The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it would press charges against two Islamic State terrorists of British origin for their part in the killing of American, British, and Japanese hostages in Syria.
Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, both former British citizens, are expected to appear at a federal courthouse in Virginia Wednesday afternoon, according to the statement. They have been indicted on eight counts.
“These charges are the product of many years of hard work in pursuit of justice for our citizens slain by ISIS. Although we cannot bring them back, we can and will seek justice for them, their families, and for all Americans,” said Attorney General William Barr in a statement Wednesday. “Our message to other terrorists around the world is this — if you harm Americans, you will face American arms on the battlefield or American law in our courtrooms. Either way, you will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.”
At the hands of these terrorists and their collaborators, hostages from many countries faced “a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence” and were subsequently murdered, often by beheading, according to the statement. The U.S. citizens murdered alongside these hostages include James Wright Foley, Kayla Jean Mueller, Steven Joel Sotloff, and Peter Edward Kassig.
FBI Director Christopher Wray had some stern words for the terrorists and took a moment to honor the families of the murdered American hostages.
“Today, we remember the victims, Jim Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller, and their families who are forever affected by these senseless acts of violence,” said Wray. “These families have suffered with the painful loss of their loved ones at the hands of brutal killers; today’s charges demonstrate the FBI’s dedication and commitment to giving them the justice they deserve.”
“We, along with our partners in the U.S. Government,” Wray added, “remain steadfast in our duty to bring to justice those who have harmed our citizens — no matter where they are, and no matter how long it takes. I’m grateful to the men and women of the FBI, the victims’ families, and our domestic and international partners, for their tireless efforts to bring us to where we stand today with the prosecution of these men on U.S. soil.”
The two terrorists operated with two other British nationals. One of these other two, Mohamed Emwazi, is deceased and the other, whom the statement doesn’t name, is presently incarcerated in Turkey. The four were nicknamed “The Beatles” by their hostages for their British accents.
Kotey and Elsheikh, while attempting an escape from Syria into neighboring Turkey, were captured by Syrian Democratic Forces in January 2018.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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The Guardian Removes Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” Amidst Viral Resurfacing
The Guardian, a left-wing media outlet, has taken down Osama bin Laden’s notorious “Letter to America” from its website this week after the words of the deceased terrorist mastermind, responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001, gained traction on social media.
The letter, which had been published on The Guardian’s website since 2002, resurfaced online, causing a sudden spike in traffic. Social media users unearthed and shared the anti-American and antisemitic content, propelling the document to viral status. The Guardian, acknowledging the increased circulation without the full context, opted to remove the transcript.
According to reports from Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for The Guardian stated, “The transcript published on our website 20 years ago has been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we have decided to take it down and direct readers to the news article that originally contextualized it instead.” The outlet declined to provide additional comments on the matter.
Osama bin Laden’s letter, translated into English, justified al-Qaeda’s attacks against the U.S. by citing American actions in Palestine. The deceased terrorist accused the U.S. of supporting the creation and continuation of Israel, labeling it one of the “greatest crimes” that must be erased. Bin Laden’s letter also propagated antisemitic tropes, claiming Jews control American policies, media, and the economy.
The 9/11 attacks, orchestrated by al-Qaeda, resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people and left thousands more injured. The letter’s resurgence occurred as it was shared by social media influencers on platforms like TikTok, with some expressing a change in perspective. Pro-Palestinian activist Lynette Adkins was among those who shared the letter online, prompting discussions and reflections.
The Guardian’s decision to remove the letter from its website underscores the sensitivity surrounding the content and its potential impact, particularly as young individuals across America engage with pro-Palestinian talking points. The episode has sparked debates about the influence of social media in reshaping perceptions and the responsibility of media outlets in disseminating controversial historical documents.
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