Why Did ISIS Really Kill James Foley? For Money

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


ISIS-leader

Kidnapping is a big cash business for many terrorist groups. Westerners are the most lucrative kidnapping targets.

According to a June 2014 statement by Treasury undersecretary David S. Cohen, ransom payments are now second only to state sponsorship as a source of revenue for terrorist organizations, implying that kidnapping for profit is ahead of even private contributions, bank robbery, and other forms of fundraising.

Kidnapping was a crucial early source of funding as ISIS scaled up its operations in 2013, and the group has had some success in ransoming foreign prisoners. It released two Spanish journalists after receiving an undisclosed sum in March of 2014, and there’s evidence that ISIS was looking for smaller payoffs, too. In a recent article in the Arabic-language newspaper Al Hayat translated by Al Monitor, a former ISIS prisoner recounted his jailers demanding $100,000 apiece for the freedom of two ethnic Armenians held in a prison in northeastern Syria.

In April of 2014, a McClatchy report cited anonymous European intelligence agents who claimed the gas-rich Gulf emirate had helped broker the release of ISIS-held foreign hostages on three occasions. The same report said that the agents believe Qatar was the unnamed Persian Gulf country that had helped broker a “sizable payment” that secured the April release of four French journalists whom the group had been holding captive.

And ISIS did indeed want to cash in on Foley.

The group pressed the United States to provide a multimillion-dollar ransom for his release, according to a representative of his family and a former hostage held alongside him. The United States — unlike several European countries that have funneled millions to the terror group to spare the lives of their citizens — refused to pay.

Kidnapping Europeans has become the main source of revenue for Al Qaeda and its affiliates, which have earned at least $125 million in ransom payments in the past five years alone, according to an investigation by The Times.

Reuters has run a rather shrill article on the subject. But it’s obvious why the US should no be in the business of financing Al Qaeda. Any Al Qaeda. These are not simply groups that take the money and walk away. They use the money to launch terrorist operations.

Trying to save lives by financing murder is abhorrent and self-defeating.

The murder of James Foley puts pressure on the US to pay ransoms under the table the way that the Europeans do. This is money that Islamic groups consider to be rightfully theirs. Extracting them from us has powerful symbolic, as well as practical, value to them. It means that we are accepting Dhimmi status.

  • mtnhikerdude

    Daniel , we have morphed into a Nation of wimps . At 77 I hope I die before my Country dies. I am witnessing a nation infected with the Cancer of Political Correctness. I see no hope for Recovery from this Insanity. The abyss of the Left has swallowed a Nation.

    • Americana

      You’re going to have to expound on your thinking. I’m not sure I’m following your reasoning that makes you connect the “Cancer of Political Correctness” w/hostage taking and paying of ransoms to the hostage takers.

      • mtnhikerdude

        Americana , we wimped out by taking the troops out of Iraq and leaving a vacuum to be filled by ISIS . The troops should have been pulled out of Afghanistan ( a war that cannot be won) .
        We learned no lesson from the Russians who tried and retreated.
        You cannot fight a war in P.C. mode . There is going to be collateral damage . Paying ransoms empowers the enemy .

        • Americana

          Ah, gotcha. But we would have been absolutely depicted as conquerors and occupation forces by the ISIS guys because we would have been in violation of PM al-Maliki’s demands that we were to leave Iraq. How would you have handled that kind of propaganda fallout?

          Also, how would you have presented the situation to al-Maliki indicating he was risking it all by refusing to allow the U.S. to maintain a garrison of sufficient American troops to keep the lid on ISIS?

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Again, do yourself a favor and seek mental help for your severe problem with unhinged delusions.

        • Conniption Fitz

          The ‘war on terror’ (and the war on drugs) have been to a large extent political drama and farces. We have leaders without conviction and principle…no conscience, no inner allegiance to G-D’s Word, Law, Commandments.
          This has cause America to drift from her moorings and to lack direction, integrity and virtue it once possessed (to a greater extent, since opportunists and sinners are often at the reins). We now have laws that enable us to break all the Commandments and some that would force us to do so.

          • JIMJFOX

            And DON’T braek Commandment No 2

            “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy”

            visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations…. sounds fair!!

        • sid goldberg.

          ISIS=CIA/mossad

          • JIMJFOX

            Roswell Area 51
            Faked Moon landings
            911 Jewish black flag op
            Contrails
            The AIDS virus

            Polio vac western plot to sterilise muslims

            Did I miss any of your foundational beliefs?

