The Islamic State group’s fifth video of their propaganda campaign “Lend Me Your Ears” focused on the western media’s alleged push for the public to support an “unwinnable” war against the militants. The video was released on YouTube Thursday, and like the rest of the series, it was narrated by kidnapped British journalist John Cantlie.
“They say that people have short memories but the ink is not yet dry on the orders to pull out of Afghanistan and yet here we are, gearing up for Gulf War III,” Cantlie said. “At the first sniff of something they don’t like, the American war machine springs to life, whipped along by the Western media, as usual.”
During his prepared speech, Cantlie quotes several U.S. officials’ statements about the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Western media outlets’ coverage of the group. He said ISIS has “grown exponentially, until not even the U.S. military, the policemen of the world, are able to contain them.”
In the nearly eight-minute video, Cantlie appears alone in a dark room, seated at a table and dressed in an orange jump suit. As he did in past videos, Cantlie introduced himself as “British citizen abandoned by my government,” but in this particular video, he added that he was a “prisoner of the Islamic State for nearly two years.”
A freelance journalist whose bylines appeared in the Sunday Times of London and the Telegraph, Cantlie was captured in 2012 along the Turkish border in Syria alongside U.S. journalist James Foley, according to the New York Times. Foley was the first Western journalist to appear in an ISIS video, in which militants purported to show his beheading. The same brutal fate awaited U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, British journalist David Haines and British aid worker Alan Henning.
Cantlie allegedly wrote an article in this month’s edition of ISIS magazine Dabiq, in which he described the behind-the-scenes process of making the videos and emphasized his role in writing the script. The process was actually quite quick, he wrote, and the “first eight videos were approved in just 12 days,” meaning Thursday’s release is not proof of life for Cantlie.
He wrote that he didn’t know why the militants chose him and not one of his fellow cell mates, but added that “unless something changes very quickly and very radically, I await my turn.”