of religious nasheed (chanting). The prisoner is seen to raise his hands perhaps to pray as he is engulfed in flames. Al- Kasasbeh leaps around in agony trying to shield himself from a ferocious fire. His body bounces off the bars until overcome he falls to his knees, blackened and face dripping like wax. Finally he falls over backwards and rocks are poured on to the cage while he remains inside. The cage is then bulldosed. The closing shot of this part of the video is a burnt hand just visible between the rocks.
Following footage of al- Kasasbeh’s horrific death, photos of the ID’s of 12 more “crusader” pilots are shown with the sign “wanted dead” and reference to their addresses with the following statement,
IS appears to have copied the drone operators and F16 and F15 pilots in their actions, those that used the might of their machines on civilians to incinerate them in Iraq and Syria. Human rights activists are sadly only too familiar with seeing footage of babies blackened and smouldering with heads several feet away from tiny bodies.
While there was fierce religious debates on social media over Islamic rulings, the simple fact is western governments have burnt many civilians alive which is evident in videos sent from conflict zones to campaigners on a daily basis. Incredibly, many in the west seem to think incinerating people and decapitating children is acceptable as long as it is done by governments.
Professor Fouzi Slisli, Minnesota, who is often seen in the media commenting on Middle-East affairs stated, “Assad burns people too on an industrial scale but no one cares. The world is only outraged when ISIS kills or burns an individual…”
Former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg tweeted, “I understand bombing sorties by necessity incinerate and decimate but burning a prisoner alive and claiming its Islamic is an unprecedented low.”
There was huge anger and condemnation of the actions of IS from Mamdouh al-Ameri, spokesman for the Jordanian armed forces, who was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying, ‘while the military forces mourn the martyr, they emphasize his blood will not be shed in vain. The revenge will be as big as the calamity that has hit Jordan.” The family of the pilot have now been informed of his death. A announcement came soon after that Jordan will execute Sajida Al Rishawi on Wednesday, 6 more prisoners linked to IS are to follow. There were protests on the streets with opinions split between wanting revenge against IS and not wanting to be involved in a Coalition which could have more devastating consequences.
President Barack Obama stated that the video was “just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organisation.” Perhaps Obama should be reminded that the US napalmed huge swathes of the Vietnamese countryside incinerating all in its path. Who could forget the disturbing image of a naked child running along a road which shocked America, clothes burnt off her back. Obama also gives financial support to Israel which has caused terrible injuries to children in its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
“Napalm girl” 9-year-old Kim Phuc, Vietnam, 1972 (image, Huynh Cong Ut)
Palestinian Younas Arar, wrote on Facebook,
Can anyone tell me whats the difference between Da’esh (ISIS) who burned to death the Jordanian pilot Kasasbah and the Zionist occupation colonists who burned to death the 15 years old Palestinian Mohamad Abu Khdair last year and / or the Zionist occupation forces who bombed (burned) last summer Palestinian residential areas in Gaza and killed 2200 citizens including 530 children in 51 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, 4 February 2015.
The first pic taken in Gaza last summer, the second two pics of the Jordanian pilot yesterday.” (see below)
US supplies material support to Israel, horrific injuries to a baby in Gaza (image via Younas Arrar)
Moath al- Kasasbeh burnt alive
As another Facebook user (name withheld) said,
“If you think that ISIS burning a man alive and burying him is evil…cast your mind back over the last 10 years of Israeli offensive of Gaza or perhaps the genocide of Iraq at the hands of the US et al.
Don’t talk to me about extremists that were groomed in a US torture chamber, when you have not said a word of what the West has done.”
Child with Napalm-like burns, Syria (still Panorama)
Back in August 2013, the Independent recorded that the BBC documentary programme Panorama reported that a napalm like substance had been used on a school playground in Northern Syria. The following excerpts are from the article,
“Eye witnesses described how a jet had passed the school in Aleppo numerous times, as if it was searching for a target, before it dropped the bomb.
At least 10 children were killed and many more were injured, according to the report from Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway.
A large number of those who survived had burns to more than 50 per cent of their bodies, meaning that they were more likely than not to die as well.
Both adults and children were filmed arriving at a basic hospital, with their clothes burned from their bodies and their skin coated in a white substance which the BBC said suggested the bomb contained something like napalm or thermite.”
The schoolmaster who did not wish to be identified described the attack as “horrific” and gave the following comment,
“there were dead people, people burning and people running away, but where to? Where would they go? It is not safe anywhere. That is the fate of the Syrian people.”
Full article can be read on the following link,
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.