Last night, Paul at Wizbang reported on a video
apparently showing an American being beheaded. The person on the video said
"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.
Paul smelled something rotten and he was right.
The man from San Francisco, said he videotaped the staged beheading at his friendís house using fake blood.
On the tape, Benjamin Vanderford, 22, sat on a chair in a dark room, his hands behind his back, trembling and rocking back and forth.
Interestingly enough, there is Benjamin Vanderford from San Francisco running for office
(District 5 supervisor seat, running as Independent).
A little research later and yes, they are the same person.
bq. 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.
So, his political hopes dashed, he decided to engage in some recreational deception instead.
The video was titled "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Slaughters an American." Zarqawi is an Al Qaeda-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.
Vanderford offered no apologies for his stunt.
"That was another experiment that was part of this to see how quickly that system will spread news," Vanderford said.
What a way to get your point across. Benjamin gets my nomination for Idiot of the Day. Maybe even the year.
I'm sure the families of those who were really beheaded by terrorists appreciate having to relive their nightmares over again when Benjamin's stunt made the news. And I'm sure the Muslims in his community equally appreciate Benajmin's big lie.
James Joyner has more.
: I'm at a loss in trying to figure out how Ben's stunt would garner sympathy for the anti-war movement. He was only furthering the anger towards the "insurgents" and "militants" in Iraq. Perhaps he really had no goal except to feed his own ego.
Update the second
: I have to agree with Laurence in the comments that this speaks volumes about the media's willingness to soak this stuff up.