The terrorist group ISIS has released a new video showing the execution of David Cawthorne Haines, the third western hostage to be executed by the group in the last month. Haines was originally from Scotland. He most recently lived in Croatia with his wife and young daughter. He worked on humanitarian missions through the Middle East. The release of the video was confirmed by SITE, the independent intelligence group that first identified the release of the video of Steven Sotloff's murder.
In the video, Haines executioner cites Cameron's promises to arm Iraqi Kurds, and his "evil alliance" with the United States. Like the other video, Haines was forced to read a statement blaming his government for his own death. David Cameron has called an emergency government meeting for tomorrow morning. British authorities are working to authenticate the video now.
In a brief statement, Cameron said the murder of David Haines is an "act of pure evil." He added, "My heart goes out to the family of David Haines who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude throughout this ordeal. We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes."
The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines by the terrorist group ISIL [ISIS.] Our hearts go out to the family of Mr. Haines and to the people of the United Kingdom. The United States stands shoulder to shoulder tonight with our close friend and ally in grief and resolve. We will work with the United Kingdom and a broad coalition of nations from the region and around the world to bring the perpetrators of this outrageous act to justice, and to degrade and destroy this threat to the people of our countries, the region and the world.
Haines's family also released a statement saying, “David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair. He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.” (You can read the entire statement at the bottom of this post.)
The Wire has viewed the video and provided a description below. Please note that this description is disturbing.
In the video, a clip of David Cameron giving a speech about foreign policy is included, specifically in reference to British support of the Kurdish rebels fighting against the Islamic State. After the speech, the screen flashes "A Message To the Allies of America," in the same editing style which was used in the Steven Sotloff video. David Cawthorne Haines then appears on screen, giving this speech to the camera (similar to ones that Sotloff and Foley gave):
My name is David Cawthorne Haines. I would like to declare that I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution. You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State, just as you're predecessor, Tony Blair, did. Following a trend amongst our British Prime Ministers who can't find the courage to say no to the Americans. Unfortunately, it is we, the British public, that will in the end pay the price for our Parliaments selfish decisions.
After that, the executioner appears, giving this speech:
This British man has to pay the price for your promise, Cameron, to arm the Peshmerga against the Islamic State. Ironically, he has spent a decade of his life serving under the same Royal Air Force that is responsible for delivering those arms. Your evil alliance with America which continues to strike the Muslims of Iraq and most recently bombed the Haditha Dam will only accelerate your destruction. And playing the role of the obedient lapdog, Cameron, will only drag you and your people into another bloody and unwinnable war.
The execution then occurs. The screen cuts to black, then shows the aftermath (this has become ISIS's format for videos of this sort.) The executioner appears to be the same man as from the previous two videos, who is nicknamed "Jihadi John" by intelligence agents. He covers Haines mouth, and takes a short blade to Haines throat. Haines, just as the two other victims shown in videos, wears an orange prison robe.
This is the third video in which the executioner uses a short blade, distinctly different from al-Qaeda videos, in which a long sword is generally used. Like the previous two videos from ISIS, Haines head is placed upon his back after the execution. However, unlike the Foley and Sotloff videos, Haines body is covered in blood; the entire back of the orange robe is soaked and long bloody streaks are shown down to Haines's legs. In this scene, Haines's hands appear bound with metal handcuffs, which were not shown as visibly on Foley and Sotloff.
The executioner then shows a fourth hostage, British man Alan Henning:
When Henning is shown, the executioner says, "If you, Cameron, persist in fighting the Islamic State, then you, like your master Obama, will have the blood of your people on your hands."
Here is the full statement from the Haines family:
My name is Mike Haines, I am brother to David Haines, who was recently murdered in cold blood.
David was like so very many of us, just another bloke. Born in 1970 to parents who loved us both, our childhood was centred around our family. Holidays in caravans and tents, days away as a family which we remember fondly. David and I were brought up to know right from wrong, although we might not with the innocence of youth have always chosen right. David was a good brother, there when I needed him and absent when I didn’t. I hope that he felt the same way about me. He was, in the right mood, the life and soul of the party and on other times the most stubborn irritating pain in the ass. He would probably say the same about me.
After leaving school he worked with the Royal Mail before joining the RAF as an aircraft engineer. He married his childhood sweetheart Louise and in the due process of time had a wee lass Bethany. He was – and no doubt wherever he is – exceptionally proud of Bethany.
David served with the UN in the Balkans, helping people in real need. There are many accolades from people in that region that David helped. He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion. During this time David began to decide that humanitarian work was the field he wanted to work in.
David left the RAF and was employed by Scotrail. As with every job, David entered into it with enthusiasm. David met and married his second wife Dragana and they have a four year old daughter Athea.
David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair.
He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.