From ABC, comes this story about a 'dead' U.S. soldier, who isn't so dead after all. It seems that al Jazeera isn't so different from the U.S. media as one might think. In their haste to make the U.S. military look bad, both al Jazeera (and the 'drive-by media) air stories, without researching the story's authenticity. Why bother with doing that anyway, since the damage can be done as severely with a lie, as with the truth?
Dead U.S. Soldier in Anti-War Video 'Alive and Well'
January 08, 2007 8:00 AM
Rhonda Schwartz and Maddy Sauer Report:
An Iraqi insurgent propaganda video, containing what is described as a Christmas message from a U.S. soldier taped just before he was killed, appeared on dozens of Web sites and on the al Jazeera network.
But a lot about the video does not add up, including the fact that ABC News found the supposedly dead soldier is "alive and well" and present for duty, according to a U.S. Army spokesman at Fort Campbell, Ky.
"There are a whole bunch of lies on that tape," said Lt. Col. Ed Loomis at Fort Campbell. "It is nothing but a total fabrication."
A producer at al Jazeera said it would change its description of the video after learning from ABC News that the soldier was not dead.
The tape begins in dramatic form with the title "Lee's Life for Lies."
It is supposedly a Christmas greeting from a U.S. soldier, Specialist Lee Kimball Tucker, sent to his family in Florida before he was killed.
First there are scenes of Tucker celebrating his birthday with his buddies.
Then a cut to an attack on a U.S. Army humvee and its aftermath.
An insurgent narrator says the insurgents found a computer flash drive in the wreckage that belonged to Tucker and purports to play it.
A voice says, "Dear Mom and Dad, I'm so glad I could send you my third Christmas greetings letter."
Lt. Col. Loomis told ABC News that while the pictures appear to be authentic, it was a case of Tucker's identity being stolen in Iraq.
The voice identified as Tucker says he and his fellow soldiers became violent and reckless searching for insurgents.
"The crimes by our soldiers during break-ins started to merge, such as burglary, harassment, raping and random manslaughter," says the voice. "Why are we even here? The people hate us."
Laura Mansfield, an Arabic language analyst and publisher of a newsletter "Strategic Translations" that tracks jihadi websites, said this is a new trick in the jihadists' propaganda campaign.
"This is part of a very shrewd campaign to reach a U.S. audience, soldiers and voters," she said. "It is in English and forgives most soldiers and Americans, calling on them to help end the war."
Also on the tape is a description, supposedly from Tucker, of how soldiers buy their way out of dangerous night patrols and gun turret duty with cash and drugs.
"The marijuana-rolled cigarettes are the rare currency capable of buying or changing anything. The drugs goes all around here," says the voice.
And it ends with a final denunciation of U.S. leaders and policy.
"What we are doing here is so disgraceful; our acts are shameful," says the voice. He then signs off, "Specialist Lee Kimball Tucker."
All very powerful from a dead soldier, except for the fact that Lee Kimball Tucker is not dead.
His family says he returned from Iraq in May and was with them over the holidays so he would not have been sending any messages home.
There will be an internal investigation at Fort Campbell to determine how the insurgents got a hold of the home video of the soldiers, and Fort Campbell officials are urging all soldiers to take further precautions against identity theft.
Tucker's mother Pam of Fort Worth, Texas, told ABC News that Tucker is not anti-war and that he could be returning to Iraq later this year.