ISIS waterboarded Foley, other hostages
WASHINGTON — At least four hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State terrorist group, including an American journalist who was recently beheaded, were waterboarded in the early part of their captivity, according to people familiar with the treatment of the kidnapped Westerners.
James Foley was among the four who were waterboarded several times by the terrorists, who appeared to retaliate for the CIA's use of the technique to interrogate terrorists after 9/11.
Waterboarding subjects are often strapped down while cold water is poured over a cloth covering their faces; they have the sensation of drowning. “The wet cloth creates a barrier through which it is difficult — or in some cases not possible — to breathe,” according to a May 2005 Justice Department memo on the CIA's use of the technique.
ISIS “is a group that routinely crucifies and beheads people,” a U.S. official said. “To suggest that there is any correlation between (ISIS)'s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”
President Obama has condemned waterboarding as torture.
The terrorists “knew exactly how it was done,” said a person with direct knowledge of what happened to the hostages. The person, who would only discuss the hostages' experience on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, ISIS posted pictures of executing more than 160 Syrian government troops seized in recent fighting near the Tabqa airfield. The Syrian soldiers were forced to strip, marched in their underwear in the arid Syrian countryside and executed by firing squads.
In southern Syria, gunmen detained 43 U.N. peacekeepers during fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, the United Nations said. Eighty-one peacekeepers were trapped in the area by heavy clashes between rebels and Syrian troops.