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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Paul Johnson Beheaded

Aired June 21, 2004 - 13:58   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's turn to one of our security analysts to talk a little bit more about this organization, shadowy and cold-blooded as it is. Sejan Goel (ph) joins us on the line now from London.
Mr. Goel (ph), can you hear me OK?

SEJAN GOEL (ph), CNN SECURITY ANALYST: I can hear you great, thank you.

O'BRIEN: All right, I can barely hear you. Hopefully that will improve as time goes on here. What can you tell us about this organization?

GOEL (ph): Well, Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin is developing a reputation similar to that of other high profile terrorists linked with al Qaeda. He is in fact a very young individual that has based his training in other countries around the world, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and he's taken his know-how of terrorist activity and brought it into Saudi Arabia. And he's been largely responsible for a variety of compound attacks, assassinations of individuals, and now, of course, this terrible, brutal beheading of Mr. Paul Johnson.

O'BRIEN: All right. Mr. (), can you also tell us -- when you say there are links to al Qaeda, what precisely does that mean, when you say links?

GOEL (ph): Well, al-Muqrin was based in training camps in Afghanistan which were largely maintained by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda. And he describes himself as a key adherent of bin Laden's philosophy, which is to create an Islamic super state throughout the world, and Saudi Arabia is an example of that. And certainly if we look at the type of tactics that are involved, such a brutal beheading, those are tactics that are used by al Qaeda.

Let's not forget that Daniel Pearl, the U.S. "Wall Street" journalist, he met the same terrible fate in Pakistan by al Qaeda- affiliated groups. And certainly what we're experiencing now inside Saudi Arabia is that the situation has become totally inhospitable for any foreigner. Each and every single one of them has now become a target for the terrorists.

O'BRIEN: All right. Sejan Goel (ph), thank you very much -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Once again, we're reporting on breaking news and that is American hostage Paul Johnson has indeed been beheaded. Two sources of information coming into us right now, the bureau chief of Al Arabiya television saying that he has indeed seen the videotape. Also three chilling photographs on an Islamic Web site show the beheaded body of American hostage Paul Johnson. You remember he was kidnapped a week ago by Islamic militants, connected with al Qaeda. We told you about the videotape, also.

The group claiming responsibility, al Fallujah Squadron. Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, the self-proclaimed military leader of this al Qaeda group in Saudi Arabia is claiming responsibility for this kidnapping and the death of Paul Johnson. On Tuesday, you'll remember that he threatened to kill Johnson in 72 hours unless the Saudi government released al Qaeda prisoners and Westerners. Also a number of them left that area once this kidnapping took place.

Our Deborah Feyerick is in southern New Jersey, she had a chance to spend time with the family. Paul Johnson's children, a very emotional plea on behalf of those kids. Also, meeting for the first time his 3-year-old grandson, that, unfortunately, Paul Johnson is never going to get a chance to meet -- Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kyra, the family really was trying to stay as normal as possible under the worst of all possible circumstances. Paul Johnson's grandson going out to play at a nearby park, just so that they could at least try to keep things normal. Johnson's mother, we had been told, had not told of just how bad her son's situation really is, she herself very sick, and so Johnson's sister was trying to protect his mom as much as possible.

They are with members of Johnson's company, Lockheed Martin. Lockheed martin providing counselors and representatives to protect them, to try to help them through this terrible, terrible time. Now, a hostage negotiator who spoke to CNN earlier today says that really the kidnappers' demands, that he described them as an impossible request in an impossible time frame. He said that these are extremists, religious zealots. They simply do not deal the way other people deal. They play by a different set of rules, that was a term they used. And the hostage negotiator saying that these kidnappers never had any intention of releasing Paul Johnson. We do understand that the family does know that Paul Johnson has been killed. Three pictures have been put on the Web site confirming that he was killed, he was beheaded -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And Deb, once again for our viewers just tuning in, just to talk a little bit about Paul Johnson. This is somebody who had lived in Saudi Arabia for quite some time working for Lockheed Martin as he was part of the crew working on Apache helicopters. Also showed interest in Islam, as you had told us. He was married, had a family there in Saudi Arabia. Also, against certain parts of the U.S. foreign policy, kind of give our viewers an idea, this was not an enemy of this country or these people.

