By Ryan Grenoble, Huffington Post
Islamic State militants have released a new video featuring British freelance journalist John Cantlie — the fourth since Cantlie was taken hostage nearly two years ago.
In the 7-minute video, published Sunday, Cantlie appears to read from a prewritten script as he warns the West that the Islamic State is “dug in for the fight” and “eagerly awaits” a ground war.
“Anyone hoping for a nice neat surgical operation without getting their hands dirty is in for a horrible surprise once it gets under way,” says Cantlie, who, as in earlier videos, speaks from behind a desk while wearing an orange prisoners’ jumpsuit.
The 43-year-old also addressed earlier videos in which Islamic State militants have executed journalists, calling them a “win-win” for the group.
“If these executions force public outcry or a policy change, that is a huge victory,” he said. “And if they only goad our governments into dropping more bombs and spending millions more dollars, making our countries weaker in the process, that is a victory, too.”
The video was released shortly after the Islamic State published a longer article, purportedly written by Cantlie, titled, “Hard Talk –- The Real Story Behind My Videos.” The article blames Western governments for the execution of journalists, in particular for not negotiating with the Islamic State for their release.
It also hints at the conditions of his captivity, which includes “a dark room with a mattress on the floor. It is clean and comfortable; for a man in my position, it is enough.”
Cantlie, who has worked for the Sunday Times, the Sun and the Sunday Telegraph, was previously taken hostage in Syria in 2012, then freed a week later by the Free Syrian Army. Cantlie reportedly then returned to Syria, where he was captured a second time along with U.S. journalist James Foley, who has since been executed.