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Iraq Group Claims U.S. Soldier Hostage

Web Site Claims GI Captured in Iraq (AP)

Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners. The posting, on a Web site that frequently carried militants’ statements, included a photo of what appeared to be an American soldier in desert fatigues seated with his hands tied behind his back. A gun barrel was pointed at his head, and he is seated in front of a black banner emblazoned with the Islamic profession of faith, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet.”

A statement posted with the picture suggested the group was holding other soldiers. “Our mujahadeen heroes of Iraq’s Jihadi Battalion were able to capture American military man John Adam after killing a number of his comrades and capturing the rest,” said the statement, signed by the “Mujahedeen Brigades.” “God willing, we will behead him if our female and male prisoners are not released from U.S. prisons within the maximum period of 72 hours from the time this statement has been released,” the statement said.

The claim, carried on the Web site ansarnet.ws, could not be verified.

Reuters has essentially the same account.

I’ve checked the ansarnet.ws site but the story isn’t on the front page and it’s not navigable unless one reads Arabic, although there’s plenty of bizarre English language propaganda.

Drudge and others are running this photo:

Photo:

My reaction was the same as Kevin Aylward‘s: “The size of the head looks all wrong, like the picture was created in Photoshop. ” Counterterrorism Blog’s Evan Kohlmann believes it a hoax as well:

1.) The soldier is seen seated in front of the trademark rising sun banner of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Al-Qaida faction in Iraq. Yet, this was not the group that took credit for the kidnapping. In fact, no credible representative from Zarqawi’s group has yet taken credit for this kidnapping.
2.) As pointed out by several colleagues, the boots and uniform worn by “John Adam” are not U.S. military issue. For that matter, where is John Adam’s name patch on his uniform?
3.) The photo itself shows obvious signs of having been sloppily edited. “John’s” face is marked with by jagged, digital features and a chin line that is distinctly non-human. Notice that the left side of his chin runs in varying, contrasting sizes, demarcated by precise perpendicular lines.

He’s got close-ups with circles and arrows. I would note, though, that there would be no “John Adams” name patch. A patch reading “ADAMS” would appear atop his left breast pocket–underneath the flak jacket and explosives.

Jeff Quinton and Rusty Shackleford are running updates and compiling more extensive lists of others blogging.

Update (1526): Drudge has rather compelling visual evidence that the hostage is, in fact, a G.I. Joe doll:

As a commenter at Rusty’s notes, “First, sending a mentally retarded suicide bomber, and now taking toys hostage… what’s next, they hijack the Good Ship Lollipop?”

This may be the funniest incident in the war since Baghdad Bob’s retirement.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Terrorists Threaten to Behead US Soldier John Adam (Update: HOAX!!)
    We will post video as soon as it becomes available. Reuters:A little-known Iraqi insurgent group said on Tuesday it was holding a U.S. soldier and threatened to kill him within 72 hours if Iraqi prisoners were not released, according to…

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  2. Website claims GI captured in Iraq
    AP Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners. The posting, on a Web site that frequently carried militants’…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Iraqi terrorists claim to have US GI hostage, threaten beheading
    A posting on a jihadist website claims that an Iraqi terrorist group is holding a US soldier captive, and is threatening to decapitate him if male and female prisioners held in Iraq are not freed within 72 hours. The posting,…

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  4. Something about that photograph reminds me of Beetlejuice.

    I hope it’s a hoax.

    /f

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Kent says:

    G.I. Joe? Wouldn’t it have been more in character for them to have taken Barbie hostage?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Jeff says:

    Kent,
    Who says the terrorists perpetuated the hoax?

    Remember Benjamin Vanderford?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Kent says:

    Jeff,

    I was trying to be clever.

    That this is a hoax seems almost certain. That it is a hoax by non-terrorists seems more likely than not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Now, hear our demands!
    Iraqi militants have threatened to behead, what appears to be a toy soldier, if American troops do not release all Iraqi prisoners within 72 hours.

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  9. Captured Soldier Hoax
    Wow, this just blows me away. Read the story and the follow-up below it. BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans rel…

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  10. Bit'sBlog says:

    Web Site Claims GI Captured in Iraq — But….
    However, there is, as the Knights who say “Nee” once suggested, one small problem.

    His head.

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  11. McGehee says:

    Hoax? Then why is his girlfriend pleading for his release?

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  12. We Have Your Filthy Plastic Occupier Infidel!
    Boston Globe: BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners. The U.S. military said it was…

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  13. McCain says:

    I love the line…

    A patch reading “ADAMS” would appear atop his left breast pocket–underneath the flak jacket and explosives.

    Haha, how many grenades did those terrorists leave him wearing?

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  14. Free John Adams! (and Ben Franklin, too, while yer at it),,,
    As pointed out in a comment to the last post, I haven’t commented on the John Adams kidnapping (until now). That’s…

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  15. ISOU says:

    Holy Shit, they’ve Captured GI Joe!
    Oh the inhumanity of it! How dare they lay their grubby Islamofacist hands on a REAL AMERICAN HERO! Our prayers are with his lady in Malibu. Has anyone called Jessie Jackson yet? Others Following Jeff Q’s Lead The Moderate Voice…

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  16. ISOU says:

    Holy Shit, they’ve Captured GI Joe!
    This is obviously an attempt by Right Wing Reactionaries to win the support of the weak stomached American People! Long Live the Revolution! Long live my Muslim Brothers in their Struggle Against American Imperialism! COBRA! Cobra Commander On Hearing…

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  17. Gi Joe Doll Attempted To Be Passed Off As Hostage By Terrorists
    Terrorists tried to pass off a GI Joe doll as a hostage. As you can see in the photo to the right (click to enlarge) it is pretty obviously some sort of doll by the head alone. The blogosphere…

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  18. LJD says:

    Look at his treatment by the U.S. Army: They kept him in a BOX!

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  19. How to be a terrorist
    Come! Gather ’round all my infidel bretheren! I must speak to you of a grand opportunity! You to can become a terrorist hostage taker. Yes, that’s right! You can become an infidel hating terrorist and make demands upon random countries by holding hos…

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