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Internet Video of American's Beheading Found to be Hoax - 2004-08-07


A man in San Francisco says he faked a video of himself being decapitated by militants in Iraq.

Benjamin Vanderford told the Associated Press that he staged the beheading months ago at a friend's house. He said it was initially intended to promote his campaign for elected office, but later became, what he called, a form of social commentary.

Footage of the fake beheading was shown on an Islamist website associated with al-Qaida militants. The video showed Mr. Vanderford tied-up, saying American forces should pull out of Iraq or he would be killed. The video then showed a large knife apparently cutting his neck.

The AP reported he offered no apologies for the stunt, saying it was an experiment to see how quickly the hoax would spread in the news media.

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