ISIS released a video Tuesday of the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, formerly of Time magazine. The video’s authenticity hasn’t been confirmed, and took an unusually long time to reach ISIS forums, often the first sources for such videos.
The video was titled “A second message to America,” and again started with footage of oratory from U.S. President Barack Obama, before cutting to a scripted anti-US monologue delivered by an emotionless Sotloff, draped in orange clothing (reminiscent of Guantanamo inmates) and on his knees in another arid hilltop landscape beside his executioner.
It appears from chatter on ISIS forums that the initial video release was an unintentional leak from within ISIS circles. An ISIS-affiliated twitter account (now suspended) published the video ahead of the prescribed time. Another ISIS-affiliated account, @Khattabyaz pulled them up on their error, but at that point it was too late, and the video was in circulation. The group then apologised to its followers for the lack of discipline in a text missive on Justpaste, saying:
“A clarification about the mistake was made by “Uyun al-Ummah” account, that has published the video before the official time.
The user saw a tweet with the video and thought it was published officially. We tried to remove the video after we understood that his was published by mistake, and we are sorry to the followers of the Islamic State.”