FEYERICK: Exactly, Kyra,, he did not appear to be an enemy of the people, according to all the folks who we spoke to, including his family who said he was very honorable, that he would give you the shirt off his back. Even that colleague who really contacted Islamist Web sites, putting out this message saying, he is under my protection. You must follow the Quran, you cannot kill him. Again, there was such an appeal made on his own behalf. Even religious leaders, clerics speaking out on behalf of Paul Johnson, telling the kidnappers not to kill him. There really was a groundswell of support everywhere to try, in some way, to reach these kidnappers, possibly appeal to their human side so that he could be let go -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Deb Feyerick, live from southern New Jersey -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Joining us now once again is CNN's Ken Robinson and this time I believe we have him on live. Ken, let talk for a moment a little bit about this group and what we know about it. We know it has links to al Qaeda, and the tactic, unfortunately, appears to be part of a pattern. We saw of course the death of Nicholas Berg and that was attributed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Could there be any link between Zarqawi and what we've seen just unfold, formal or otherwise?

KEN ROBINSON, CNN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Yes, Miles. All these groups are linked together. Al Qaeda is a distributed network. It is not a network like IBM that has a line and block chart. They train an enormous amount of people who distribute it to about 60 countries with an ideology. As Nic Robertson said earlier, and I was able to hear his reporting, I want it echo it again from my standpoint.

The United States of America is not at war with Islam, the United States of America is at war with foreign terrorist organizations with global reach, specifically jihadist terrorist organizations. This tactic of terrorist kidnapping, this beheading and how that affects the Western mindset is a tactic attached to a strategy, the strategy is force the technocrats, force those who have the ability to support infrastructure out of Saudi Arabia, out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan, out of Pakistan. It's all connected together and the strategy is, we hate the West, get them out. But this group is representative of a very small portion of those of the Islamic faith. And they have bastardized that faith

O'BRIEN: Indeed. I think there are no truer words that have been spoken thus far. To what extent, though, is this tactic attached to that overarching strategy? Does it in any way fulfill that strategy do you think?

ROBINSON: Well, I believe that the strategy, it could be a double-edged sword because finally, finally what we're seeing is Islamic voices interceding and trying to say, stop this. This is wrong. Remember, when they attacked and -- when they attacked -- the first attacks in Saudi Arabia at the first of the month and then they attacked in Khobar, when they made the original attacks they attacked foreign workers, many of whom were Islamics. They then got a lot of retribution from the Islamic community. Then they shifted and specifically started focusing only on Westerners. And they have adapted.

Now, they are receiving retribution from folks within the Saudi community because Saudi Arabia is at a conflict and Islam is in a conflict with itself between Sunni and Shiite groups, between Shiite and Shiite groups. O'BRIEN: So what you're saying -- what you're suggesting here, Ken, is that they have gone too far, there is the potential for a real backlash and this could completely backfire, undermining the strategy of this narrow minority of Islam.

ROBINSON: Well, it's clear they're not altogether cooperating. When they chopped off the head of Nicholas Berg, what was happening in the world community at that time? The United States was on its heels. It was on its heels because of the Abu Ghraib Prison photographs and it showed that who had the moral high ground at that point? It looked like that everyone in the West was doing the types of things that they were all preaching. That the West were infidels and look at how they treated Muslims.

So from that all of a sudden they took that away and chopped off the head of Nicholas Berg. That showed a disparity between and Abu Musab Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden in terms of al Qaeda-sponsored affiliated groups, each of whom is trying to find its own way forward.

O'BRIEN: So, I guess when you put it that way, they are self- defeating, in that respect. The question, I guess, is, what, if anything, would be the appropriate response from the West to this?

ROBINSON: Well, there are several things that the West needs to embrace very quickly. One is it needs to recognize the enemies, and I use plural, that it is up against right now. And there are multiple enemies that are out there who all hate the Western way of life. Two, it has to recognize that it's easy to kill people, but killing people doesn't change terrorist tactics.

