It's amazing what can be learned from a YouTube!
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
James Foley's ISIS executioner has British accent
The British killer who beheaded journalist James Foley was being hunted last night as U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the Islamic terrorists behind the murder as a “cancer” that had massacred innocents.
“From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread,” he said.
There has to be a clear rejection of this nihilistic ideology
“There has to be a clear rejection of this kind of nihilistic ideology.”
American and British intelligence agents believe clues contained in the video of Mr. Foley’s murder will reveal both the killer’s identity and location.
Despite being deliberately filmed in a barren, featureless landscape, with the man wearing a hood, the four-minute film has a wealth of information, including his voice, height and the fact he is left-handed, a trait shared by only 10% of people.
The sophisticated video, uploaded to YouTube by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), was shot using high-quality equipment, which will also play into investigators’ hands because of the clarity of the image and the killer’s voice.
Elizabeth McClelland, a forensic voice and speech analyst who is regularly called as an expert witness in British courts, said the knifeman appeared to have a South London accent and spoke English as his first language, with the possible influence of Farsi, which could suggest a family link to Afghanistan.
“The MI5 experts may use a computer program to narrow down their search, comparing the voice in the video to voices they already have on file. But a computer can’t pick out an exact match, that still relies on the trained human ear, because there is no such thing as a unique ’voice print,’ ” she said.
“The analysts will listen to the tone or timbre of the voice, the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, the duration of each syllable as well as the accent and use of grammar.”
Security sources warned it was possible the voice was dubbed onto the video, which could mean the man heard speaking is not the man seen in the video.
Using 40-year-old victim’s known height as a guide, the experts will be able to work out his killer’s height. His slim body shape and the colour of his skin — which suggests he is black or of Asian origin — will further help to narrow their search.
Even his beige desert boots may enhance their knowledge of where he has been.
Weapons experts will be asked to identify the distinctive commando knife and the gun he holds in a leather holster over his left shoulder to work out where they were bought. Other analysts will use the topography of the landscape in the video to try to identify the location.
Intelligence agents on both sides of the Atlantic are also following up reports the killer is “John” from London, ringleader of a group of British jihadis who specialize in hostage taking.
Based in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, “John” is described as well-educated, intelligent and highly committed. Because he works closely with two other British-born militants, fellow jihadists have nicknamed them “The Beatles.”
In his speech, Mr. Obama did not go into specifics on military strategy or mention the group’s threat to behead a second American journalist if U.S. air strikes targeting ISIS in Iraq continued.
But he sounded at times as if the U.S. was already at war.
“The United States will continue to do what we must do to protect our people,” he said. “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”
The U.S. president said he had spoken to Mr. Foley’s family and told them “we are all heartbroken at their loss and join them in honouring Jim and all that he did.”
He contrasted Mr. Foley’s life as a journalist who “courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings” with killers and their “bankrupt” ideology.
“They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practise a different religion …
“They may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbours and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision.”
The Pentagon said U.S. aircraft had conducted another 14 strikes near the Mosul Dam against ISIS targets. It is also weighing a request from the State Department to send up to 300 more troops to Iraq.