S.F. Man Says Beheading Video Is a Hoax
Published on Saturday, August 7, 2004 by the Associated Press
S.F. Man Says Beheading Video Is a Hoax
by Ron Harris
 

SAN FRANCISCO - A video aired Saturday that purportedly showed an American being decapitated in Iraq was a hoax.

The American, Benjamin Vanderford, reached by The Associated Press in San Francisco, said he videotaped the staged beheading at his friend's house using fake blood.

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, 22, 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."

© 2004 Associated Press

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