Documentary telling the story of how young photojournalist James 'Jim' Foley came to be the first American to be executed by ISIS after being kidnapped in Syria in 2012.
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This programme contains some strong language,
and some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
I was in my office at work...
..and I got a call, from an international number.
I always answer...
For the last three years,
when it was an international call, I would answer it. And, uh...
it was a reporter in Dublin...
..wanted a reaction to the story.
I said, reaction for what?
And they were really caught back by that question, obviously.
I said, I'll call you back in five minutes. And so then I went online.
I saw the picture.
It's not the way you want to find out.
Name the sports newspaper that hit US newsstands in 1990.
Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome Mr James Foley.
Thanks for that generous,
overly generous... LAUGHTER
I'm definitely not a hero, or noble, or anything.
trying to do my work.
And...got into a little bit of trouble.
I arrived in Benghazi, mid-March.
And the night I arrived, I heard nothing but bombs and gunfire.
I wondered, what's going on?
Another journalist said, the bombs, that is Gelatina,
that's how they fish.
Blow the fish up!
And the gunfire, no, that's celebratory gunfire.
HEAVY MACHINE GUN FIRE
I think in some ways Libya WAS a turning point for Jim.
You know, I was starting to see his trying to figure out where
he belonged in the world.
And he wanted to write, and he loved people,
and liked to interact,
tell people's stories.
So when Jim decided he wanted to go into journalism from teaching,
at first we thought, that would be good,
maybe that'll be a better fit, Jim.
But when he decided to do conflict journalism...
..you know, that was a whole different deal.
He didn't exactly tell us.
He graduated from Medill,
and we said, Jim, what are you going to do?
And he said, well, I'm... I'm working on it.
He came back to my house, and he told me. He was like...
"Hey, John, I'm thinking about going to Libya."
Jim, that's a horrible idea.
Absolutely a horrible idea.
If you go over there...
..no-one's coming for you.
Why would you put your life in danger?
We're dropping bombs over there.
And God forbid, if you go over there, and...
-..we accidentally kill you!
Libya was very exciting as a journalist because you had this
chance to talk directly to people, to see exactly what was going on.
But it was also extremely dangerous.
I was actually talking to one of my buddies,
boasting about my brother, Jim,
and how he is this journalist
and is like super crazy,
but like badass at the same time. You know?
I was like, yeah, my brother's a badass.
You know, he's crazy, he's awesome.
I also was very naive myself,
I didn't know exactly what that would mean,
I didn't know he was actually
going to be immersed
in actual, like, crossfire.
There's snipers in this building...
We have decided to go in.
It's heavy fighting.
This is Jim Foley, reporting from downtown Benghazi,
Revolutionary Square, Global Post.
Jim was there at the early stage of this movement
of there being more freelancers
in conflict areas.
The world has changed so much in terms of digital publishing,
and newspapers started to eliminate things
that they didn't see as essential.
International coverage dwindled down to very little.
So we saw an opportunity to fill that void,
and we needed to work with freelancers.
Freelancers decide to work together just on the basis of
this initial quick-read chemistry.
I saw this new guy,
who I hadn't met before,
he looked friendly enough, so I said, hey, what's up?
He said, oh, not much, going to the front line.
And he'd heard a lot about Libya,
and the fact that it was very cheap to work,
rebels and protesters were eager to show us their side of the story,
you know, they driving us all over for free,
they were translating for us for free.
I'd seen Jim talking to a few other journalists,
and he was just really friendly with everybody.
It was unusual, in a place like that.
There's still an edge of competitiveness in that environment
whereas Jim, was just,
like, yeah, whatever.
He gave off a really good first impression.
And, you know, it helps that he's like a super good-looking guy,
and I was just, who is this guy?!
-Who are you?!
Jim had a high tolerance for danger.
I mean, sure, he was drawn to that. All of us are, in a way.
The fact that he stayed so calm made it easy to feel calm
in that situation.
But of course, sometimes I was just like, well, that's crazy,
I'm not going there with you!
It was one of those mornings
where we decided we were going to get out there early,
we wanted to get a fresh look at the front lines.
It was myself, Clare Gillis, Manu Brabo and Anton Hammerl,
a South African photojournalist.
This was something common that some reporters did,
freelancers like myself that didn't have big budgets.
We jump in with the rebels.
And it was at your own risk if you wanted to go further or not.
Got to the point where we saw another group of rebels saying,
Gaddafi forces, 300 metres away.
And myself, looking at Clare, like, pfft, that's impossible.
And I remember Anton turning to me and saying, hey, this isn't safe.
But we didn't turn around.
And we said, well, let's get off the road, anyways.
Well, that was the exact wrong thing to do.
Two heavily armed Gaddafi pick-up trucks came over that rise, firing.
MACHINE GUNS ROARING
I remember so clearly the sound of it, the volume of it,
the sound of something eating metal.
And I remember hoping against hope
that there would be some kind of out out of this,
there would be some kind of trap door...in time.
I crawled back to the sand dune,
Anton was at the other sand dune in front of me.
I heard him call for help.
It appeared he was cut across the midsection with AK fire,
and it was a serious amount of blood.
He had already lost consciousness, and probably already died.
A group of young soldiers approached me,
and we were thrown in the back of a truck.
I remember getting photographed with a cellphone.
And thinking, this is where they find all these photographs
that are evidence of war crimes someday.
