New images from the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which purport to show the punishment of three allegedly gay men, are so grotesque they rivals anything Hollywood has produced.
Although these barbaric executions of gays have been going on for months, these appear to be the first pictures catching ISIS militants in the act. They are not for the faint-hearted.
The images show the men accused of being gay, dangled from atop a high-rise building that is believed to be militant-controlled Mosul, Iraq. The added terror, according to the London-based Daily Mail newspaper, is that the leather-jacketed thugs held the victims by their ankles, for several minutes, before dropping them onto hard concrete approximately 100 feet below.
One of the photographs depicting the horrifying executions reveals the final moments of a young man's life, as he lies mangled in a pool of his own blood running out from his head. High above him, the terrorists' next victim is dangled by a militant extending the shackled man over the precipice by one leg.
As has been the case in previous rooftop-to-ground murders of allegedly gay men at the hands of ISIS, those who don't die from the drop or the impact are then stoned to death by bloodthirsty crowds, conveniently supplied with rocks by ISIS.
The Daily Mail reports these public killings of gay men have grown so popular that the group has orchestrated them as a spectacle, turning them into "interactive" spectator events, akin to the events depicted in the 1985 film, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
Each execution reportedly draws an ever-growing number of thrillseekers who drive from outlying towns and villages in Iraq and Syria. The report says some audiences are so savage and numerous, extra militants are brought in for crowd control.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been in Paris this week, asking for increased commitment from the U.S.-led coalition. That plea follows his forces' stunning defeat in Ramadi by vastly outnumbered ISIS forces, who now hold Ramadi and the archeologically priceless Syrian town of Palmyra.
"We will redouble our efforts," said Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken at the one-day conference in Paris organized to address the situation across the Levant — a region along the Iraqi-Syrian border. Blinken is leading the U.S. delegation at the conference, following a cycling accident where Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg.
"[ISIS] stands for nothing and depends on people who will fall for anything," Blinken told the media and delegates gathered for the conference.
But even before ISIS came to power, Iraq's record on LGBT human rights under U.S.-backed regimes was atrocious in its own right.
Pre-ISIS Iraqi militias reportedly forced family members to participate in sealing shut the anuses of their gay sons, brothers, and uncles, and killing them by force-feeding them liquids until their insides literally exploded. Not only have government officials done little or nothing to stop such "honor killings" of gays in Iraq, according to reports, police officers are said to participate in the murders.
As ABC News reported Monday, the United Nations has documented more than 1,600 cases of hate-motivated murders of LGBT people around the world during a six-year period from 2006 to 2014.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights documented 594 hate-related killings of LGBT people in the 25 countries of the Organization of American States. That report covered the period from January 2013 through March 2014 — accounting for nearly 600 murders in just 14 months.