The brutal execution of US photojournalist James Foley by Islamic State on video outraged the international community. The militant group blamed Barack Obama and stated Foley's death was a direct response to the US attacks on IS in Iraq.
White House has gone on to confirm that the Foley execution video is authentic but there are several who have raised doubts. There are even a growing number of theories which claim that Foley's execution video could be a hoax.
Conspiracy theories suggest that the entire beheading itself could have been faked. Here are six reasons why the video could not be real.
Why there is no blood?
A study of the four-minute 40-second clip, carried out by an international forensic science company and published by The Australian, notes that no blood can be seen, though the knife is drawn across Foley's neck at least six times. The report also noted that the sounds, allegedly made by Foley, are not consistent with a real execution scenario. The report concluded that the video has to be a fake as there was no incision made on Foley's neck.
Why is Islamic State censoring its brutality?
The Global Mirror noted that though the video is meant to portray violence of extreme form, the Islamic State has gone on to censor the beheading scene. Islamic State, which is known for its brutality, will not shy away from streaming the beheading. Doubts have been raised as the actual beheading is never shown in the video. The video fades to black the moment the beheading starts and ends with the bloody image of the decapitated head lying over the body.
Why is there no Islamic word spoken?
The Islamic State militants are known for their scripture quoting. The Sunni terrorist group lays strong emphasis on using verses from Quran to justify its killings. But in the video, though the masked militant speaks about Muslim interests, there is hardly any reference to Quran, which has raised quite some doubts.
During most of its executions, the Islamic State militants chant "Allahu Akbar" while killing a hostage but no such utterance is made in Foley's execution video.
Why is the video so polished?
The high contrast and resolution of the video have raised several doubts. The video is too polished for an Islamic State. Most beheading and other videos made by militants, which circulate online, are generally amateurish with poor video and audio quality.
The Foley execution video was shot on an HD camera, and with more than one cameras. Also, the audio is extremely clean and the video was edited by a professional.
Why use special effects?
There are multiple YouTube videos, which suggest that Foley's execution was shot like it is done in Hollywood movies. A conspiracy theory suggests that the entire execution was shot using a green screen. Though the masked militant dressed in black is seen standing in a desert-like land, neither his dress nor his shoes look dusty. There is no sign of even wind activity, which is highly unlikely for a desert terrain.
Meanwhile, the decapitated head could be created with modern make-up facilities.
Why use crisis actors?
Another conspiracy suggests that Foley's parents are crisis actors. The theory notes that it is highly abnormal for parents, who just witnessed the beheading of their son on video, to appear before the media in less than 24-hours, 'full of smiles and nice sunny memories'.