With the family's encouragement, GlobalPost, the online newspaper where American journalist James Foley was employed before he was kidnapped in Syria in 2012, released the full contents of the email that ISIS sent to the Foley family on August 14, 2014, one week before Foley's murder.
According to the CEO of GlobalPost, it was the last of six emails, in which ISIS made no demands, but began with a question -- 'HOW LONG WILL THE SHEEP FOLLOW THE BLIND SHEPPARD?' -- and concluded with the threat to kill their son, which ISIS called 'a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us.'
The GlobalPost article notes that the email contains some inaccurate facts, including ISIS's accusation that the Foley family was given many chances to negotiate.
'After more than a year without contact, the Foleys received their first message from Jim's captors on Nov. 26, 2013, asking for money, fast,' GlobalPost said.
The next time the family heard from ISIS was the Aug. 14th email below.
[Warning: The contents of this email may be extremely upsetting.]
HOW LONG WILL THE SHEEP FOLLOW THE BLIND SHEPPARD?
A message to the American government and their sheep like citizens:
We have left you alone since your disgraceful defeat in Iraq. We did not interfere in your country or attack your citizens while they were safe in their homes despite our capability to do so!
As for the scum of your society who are held prisoner by us, THEY DARED TO ENTER THE LION'S DEN AND WHERE EATEN!
You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted,
We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi, however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in.
You have no motivation to deal with the Muslims except with the language of force, a language you were given in "Arabic translation" when you attempted to occupy the land of Iraq!
Now you return to bomb the Muslims of Iraq once again, this time resorting to Arial attacks and "proxy armies", all the while cowardly shying away from a face-to-face confrontation!
Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS ALIKE! AND WE WILL NOT STOP UNTILL WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD.
You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours!
You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings!
The first of which being the blood of the American citizen, James Foley!
He will be executed as a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us!
The murder, filmed and released online Tuesday, has shocked the world, and has also laid bare the debate about the US stance towards paying ransom to terrorists.
'The United States government believes very strongly that paying ransom to terrorists gives them a tool in the form of financing that helps them propagate what they're doing,' the State Department's deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said. 'And so we believe very strongly that we don't do that, for that reason.'
The murder has also surfaced the truth that hundreds of Americans are among the roughly 12,000 fighters backing Islamic state's terror reign, leaving the U.S. concerned over 'the inability of Western governments to stop these individuals from returning home radicalized and ready to strike.'
'Some have both the intention and some capability to attack the United States homeland... we're doing all we can to understand the outflow of foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq, many of them with Western passports,' Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the outgoing director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the National Journal.
Despite ISIS's threat to kill a second American hostage, believed to be journalist Steven Sotloff, the killing is reportedly doing little to stop U.S. airstrikes on Iraq, who are using the attacks to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces regain control of certain territories, including Mosul Dam, in Iraq.
According to the Defense Department, six airstrikes hit ISIS positions Thursday -- 90 airstrikes in total since August 8, which have helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces push back ISIS militants.
During a news briefing Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel relayed the gravity of the situation.
'They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess,' Hagel said.
"...This is beyond anything we have seen, and we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely hard look at it and get ready.'
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'It's not worth your life,' James Foley says while speaking at former journalism school in 2011
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