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Washington (AFP) — At least four Western hostages held by the Islamic State in Syria, including murdered American journalist James Foley, were waterboarded in the early part of their captivity, The Washington Post said Thursday.

Foley, whose recent execution at the hands of the extremists provoked revulsion, and the other kidnapped Westerners, were waterboarded “several times,” the newspaper said, citing people familiar with their treatment.

Sources involved in trying to free the hostages have confirmed to AFP that waterboarding was used on at least one hostage.

Waterboarding, which was used by the CIA during interrogations of suspected terrorists after the September 11, 2001 attacks, is a widely condemned form of torture that simulates drowning.

The Post quoted one person with direct knowledge of what happened to the hostages as saying the Islamists, who last week released a grisly video showing Foley’s beheading, “knew exactly how it was done.”

The captives, including Foley who was kidnapped in northern Syria in November 2012, were held in Raqa — the heartland of the “caliphate” IS has declared — the Post said.

It quoted a second person familiar with Foley’s time in captivity as saying that the American, who contributed reports to GlobalPost, Agence France-Presse, and other media outlets, was tortured, including by waterboarding.

The black-masked militant seen in the video holding Foley, 40, by the scruff of the neck, said the journalist’s killing was to avenge American airstrikes against the IS in Iraq.

AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Donald Trump

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The baseless claim that the FBI may have planted evidence while carrying out a court-approved search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday has surged through right-wing media, as the former president’s allies continue their effort to turn their audiences against the probe and shield Trump from accountability.

The FBI searched the premises after obtaining a warrant from a federal magistrate judge and “removed a number of boxes of documents” as part of a federal investigation into whether Trump had illegally “taken a trove of material with him to his home at Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House that included sensitive documents – and then, in the Justice Department’s view, had failed to fully comply with requests that he return the disputed material,” the New York Times reported. Politico concluded after consulting with legal experts on the handling of classified documents that “it’s highly unlikely the DOJ would have pursued – and a judge would have granted – such a politically explosive search warrant without extraordinary evidence.”

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