How can we believe John Cantlie’s Mosul report when he’s an ISIS prisoner?

John Cantlie was captured by ISIS in 2012

No one in their right state of mind can believe ISIS’s latest propaganda video from Mosul reported by British journalist John Cantlie, writes Bilal Abdul Kareem.

John Cantlie is a British photo journalist who was captured in November 2012 by ISIS and remains a prisoner of theirs.

He recently appeared in a new propaganda video that features him moving in and around the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

He made reference to a “normal life” in the city six times in the first three minutes of the video, reminding the viewer of the main purpose of his report, which is to say that all is well in Mosul.

He went on to say: “Life here in the city of Mosul is business as usual,” “…going about their daily business,”, “You’re just struck at how normal and crazy and busy everything is (in the marketplace),” and “It’s just a normal city going about its daily business.”

He mentions several times how the media is working hard to portray a different picture: “The media likes to paint a picture of life in the Islamic State as depressed, people walking around as subjugated citizens in chains, beaten down by strict, totalitarian rule.

“But really, apart from some rather chilly but very sunny December weather, life here in Mosul is business as usual,” he said.

“Normal” life in Mosul.  “Normal” statements from a journalist. It all seems so “normal”, except for one abnormality – the journalist is a prisoner of the group he is speaking so highly of.

It almost makes one wonder what is the point of these propaganda videos. Who is their target audience?

I don’t think ISIS actually believes their sceptics would be swayed by the testimony of a prisoner being escorted by his captors.

One scene in the video shows Cantlie on a police motorcycle patrolling the town. He said: “It seems that the police are almost redundant in spite of having a firm presence here in Mosul.  There is very little crime being committed as far as I can see.”

His statement here might be believable if one of his captors wasn’t riding behind him with an AK47 strapped to his back!

Even their fan base and supporters cannot seriously think that propaganda videos so outwardly biased is of any use.

If the kidnapper was North Korea, for example, instead of ISIS, and the prisoner was paraded as Cantlie is, we would all look at each other and wonder to what planet Premier Kim Jong Un was on.

Cantlie’s father passed away with his son in captivity in October of last year. He made a plea to his captors in the following words: “To those holding John, please know that he is a good man. He sought only to help the Syrian people and I ask you for all that is sacred to help us and allow him to return home safely to those he loves and those who love him.”

Bilal Abdul Kareem is an American journalist and filmmaker who spent two years in Syria documenting the rebels.


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