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New video of British Islamic State hostage raises question of when it was recorded

The Islamic State on Sunday posted the third installment of what it says will be a seven-part video series featuring British hostage John Cantlie that raises anew the issue of when the videos were recorded.

In the new posting, Cantlie references the videotaped murder of British aid worker David Haines, which was posted to the Internet Sept. 13, but makes no reference to the beheading of another aid worker, Alan Henning, whose murder-video was posted Oct. 3.

The nearly seven-minute rambling statement, which criticizes U.S. and British policy toward the Islamic State, also makes no reference to a number of events that have happened since early September, indicating that the tape was made more than a month ago.

In referencing the murder of Haines, who was beheaded on video at some point before the Sept 13 video release, Cantlie says that he had not yet seen British Prime Minister David Cameron’s response to Haines’ death, although the British prime minister had made strong condemnations of both Haines’ and Henning’s deaths.

Cantlie also quoted heavily from foreign affairs columnists and blogs but, again, only used citations from early September, including statements by President Barack Obama about the potential cost of the air war against the Islamic State made around the time of his address to the U.S. people on Sept. 10, when he announced that that he had ordered the U.S. military to begin a widespread program to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State’s military capability.

Cantlie also mentioned what has been a long-running theme, the refusal of the United States and Great Britain to “negotiate” with the group for the lives of the hostages. Each of the four murder-videos – which include those of Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff – have mentioned the refusal by both governments to attempt to negotiate a release. That policy is in stark contrast to that of several European countries whose hostages have been released in exchange for millions of dollars in ransom payments.

The Islamic State kidnapped Cantlie, a freelance photographer, Nov. 22, 2012, near the Turkish border in Syria while he was traveling with Foley. It was Cantlie’s second abduction; he was briefly held by foreign jihadists in Syria in July 2012.

After giving testimony about one of his abductors, a British doctor who was arrested when he returned to the United Kingdom, Cantlie returned to Syria and disappeared. The British doctor was acquitted last year after Cantlie, by then a hostage, failed to appear at his trial.