And realising, this is me now.
I was with my mother.
We were out to lunch, and I received a phone call.
that's how we first heard, you know?
I think I was in denial about how dangerous this really was, Brian.
I was furious.
Scared for him. Furious.
Hate to revisit, but just, like, I told you, Jim!
I think we all went through the stages of total shock,
you know, and then...
what are we going to do?
And then anger...
After all, we're family, you know?
You're so humble, you lost everything.
Your ability to talk to anybody, and tell anybody you're OK.
Thinking one minute, oh, yeah, I'm a foreign correspondent!
And the next minute, somebody who you respect,
and you have nothing.
Jim was concerned that his own competitiveness
with Manu, with Anton, with himself,
his own sort of macho aggressiveness,
had driven him to make decisions that were not the best decisions.
Every day I have to deal with the fact that
Anton is not going to ever see his three kids any more.
And I was part of that decision-making process...
..that took him away, that took him away from his kids and his wife.
And I had a lot of time to play over those moments,
especially that one day when we were captured.
I tried to question myself. What are you reporting on?
What is this all about?
It was quickly apparent that this was about
being what you think is an authentic conflict correspondent,
seeing the front line,
and it not being enough to just see it from a distance,
but to push it to the next level.
You were basically waiting to get shelled,
and the question is...why?
You know... why are you doing this?
It's a nightmare, each day becomes harder,
you know, with the lacking information.
We know he's in Tripoli, we believe he's in a detention centre,
we really don't know much more beyond that.
We organised this huge group of Jimmy's friends,
we called them FOJs, Friends Of Jim.
We had a lot of outside help,
but Michael was sort of the CEO of the group.
His statement was, you know, there are no measurables
other than getting Jim home.
Our biggest fear is that it becomes yesterday's story,
and people forget about it.
We love Jim and we miss him. We want him home.
After successful diplomatic negotiations,
two American journalists and a Spanish journalist
are finally going home
after being kidnapped and detained by the Libyan government forces
for 44 days.
-All the family and friends were all together, waiting for them.
And all of a sudden, we see these blue lights just rushing at us.
We're like, oh, my God, this is Jim, he's, like, actually here.
I don't know, it was like a movie.
He was just so happy to see everybody!
You have a close call.
That's pure luck that you didn't get killed, there.
It is not worth seeing your mother, father bawling,
and worrying about your grandmother dying,
because you're in prison, it's not worth these things.
And outside, in my parents' home,
in, you know, a comfortable house in New Hampshire,
I sort of had to start processing.
I was horrified to learn how much my friends and family had done
to help me. I was inspired and I was horrified.
It was a weird feeling of like going to your own funeral, you know?
There's no going back from something like this.
Some of the things I'll never be able to change,
but I wish, I wish that I could.
What are we going to do?
That's Jim's blazer from when he spoke at Marquette. This brown one.
We'll just have to go through.
Yeah, so Jim lived with us for what, three months?
Summer, summer after he was released from Libya.
That was his bed, right there.
He would always...
crash out there.
It was cool having Jim here,
especially after him
having been gone in Libya,
I think when he came back...
You know, like, you just wanted to touch him a lot,
because, I don't know, for me, it was like, poke him,
just make sure he's real, and it was almost...
-You're just more appreciative of him.
And especially with the kids, you know,
getting to have him here, because he was always on the go.
BURBLING AND LAUGHING
When Jim came back from Libya,
I offered him a full-time job,
here, as an editor...
..while he sorted out what he would do next,
and he sat right outside my office.
He was grateful to have the job,
but...working in an office was clearly not what he...
what he liked the most.
He was quiet.
I don't want to say he was withdrawn,
but he was quiet.
And I just remember, like, Brad, my fiance, and Jim
were in the basement,
and Brad doesn't even remember a time when Jim was sleeping.
You know, after the family had kind of settled down,
Jim just went right to business, right to work.
We had found him a very good psychologist to talk to.
But he seemed so well, if you will...
that we didn't push it.
But he was so restless here at home, he didn't want to be at home.
Feeling like you survived something,
there's a strange sort of force that you are drawn back to.
I think that's the absolute reality.
I believe that front line journalism is important.
Without these photos and videos and first-hand experience,
we can't really...tell the world
how bad it might be.
SHE SINGS SWEETLY
CLATTERING OF DEBRIS
James Foley joins us now live
from inside northern Syria,
with more on what he saw.
Tell us more about what you were able to witness.
Yes, thank you.
You've heard about indiscriminate shelling,
but to see those bodies left over from a direct mortar hit
was really shocking.
It seemed like he started thinking about going to Syria
and by the time he mentioned it,
it was like he'd already kind of made up his mind.
And he said he was going with John Cantlie,
who's another colleague, British photojournalist,
that we'd all met in Libya the year before.
What's your name?
Jim and John!
Johnny! You say, I love you! You say.
I don't know, I really didn't... REALLY get into it with Jim.
I think I made it too easy for him.
You know, it was something he wanted to do.
And so we were trying to be supportive
about his decision to do that. You know?
The last conversation I ever had with Jim, I said to him,
like, Jim, man, why do you keep going back into Syria?
Like, I mean, what's it like?
And he's like, it's crazy, it's crazy.
I'm like, well,
is it more dangerous than Libya?
He was, like, yeah it's more dangerous than Libya!
I'm like, you got captured in Libya!
You couldn't talk him out of it.
