According to forensics experts cited by the UK Times, the video that purports to show the commencement of the James Foley beheading was likely staged. This is not to say Foley is believed to be alive, only that the beheading took place off camera.
Via AU News:
The UK Times reported that an international forensic science company, which has worked for police forces across Britain, said there is no question Foley was beheaded but that camera trickery and post-production techniques look to have been used.
“I think it has been staged,” said one expert in visual forensics, after he was commissioned by The UK Times to examine the footage.
“My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped.”
As to the reasons why they believe the video was likely staged…
Firstly, no blood can be seen, even though the knife is drawn across the neck area at least six times. Secondly, sounds allegedly made by Foley do not appear consistent with what may be expected.
The forensic analysis expert said that no incision could be seen on Foley’s neck, though the right hand of the jihadist partially blocked the shot.
While the forensics company, which asked to remain anonymous, did not reach a definitive answer they did conclude that at some point an execution of Foley did take place.
Another reason that has been given by others suspicious of the footage is that the entire beheading – with subsequent chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’ – was not recorded.