The extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in "cowardly acts of violence" and "has no place in the 21st century," President Obama said Wednesday, referring to the videotaped execution carried out by militants with the Islamic State.
Obama also said the group attacks women and minorities, "for no other reason than they practice a different religion."
The president delivered a short address about the killing just hours after U.S. intelligence officials confirmed that the militants' video of Foley is authentic. The footage was first posted online Tuesday.
"ISIL speaks for no religion," Obama said, using an acronym for the group. "ISIL has no ideology of any value to any human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt."
"People like this ultimately fail ... because the future is always won by those who build, not destroy," Obama said, speaking from Edgartown, Mass. "The world is shaped by people like Jim Foley."
Foley, a New Hampshire native, had been kidnapped while covering the civil war in Syria in 2012. In the video, the Islamic State said the execution was retribution for recent American airstrikes on its forces in Iraq.
As for the Islamic State's claims that it is at war with the U.S., Obama said the group has been fighting not the U.S., but its neighbors in the areas of Iraq and Syria where it operates.
"When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what is necessary to see that justice is done," Obama said.
As we reported earlier today:
"The video was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday afternoon and later removed; since then, it has resurfaced elsewhere online. The images show Foley kneeling next to a masked militant and reciting comments against the U.S. before being killed."
People were screaming and throwing rocks. The police were firing shots and hitting protesters with their batons. A riot had started in the slum neighborhood of West Point, in the Liberian capital of Monrovia.
"A riot is tough enough without knowing that you're in an Ebola-infected neighborhood," says NPR photographer David Gilkey, who was in West Point when it began.
West Point is where angry residents rushed into an Ebola holding center on Saturday night; the 17 patients were suspected of having the virus. The assailants resented that they weren't getting information about the facility and that people from outside their neighborhood were being brought in. They screamed at the patients, telling them to leave.
Fearful that these individuals might indeed have Ebola and might have infected others, the government quarantined the densely populated West Point neighborhood this morning. The roughly 70,000 residents awoke to find themselves blocked in by checkpoints and a buffer zone. The quarantine is intended to stay in place for 21 days — the maximum time it takes for new infections to become apparent.
Then police escorted in a government minister whose children live in West Point; she wanted to bring them out. That was the trigger for today's riot, reports NPR producer Nicole Beemsterboer.
Photographers Gilkey and Tommy Trenchard, also working for NPR, captured the chaos with their cameras. Gilkey also shared his impressions of the experience.
How are you feeling?
A little amped up. It's just crazy. You think about covering a riot or a very tense situation. Imagine what's been going on in Missouri. Now add Ebola.
How did the people of West Point feel?
They were confused why they were being kept inside, wanted to know why they couldn't leave. The quarantine happened overnight, so they awoke to being locked into their neighborhood.
What's it like photographing in this kind of situation?
You always have to be careful when you're in a tense situation like that. It's not like you just run around taking pictures at will. You have to be careful to not inflame the situation, which you could easily do by sticking a camera in someone's face. You sort of take a step back.
What's scarier, the bullets and violence or the threat of Ebola?
(Laughing). I don't know.
I've been in riots all over the world. You have to really, really pay attention to what's going on and know which direction people are going, which way you can get out. But it's just a really different situation, because in this particular case people are running and screaming and bumping into you, and any one of them could have Ebola. And the last thing you want to have happen is that you trip and fall and cut yourself. Or you get hit in the head with a rock and now you have an open wound.
The strangest thing to me about this whole thing is that you're dealing with something invisible. It just preys on your mind all the time.
So you can't really escape Ebola because you don't know where it is?
Exactly. The only thing I can compare it to is working in Afghanistan with land mines. You know when you go out on a patrol in Afghanistan, there's the risk of stepping on a land mine. And yet you go because you're there to cover the story. And you hope you're not the one that steps on a mine or you're not near a mine when somebody else steps on it. But you don't know where the mines are. And you can't change that. So you somehow put your fear on the side and go forward.
In this week’s installment of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, host Jeremy Hobson speaks with Mario Cotto of KCRW, who shares a number of new sounds in dance music out of the U.K. and New York City.
The groups include London-based Apiento & Co, North Yorkshire producer Joel Hood, English electronic music duo Simian Mobile Disco, New York City’s Los Porcos and seven-piece Brooklyn ensemble “Bing & Ruth.”
Songs In This Segment
- Joel Hood, “Gone”
- Apiento & Co., “ESP”
- Simian Mobile Disco, “Hypnick Jerk”
- Los Porcos, “Jesus Loves U Baby”
- Bing & Ruth, “The Towns We Love Is Our Town”
Los Angeles public schools are planning to reduce police response to student infractions.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest in the country, after New York, but it has the largest police force. Last year, it issued more than 1,300 citations — many for fighting or for being caught with alcohol, cigarettes or small amounts of marijuana.
In the future, all of these infractions will be dealt with differently. Students will instead be referred to counseling and other services.
The change is the culmination of a long fight by judges, government officials, advocates and attorneys.
Judge Michael Nash is the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Courts. He has been a juvenile court judge for 25 years. He speaks to Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti.
Meghna also speaks with Ruth Cusick, an education rights lawyer for Public Counsel, a national non-profit law firm.
- Michael Nash, presiding judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Courts.
- Ruth Cusick, education rights lawyer for Public Counsel, a national non-profit law firm.
For the first time in its history, Sports Illustrated has put a Little Leaguer on the cover of its magazine. And this is no ordinary Little Leaguer. Mo’ne Davis is a 13-year-old whose long braids fly around her head when she hurls one of her fast balls as a pitcher for the Taney Dragons.
The team is out to win the Little League Championship and in the process, they’ve captured the heart of their home city of Philadelphia. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Emma Jacobs of WHYY reports.