Jim chose one story in particular about this hospital,
the Dar Al Shifa hospital in Aleppo.
It was actually Jim's idea to spend a week in that hospital
documenting what the doctors and the staff there
were doing on a daily basis.
We become the intimate chroniclers of this conflict,
we don't have bureaus to go back to,
you're there and every moment of it,
you share with the locals.
And I think there was just this enormous guilt
that rode on Jim's back
that made him feel so compelled to do much more than
just...record video and file it.
There were times where he was offering up video for free.
And I would chastise him for it, I'd be like, what are you doing?
He was, like, nah, you know, whatever, it's fine, it's all good,
I just want to make sure the video gets out there.
There was one day in August
when a Syrian activist was taking us around this neighbourhood
called Bustan Al Kasa.
And this fighter jet just started circling above
and just swooped right down,
and hit a building that was a couple of hundred feet from us.
MACHINE GUNS ROAR
We started seeing the civilians coming out...
..and just clutching nothing, really, just, you know, ashen faces.
There was rubble everywhere.
It was chaos.
HE SHOUTS PLAINTIVELY
And the plane came round again,
dropped another bomb, really close by,
and actually we were right across the building.
And we looked up and we could see the rubble start coming down.
That bomb had hit a family...of...seven.
Who was killed?
It was horrific in the scale of it,
but also, just...
I think nothing prepares you for seeing kids being killed and maimed
in that way.
And I know that Jim really loves kids, so, you know, we were both...
We didn't say anything,
until we got to the field hospital where they were bringing the bodies,
and we were both in this mode of...
just needing to get the pictures out.
I think when we were finished that night, though,
we kind of like sat down, and lit a cigarette, and...
..we just started talking about it.
Really there wasn't very much to say, though. You know, like...
What is there to talk about when you witness something like that?
So we just sort of sat in silence.
The shine was starting to come off, in a way.
There was a period of time where journalists
were welcomed with open arms,
because they had seen what had happened in Libya,
and when that didn't come about, after a year,
after a year and a half,
after two years...
it's just like, OK, what are you guys doing?
I mean, I had a doctor tell me at the hospital,
he was like, look, you guys are in and out of here since one year
and it's the same exact thing, except it's worse.
I don't want to talk to you!
If the populace on the ground whose side you're documenting
is...getting more uneasy with you,
or less willing to help...
You're very dependent on
the goodwill of the people you're around.
They warned journalists, they were like, Al-Qaeda's coming,
maybe even worse than Al-Qaeda's coming,
and nobody is going to help us against the Assad regime,
except for...these guys.
So...it was all there.
One of the main things I noticed the last time when he came out,
he looked really hollow, and he was quite...
You know, he had that amazing room-brightening smile,
even if he had seen terrible things,
as one does.
It was disheartening to see.
I guess if I had any regrets, Brian, that I...
regret that I found it difficult to communicate with Jim.
I don't know if it's a male thing, you know, whatever it is,
but I just wish I was able to share more of who I was with Jimmy,
and get him to share who he was with me,
which might have been just as difficult. You know?
He was home, end of October, right before he went back to Syria,
that last time.
And he was going...
I remember, he was leaving here,
and he was going to New York to get a helmet from somebody.
Which was good, we were like...
Getting safety equipment, we like this.
Yeah, I remember, we left him, we dropped him off at a train station.
And, you know, we were going to see him in December,
-he was supposed to come...
-That's right, you have a good memory.
He was supposed to come home mid-December.
And, you know, we were like, be safe! You know? See you soon.
-And...unfortunately, that didn't...
It's OK. I think that's enough.
CRUNCHING OF FOOTSTEPS
-We'd spent the beginning of November in Aleppo again,
with Jim, John Cantlie, and Mustapha, our translator,
who's become a friend of ours.
I had had some issues with my camera that week.
So...I was like, Jim, I've got to go back to Istanbul.
I'll see you guys in a week.
You know, the moment when I said bye to Jim,
I had this feeling of reluctance to leave.
I think in a way,
it maybe did upset the balance that he and I had shared for so long.
There are superstitions when you're in a war zone.
There was like this one thing that he and I shared,
which was our lucky lighter.
It's very common in the Middle East, it's, like, the evil eye,
to ward off evil spirits, you know?
We used it for everything,
and for some reason it never ran out of lighter fluid.
It's just like this stupid idea,
you put your hopes into one object,
to make it feel safe.
I think about it a lot, afterwards,
that he didn't have it with him.
Maybe if I just gave him the lucky lighter
everything would have turned out OK, I don't know.
That day, I was in Reyhanli, which is the border town,
and I would have seen him at about five.
So I checked in, and I told Jim, I'm like, hey, you know, I'm here.
So text me when you get in.
You know, five o'clock rolls by, and I start to worry.
Seven o'clock, eight o'clock rolls around,
and I'm like, something is really wrong.
So I called Mustapha,
and the first thing he said to me was, "Nicole, I'm so sorry."
"I didn't... I couldn't do anything."
I was like, what are you talking about? What happened?
He was like, "You know, we were coming. We were in the taxi.
"We were coming to Turkey to meet you,
"and this van with these four guys with guns,
"they stopped us on the road.
"And they told us to get out,
"and they were pointing their guns at us and screaming.
"And the gunmen made Mustapha tie up their hands,
"and they put John and Jim into the back of their van."
