Islamic State released a video on Saturday titled “A Message to the Allies of America,” showing the beheading of British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines. Haines is seen kneeling on a bare hill in a landscape that appears identical to where two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were also beheaded by the group in the past month.
In the moments before his death, Mr. Haines, 44, like the two journalists killed before him, reads a script in which he blames his country’s leaders for his killing.
“My name is David Cawthorne Haines. I would like to declare that I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution. You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State, just as your predecessor Tony Blair did, following a trend amongst our British prime ministers who can’t find the courage to say no to the Americans. Unfortunately, it is we, the British public that, in the end, will pay the price for our Parliament’s selfish decisions.”
The masked Islamic State militant with British accent known an “Jihadi John” criticized the UK’s “evil alliance with America”, calling the Prime Minister an “obedient lapdog”.
“This British man has to pay the price for your promise, Cameron, to arm the Peshmerga against the Islamic State. Ironically, he has spent a decade of his life serving under the same Royal Air Force responsible for delivering those arms. Your evil alliance with America which continues to strike the Muslims of Iraq and most recently bombed the Haditha Dam, will only accelerate your destruction, and playing the role of the obedient lapdog, Cameron, will only draw you and your people into another bloody and un-winnable war.”
Haines, who was 44, was kidnapped last year while working for French humanitarian aid agency ACTED in Syria in March 2013. He had been in Syria for just three days when he was kidnapped, reportedly by a rebel group who later sold him to ISIS.
The murder comes one day after the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office released a short statement from Haines’ family urging his captors to contact them. “We are the family of David Haines. We have sent messages to you to which we have not received a reply. We are asking those holding David to make contact with us,” the statement said.
British officials said after the video’s release that they had sent troops to try to rescue an unidentified British citizen “some time ago,” but failed. They released no other details.
The end of the video shows the militant placing his hand on another captive, identified as British citizen Alan Henning, and saying, “If you, [David] Cameron, persist in fighting the Islamic State, then you, like your master Obama, will have the blood of your people on your hands.”
Middle Eastern journalist Harald Doornbos provided some information about Henning from a Syrian ex-prisoner source, tweeting that he is an aid worker from the Manchester-area who was working for a Muslim NGO in the UK. Henning stayed one night in an Ad-Dana prison after being kidnapped, before he was moved to Raqqa.
We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 13, 2014
The Foreign Office released a statement from David Haines’s brother Mike. Here it is in full:
My name is Mike Haines, I am brother to David Haines, who was recently murdered in cold blood.
David was like so very many of us, just another bloke. Born in 1970 to parents who loved us both, our childhood was centred around our family.
Holidays in caravans and tents, days away as a family which we remember fondly. David and I were brought up to know right from wrong, although we might not with the innocence of youth have always chosen right.
David was a good brother, there when I needed him and absent when I didn’t. I hope that he felt the same way about me.
He was, in the right mood, the life and soul of the party and on other times the most stubborn irritating pain in the ass. He would probably say the same about me.
After leaving school he worked with the Royal Mail before joining the RAF as an aircraft engineer. He married his childhood sweetheart Louise and in the due process of time had a wee lass Bethany.
He was – and no doubt wherever he is – exceptionally proud of Bethany.
David served with the UN in the Balkans, helping people in real need. There are many accolades from people in that region that David helped. He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion.
During this time David began to decide that humanitarian work was the field he wanted to work in.
David left the RAF and was employed by Scotrail. As with every job, David entered into it with enthusiasm. David met and married his second wife Dragana and they have a four year old daughter Athea.
David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair.
He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.
UPDATE 10/03/2014 (GRAPHIC VIDEO) Islamic State Beheads British Aid Worker Alan Henning