          • sid goldberg.

            We could not land on the moon now even using today’s technology(loved Old Glory flapping in the breeze on the moon with no wind up there). It is common knowledge that these camel humpers could not even pilot a POS Cessna let alone fly a sophisticated jet with pinpoint accuracy. Contrails are the result of heated jet exhaust being released into cold air. The other stuff is just dumba s sed s h i t.

          • JIMJFOX

            No offence, Sid but I won’t waste any more time on you.

            Even China and India can put landers on the moon, it’s really not that hard. Guess science and engineering are a mystery to you. Those Martian landers are also fraudulent, eh? And the Voyagers and probes to the outer planets…

            Jeez, NASA must have better facilities than those used in “Avatar” to make all these ‘fakes’.

        • ObamaYoMoma

          Americana , we wimped out by taking the troops out of Iraq and leaving a vacuum to be filled by ISIS

          Uhm…what were the troops there for in the first place? According to GWB, to lift up Muslims, i.e., to lift up our eternal mortal enemies. Meanwhile, I thought that lifting up our eternal mortal enemies was counterproductive, but what the heck do I know? Right?

      • kasandra

        Oh, maybe it has to do with the fact that anyone who attempts to explain Islam in any terms other than it being “the religion of peace” gets savaged, kept out of the mainstream media, called an “Islamophobe” (i.e., has an irrational fear of Islam), etc. all of which is a result of political correctness which does not allow for the expression of truths that are unpleasant or inconvenient to the political left.

        • Contemptuous Maximus

          Why would anyone care about being labeled as anything by the political left? I go out of my way to offend them at every opportunity. They deserve nothing more from you than ridicule and contempt .

          • kasandra

            Well, I don’t care what they label me but, if I was, for example, Robert Spencer or Steven Emerson, it would affect my ability to get TV bookings, favorable book reviews, interviews in the newspaper, to get the message out. And the media are most certainly controlled by the left. So while I may not care about the labels they give me, it does adversely impact our ability to get the truth out to the population.

    • UCSPanther

      It’ll fall to us younger folks to save it.

      Take heart though: Dark times have a way of forging heroes.

      • mtnhikerdude

        Thank you . UCS Panther !

      • sid goldberg.

        Wow-the J-bags are going to be clicking on this story like crazy with “Money” in the title

        • sid

          Hi, I’m Sid. I have hidden knowledge. Everyone’s mind is being controlled by a small and hostile elite. Not mine of course. I have special powers of resistance.

      • sid goldberg.

        On a gayness scale of 1 to Elton John that is a Liberace

        • UCSPanther

          If you are that interested in homosexuality, why don’t you go out and experiment.

    • gerry

      Don’t forget,every cloud has a silver lining.

      • sid goldberg.

        Actually-we Jews prefer a gold lining

        • sid

          Hi, I’m Sid. I have hidden knowledge. Everyone’s mind is being controlled by a small and hostile elite. Not mine of course. I have special powers of resistance.

          • sid goldberg.

            come on sid- us y i d s have to stick together,

  • Americana

    ISIS may have been willing to trade James Wright Foley for a multi-million dollar ransom but that’s only because ISIS is confident it can continue to kidnap and hold other Americans at will for ransom and political bargaining chips from vast swathes of the Middle East. ISIS won’t willingly relinquish all its American hostages because they’re political bargaining chips. They’re impractical political bargaining chips but they are one of the few items ISIS has which can be used to pressure the U.S. in any way.

  • Conniption Fitz

    Has anyone seen the photos of John McCain with Al Baghdadi, self-proclaimed leader of ISIS? http://www.voltairenet.org/article185085.html
    Is this real or photo-shopped?
    Is the US taxpayer funding ISIS through Turkey as has been rumored?

    • gerry

      Qatar is funding them aand I would not be surprised if Turkey was also cotributing to it.In fact those two countries are financing Hamas.

      • sid goldberg.

        mossad =hamas

        • JIMJFOX

          Sid, sid… you’ve just made a dipstick of yourself-

          “That’s not a photo of McCain with Bagdadi and that’s a 9/11 Truther site”
          Uh-HELL YES!

          And yet you go on doing so.

      • Drakken

        Turkey is in fact supporting ISIS and paying lip service to the West.

    • sid goldberg.

      Uh-HELL YES!

    • Daniel Greenfield

      That’s not a photo of McCain with Bagdadi and that’s a 9/11 Truther site

  • ObamaYoMoma

    They use the money to launch terrorist operations.