So I hung up, and I just started crying. I was like...
I didn't know if I was going to see Jim again.
And that was the first thought that came to my head.
-It's, like, almost surreal.
This is a bad dream. It's not...
It's not really happening, you know. It's not happening.
This can't be. This can't happen.
We can't do this again.
Yeah, it was...
You know, and I dove in just like before,
like, OK, it's going to be 45 to 100 days of hell,
and then we'll have him back.
In a matter of a week you could tell
it was very different.
A lot of misinformation,
as opposed to last time in Libya.
After a week went by,
we knew where he was,
who to deal with,
so we just concentrated on the routes to get to one person.
Here was a mystery right out of a crime show or something,
where you're trying to piece together bits of information.
For the next three weeks, there was just dead ends
and false information,
and rumours, and people being scared of talking
because they had a suspicion of who, maybe, was responsible,
and they didn't want to get entangled in it.
-Phil Balboni offered to stand up a security team
to try to find Jim,
so all these people were trying so hard to get in place,
but it was a very, very chaotic,
You're on eggshells.
You're just waiting to hear.
And I know Jim felt guilty for that,
and I'm not trying to make him feel more guilty.
But it's just, it's just the toll that's taken by the families.
BRIAN, DIRECTOR: What were the hurdles
getting the White House and FBI involved?
-It was very tough to get action.
And I understand that, you know, the world's a big place.
So I actually felt guilty sometimes, trying not to ask too much of them.
You know, Jim made this decision, but, you know,
just give it your best attention, and...we'll trust you.
That's kind of where it started, the relationship.
And then I met the first agent that came over...
..and...just a kid, out of school.
And his first question to me was,
had I asked the regime for assistance?
Are you fucking kidding me?
Have I called the regime and ask them for assistance?
No, I hadn't thought of that, thank you,
thank you very much for that tip.
They told us... They advised us to be quiet,
because, hopefully, you know, they could find him and get him out,
and such. So we didn't say anything.
So we went through Christmas and all that, you know,
not telling anyone but our closest family that Jim was missing.
In some ways...it was better,
because I didn't have to explain it.
Cos at times it could feel like...
accusatory, like, "Well, he WAS in Syria."
That's not fair.
You don't do that with police, or firemen, or someone like that,
who do dangerous jobs.
You don't say, well, you were in a fire,
what did you think would happen?
My friend doesn't need to explain why he's a journalist.
Come the New Year,
I couldn't stand it.
I was frantic.
-Happy New Year!
So WE chose to go public.
I appeal to the people who have Jim to give us some information
in terms of his welfare, his health.
It breaks my heart that
the persons who have captured him
don't understand his goodness.
My personal feeling is that silence helps two people.
One is the government.
It doesn't push them to do more, sooner.
And the captors, it allows them to do whatever they want.
It's difficult now, with all the talk about the Islamic State,
they've become so famous, or infamous,
but the Islamic State, Isis, Isil, was on nobody's radar at the time.
With a very high degree of confidence,
we now believe that Jim was abducted by
a pro-government militia group,
and was subsequently turned over to Syrian government forces.
This is the first time we've really heard anything like this,
so we have hope, as John says.
Well, it turned out we were dead wrong about that.
-All the information upfront
was just a bunch of BS.
No-one knew what the heck they were
talking about, cos we had no access.
That whole year, I don't care what anyone says, all the efforts,
all the leads, all this and that...
We were in the wrong area of the country.
You know, and Syria's about the size of New England, maybe,
a little smaller.
So, here you go, Brian, go in to New England.
I think the moment I'd learned that he'd been kidnapped,
I was just like, this is going to be a really long process.
But I'm going to do anything that I can in my power to get him home,
..because I can't stand the thought of him being in a cell somewhere,
cold and hungry,
and I can't sit here and not try to look for him.
My name is Daniel,
and I'm a Danish photojournalist.
I started as a gymnast...
..and while I spent all my time in gyms all around the world
during gymnastics, I got bored
when I didn't do anything else,
and I started to take pictures.
I only planned to be inside Syria for two days.
I had one day of work,
when I walked around this small, quiet town.
Yeah, it was spring.
So the weather started to get better,
and people seemed happy and relaxed.
And we were told to go and speak to some guys in the area.
Very calmly, we were sitting on sofas,
they were offering tea.
Everything was calm and quiet,
even though I knew that something was...strange.
Something was wrong.
And then they just asked me to stand up.
And they took off my glasses, and they're just, don't worry, Dan,
this is just a procedure.
That was how everything began.
So, you know,
a quiet Sunday, beautiful spring morning,
became a nightmare for me.
The longer you are hostage, the easier it becomes in some way.
The better you get at it.
I had, I think, like, one, one and a half months by myself.
And after, I believe, two and a half months,
I was put together with two other Westerners,
and then we were put together, four.
I think we were five together, and then seven together,
and then came another one, eight.
Then it just started to evolve.
-We were in that cell,
We were 19 at one stage.
And one day, we had to sit faces to the wall, so...
but I could see, like, under my arms.
I could see some mattresses was moved in,
and there came some guys in traditional Syrian clothes.
And then they closed the door again,
boom, the big metal door.
And I looked up, and there was James and John Cantlie.
And everybody was like, yay, welcome, welcome, welcome!
You know, it's two new friends.
You know, I created this picture in my head
of this big, like, war journalist.
And so I could only get disappointed in a way when he...
