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, could not be verified.

Reuters has essentially the same account.

I’ve checked the 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:


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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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Something about that photograph reminds me of Beetlejuice.

    I hope it’s a hoax.


  2. Kent says:

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

  3. Jeff says:

    Who says the terrorists perpetuated the hoax?

    Remember Benjamin Vanderford?

  4. Kent says:


    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.

  5. McGehee says:
  6. 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?

  7. LJD says:

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