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U.S. man admits beheading video is a hoax
SAN FRANCISCO — A video aired Saturday that purportedly showed an American being decapitated in Iraq was a hoax.
The man shown in the video, reached by The Associated Press in San Francisco, said he videotaped the staged beheading at his friend's house using fake blood.
Benjamin Vanderford, 22, said he began distributing the video on the Internet months ago in hopes of drawing attention to his one-time campaign for city supervisor. When his political aspirations waned, he thought the video would serve as social commentary.
"It was part of a stunt, but no one noticed it up until now," Vanderford said. "I did this for a couple of reasons. One is to attract attention. But two is to just make a statement on these type of videos and how easily they can be faked."
On the tape, Vanderford sat on a chair in a dark room, his hands behind his back, trembling and rocking back and forth. The tape showed a hand with a knife cutting at the motionless man's neck, but did not show any militants.
"We need to leave this country alone. We need to stop this occupation," he said on the video, adding that he had been offered for exchange with prisoners in Iraq. "Everyone's going to be killed this way."
The videotape was posted on a militant Web site and aired on Arab television Saturday. Vanderford was clad in a T-shirt, not the orange jumpsuit that other hostages have been dressed in.
The video was titled "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Slaughters an American." Zarqawi is an al-Qaida linked militant whose group, Tawhid and Jihad, has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks across Iraq, including the beheading of U.S. businessman Nicholas Berg.
Vanderford's video also showed images of disfigured and injured people in Iraq. A recording of the Quran, Islam's holy book, played in the background.
Sipping soda in his kitchen, a shirtless Vanderford said he spliced images he took from a Hamas Web site showing mutilated bodies. He later edited the 55 second video to downgrade the quality so it would look similar to beheading tapes distributed since the war in Iraq began.
"We had to make it more lower quality to make it more realistic," said Vanderford, who works at a bank. "That was another experiment that was part of this to see how quickly that system will spread news."
He said he understood if relatives of those killed in Iraq thought his stunt was misguided, but he offered no apologies for the hoax.
"I see how it could be considered disrespectful. But I think people, if they look at it, will understand two other big issues it brings up," he said. "A small group of disgruntled people in Iraq or Saudi Arabia could just get more attention just by easily releasing something like I did on the Internet."
Allawi introduces amnesty, shuts down al-Jazeera
CTV.ca News Staff
Amid sporadic fighting, Iraq's Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi announced changes today, aimed at lifting the country out of a spiraling violence.
The leader signed a much-anticipated amnesty law Saturday, aimed at pardoning Iraqis who have had minor roles in the country's long insurgency.
"This amnesty is not for people ... who have killed," Allawi said. "Those people will be brought to justice, starting from Zarqawi down to the person in the street."
The amnesty would forgive those who committed small crimes between May 1, 2003 -- just after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime -- and August 7, 2004, according to Allawi. Those eligible would need to turn themselves in over the next 30 days, he said.
"This order has been established to allow our citizens to rejoin civil society and participate in the reconstruction of their country and the improvement of their lives, instead of wasting their lives pointlessly toward a lost cause," Allawi said.
Also Saturday, Allawi announced that the Baghdad offices of Arab television station Al-Jazeera would be closed for 30 days. Officials say the broadcaster is guilty of inciting violence among the population.
Al-Jazeera officials say they're disappointed. "It's a regrettable decision, but Al-Jazeera will endeavour to cover the situation in Iraq as best we can within the constraints," the station's spokesman Jihad Ballout told the Associated Press.
Last month, Iraq's interim government conducted an independent commission "to see what kind of violence they are advocating, inciting hatred and problems and racial tension."
Iraq's Interior Minister said the closure will give the station "a chance to readjust their policy against Iraq."
"They have been showing a lot of crimes and criminals on TV," said Falah al-Naqib. "They transfer a bad picture about Iraq and about Iraqis and encourage criminals to increase their activities."
Al-Naqib said the measure was an effort to protect the Iraqi people.
Ballout said the closure bans the "right of the Arab people around the world to see a comprehensive picture about what's going on in an important region like Iraq."
The two announcements came as fighting continued in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. The violence spread Shiite communities further afield, threatening to trigger a Shiite uprising.
Shiite leaders and a United Nations official met with aides of militant leader Moqtada al-Sadr in an effort to quell some of the violence.
Originally posted by websurfer
I have the video. To see it check..
graphic but who hasn't already seen a beheading.
go to www.i2drive.com...
click Open My I(2) Drive 1
click on the video link....in the upper right click on download...
Originally posted by Ess Why Kay
Thanks. Yeah, that defenitely looked fake.