    What Reuters and other misunderstanders of Islam, such as Daniel here, view as terrorist operations is actually jihad. In other words, they use the revenue generated to finance jihad, which is a holy war waged by ALL MUSLIMS in the world, as opposed to a just few radicals and extremists that perpetrate terrorism here and there, against ALL INFIDELS in the world in the cause of Allah to ultimately make Islam supreme.

    Not to mention that jihad, as opposed to terrorism that is always and only violent, is a phenomenon that in stark contrast to terrorism manifests both violently and non-violently. Thus, while writers like Daniel here are busy falsely portraying jihad as somehow being terrorism and duping their readers at the same time, since they stupidly believe that Muslims target innocent civilian infidels because they are terrorists, they never realize that they are wrong. Since Muslims primarily target innocent civilian infidels not because they are terrorists, but because they only employ “total war” tactics per the dictates of Sharia.

    Hence, the result is while most people are hyper-aware of terrorism and only terrorism, because they have been inculcated to believe that jihad is synonymous with terrorism, at the same time they are also totally oblivious to the phenomenon of non-violent jihad, which not only manifest astronomically far more prevalently relative to violent jihad that is inevitably conflated as being terrorism by Daniel and others, but which is also manifesting right under their oblivious infidel noses totally unopposed all thanks to Daniel and other misunderstanders of Islam that have participated in misleading them. Meanwhile, the sad part about the whole situation is the manifestation of non-violent jihad relative to the manifestation of violent jihad also represents an exponentially far greater threat for the infidel world at large as well.

  • Laurie Davis

    I have known for a few years that money extortion is common from Islamic terrorists. I also know first hand that it is NOT confined to the Middle East. Several years ago a dear friend from the Phillipines sister’s still living there who was kidnapped by the Muslims. Her family was able to raise enough money to pay for her release. I had the impression that this was not uncommon. The Muslims want to take total control of the Phillipines. Sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it. I was appalled by this…imagine what McArthur would do.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      It’s all around the world

      • sid goldberg.

        Is it your turn to chauffer Mr Yellen around Jackson Hole this week?

    • kilfincelt

      Kidnapping non-Muslims and demanding ransom is something that Muslims have been doing for centuries. Jefferson had to deal with the barbary pirates who did this as did James Madison. Initially, the U.S. paid a tribute to North African Muslims to protect our people.

      Muslims from North Africa used to kidnap whole villages of people from the Italian coast and try and ransom them. Those they couldn’t ransom were enslaved and some disappeared into the Ottoman Empire. European countries paid tribute to these Muslims to prevent having their sailors and others from being captured, ransomed or enslaved. I suspect that was one reason that Europeans decided to colonize these areas. In the process the Europeans not only stopped it but they also ended slavery.

    • Evelyn Johnson

      Sadly, America no longer has the stomach to go to war the way it needs to be done. You need to identify your enemy and blow them into sand. It doesn’t play well on tv but that’s the only way you win and it’s the only thing an enemy understands.

  • no dhimmi, no dummy

    “The murder of James Foley puts pressure on the US to pay ransoms under the table the way that the Europeans do. This is money that Islamic groups consider to be rightfully theirs. Extracting them from us has powerful symbolic, as well as practical, value to them. It means that we are accepting Dhimmi status.” –

    Ah. Al-Jazeera doesn’t want to pay Al-Gore the full priceon the deal for his tv channel. Rip-off explained.

  • JIMJFOX

    Am I missing something? HOW did killing him make them any money? I don’t believe threats of killing others will result in ransoms because public opinion
    is so strongly against any compromise. Even Obama has stated the object is the destruction of ISIS- a radical change from his ‘humanitarian’ and ‘protect Americans’ prior statements.
    EVERYBODY wants to see the annihilation of ISIS. I hope they have sealed their own fate.

    • Evelyn Johnson

      When they didn’t get the cash, they killed him. That plays well w/bleeding hearts in America. Pushes ISIS agenda.

  • Lanna

    Quit funding terrorism……it only causes more terrorism!

  • Evelyn Johnson

    and apparently Foley had been siding with ISIS for a time — http://madworldnews.com/james-foley-cautionary-tale/

  • Herb Suhl

    Europe does a lot of business with the Middle East — Think of Mercedes Benz sales there alone? They take out insurance policies on their employees to pay the ransoms. Otherwise they could never get anybody to go work there. They also kidnap local Arab employees employed by MNC’s.

  • Lanna

    They need the money to continue their movement and are willing to do anything to get it.