ISIS tortured hostages before beheading them

This horrific account of the treatment given to American hostage James Foley before his execution reveals his captors as vicious sociopaths.

New York Post:

James Foley and other hostages murdered by ISIS were starved, brutally beaten and subjected to unbearable psychological torture before their grisly deaths.

Foley, 40 was singled out for the worst abuse by his bloodthirsty jihadist captors because of his American citizenship and US policy against hostage negotiations, witnesses told the New York Times.

“He told me how they had chained his feet to a bar and then hung the bar so that he was upside down from the ceiling,” said Jejoen Bontinck, a 19-year-old former jihadist from Belgium who spent three weeks in the same cell as Foley in summer, 2013. “Then they left him there.”

Cellmates said Foley was often waterboarded.

“It was when there was no blood,” a former cellmate said, “than we knew he had suffered something even worse.”

Their captors also played cruel mind games–making sure the Americans saw some European hostages set free, dangling the prospect of freedom that would never arrive for them.

“I am obviously pretty scared to die,” wrote American hostage Peter Kassig, targeted to be the next prisoner to be executed. “The hardest part is not knowing — hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all.”

Captors offered hostages chocolates and asked intimate, personal questions that only the hostages would know the answers — showing the jihadists had been in contact loved ones back home.

Hostages often proclaimed their conversion to Islam, in hopes of receiving better treatment from captors. But Foley’s leap of faith was probably a “sincere” embrace of the faith, according Bontinck.

“I recited the Quran with him,” said Bontinck, who signed up to be an Islamic fighter only to be accused of being a spy.

“Most people would say, ‘Let’s convert so that we can get better treatment.’ But in his case, I think it was sincere.”

The brutality of living in secret ISIS prisons occasionally prompted hostages to turn on each other for the few rations and blankets available to them.

But that wasn’t the case for Foley, who consistently tried to help fellow prisoners, former cellmates said.

This past Christmas, Foley even organized a “Secret Santa” program for cellmates with each fashioning a gift — from prison trash — for a randomly drawn fellow prisoner.

We often refer to the people who torture and murder hostages as "inhuman." That isn't accurate. They are perfectly human as long as you diagnose them as homicidal sociopaths. This has nothing to do with the dehumanizing nature of war and everything to do with the joy these captors get in inflicting enormous physical and psychological pain on their captives.

It actually reduces their culpability if we call them "animals."

If you experience technical problems, please write to