International

New Islamic State Video Purports To Show Kidnapped British Journalist

The group that calls itself the Islamic State has released a new video that purports to show a British man who says he is a journalist and a hostage of the militants.

The man in the video is dressed in orange, sits behind a desk and identifies himself as John Cantile.

NPR has not independently verified the authenticity of the video, but previous such messages from the Islamic State have featured American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines. All three were later shown in videos being killed by a member of the group.

In today's video, titled Lend Me Your Ears, the man, who looks like Cantile, asks why he has been abandoned by his government, and says that the U.S. and its allies, by their operations against the Islamic State, are entering an unwinnable war.

"After two disastrous and hugely unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, why is it that our governments appear so keen to get involved in yet another unwinnable conflict?" the man in the video says.

The BBC has a profile of a journalist named John Cantile who was kidnapped in Syria in late 2012. That was the second time Cantile was kidnapped. Earlier that year, he was captured in Syria, blindfolded and handcuffed for a week before escaping with help from the Free Syrian Army. In the profile, the BBC says Cantile "cannot be described as either inexperienced or as someone who did not know what he was doing in a dangerous environment.

"For 20 years he has specialised in writing and filming news features that others would rather not do. His portfolio is stacked full of highly readable adventure features, ranging from extreme sports, to off-road motorcycling.

"But aside from the fun stuff, Mr Cantlie is a very experienced journalist who has reported from some of the most dangerous places in the world - Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia."

No members of the Sunni extremist group appear in today's video.

"Now, I know what you're thinking: 'He's only doing this because he's a prisoner. He's got a gun to his head and he's being forced to do this.' Right?" the man in the video asks. "Well, it's true. I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny. But seeing that I've been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose. Maybe I will live and maybe I will die but I want to take this opportunity to convey some facts that you can verify. Facts that if you contemplate, might help preserving lives."

The man in the video notes that hostages from other countries have been freed by the group – an apparent reference to the fact that while the U.S. and U.K. do not pay ransom for their hostages, other countries do.

The man in the video also says that he will use "the next few programs" to explain the "truth behind the systems and motivations" of the Islamic State.

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