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Security Analyst: ISIS Using Steven Sotloff as Human Shield

By Courtney Coren   |   Monday, 25 Aug 2014 06:00 PM

Journalist Steven Sotloff, who is being held captive by the Islamic State, the same group that beheaded journalist James Foley, is being used as a human shield, says Matthew VanDyke, a friend of Sotloff and Foley who was also a POW under Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.

"They're trying to influence U.S. policy," VanDyke told Ed Berliner on "MidPoint" on Newsmax TV on Monday. "They're trying to essentially use Steven Sotloff as a human shield to try to dissuade America from continued bombing against them, and it's not going to work."

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VanDyke said it is highly unlikely the United States will pay the terrorist organization, also known as ISIS, a ransom to have Sotloff returned.

While "ISIS has ransomed back European hostages for anywhere from $3 to $5 million apiece generally," he said, "They do know that British and American hostages are not very useful for ransoms.

"Britain and America have said repeatedly they don't pay ransoms, but they want to maintain the hostages for situations like this," he added.

VanDyke contends that terrorist groups have been "emboldened" by the swap the United States made for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"They want to hold these hostages for prisoner exchanges if one of their leaders is captured," he explained. "They've also included in some of their demands, the United States, the release of other prisoners related to the global war on terrorism.

"It's certainly an asset that they want to keep," the international security analyst said. "You can just imagine if the U.S. were to sweep in and snatch one of their commanders that they would probably be willing to trade Sotloff or another hostage for that man's release."

ISIS said Foley was beheaded because of U.S. airstrikes against the jihadist group in Iraq, and VanDyke said that once the airstrikes began, "their use of these American hostages was also inevitable."

VanDyke said Sotloff is "probably fully aware of the situation and what his fate might be."

He said he's not sure why ISIS has not done anything with Sotloff yet, but added that "terrorists like to do events on anniversaries that have significance, so it's really a mystery right now why we haven't heard anything else from them."

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