Published On: Wed, Feb 4th, 2015

ISIS propaganda unit jumps the shark

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The day after Katy Perry rode into the Super Bowl half time show like the Whore of Babylon, or a corrupted Katniss Everdean in a really cheap and slutty  “girl on fire” outfit, the army of mercenaries called ISIS, who are creating a pretext for Britain and the US to escalate hostilities against the Syrian nation (see here and here), released a video in which they appeared to burn a prisoner to death. People knowledgeable in freemasonic religion and symbolism will see the linkage; and undoubtedly, especially if they notice that the video was entitled “Healing the Believers’ Chests”, these folks would understand where the Islamic State is really coming from. That being said, the most significant piece of predictive conditioning imagery in all of Katy Perry’s fantabulous luciferian show case was “Left Shark” – whom you can see making a pig’s ear of its dance routine here.

It’s a bit of fun on one hand – on the other, the reason “Left Shark” is symbolic is because of this: like most everything that the Anglo-American hegemony does in order to rule, this Super Bowl show was meant to inculcate the watching audience with an idea of the infallibility and awesomeness of the god-like untouchable strata of human society. However, like on so many other occasions, the curtain is torn back to reveal the wizard as a little old man; the great and powerful as the failing and frail. There is no pity at these moments; in fact, we find it very amusing to behold. Getting to the point, the shark has also come to symbolise this moment of great failure and the ensuing loss of credibility, and especially in anything theatrical, the end of the suspension of disbelief. The defining moment in the creation of this association came, of course, in the TV show “Happy Days”.  Apparently, the ideas had dried up; the writers had Fonzi jump the shark on water skis to try and spark interest. The rest is history.

Likewise, the people behind the hit ISIS show have resorted to an equivalent with the apparent execution by fire of the Jordanian Air Force pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh. In the newest of ISIS execution videos, which shows the airman being burnt alive, the distinctions between TV-fantasy and what we can only loosely call reality have been completely obliterated. The film is so slickly produced that there is no way to know if what we are looking at is the use of a stuntman, special effects, and then burning mannequins, or what we are seeing is the death of a real person. In the beheading videos that ISIS made previously, those parts of the execution that were hardest, if not impossible to convincingly fake, were just omitted. After the cut, we would be presented with what most likely were images of CPR dummies with heavily and horrifically made-up heads photoshopped onto their backs. These videos said, if the victims were dead, they hadn’t been beheaded – that mode of death had only been presented to us for shock value.

Death by fire, on the other hand, is not nearly so difficult to simulate. Film production companies do it all the time. In this video, the stuntman is completely engulfed in flame producing black smoke, which is supposedly meant to denote a fire starved of oxygen or about to burn out (perhaps we can call it a cooler type of flame that can be worked with). Notice in this video that the effect is produced by two gas burners which can be extinguished with the flick of a switch. Thereafter, the only flame present is that which is consuming the stuntman, who is put out instantly when required with the proper equipment. In the ISIS video the victim is also, during the mid-part of the consumption, covered in a flame tipped with black smoke. He is also surrounded by a blazing ring which looks like it is being fired by a string of gas burners. Interestingly, we are not supposed to notice that ISIS have gone to the trouble of building a eminently controllable furnace. We are meant to believe that this flame has crept into the cage by the ignition of a trough or line of flammable material that takes a path across intervening ground between the cage and an ISIS actor with a medieval torch, and then around the perimeter of the cage. The inescapability of this flame is what is supposed to cause the inevitable burning of the Jordanian captive. But none of this is what happens. The flame stops at the front of the cage and creates a façade of burning. Somehow, the Jordanian manages to get himself caught by this – instead of backing away, trying to kick sand over it to put it out, knocking the cage over, or hanging on the bars above him to try and avoid it. None of this does al-Kasasbeh attempt – he has either got Stockholm syndrome real bad, or he is an actor. After he flaps about a bit, there is a clear edit. The film then cuts to the full engulfment as previously described.

All that being recorded as noteworthy, the actual fire element of the film is not the most significant thing about it in terms of the blurring of fantasy and reality. There is a long and slow storylined build up to the execution, which is detailed below in a montage of images, that makes one think one is watching a TV show. Astonishingly, it even appears as if Moaz al-Kasasbeh’s captives have persuaded him to act the part of contrite offender – a resigned resident in a normal penal regime – and do it convincingly, so that this main component of the film is about the drama of a man approaching his supposedly justified death. It’s meant to elicit an emotional connection and investment that television routinely does. Even Sky News pundit/journalist, Sam Kiley, remarked upon this (audio here):

There’s going to be inevitably in the media, internationally – and we’re going to be part of it – a lot of deconstruction of the so-called production values.  People are going to get very over excited by the very kind of… um; the iconography and so on is very reminiscent of a very slick American show like 24 or any of those sorts of spy and war movies with computer graphics, and so on.

Not only does the film resemble an action adventure of the sort that can be made for the less-than-Hollywood budgets available to TV; it draws on the morality messages from Western movies as the good guys (in this case ISIS, from their perspective) have a version of a show-down with the bad guy. The original concept had been perverted, of course. In the Clint Eastwood films, it is the lone gunslinger who is the bringer of justice. Either way, the film is clearly designed to speak to an audience through the language of Hollywood. Furthermore, if one compares it to the video, produced by ISIS in their Libyan Islamic Fighting Group incarnation, of Gaddafi being murdered, this one might as well be a scripted reconstruction shot in a studio. It’s the complete lack of grounding in reality on display in the video that is why it jumps the shark; it is why the whole ISIS propaganda production unit has jumped the shark. This is really the source from whence all our suspicion should emanate, and this is what Sam Kiley is referring to when he talks about over-excitement around deconstructing the video. It’s an insulting way of sending the message to not look too closely. We might find ourselves laughing rather than being frightened if we do. Ultimately, this is why no one can see the video online unless one searches high and low for it, and it is left for the likes of the toilet-rag that is the MailOnline to interpret the unseen footage to its prey – otherwise known as its readership.

All that remains to be done is to present a summary in annotated pictures of the element of the video that is actually the most significant – the build up to the execution.

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