Outside of the Pilot House at Lewis Wharf on the North End waterfront, GlobalPost’s CEO Philip Balboni appeared on Wednesday afternoon for a press conference regarding James Foley, the photojournalist executed Tuesday by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIM). A gruesome video showing Foley’s beheading has been confirmed as authentic by U.S. intelligence.
Foley reported for the North End-based GlobalPost, an international news website, documenting the plight of war-torn Syria and the human toll of the fighting on its residents. He was captured in 2012 on Thanksgiving Day in Syria while on assignment. Balboni said Foley’s family received an email last week from the Islamic State warning of his execution. GlobalPost had been working with U.S. authorities and a private intelligence firm, spending “millions” over the past two years to find Foley and secure his release, according to Balboni.
President Obama has condemned the “brutal murder,” cited as retaliation by the Islamic State for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq to assist Kurdish forces in the region. Foley’s execution was posted on YouTube and is being labeled as the first act of terrorism against the United States by the Islamic State. GlobalPost executives are asking the video not be watched or shared as it is intended to be “a graphic work of propaganda, intending to terrorize the public.” The beheading video shows a masked executioner with a British accent threatening further attacks against Americans.
Foley’s family released the following statement:
“We have never been prouder of our son and brother Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people. We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world. We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”
Foley is originally from New Hampshire. Before reporting from Syria, he worked as a photojournalist in Libya and Afghanistan. During the Libyan civil war in 2011, Foley was held in captivity for 44 days with two other journalists by the forces of Muammar Gaddafi. (See James Foley’s Dark Journey.) He later returned to Libya when Gaddafi was captured later that year.
GlobalPost has assembled a selection of James Foley’s finest work.