British journalist and ISIS hostage John Cantlie has appeared in another propaganda video, the seventh in the series, in which he blasts the uncaring governments of Western nations who he claims sooner resort to violence than negotiation to solve its problems.
Speaking to the camera, Cantlie described the failure of a mission to rescue him and his fellow prisoners from the hands of the Islamic State earlier in the year, a complex operation which he suggested cost the American taxpayer “tens of millions to perform”. Mocking the American military, he described how ISIS outwitted the operation: “The Islamic State, anticipating such a move, just put the six of us in cars and moved us to another prison days before hand. The total cost to them was a few dollars in petrol”.
Cantlie also criticised the attitude towards prisoner releases of Western governments, accusing them of abandoning him and his “former American cellmates, also executed by the Islamic State”, and remarking that the American government threatens to prosecute the families of hostages who try to raise ransom. He said: “You spend your whole life working, paying taxes, not getting into trouble with the police – well, not for anything serious – paying your bills, and for what? The first time you need your government to do something for you, when it’s truly life or death, they turn their back”.
John Cantlie has been a prisoner of the Islamic State for over two years, in what is now his second period of incarceration with the Islamist group, having freely returned to the country after his initial capture and release. The extent to which his statements made in these videos are forced or genuine, often addressed to Western leaders like U.S. President Obama or British Prime Minister Cameron, is hotly contested.
While it is broadly accepted in the mainstream media that Cantlie makes these videos under the threat of death or torture, his own sister has claimed that even when living at home he expressed the same opinions. She told journalists last month: “He believes at least two-thirds of what he is saying, he’s a very principled man… We understand that he feels ignored and deserted and abandoned, we understand, we understand it”.
An article in ISIS recruiting magazine Dabiq claimed last month that Cantlie had full access to the internet to research the scripts for the films, which he wrote freely himself and were then vetted by his handlers, a claim that cannot be corroborated. It also claimed they had at the time already filmed eight Cantlie films, meaning at the very least there is one more to be released by the Islamist terror group, if Cantlie has already been murdered by his captors.