ISIS-held captive and British journalist John Cantlie has appeared in another propaganda video released by the militant group — and is featured proclaiming the virtues of the lives of people held in Iraq’s second-largest city.
“Hi, I’m John Cantlie, and today we’re on top of the world in Mosul,” he begins the video that was released late Saturday night.
Cantlie, 43, is a photographer who was taken prisoner in Syria in July 2012.
He appears in the more-than-eight-minute-long video speaking directly into the camera for short scenes. He speaks calmly and deliberately, wearing a green jacket and blue jeans. He has light stubble on his face and his dark hair is cut short.
Since the Islamic State took control of it in early June, there have been several reports of murder and worsening conditions for many people in the city. This includes the murder of more than 2,000 Shia prisoners and soldiers, the Human Rights Watch reports.
The UN estimates more than 1 million Iraqis have been displaced since July, and human rights violations have included abductions, mass executions, persecution of Iraq’s ethnic and religious communities, and the crackdown of the peoples’ ability for free expression, the group reports.
In the propaganda video the hostage said he wants to show the good conditions of the lives of the 2 million people in Mosul.
“The media likes to paint a picture of life in the Islamic State as depressed, people walking around as subjugated citizens, in chains and beaten down by strict totalitarian rule. But really, apart from some chilly, very sunny December weather, life here in Mosul is business as usual,” he said.
“What I can see is thousands of people, thousands of Iraqis going about their daily business here in Mosul after years of oppression under Saddam’s rule and the descent into chaos that followed the American invasion,” he said.
Cantlie then drives around in a vehicle with the camera crew and tours a local market.
Drop a bomb, try to rescue me again. Do something. Useless. Absolutely useless.
He remarks how the shopping center is a bustling center of activity.
“This is not a city living in fear as the Western media would have you believe. This is just a normal city going about its daily business,” he said.
Cantlie also tours a hospital and mocks the uselessness of the local police force before the ISIS takeover. At one point he mocks a drone flying overhead.
“Drop a bomb, try to rescue me again,” he yells. “Do something. Useless. Absolutely useless.”
But at no time during the video is anyone else interviewed on camera.
Cantlie has appeared in other propaganda videos released by the militant organization.
In October, Cantlie refuted media reports that hostages had been tortured. He explained by reading from a prepared text that prisoners have been waterboarded — but only when they did “something stupid.”
Otherwise “we were treated well,” the hostage explains.
Cantlie’s father, Paul, 80, died of complications from pneumonia in October. Before his death, he appeared in a video begging for his son to be released, which he filmed from his hospital bed.
ISIS has released videos showing the beheading of four Western citizens, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines.
- IS releases Cantlie hostage video (southwalesguardian.co.uk)
- Islamic State releases eighth John Cantlie propaganda video (express.co.uk)
- First Known Western Journalist To Embed With ISIS Blames Bush For Group’s Existence (madashelland.wordpress.com)
- ISIS terrorist organization kills two Iraqi journalists in Mosul and Anbar (sana.sy)
- VIDEO: Author visits ‘brutal’ IS heartland (bbc.co.uk)