This week the mother of an executed American photojournalist suggested that, despite incessant complaints from the media that President Donald Trump is somehow violating their rights, he’s done more to rescue American hostages abroad, including journalists, than their messiah ever did.
“We’re very happy to report that things are better for Americans who are considered hostage, that is Americans who are held by terrorists, criminal gangs or pirates,” Diane Foley, the mother of deceased photojournalist James Foley, said in an interview with Law & Crime.
Listen to the full interview below:
Her son was abducted in Syria seven years ago and subsequently beheaded by Islamic State terrorists two years later. Foley has long maintained that her son would still be alive had then-President Barack Hussein Obama’s administration made an effort to rescue him.
“At the time, Mrs. Foley claimed officials in the Obama White House gave her son’s plight a low priority, misled her about key developments and threatened to prosecute anyone who tried to raise money to pay the ransom that ISIS was demanding,” Law & Crime reported.
“[T]here were many opportunities along the way [to get him and others like him free],” she said during an appearance on ABC News a year after her son’s death. “Several times when the captors reached out, several times when returning hostages brought sensitive information. And yet nothing was done to save our young Americans. So that’s the part that deeply concerns me.”
Her interview with ABC coincided with the death of yet another American abroad, human rights activist and humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller.
Learn more below:
Prior to Mueller’s death, her parents had tried to secure her release as well.
“The Muellers were able to get into contact over email with ISIS, who asked for a ransom payment,” The Federalist reported in 2016. “But as they were organizing several wealthy donors who were willing to contribute, a senior White House official warned them that they could be criminally prosecuted for attempting to pay such a ransom.”
That’s correct, the Obama administration threatened the Muellers.
Around about the time that this report was released, the Muellers accused Obama of reneging on a promise to make a donation to a foundation that had been set up in their daughter’s name.
Foley fervently maintained in the Law & Order interview this week that her son and the Mueller family’s daughter might still be alive had Obama been willing to negotiate.
“I do feel it could have turned out differently if our government had negotiated with them,” she said.
She added that the government’s efforts against ISIS may have likewise been aided and enhanced had the Obama administration just listened for a change:
“I feel that we did not engage as a government because of the civil war in Syria and therefore we missed out on a lot of intelligence about ISIS that we would have known had we engaged with the captors.”
Before leaving office, Obama did attempt to correct his errors by approving a series of reforms that were then picked up by the Trump administration and used to further enhance the agency.
According to a report published this week by the James Foley Foundation, these changes have led to former hostages and their family being “treated with more empathy and compassion.”
For Immediate Release:
— JamesFoleyFoundation (@JamesFoleyFund) June 24, 2019
“Before [the reforms], the majority of hostage families did not feel that their relative’s cases were a priority and that information and intelligence sharing was nearly nonexistent,” the report reads. “In addition, families agreed that the government was inaccessible and unhelpful in dealing with their relative’s hostage case.”
“Overall, the majority of hostage families that [were surveyed] did not feel supported or understood and were not treated with empathy or compassion. After the implementation of [the reforms], significant improvement in these areas were reported by family members who participated in this survey.”
Foley is pleased that the Trump administration chose to embrace Obama’s late reform efforts.
“I applaud the Trump administration for continuing this structure in place. Because this is definitely an improvement,” said during an appearance on FNC’s “America’s Newsroom” this week.
The report did note that further improvements are still needed.
Foley echoed this on Fox, noting that while the treatment of hostages has improved, the treatment of those who’ve been detained by foreign governments still remains lacking.
“Mrs. Foley cited Dr. Walid Fitaihi, a Harvard-trained doctor, television host and motivational speaker. Fitaihi was arrested last year along with 17 others in what Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman touted as a crackdown on corruption,” Fox News reported.
“Our government makes that distinction,” Foley said. “An example is Saudi Arabia holding an innocent Harvard educated doctor — Walid Fitaihi. I’m hoping that President Trump and Secretary Pompeo will reach out to MBS when they are at the G-20 and ask for the release of Doctor Fitaihi as well as others being held unlawfully by Iran, Venezuela, Syria…so many.”
Earlier this year, the James Foley Foundation reportedly uninvited Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from its annual dinner for not being “tough enough on Saudi Arabia over the slaying of Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi,” according to Law & Crime.
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