I remember him being like... Er...
That was basically the first time I met him.
But it was really different to be put together with James and John,
because they've been together in prison for almost a year,
when I first saw them.
They was the most experienced of us,
and I started from the beginning,
and I think the whole group started to lean a little bit against them.
James was very silent, most of the time.
He was very good at listening.
He managed to make the room bigger, in a way,
by being small himself.
And that is a very, very difficult thing to be.
And you really want to scream in the head of everybody, like, fuck off!
I remember, one time, James was asked to stand up the whole night...
..in the middle of the room.
Late at night,
there was no light at all.
So we was just sitting there in complete darkness.
And that time really, really, really went slowly.
What we did, James and I,
we started to develop a way of...
passing through these hours of darkness,
by giving each other, like, massages.
And it sounds maybe a little bit, you know...
..strange, or gay, or whatever, but...
But there was something... there was something nice about it.
And James asked,
"Can you teach me how to give, like, a real nice massage,
"so when I get out and I meet a woman, I can really impress her?"
So we started having these kind of lessons, you know?
Our body had witnessed a lot of...trauma,
and the fact that somebody is actually touching you,
and it's a NICE feeling,
for me it was a nice way to feel a little bit human again.
And James, he never learned how to give a proper massage.
It was awful every time,
so he really...
he really managed to get a good deal out of that one.
I remember one time, we were given a lot of dates to eat.
And at some point, we were moved,
and you just don't leave food behind or destroy it or whatever.
But sometimes, you have to do it because there's nowhere to put it.
Then James just took out his pants,
and he took out like two kilos of dates!
You know, "Don't worry, guys!"
He could have taken all the food by himself,
later that night or whatever,
but he always took the things
so he could share it around, or give it to the people who didn't have it.
In the beginning of James and John's captivity,
they were really starved.
They didn't like to talk about it,
they didn't find it very interesting to talk about.
But one thing I know was that...
..that they really, really, really had a difficult time.
But they managed to get back on track,
to gain strength again.
It was very interesting to see what happened between James and John,
because they've been together for almost a year when I first saw them,
that meant that they have spoken about
every single thing there is to talk about.
So I was basically the one starting to listen to
all of James' story again.
There was a period of time in the prison
where we was not interrupted by the guards very often.
And that meant that we could get a routine,
so we worked out,
we did trivias.
We had lectures and stuff like this.
We managed after, I don't know,
three weeks, one month or so,
to make this Risk game.
We had a small bucket that we received some yoghurt in,
and we cut out a piece of cardboard and we made three lines,
and we put it in the bottom of the bucket.
And then you should hold up a date seed and let it go.
Plop. Let it fall down.
And whatever it landed on, it would be that number.
So that was our dice for the game.
You know, take, like, ten journalists, war.
Put them into one room and make them play the game
about taking control over the world, you know?
It's basically like putting gasoline to a bonfire.
We started to have our own small world.
That made everything much easier to survive, in a way.
It was much easier to understand.
We didn't have to think about economy,
we didn't have to think about bank loans,
or the prices of gas at the moment.
You adapt into the situation.
And then suddenly, this whole thing becomes a part of your life.
And this is your life.
When you look back on it, that's what I remember, our small society,
where we really started to know each other.
You know who made this fart,
you can smell, this is the fart of you.
I remember James' 40-year-old birthday.
It was late at night, it was completely dark.
James just... "Oh."
"By the way...I turned 40 today."
I was just, like, what?!
So we sang a song for him,
and I remember that we said we hope it will be a much better birthday
CHATTERING AND LAUGHTER
One, two and three.
Come on, smile! Please!
We've been through a lot together.
Michael has co-signed loans for me.
He's lent me his professional clothes.
His dental plan.
I think sometimes we struggle to understand each other,
and where exactly we're coming from, and why we do the things we do.
Michael has entirely too much common sense.
And sometimes I have entirely too little common sense.
We've somehow grown closer, despite the differences.
I guess it's about being brothers.
'I'd say the first 100, 150 days,
'I was all in.
'But I definitely retracted
'pretty strongly after that.'
I have a lot of regrets about not...
not continuing full steam.
I don't know if it was because I was trying to protect myself,
or I was just trying to protect my family and, you know,
give the kids the attention I have.
You know, I could...argue that that's what Jim would prefer and...
I don't know, there's all kinds of...excuses or reasons,
but it's something I do feel terrible about.
But then I got pulled right back into it very strongly
and very immediately when the first e-mail came to me.
"We have James and want to negotiate for him. He is safe.
"He's our friend, and we do not want to hurt him.
"If you want cooperation, we have rules.
"You cannot go to the media ever about this.
"If you do, we will not negotiate.
"We want money fast!"
We shared everything we have with everybody.
You know, FBI knew, security team knew, everyone knew.
They said just keep them talking and all that.
"They're just beginning the negotiations, we've got time,
"just keep at it."
So I, after coordinating with some officials, replied to them.
"Please provide us with proof that you have Jim,
"and we will be happy to work things out with you."
We still didn't know who was holding him.
It was obvious that they were people against the Assad regime.
But they didn't identify themselves any more than that at all.
They were very shrewd.
And their e-mails, unfortunately, were totally undetectable.
About a week goes by, and they responded.
"James Wright Foley is being detained by us.
"At this stage, no video or picture evidence of his wellbeing
"will be provided until we see tangible progress
"in your efforts to negotiate.