The only way you can change the ideology is to change the idea, you can't kill an idea, you have to change an idea. And to do that they have to find a way to do a global war on hopelessness because through hopelessness is when you find recruiting and retention and mothers who are willing to give up their children to be suicide bombers, when they have no other choice, no other hope.

And so there has to be some real creative thinking that is separate from Democrat or Republican that enables the world community to come together and with these Islamic community and find ways forward to smartly combat this. And one of those ways is to defeat hopelessness.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Ken Robinson, don't go too far, we'll be checking back in with you -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: We continue to follow this breaking news, if you've just tuned in to CNN, three chilling photographs on an Islamic Web site show the beheaded body of American hostage Paul Johnson who was kidnapped a week ago, you'll remember, by Islamic militants connected with al Qaeda. Also the bureau chief of Al Arabiya television coming forward, saying indeed he has seen the videotape of that beheading.

Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, The self-proclaimed military leader of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia is claiming responsibility for Johnson's kidnapping and death. The group is called al Fallujah Squadron, that squadron, that leader -- its leader threatened to kill Johnson in 72 hours unless the Saudi government released al Qaeda prisoners. That, as you know, as we see now, did not happen.

A quote from the Web site, quite a long statement from the Web site, just a piece I want to read to you now saying quote: "As we promised, we the Mujahedeen from the Fallujah Squadron, we slaughtered the American hostage Paul Johnson after the deadline we gave to the Saudi tyrants. So he got his fair share from this life and for him to taste a bit of what the Muslims have been suffering from Apache helicopter attacks and they were tortured by its missiles."

Our Nic Robertson now joining us live from London as we start to get bits and pieces of this message.

Nic, let's talk about -- a little bit about the Fallujah Squadron, also seeing here a lot of resentment toward coalition forces and, of course, the instruments to support for those forces.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, a group that appears to have been very, sort of adaptive in their techniques over the past, really, perhaps eight or nine months, which is according to Saudi sources, at least when they really became active and began to be a more dominant force within inside Saudi Arabia, bombing in Riyadh last November, killing 17 people. But in that bombing they killed Egyptians and Lebanese, and that brought out a huge outcry.

Their tactics on their attack in May to go door-to-door and find out where people were from, which country, what their religion was and kill only the Westerners, a change in tactic there. But it has, nevertheless, these tactics, brought an outcry. We have seen the tactics here, this perception war, if you will, that's going on. This showing a video of somebody in detention and stringing the story out, if you will, and a few days later releasing a video of a beheading.

According to sources we were talking to, there was quite a strong feeling within Saudi authority circles that probably even when the first video was being released, showing Paul Johnson still alive earlier in the week, that perhaps at that stage even he was already dead. So clearly a sort of perception, a propaganda war going on here.

And this group led by al-Muqrin very perceptive to what will trigger what sort of response within the Western community and targeting that as well as their releases on Web sites promoting their own actions, promoting why these actions take place and even, indeed, promoting how these type of actions should be executed by others trying to propagate themselves, as well -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Talk about propaganda, also talk about a number of the pleas, Nic, that came forward asking to spare the life of Paul Johnson. A number of pleas, of course, coming through his family members. Also pleas from Muslims there in Saudi Arabia, Muslims that knew Paul Johnson very well. In response to those pleas, I want to read another quote from this statement that came through from the Fallujah Squadron: "In such events, a lot of voices were very loud expressing their anger for taking a Christian military person as a hostage and killing him while they kept their mouths shut from saying anything for supporting those poor Muslims who are in prisons and being tortured by the hands of the cross believers and tyrants in Abu Ghraib." Once again, hearing the resentment and sort of the payback with regard to Abu Ghraib. We also saw this with regard to Nick Berg.

ROBERTSON: Interpretations of religious teachings. And of course, these groups have grown out of some very extreme interpretations of the Quran, their interpretations that we're told that are not broadly supported within the Muslim community. And that's why such an intense debate has been sparked over this issue. It's very likely that the debate that's going to be carried out in the Arab press and media over the coming weeks and, quite possibly, we'll see Muqrin and his group perhaps change their tactics to accommodate what they hear here.

