The news: The Islamic State (IS) released a new video Thursday featuring captured British journalist John Cantlie. The video is noticeably different from three previous videos released by the organization that showed the executions of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines.
In the video, Cantlie appears in an orange jumpsuit and claims he is making the video of his own volition (although, like Foley, Sotloff and Haines, he's likely reading from a script).
"I know what you're thinking," Cantlie says. "You're thinking, 'He's only doing this because he's a prisoner — he's got a gun at his head and he's being forced to do this.' ... Well, I am a prisoner — that I cannot deny — but seeing as I've been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose."
More importantly, this is not a brutal execution video. Cantlie says that while he does not know his fate, he will break down the distorted nature of the Western media's coverage of Syria and Iraq in future videos. Cantlie invites the viewer to join him on these future installments, as though he's teasing us for next week's episode of a Thursday-night prime-time program.
A full transcript of the video was posted by journalist Rob Price:
The eerie three-minute video is a firm reminder of how sophisticated the Islamic State is when it comes to propaganda. On Tuesday, the group released a Hollywood-level cinematic trailer for the soon-to-be released movie called the Flames of War in response to President Obama's promise to "degrade and destroy" the group, replete with Michael Bay-esque action sequences and expertly edited explosions.
The Islamic State's latest video reinforces the power and reach of the Sunni insurgency. The IS is using every chance it gets to spread its message through modern means — and sadly, this means that Cantlie may face the same fate as his fellow journalists Foley and Sotloff.