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Another American Beheaded on Video?

It appears Islamics have beheaded another American on video... But things aren't always as they appear. (No I don't mean the CIA did it) Here's a few snips. The story seems kinda squishy.

AP: Web Site Shows Beheading of an American in Iraq
CAIRO, Egypt  — New video aired Saturday purportedly shows a San Francisco man beheaded moments after he urges the United States to end its occupation of Iraq (search).

The man on the tape sat on a chair in a dark room, his hands behind his back, trembling and rocking back and forth.

"We need to leave this country alone. We need to stop this occupation," he said, adding that he had been offered for exchange with prisoners in Iraq.

"We need to leave this country right now," he said. "Everyone's going to be killed this way."

The video then showed him beheaded with a large knife. Unlike in previous videos of hostage killings, no militants were seen on the footage. He was clad in a t-shirt, not the orange jumpsuit that other hostages have been dressed in.

Reuters(!) has the best coverage. And it sound like they have his name right. I've heard 3 different versions of his name. I read about 5 stories that played it straight, 5 more like the AP story above that hinted something was amiss, then I finally found this:

Qaeda group "beheads U.S. hostage"

DUBAI (Reuters) - A group linked to al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has beheaded an American hostage in Iraq, according to a video posted on a website.

"I am from San Francisco, California," the young man in the video said, dressed in a plain beige T-shirt and seated on a chair. "We need to leave this country right now. If we don't, everyone is gonna be killed in this way," he said.

"I have been offered for exchange for prisoners here in Iraq," the terrified-looking American said, rocking back and forth in his chair, his hands tied behind his back.

"We need to leave this country alone. We need to stop this occupation". The video then showed a hand with a large knife slicing through the neck of a limp body.

The American gave his name and address before appealing to the United States to leave Iraq.

The name and address appeared to match a Benjamin Vanderford, who has a U.S. website and who resembles the man in the militant video. He is described on the Vanderford site as a 22-year-old independent candidate for district supervisor in San Francisco. He is also a musician and video-game programmer.

His political manifesto on the website addresses local issues such as tenants' rights, the homeless and government transparency, with no mention of Iraq.

It was not immediately clear when the militant videotape, purportedly by Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad Group, was made or what was meant by an offer for prisoner exchange.

Unlike previous videos by Tawhid and Jihad Group, the footage did not show the group's flag, or masked militants. The American was wearing trousers and a T-shirt and not an orange jumpsuit as worn by previous hostages of Zarqawi's group.

Finally, Reuters uses scare quotes in the right place. I took a long cut of the story but the rest is worth reading too.

This whole things seems odd. Perhaps it is a copycat, perhaps this one really is staged. His supposed condemnation of the american occupation and apparent acceptance of he forthcoming beheading, mixed with his supposed politics makes an odd juxtaposition.

I've hit google, alltheweb and dogpile and not been able to find his website. More as I can find it, I gotta feeling we don't have the whole story yet.

UPDATE: The Asshat faked it.

(I deleted all the other updates)


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Comments (1)

It seemed rather odd, since... (Below threshold)

It seemed rather odd, since it deviated from the M.O. Only MSNBC seemed skeptical, though.

I've found his site and have it linked. He's a weirdo.




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