What they don't need to do, within their own view, is alienate themselves within their own country. They need to be able to, from their own view at least, generate enough supporters to bring followers so that they can continue what they're doing and not alienate the population. So the bigger the outcry, if you will, within the Arab community as a whole about these type of things are likely, perhaps, despite the declarations here, perhaps to moderate or at least change their behavior, but this group under Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin's direction, has shown itself to act in a very bloody way and his track record, his trajectory, if you will, in Algeria and Bosnia other countries has been to define just this sort of activity he has taken part in now -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Nic Robertson, live from London, thank you -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: The statement said: "So he got his fair share from this life and for him to taste a bit of what Muslims have been suffering from Apache helicopter attacks, and they were tortured by its missiles." That is the statement from this group that has apparently killed the American, Paul Johnson. Let's be joined now by Omar al- Subhedi (ph), he is the Riyadh correspondent for one of the networks there. I was not told, Al Arabiya.

Mr. al-Subedi, can you hear me all right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello?

O'BRIEN: Hello, can you hear me, Mr. al-Subhedi?

All right. Apparently, he can't hear me. So let's go to Octavia Nasr who has been watching Al Arabiya as well Al Jazeera and in general what the reaction has been and how this story has been treated in the Arab world.

I know this is unfolding as we speak, but in a very dynamic way, give us a sense of how it is being reported.

OCTAVIA NASR, CNN SR. EDITOR FOR ARAB AFFAIRS: One very interesting thing, and I really hope we that we can get Omar Subhedi again, because he works for Al Arabiya network. Al Arabiya is the Arab satellite channel that is based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. They're the ones that broke the story. They were the first ones to announce that the U.S. hostage was killed by beheading. And it's really his bureau who broke the news, so he will have lots of things to tell us about how they got the news and the video -- what kind of video.

Because, you know, first we heard about a video, then we saw three pictures on the Internet. We're not sure if there is a video of the actual beheading like we've seen before or if it's just these three stills that are available on the Internet. Now Al Arabiya chose not to show these pictures because they saw that they're very gruesome, very graphic and they don't want to expose their viewers to such pictures. Al Jazeera, on the other hand, the other Arab satellite channel based in Doha, in Qatar, they showed the Web site, and on the Web site, of course, you have these three gruesome images. Very interesting choice in what to report, what to show.

O'BRIEN: All right, and as far as the tone of their reporting, how are they handling it?

NASR: Shock. Shock. Although I've spoken to so many of these executives in the last week, talking about preparing for the unfortunate moment like this one, or fortunate, if it had turned out a different way,. Many people somehow believe that this is going to be the outcome. Not many people were hopeful about the outcome of this story, but, still, there's always that moment of shock and you can see it on Arab networks, more so the Al Arabiya perhaps because they were the first ones to obtain that video than Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is reporting it, showing the pictures as just a news item.

O'BRIEN: This statement, it's kind of hard to read because it's so graphic, particularly when you know what ensued. But we just talked a few moments ago with Ken Robinson, and when you couple this statement talking about how he got his fair share and tasting what Muslims have been suffering through the Apache helicopters that he worked on, and then obviously the tactic -- the gruesome tactic of beheading. He was implying that there -- this is ultimately self- defeating for the long-term strategy of these groups. What is the feeling on the Arab street? What does the majority of the Arab world think of all of this?

NASR: You know, we get the feeling of the Arab world by watching Arab media and reading Arab media. And I have to tell you, these people are a small minority that doesn't have that much support. Today on Arab media, you heard about imams in mosques all over the Middle East and the Arab world praying for these people, they call them disillusioned and misled. They're praying for them to wake up and see the right path and so forth.

So they don't represent the majority of the people in the Arab world and, especially the Muslim people of the Arab world and the rest of the world. But, yet, they are doing what they want to do. And what they're doing, they're using Islam as an excuse. They're using this Apache thing as an excuse. Oh, now he gets to taste what the Muslims are tasting from the U.S.-made Apache helicopter. All of these are excuses. They're trying to give themselves a reason for doing such deeds.

