Get PJ Media on your Apple

The Yellow Ribbon Project

sotlofflibya

Journalist Steve Sotloff in Libya, from his Facebook page

The last tweet before Steven Sotloff disappeared showed that his hometown was never far from the foreign correspondent’s mind.

“How much of an impact with big man #GregOden have with #MiamiHeat next season?” he tweeted on Aug. 3, 2013. It’s believed he was kidnapped the next day in Syria near the Turkey border.

Sotloff had written for TIME magazine, Foreign Policy, the Christian Science Monitor, The Diplomat and more. He reported from Libya after the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, trying to piece together what happened that night when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. One of his pieces tried to reconstruct the attack with firsthand testimony from the Libyan guards on duty at the time.

A few days before his abduction, he tweeted that he had been hit by pepper spray unleashed by riot police in Antakya, a Turkish town near the Syrian border with a notable Christian population. At the time, the Erdogan government was responding harshly to peaceful protests advocating a more democratic Turkey.

On July 31, 2013, he tweeted about the death of infamous heart-eating Syrian rebel Abu Sakkar, referring to him as “Hannibal Lecter wannabe.”

The 31-year-old freelancer who became fluent in Arabic listed his location as الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا — the Middle East and North Africa.

After photojournalist James Foley was beheaded on camera in a video released by ISIS on Tuesday, his executioner reappeared on camera holding Sotloff by the back of his orange shirt.

“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” warned the terrorist.

The very fact that Sotloff had been kidnapped surprised media. His family had kept the story dark, hoping a media blackout might give them better negotiations with his captors.

Sotloff’s parents live in the district of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who is also chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.

“They’re my neighbors. We live in a suburb of Miami, the village of Pinecrest. They reached out to us last year, August, around this time, saying that their son had disappeared, a freelance journalist,” Ros-Lehtinen told MSNBC today. “And then I met with them in Washington and been in contact with the Department of State, with everyone, the ambassador of Syria, to see what could be done, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International.”

Ros-Lehtinen said it’s “very difficult” to determine what the next move should be.

“We pray. And like the mom said, he’s still alive. There is still hope. There is a lot that we can do. They have a petition. They want the folks to sign the petition,” she said. “And it’s a — they’re a very private family… So they’re asking everyone from their family and friends to not give statements to the press, because it’s so delicate, these negotiations.”

The petition to the White House asks that President Obama “do everything possible to free American reporter Steven Sotloff from ISIS in Syria and save his life.”

“Steven appeared at the end of a video in which reporter James Foley was beheaded. In the video, Steven is seen at the end declaring that he will be next,” states the petition, which still needs more than 91,000 signatures by Sept. 18 to trigger a White House response. “We, the undersigned call upon you, President Obama, to take immediate action to save Steven’s life by any means necessary.”

“I can say that the White House is involved. We’ve been in touch with them. And this has gone to the highest level,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

She said that Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and Ted Deutch (D) have also been helping on the case behind the scenes.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Thursday that they would not get into the details of whether or not they believe Sotloff is still alive.

“The State Department, the FBI, officials from the intelligence community and the White House and others have been in touch with the Foley family and the Sotloff family,” Harf said. “We have remained in close contact with them.”

Obama has not mentioned Sotloff by name. In his Wednesday statement on Foley’s beheading, the president said “we keep in our prayers those other Americans who are separated from their families.”

“We will do everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for,” Obama said.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement on the Foley murder didn’t mention the threat against Sotloff at the gruesome video’s conclusion.

“There is evil in this world, and we all have come face to face with it once again. Ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil,” Kerry said. “ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly insult to the peaceful religion they violate every day with their barbarity.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said he knows the Sotloffs ”have been working tirelessly to secure the release of their captured son.”

Ros-Lehtinen admitted she is torn about suggestions that, in the wake of Foley’s beheading, the U.S. should entertain the idea of negotiating with ISIS for Sotloff’s life and the lives of other Americans. ISIS made a $100 million demand for Foley before his death.

“As a member of Congress, I would say, no, because that only puts it makes every American a target because they depend on outside money, although they are very rich themselves,” she said. “As a mother and as a grandmother, I would say please do everything possible to save my son or grandson. So it depends on if I were the parents… and I don’t speak for them. I would say do everything. And maybe all options are on the table. I don’t know. I pray for Steven.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the bottom line is “you may not be buying the death of the people ransomed, but you’re buying other people’s death.”

“If it was a member of my family, I’d be in there saying pay the ransom. Which is why we don’t have members of the family making these tough calls,” added the House Intelligence Committee member on MSNBC. “…The broader point is that it just doesn’t work. I mean, if you look at the Europeans who are paying ransoms, is that stopping Europeans from being kidnapped? No, it isn’t. It’s not stopping them from being murdered, either.”

sotloffisis

All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Another American journalist hostage - NOT Sotloff - held by the Al-Qaeda franchise in Syria has apparently been released today via the Golan Heights. His name is Theo Curtis.

According to the story I read in my news app, which is attributed to Deutsche Welle (English service), the Syrian Al-Qaeda franchise loathes the ISIS jihadis.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
Syria and Iraq would be the perfect place for the US feds to experiment with 24/7 drone coverage. Booby trap them in case they crash. Do an airdrop on the scale that has never been done before, letting them know all about it. And for you future journalists out there planning on hitting the ground in Syria and Iraq....since you probably have a pretty good chance of losing your head, try to rip out the eyeballs of your captors in the first seconds of being kidnapped. Bring the terror to them.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just said a prayer for Mr. Sotloff. Encourage others to do the same.
I suspect the State Department will pay a huge ransom for in order to save Obama and the liberal narrative from being punctured by the boastful Arabs from the Tower hamlets in London.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
he need only pretend to convert to islam and spit out 100 'down w/ the infidels', and our most transparent president evar will trade half a dozen really bad guys in gitmo for him. problem solved.

hasn't anybody been paying attention?
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
That would open him up to a death sentence if they ever caught on that his conversion wasn't sincere. But if the lie got him to a place where he could escape back to safety it might be a small enough risk that it wouldn't be a problem for him.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
The media coverage of Foley's murder has been just a tad off key (at least to me). Is there any possibility that Foley was homosexual?
That would make it even more difficult for the media, walking the fine line between two of their most precious groups, the murdering muslim terrorists and their beloved homosexuals.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bothered me for a while, but I finally figured out why the musies are wearing hoods.

No women or children around to hide behind.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
Man, I wish the best for you Sotloff, but what would Muhammad do to you?

5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
These ISIS miscreants better watch out, because if they don't start being suave around the water cooler, Vlad Obama is going to unleash the ladies of twitter on them.

The social pressure will be unbearable.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
May we get him out alive, with the only ransom paid in bits of lead.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
This fellow seems more worthy of sympathy than Bergdahl-Foley, traitors.
5 weeks ago
5 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All

One Trackback to “‘We Pray; There Is Still Hope’ for Miami Native Threatened at End of ISIS Video”