DISTURBING CONTENT: Don’t read this if you are of a nervous disposition. Or you want to enjoy your day.
Reading through the headlines yesterday I found this article detailing the latest dose of visual hijinks from our friends in the Islamic State media department. I decided that it would be fun to find the original video to really see how gnarly it is. What followed was not fun and very gnarly. Read on.
First bad thing: The video is 19 minutes long. Having already being committed to watching I had to start.But I then discovered that the whole video is in Arabic (subtitles too). So not only was I going to watch a mentally scarring video for no reason (except for lack of impulse control), I will understand pretty much nothing of what is being said.
Except for the death parts, which we pretty much all interpret as ‘not good’. Apart from these ISIS wackos.
Anyway, the show starts off innocuous enough. Political propaganda showing stock footage of Middle Eastern troops walking up and down presidential steps, Putin looking evil and devious (pretty easy to capture) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish president is the man who, I would assume, sent the poor bastards who are set alight at the end of the video.
Professional looking graphics show Erdogan shaking hands with Indian PM Narendra Modi, Pope Francis, President Obama and Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad among others.
But it quickly goes downhill from there. We see our first car bomb in 1080p via drone shot. We’re also treated to a shot of it’s aftermath.
After that, we get some helmet-cam of a machine-gunner charging through the battlefield. He darts through the gunfire towards brick huts as we see his evil bastard comrade gun down what I can only assume are kittens. Or combatants. No, I’m going to tell myself it’s just practice. You can actually see a GoPro strapped to the forehead of one of the militants in a screenshot below.
We see the first death up close at 4.30. The gunner and driver of an opposition pickup were slaughtered with gunfire. The windshield is peppered with bulletholes. As a militant goes to inspect the back of the vehicle, he flips out a handycam and starts pointing it at the bodies. They drag them onto the ground to parade their kills. I’ll save you the images.
The video starts to loosen up after this into a brief intermission. We’re shown the panoramic view of the rolling hills of the battlefield. The midday sun glimmering off the van driving towards the enemy compound. They’re firing at the van. The van ignites into a fireball and explodes. Its another car bomb, never mind. Cue mangled bodies.
After already becoming thoroughly depressed at these sights, the video has even more. It shows IS militants tracking their rockets across the sky as these scream like fireworks towards unsuspecting victims. I found these scenes especially haunting, we can see the soldiers walking and talking to one another whilst a missile is cutting through the wind straight for them.
There’s something undignified about attacking when the enemy’s back is turned, but as the rockets hit the militants celebrate their success. The only thing you hear are the shattering explosion and the rancid yells of Allahu Akbar.
Next up, we see an IS soldier hop into the back of a custom-built self-death machine and charge towards what I assume to be an enemy base. But they’re all so eager to please through suicide I wouldn’t be surprised if it were their own.
Then there’s a load of explosions and these dickheads celebrating. After that came the first time I had to look away. Children blown to pieces being patched up in pop-up hospitals. I can’t tell you much about this because there’s not much to say. I’m not going to provide screenshots for this because if you have a heart you probably don’t want to see it. As far as I can tell these are children who have been maimed through Turkish actions, and these scenes act as the emotional motivation behind what comes next.
The final event in the video is the execution of two Turkish soldiers. This is announced by a stereotypical beardy shouty ISIS militant. He wears a gun in a sling, his finger hovering over the trigger. The shots bounce between three cameras. It’s the worlds most angry and depraved talk show bar Jeremy Kyle.
Cue shots of the captured men in their cage, shackled to one another at the neck. The camera gets in their face through the bars. They make eye contact with the lens. They look terrified. I feel so fucking bad for them. I won’t screenshot it, they don’t deserve to be paraded around the internet for entertainment. These shots are interspersed by footage of the maimed children shown earlier.
The captives are led out of their cage on their hands and knees, lead by the chain around their neck by lower ranking militants. They are yanked to their feet at the end of a long chain and shackled to it standing up. The long chain trailing behind them has a petrol soaked cloth threaded through the links along the length of it.
The two captives address the camera and say their final scripted goodbyes. The IS militant that introduced them pulls out a white plastic device with a button out of his holster and extends its antenna.
He presses the button and flames erupt from behind the captives and trail towards them.
All they can do is wait until they are suddenly engulfed in flames. They start to flail their limbs as they try to put out the fire climbing up their backs towards their faces. One falls to his knees and doubles over in pain. The other drops to the floor and writhes. I didn’t watch much after that, couldn’t stomach the sight.
The last time I glanced back at the screen one of the captives was still trying to fan his arms slowly back and forth, but there wasn’t much left he could do to save himself by that point.
The last scene shows a militant shouting something at the camera in Arabic whilst dousing one of the poor men in petrol. The flames trail the vapours up into the air in slow motion as the screen fades to black.
So, that’s your summary of the latest ISIS execution video “The Cross Shield”. It was pretty fucking awful and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It showed me how truly barbaric IS are and how they have a complete disregard for humanity. I really feel for the families of their victims being lauded in propaganda like this.
I don’t know whether it was ethical of me or not to turn this video into a review piece, but hopefully it at least shows you the savageness of Daesh. And prevents you from watching it yourself.
I think that’s enough soul-crushing violence for me today, I’m going to have a lie down and listen to some Snow Patrol.
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