O'BRIEN: All right. I want to talk to you a little bit more next time, and I know you're going to stick around, about how those of us here in the West sometimes misinterpret the tone of these broadcasts, the anti-American tone, for perhaps support of this, and that there's a subtlety there that I think we have to talk about -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. If you're just tuning in to the breaking news that we continue to follow right now, it is the bone-chilling news that American hostage Paul Johnson has, indeed, been beheaded. Three chilling photographs on an Islamic Web site have showed the beheaded body and, also, according to Al Arabiya television, the bureau chief there has reported that he has viewed videotape.

Who is claiming responsible, al Fallujah Squadron, lead by Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin. This is the self-proclaimed military leader of this al Qaeda organization in Saudi Arabia. With us on the phone, we're getting in touch with a number of journalists throughout that part of the world. Adel Al-Tarifi. He is a columnist for the "Al-Watan" newspaper based there in Riyadh. He joins us by phone.

First of all, Mr. Adel, can you tell us -- or Mr. al-Tarifi, I'm sorry, can you tell us what you have learned and what you know about the news that is breaking at this moment?

ADEL AL-TARIFI, "AL-WATAN": Well, actually, I was expecting this kind of news and since last night we were waiting for this kind of news to be announced. We have known that al Qaeda was - they didn't want to take a hostage and it's not common that al Qaeda is -- the taking of hostages. But they took Paul Johnson, I think, because they wanted to send a lot of media message through that. And probably what happened that Johnson was supposed to be killed and to be slaughtered as Abu Musab Zarqawi did in Iraq and as they have did in that other time. The news is very terrifying for all foreigners there in Saudi Arabia.

PHILLIPS: Mr. al-Tarifi, I've got to ask you, why Paul Johnson? Try and give us some insight into this. This is a man who was a friend of the Saudis, a friend to this country, someone who was interested in Islam, show interest and made attempts to blend with the culture, why would they want to take this man's life?

AL-TARIFI: Well, actually, in the last six months now I think that al Qaeda has -- at least in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they have changed some strategic targets. They want to take some foreigner and especially Americans as hostages and sometimes to kill them. I think Paul Johnson was taken because he used to work for the Saudi military and for a company using the Saudi military and because the background of Paul Johnson.

Paul Johnson is an engineer for Apache helicopters and they wanted to send the message that they won't target Muslims or Arabs they target...

(AUDIO GAP) AL-TARIFI: ... especially Americans. And I think they misused or abused the knowledge of saying that Paul Johnson is an engineer of Apache helicopters that killed Palestinians in Palestine and Iraqis in Iraq, because for those who know Paul Johnson, he's a friend of the Saudis, a lot of his friends in his company are saying that. For that, I think that al Qaeda have chosen some targets and especially because a lot of Americans have chosen not to be appearing in the public. And I think, of course, because of his profession and, of course, of his work, that he was so close to be there to be a target.

PHILLIPS: Mr. Tarifi, one final question before we let you go, and that is, the amount of support that has come forward for Paul Johnson, Muslim support, friends of his there in Saudi pleading with these terrorists not to take his life, leading clerics coming forward, imams coming forward, so much support on behalf of the Muslim nation for Paul Johnson. Is there any chance that these respected religious leaders can have an influence on these terrorists that lack so much courage?

AL-TARIFI: Well, to be honest, I think the religious imams and sheikhs (ph) in Saudi Arabia, maybe they don't support terrorism and they reject terrorism (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they have within their minds a very religious and a very radical ideology. It's not a matter in Saudi Arabia, we have noticed in several years where a lot of thinkers and intellectuals were saying to...

(AUDIO GAP)

AL-TARIFI: ... to give up this kind of religious ideology. And the problem that when some kind of terrorism acts explodes as a result of this kind of ideology, then we see a lot of sheikhs and a lot of imams that want to criticize what happened. I think it's not going to have a good influence because there's something else, al Qaeda now they have their own special (UNINTELLIGIBLE), their own special fatwa, that means they have confidence, especially in Sharia, they can do whatever they want, depending on their explanation of the religion.

PHILLIPS: Adel Al-Tarifi, a columnist for the "Al-Watan" newspaper based in Riyadh there. He specializes in terrorism and jihad groups when he writes for that newspaper.

