Diane Foley, the mother of beheaded ISIS hostage Jim Foley, has written a book documenting what she went through after her son’s death.
In addition to describing her prison discussions with her son’s killer, in the book she also argues that former President Barack Obama could have saved her son had he made her son “a priority.”
James Foley, a freelance journalist, was captured & beheaded by ISIS in 2014. Now his mother Diane Foley has spent time talking to his killer in a US prison. She will be interviewed @frontlineclub on Feb 22. pic.twitter.com/CTSAC4wwfE
— Jill Nicholls (@JillNicholls01) February 4, 2024
The book’s name is “American Mother,” and it’s slated for release early next month.
“In late 2021, Diane Foley sat at a table across from her son’s killer, Alexanda Kotey, a member of the ISIS group known as ‘The Beatles’ who plead guilty to the kidnapping, torture, and murder of her son seven years before,” the book’s Amazon description reads.
“Kotey was about to go serve life imprisonment and this was Diane’s chance to talk to the man who had been involved with brutally taking her son’s last breath. What would she say to his killer? What would he reveal to her? Might she even be able to summon forgiveness for him?” it continues.
Speaking with the Associated Press this week, she revealed that she’d met with Kotey as a “tiny step” toward reparation — “for him to begin to kind of understanding where we were coming from and for me to try to hear him.”
“I just kind of wanted to somehow build a bridge, that’s all,” she said. “The pain and hatred continues unless you take the time to try to listen to one another.”
Kotey for his part displayed compassion for her and her grief but remained stubbornly committed to the idea that he’d acted justifiably as a soldier in a war against an enemy, the United States, whose actions in the Middle East he resents.
Unfortunately, he was unable to answer Foley’s most pressing question — where has her son’s body been buried? In fairness, he’s reportedly not the one who committed the actual act of killing Foley.
“An American drone strike killed the militant actually responsible for Foley’s killing, Mohammed Emwazi, known by the moniker ‘Jihadi John,'” the AP notes.
“It wasn’t until nearly four years after Foley’s 2014 murder at the age of 40 that Kotey and a future co-defendant, El Shafee Elsheikh, were captured by a Kurdish-led, U.S. backed militia,” according to the AP.
The FBI has announced charges against two suspected British terrorists accused of being part of a “notoriously brutal” Islamic State cell known as “The Beatles”.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, both in their 30s and from west London, pic.twitter.com/QzCBWIjxIq
— London & UK Street News (@CrimeLdn) October 7, 2020
Regarding Foley’s son, Kotey described him as a “typical white American” who was naïve and optimistic.
Race also came up when he described his supposed justification for participating in Foley’s death.
“He told a story of once pulling the remains of a baby from the rubble of an American drone strike, lamenting how no one had been interested in making a documentary about that child as was done for Jim since she was not white or American,” according to the AP.
As for Obama, in the book, Foley reportedly portrays him and his administration as cold-hearted and bureaucratic, unwilling to take the extra steps necessary to secure her son’s release.
“The captors reached out with a multimillion-dollar ransom demand, but the Obama administration warned her she could face prosecution if she paid one. Officials struggled to communicate meaningful, up-to-date information,” according to the AP.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) March 29, 2018
Moreover, the first indication Foley received that her son was gone didn’t even come from the administration — it came from a reporter.
Obama formally announced the death shortly thereafter and called the Foley family to speak with them and insist that he’d done everything possible to save their son.
“But the Foleys were unconvinced and during a subsequent White House visit, Foley says she bristled at Obama’s assurance that Jim was his highest priority, telling him the hostage families had felt abandoned,” the AP notes.
To her credit, Foley subsequently channeled her grief into action by convincing the Obama administration to overhaul its hostage-crisis policies, with even the then-president admitting at the time that the feedback he’d received from affected families was “unacceptable.”
The Obama administration also created an FBI-led hostage recovery team and a State Department special envoy position.
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