In September, 2014, we reported that former SuperBike magazine tester/features editor John Cantlie was being held hostage by ISIL. The Islamic Caliphate group runs a highly sophisticated media operation, and Cantlie seemed to be keeping himself alive by serving as an excellent English-speaking mouthpiece for the rogue state. As of the March 19 date on this video which surfaced in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, it appears that JC is still hanging in there, looking healthy if a bit thin, and actually growing into his role as an ISIL propagandist. In this 3:36 clip, he takes the American Air Force to task for using its “$30 million bombers and $100,000 missiles” to destroy a ‘media kiosk’ in the middle of a residential neighborhood, with no regard for civilian casualties. (Note: As of this writing, there’s no proof that a Bonnier Motorcycle Group drone may not have been responsible; the kiosk reportedly was not carrying any of its 56 titles.)
Before the surfacing of this vid, the last we’d heard of JC was last November, when Cantlie appeared in a video saying the Caliphate might be interested in some kind of truce with the West. Before that, Cantlie appeared in this tour of Mosul in January, 2015, in which he pilots some sort of small-bore Yamaha police bike through the streets with a person on back packing an AK-47: “It’s been quite some time since I’ve ridden a motorcycle,” says JC, as he makes the case that things aren’t nearly as bad in Mosul as Western media would have us believe, looking like he’s trying to convince himself as much as his audience.
A bit of Cantlie’s written work for ISIL can be found in this article on Cracked.com, which is also full of other interesting tidbits about the group you may not have read elsewhere.
Cantlie, who was known as Sonic, after Sonic the Hedgehog, during his SuperBike days in the ’90s, comes from a long line of adventurers, according to this bio on Wikipedia. We’re happy to see he’s keeping his head, and wish him the best of luck.