Strange "jihadi" video of Austin Tice, U.S. reporter missing in Syria

“It’s like a caricature of a jihadi group. It looks like someone went to the Internet, watched pictures of Afghan mujahedeen, then copied them.”—Joseph Holliday, who researches Syrian rebel groups at the Washington, DC-based Institute for the Study of War, speaking in the Washington Post about a suspicious video that has emerged of Austin Tice, a captive US journalist believed to have been kidnapped by the Syrian government.

You can watch the video here. It shows Tice alive after capture, and it is disturbing.

Tice has been missing since mid-August. An article at McClatchy digs further into the details of who may have posted the video, and why observers are skeptical that this was in fact produced by anyone but parties working on behalf of the Assad regime.


  1. Austin is an ex-Marine and a remarkable immersion journalist. He’s also the nephew of a woman I’ve known my entire life. I’m deeply saddened that Syria is yet another country that the world bickers over while massive atrocities take place.
    I’m a veteran and a journalist, and in areas of combat there is little difference in the danger or importance between reporting and soldiering, except there is little fanfare for journalists. I really hope Austin is able to return home safely, and that the Syrian bloodshed has a global tourniquet of peace applied.
    His fear is so tangible it breaks my heart, and I worry for his family. No mother should ever have to witness this.

  2. Very strange video. No demands, no proclamations. Everybody’s clothes look too white and clean to be real, but if fake, for what purpose? The Syrian government or some other organization trying to make it look like a jihadist kidnapping? Perhaps he discovered something they want to hide? Regardless I hope he gets home okay.

    1. Like most (all?) Arab dictators against whom rebellions have sprung up in the last couple years, one of the few arguments for the Assad regime’s legitimacy is that the rebels are dominated by Sunni extremists like Al Qaeda who would be even worse for human rights and self-determination than the existing despotic regime. 

      It’s entirely possible that this guy’s reporting was perceived in Damascus as hurting the Assad regime–giving away troop positions, providing too-accurate information about atrocities committed, etc.–but the Assadites are at least savvy enough to know that killing or capturing American reporters would be very bad for their already beyond-shaky international political standing.

      So it wouldn’t be shocking if pro-Assad forces indeed captured him and tried to blame it on religious extremists, in effect attempting to kill two birds with one stone (stop his reporting and try to create more ambiguity in the US about supporting the rebels).

    2. Very odd stuff. Syria looks allot like southern California. I expected Captain Kirk to start fighting a lizard or perhaps the Loan Ranger to ride over the ridge. 

      Why do they only seem to say Allahu al-Akbar and takir? They also start saying it at the same time as if on queue. The cleaned and freshly pressed clothing looks like what you see on Afghani rebels and not Syrian freedom fighters.

      I’m calling this staged, perhaps fake, perhaps real, but staged.

  3. This YouTube video is one that I could expect people to get angry about and storm embassies over.  That other one?  Not so much.

    1. The guys who stormed the embassy were trained militants.  The operation was planned.  The riots were a cover.  The rioters rioted because their lives suck and they’re angry about it, not because of some stupid youtube video. 

      Yes, blah blah blah, they said it was about the video.  If you think the rioters were perfectly happy and content before seeing the video and then turned into snarling beasts after seeing it then you just don’t understand much about human nature. 

    2. I think there’s quite enough useless, destructive anger going around already.  Anger won’t help this situation, but some empathy might.

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