For all their stage-managed professionalism, the videos of killings released by the Islamic State have often left viewers confused about the exact circumstances of what was being shown in the video. Their videos of beheadings, for instance, do not show the act itself, which initially led some to speculate that they may have been faked.
More unnervingly, there was also the calm with which many hostages spoke to the camera. Why would hostages comply with Islamic State propaganda, if they knew that it would result in their death? Some even suggested that perhaps the hostages had struck a deal with their captors for a more humane death.
According to a new Sky News interview with an Islamic State defector, that wasn’t the case. Instead, he explained that the hostages were calm because they had been in this situation before. They did not know they were about to die.
The former Islamic State member, referred to as «Saleh,» told the British television company that the extremist group would put the hostages through mock executions. Saleh himself told the hostages that they would not be killed, recalling that he said to them, «Don’t worry, doesn’t matter, nothing dangerous for you.» However, Sky News reports that Saleh knew the plan was always to kill the hostages eventually, despite any limited kindness shown to them by their captors.