"However, you will be allowed to ask
"three questions of a personal nature
"that nobody except James will know the answers to.
"Our primary demand is that you use your influence to pressure
"your government to release our Muslim prisoners,
"who they have imprisoned whether innocent
"or, 'guilty' according to 'your laws'.
"If this fails to bear any fruits,
"then our secondary demand is the sum of 100 million euros."
FBI seemed to have their hands tied,
because all they were able to do was OK our family e-mails.
And...they really were unable to help us much with strategy.
They just told us to be yourselves, be family.
Tell them the truth is we can't release any prisoners.
We certainly don't have 100 million euro.
Michael came up with some questions I didn't know the answers to.
But we sent those back to the captors.
Then there was some brief comment.
"It says, James was detained whilst operating as a 'journalist'".
But I was never in the air force.
That was John.
My brother Jim...
..said that Mike was the air force officer.
It may have been a typo, it may not have been,
but I believe it was, you know, my big brother...
trying to protect me.
you know you love your brothers, but...
HE SWALLOWS TEARS
But for him to put...be willing to put his life on the line,
or his body on the line...
-..for my protection, is significant.
I mean, it's...it's...
I think they came in with the proof of life for John.
And then everybody else got their proof of lifes.
Everybody came in like, yes!
And were happy, and...
But James didn't get his proof of life.
Until one day that they came in and they asked James to follow.
And when he came back, you know,
he came with his arms over his head and...
..he said that this was the best day of his life.
And then him and John, they...
they hugged each other and they were dancing around
like they just won the big lottery.
-That was early December of 2013.
All the answers came back right on.
We knew they had Jim.
But by the end of December, they e-mailed us back and said,
this is the last e-mail you'll get from us.
And cut off communication.
I mean, the first year,
we just trusted that the government would have this in hand,
and that despite our lack of information, et cetera,
they had been through this before and they knew what to do.
And, you know, we were in good hands.
At the end of that year, we realised that nothing was being done,
we were really going to have to do something on our own.
Diane was great about meeting with ambassadors in Washington
from other countries that might have some influence.
It turned out that no-one had any influence,
because the group that had him didn't listen to anybody.
But we didn't know that.
It's kind of come as a surprise to a lot of us, this group, Isis,
a group that we hadn't really heard much about. Who exactly are they?
Well, it's a criminal, marauding gang.
They come out of the original,
very brutal Iraqi terror group.
They're the worst. They're the worst of the worst.
-Washington doesn't know how to deal with it.
How's this family in New England going to figure that out, right?!
I mean, you're dealing with... pure evil.
But a capable and organised group.
They were very tough towards me also,
but, no matter what,
they meant freedom for me...
because they were the ones negotiating for me.
But James and John were destroyed by the Beatles in the beginning.
-He had this ability to escape the situation,
to enjoy, you know, the sound of children playing outside.
Or enjoy the view of just some sun entering through the window.
James converted in the beginning of his captivity.
And I know that was at the same period as
he was getting really bad treatment.
It gave a good routine.
Normally we have a tradition of going into church every Sunday,
but if you cannot do that,
you need another way of feeling
that you are doing something with your faith.
And you can call it a surviving skills,
you can call it just a way of being interested in another culture.
What James used to say to me was that for him, God is the same.
We had such great Christmases when the kids were little.
Oh! Just wonderful, wonderful Christmases.
And, you know, as they get older,
and Jim's siblings married,
they weren't always able to be home.
But Jim was always home.
Most of my memories of Jim culminate around the holidays.
You know, they're playing at the video games, the board games,
the ping-pong tournaments.
The anything tournaments!
CHATTERING AND CHUCKLING
And you wake up, you open the gifts and you're like,
"Oh crap, Jim has my name.
"What's he going to give me?!"
You know! So...
I shouldn't say that.
It's good times.
And then the last Christmas he was home,
I remember him like rolling on the floor with Michael's son Matty.
He loved that kid.
There's a million Christmas stories, yeah.
You know, it's difficult for us to celebrate Christmas in any way.
And we didn't have any present to give each other.
So we...we decided to sit down in a circle.
And then we had to say something nice to each other.
And I remember that I said to James that,
"James, first time I met you was, you know, in this prison.
"And you looked as confused as if you were just...
"dumped down on the Earth from the Moon or something.
"And you basically destroyed my whole idea
"of this great war journalist, James Wright Foley.
"And then suddenly I find out that you are...very clumsy,
"you're very bad at sports."
"But then again, you..."
"You're the most..."
I think I said to him, "You know, you're the most honest person.
"There is no evil at all to find in you, James. You are pure good."
"Sometimes too good.
"And I'm really happy that I've met you."
That was our Christmas night.
When I went to bed that night,
I really felt that I had the best Christmas night in my life.
I mean, this is...
So that's when I started to get more frantic.
I mean, I thought,
there's got to be some way to get the French and the US to talk.
This is my husband, John.
They were willing to share all kinds of things about Jim, personally,
how he was, what they did.
So I was starting to get all this hope.
And they have a hostage crisis unit in Paris,
and they were very generous with their time.
So it was so different than what I was experiencing,
so I was just kind of like, jeez, you know?
Jim and the others, other Americans are as important as these guys,
And...it was the last night I was in Paris,
and I got a phone call from John.
And he said "Diane, we've had another e-mail from the captors."
