ALBUQUERQUE, NM (Talon News) — A photograph posted on an Islamic web site is apparently that of an action figure and not a U.S. soldier being held hostage. Liam Cusack, the marketing coordinator for Dragon Models USA, said the figure pictured on the web site is believed to be “Special Ops Cody,” a military action figure the company manufactured in late 2003.
“It pretty much looks exactly like the same person,” Cusack told CNN.
On the Islamic web site, CNN reported, a group calling itself the Al Mujahedeen Brigade, posted a photograph of a man it claimed was a captured U.S. soldier named John Adam. The group threatened to behead Adam if Iraqi prisoners are not released by U.S. forces.
The picture is available on line (web site), where numerous terrorist pronouncements have been posted before.
However, the web site, www.ansarnet.ws, states, “ANSARNET.WS would like to warn all news agencies, news staff, members, readers, and visitors not to attribute temporary postings of the public on the bulletin part of its web site as being ANSARNET.WS publications.”
Johnathan Galt, who has extensively researched Internet terrorism for a number of years, speculated on why a fake soldier was used.
“My guess, it’s getting harder to capture a real soldier so they had to trump up a fake one for the propaganda value,” Galt told Talon News. “They weren’t above pulling fake, staged videos of GI’s raping Iraqi women off porn sites and using them for propaganda either. Never believe anything you see on the Internet (or the media) without thorough checking.”
Ansarnet is hosted by the Houston-based Everyone’s Internet (EV1). The company has repeatedly refused to respond to questions concerning its reported hosting both directly and indirectly of terror web sites.
Another web site which carried the picture, Baghdad al Rashid, appears to be hosted by an Internet Service Provider called Savvis. A call to the company was answered by an individual who said the company may or may not be directly or indirectly hosting the site. He explained that Savvis routinely sells space on its computer servers to people, who then lease that same space out to other groups or individuals. He asked that concerns be directed in writing to the company’s abuse department.
Those responsible for Baghdad al Rashid appear to have provided false registration information. On Feb. 1, the day the action figure appeared to have been uploaded to the Internet, the site was registered to a Azoubair Ebno 3awam of Baghdad. On December 1, the site was registered to Hassan Alsayed purportedly of Aleppo Syria.