Also, real quickly, I was just handed a statement from Lockheed Martin. As you know, Lockheed Martin is the company that Paul Johnson worked for, he worked on Apache helicopters there in Saudi Arabia. According to Tom Jerowski (ph) who works for Lockheed Martin, their spokesperson, he said, quote: "We cannot yet confirm the news. All we can say is we are very distressed, very disheartened and are dealing with the family" -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Once again, if you're just tuning in, the American hostage, Paul Johnson, has apparently been killed, beheaded specifically by a group that has close ties apparently to al Qaeda. And we have been following this story all over the world, quite frankly. And in addition to the far reaches of the Middle East, we have been talking at length with Deb Feyerick who is in southern New Jersey. She has been talking with the family all along through this terrible ordeal.

Deb, I assume the family remains in isolation at this juncture. Have you heard anything from either -- directly from them or through intermediaries?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The intermediary that we are hearing from is a representative from Lockheed Martin, the company that Johnson worked for. Lockheed Martin issuing that statement, saying that we are very distressed. They've really been taking very good care to protect the family. The family has asked everyone for their privacy and for the most part, that has indeed been respected. The family has been trying to carry on as normally as possible under the worst of all possible circumstances.

Johnson's grandson, a little boy he never met, actually going outside for a little while to play, so they were doing the best they can. Johnson's mother who was very sick had been kept from the majority of the news, that is she was not told by any of those around her just how bad her son's situation really is. The family did issue an emotional plea trying to negotiate themselves through television with the kidnappers. It did not work. The kidnappers did release a long statement on the Web site along with those three chilling photos.

Let me read you the statement: "First, as we promised, we the Mujahedeen from the Fallujah Squadron, we slaughtered the American hostage Paul Johnson after the deadline we gave to the Saudi tyrants. So he got his fair share from this life and for him to taste a bit of what the Muslims have been suffering from Apache helicopters attacks, and they were tortured by its missiles."

They were demanding, of course, that all al Qaeda prisoners be released from Saudi prisons. Also the statement continues: "A lot of voices were very loud, expressing their anger for taking a Christian military person as a hostage and killing him, while they kept their mouth shut from saying anything supporting those poor Muslims who are in prisons and being tortured by the hands of the cross believers and the tyrants in Abu Ghraib." Obviously, a reference to the prison there and the mistreatment of prisoners by U.S. soldiers.

The statement goes on and it continues that: "As for the Americans, and most importantly, the unbelievers and the criminals who are fighting Islam, this is a lesson for them to learn for whoever comes to our country, this will be their punishment." It is signed al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.

Also one of the demands of the kidnappers, that all Westerners get out of the Arabian Peninsula. And one hostage negotiator, Miles, who I spoke with earlier today, he said that these people were very, very hardcore, that the deadline they set was both unrealistic in scale and time, that they never had any intention of delivering Paul Johnson alive, even though the family did remain optimistic throughout this entire ordeal. The hostage negotiator described them and their tactics based on earlier incidents as people with no compassion, no sensitivity, any direct appeal by the family in fact had little if any impact at all -- Miles. O'BRIEN: Deborah, I know you're with Paul Johnson's -- the New Jersey wing of his family. His wife, Tonome (ph), who is a citizen of Thailand, is now alone in Saudi Arabia. What sort of contact does she have with the family back here in the United States? Who is supporting her at this point?

FEYERICK: Well, right now she also is with representatives from Lockheed Martin. But when she spoke on Al Arabiya television, she made it very clear, she said, you know, she was there all alone, that all she had was Paul Johnson. And clearly there is just such a great fear on her part that now she is in this country, she has no family there and now the man that she loved, the man who she was building a life with, in fact, building a home with in Thailand where they planned to go to for vacation, but, also, ultimately to retire, now that is all gone. So she is alone, even though the people here in New Jersey have been trying to reach out to her as much as they possibly can to make some connection, knowing that she is all by herself -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: In that interview Tonome said: "When I see his picture on TV, I fall down. When I hear the name Paul Johnson, I cry a lot. He is my only family here." Poignant words to read this day. Deborah Feyerick in southern New Jersey, thank you very much -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: If you're just tuning in to our breaking news, we are following the story that American hostage Paul Johnson has been beheaded.

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