I thought, oh, great! What did they say?
And that's when they threatened to kill Jim.
But me, in my...cluelessness,
I was just excited that they'd reached out to us.
We had raised about 1 million in pledges.
And I was so excited to hear from them.
Cos we thought now we can tell them we have this money, and...
I was just so clueless.
We knew that paying a ransom was illegal.
And we also knew that...
..it wouldn't have stopped us.
The Foleys were prepared to mortgage their house,
and do what needed to be done to make a payment.
I have a lot of evolving thoughts about this whole process,
and what the government didn't do that it should have done.
If you just look at the facts,
there are 15 European hostages who are alive,
and with their families and friends and loved ones today.
I wish we'd started raising money sooner.
I wish we'd negotiated,
and I wish it had... turned out differently.
In some sense, I was OK with the fact that he got captured
because I knew that he was...
doing what he wanted to do.
You know, and as a good family member and as a good brother,
I need to understand that.
My mum did a great job in, you know,
keeping the faith, and working as hard as she could,
but...from the get-go, once it happened,
I kind of felt like he was already gone.
So, after a group of the other hostages was released,
the Beatles, they came back the day after.
They beated the shit out of James and I.
I think it's called a Charlie horse,
when you put your knee into the legs of a person.
And they did that to me and James,
while we had to sit in stress position.
I don't know how many they gave us, but it just continued and it was...
Never tried anything that hurt so much in my entire life.
And then they just left.
And I was just laying there crying,
and I couldn't be in my own body of pure pain.
And James, in the other corner of the room, he...
I knew he got exactly the same treatment as me,
but I couldn't hear it.
I don't know if he kept it inside, or how he did it,
but only a few minutes after they left,
James, he kind of looked up and asked me if I was OK.
I was like, "Shut up, James."
I remember I said, "Shut up, James," you know?
Don't ask ME if I'm OK, you know?
Don't worry about me, you know, worry about yourself.
Yeah, we just laid there until the pain started to disappear a bit.
Two or three days after, they came in again.
This time, the Beatles just told us that now, guys, everything changed.
And they took all our food,
our games, most of the blankets.
And they started to use, like, police clubs.
So every time we went to the toilet, we got beatings with the stick.
We were so scared, we lost all hopes.
No matter what came through that door, it was evil.
Those 14 days before I got released was the absolute worst times.
When people started to get released,
we decided to send out letters with the person who was released.
But James, he didn't.
He didn't want to bother any of us.
And I remember one day that...
..I saw that John and James had been talking for some times
in their corner.
And after that, John, he came over to me,
and said Daniel, James wants to ask you something.
What up, James? And he was like,
"Oh, it's just if you want to carry out a message or something."
You know, he was very...
He said it fast, like... like he didn't want to bother me.
There's many ways of dealing with a situation like this.
And James, I think one of the reasons why he remained so strong,
was because he managed to think about all the good things.
He saw the light, instead of the dark spots.
Where a guy like John, he was much more realistic.
He knew when it was bad.
But I couldn't bring out the letter.
I was too afraid, after these 14 days.
So I decided just to memorise as much as I could.
So I started waiting,
I knew they will come in the morning to pick me up.
One day went, two days went.
And then fourth, fifth day.
And then I woke up, the sixth day in the morning.
And I couldn't sleep. I couldn't sleep all night
because I was so afraid of, what if they're playing a trick on me?
And James, he walked over to me and he sat down right next to me.
And he said, "Are you OK, Daniel?" "Yeah, all right."
And then I just couldn't hold back.
And I said, "Fuck. Fuck, man.
"I am really, really scared.
"I'm really, really, really, really scared right now.
"I don't know what to do, what to think. I..."
And he said, "Daniel, calm down.
"Everything will be fine.
"You are going home. They will come.
"In a few hours, or tomorrow, but one thing is sure, Daniel.
"You will go home."
Once again, it was a weird feeling,
because I was sitting there crying,
and making a scene in front of James,
and I was about to go home.
And James, he didn't have anything to look forward to.
James, he went back to his side of the room.
Ten minutes after,
they knocked on the door.
They came in, and they asked me to put a blanket over my head
and follow them.
That was the last time I...
..I saw James.
I call on my friends, family and loved ones
to rise up against my real killers,
the US government.
For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency,
I wish I had more time.
I wish I could have the hope of freedom
and seeing my family once again.
But that ship has sailed.
I hadn't heard Jim's voice in two years.
You know, I guess you can see it in his neck and his face,
he's just, the strength he has at that moment.
I think of myself, I'd be calling for my mother or something!
Just the strength he had, and I...
I wanted to feel what he felt...
-..is the reason I watched it.
I kept getting messages saying, "John, are you OK?
"John, are you OK about what your brother's saying?"
I'm like, what are you talking about?
I call on my brother John,
who is a member of the US Air Force.
Think about what you're doing.
Think about the lives you destroy,
including those of your own family.
Even though he was reading the script,
he seemed defiant...to the end.
I mean, for sure, I still have some guilt regarding...
Just...me and unfortunately my profession
that I am sure that he endured torture.
Interestingly, John and I,
we've argued a lot about things since that,
but we've been communicating a lot more,
we've come a lot closer as a result, and...
..and I think Jim would have loved that.
And, you know Jim as well as I do.
He wouldn't have said those things if there wasn't someone else
that was going to be harmed as a result of it.
He never cared about himself.
