Iraq Group Claims U.S. Soldier Hostage
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:
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.
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.