-My only thought when I found out about Jim was,
how am I going to get home?
I had missed the initial chaos when it all happened,
but slowly we all kind of came together.
We literally chose the smallest room possible in our house,
but everybody was just kind of huddled together.
Jim always found a way to bring people together.
I really don't think I came to know Jim as a man, as an adult.
I came to know him through his friends.
It's hard as a mother.
You know, they're always your children, somehow.
And it's hard to see that they're adults,
with their own gifts,
and their own way in the world.
The day before his memorial, I was like...
I was like, "Now I get it."
"Now I get it."
Jokingly, I was always like, you know, "Jim, get a job!"
Jim, you know, save for retirement!
So what I didn't recognise, he was really trying to teach me.
"John, you need to look outside yourself."
"John, it's not about physical or monetary things.
"It's about how you act.
"It's who you teach.
"Who you mentor.
"Who's going to remember you?
"What are they going to remember about you?"
Jimmy was included in the long line of journalists
who gave their lives to tell the truth.
We were just totally humbled by the fact that the committee in Bayeux
would nominate him to be included on one of the markers,
with 2,000 other deceased journalists.
It was a very important moment.
This was Jim, and...
..it made me feel very warm inside that...
..he was accepted as one of them.
And that's the difference with Jim.
He was just a you and a me, a friendly guy...
-HIS VOICE BREAKS:
-Where that came from, I don't know, Brian.
Because you just can't grit something like that out.
You have to have an inner strength...
..to do that.
We discovered Jim just like the world did.
He was truly a man for others.
-Witnessing Jim's murder this publicly,
it sends a message to all of us.
And my, I guess, response to that is
having lost so many friends,
and knowing that people are purposely out for journalists, now,
I mean, we have to fight back, with our pictures and our words.
I just... I don't want to let them win.
The extent to which the media coverage took off,
it was just staggering.
It was absolutely staggering.
Something like 94% of Americans
were aware of Jim's death,
and how he died.
It's the event with the second most recognition
in recent American history, after 9/11.
He would have been horrified by that.
I mean, he was there to talk about the Syrian people,
and this is the takeaway.
BRIAN: What is your response to people
who would say he shouldn't have been in there?
My response is do you read the newspaper?
Do you watch TV?
You're depending on someone to bring you that information.
If you care about what's going on in Syria,
you don't have the right to be like, oh, why's he there?
How do you even know what there is?
Because he told you.
-I remember the video, and... there was a desert.
And in the background,
you could see the desert stop.
And it was all the Valley of Euphrates.
So according to what I know from James,
I'm like 100% sure
that even though he was convinced he would be killed,
he enjoyed the view.
-He died as a free man.
This is not the death of a hostage.
This is the difference, eventually, between Jim and myself.
I ended up being released.
But...he ended up free.
And when we came to James' funeral,
everything started to become real again in a way.
The fact that I managed to say goodbye to James,
together with all his loved ones,
was really powerful.
It reminded me how important it was that...
..that James, he gave that letter to me.
Dear family and friends,
I remember going to the mall with Dad.
A very long bike ride with Mum.
I remember so many great family times
that take me away from this prison.
Dreams of family and friends take me away,
and happiness fills my heart.
I know you're thinking of me and praying for me,
and I am so thankful.
I feel you all especially when I pray.
I pray for you to stay strong, and to believe.
I really feel I can touch you, even in this darkness, when I pray.
I think a lot about my brothers and sister.
I remember playing werewolf in the dark with Michael,
and so many other adventures.
I think of chasing Matty and Tee around the kitchen counter.
It makes me happy to think of them.
If there is any money left in my bank account,
I want it to go to Michael and Matthew.
I am so proud of you, Michael...
..and thankful to you for happy childhood memories,
and to you and Christie for happy adult ones.
And big John,
how I enjoyed visiting you and Cress in Germany.
Thank you for welcoming me.
I think a lot about Ro-Ro, and try to imagine what Jack is like.
I hope he has Ro-Ro's personality.
So Mark and Casey, what name have you given your son?
-James Michael Foley.
-James Michael Foley.
so proud of you too, bro.
I think of you on the West Coast,
and hope you're doing some snowboarding and camping.
I especially remember us going to the comedy club in Boston together,
and our big hug after.
The special moments keep me hopeful.
Katie, so very proud of you.
You are the strongest and best of us all.
I think of you working so hard, helping people as a nurse.
I pray I can come to your wedding.
Now I'm sounding like Grammy!
Grammy, please take your medicine.
Take walks and keep dancing.
I plan to take you out to Margarita's when I get home.
because I'm going to need your help to reclaim my life.
# Well, I was always late
# For every meal, you'll swear
# But keep my place
# On the empty chair
# And somehow I'll be there
# And somehow...
# I'll be there. #
Documentary telling the story of how a young journalist came to be the first American to be executed by ISIS.
On 22 November 2012, photojournalist James 'Jim' Foley was kidnapped in Syria. Two years later, the infamous video of his public execution introduced much of the world to ISIS.
The film documents Jim's life through intimate interviews with his family, friends and fellow journalists - while former hostages reveal never-before-heard details of his captivity with a chilling intimacy that reveals their untold story of perseverance.
Made with unparalleled access, including footage Foley shot himself, childhood friend and director Brian Oakes reveals Jim's enormous courage during his captivity in this powerful chronicle of bravery, compassion and pain.