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Iraq Transition

So-called U.S. hostage appears to be toy


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This image was posted on an Islamist Web site.
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(CNN) -- A photograph posted on an Islamist Web site appears to be 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," he said.

Cusack said he was contacted Tuesday morning by one of his retailers, who informed him that the alleged hostage appeared to be one of the company's action figures.

"I thought it was a joke at first," he said.

But after reading a report on a news Web site about a U.S. soldier allegedly being captured, "I looked at it and said, 'It does look like one of our action figures.'"

"Cody" is an action figure the company made for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which supplies U.S. military bases worldwide with various items. The doll was meant to look like a U.S. soldier who might be serving in Iraq, Cusack said.

On the Islamist Web site, 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, and it threatened to behead him if Iraqi prisoners are not released by U.S. forces.

Staff Sgt. Nick Minecci of the U.S. military's press office in Baghdad told The Associated Press that "no units have reported anyone missing."

The photograph showed the figure against a black flag with white lettering reading, "God is great, there is no god but Allah." A U.S. military assault rifle was pointed at its head. It appears that "rifle" was part of the plastic weaponry that came with the action figure.

The photograph immediately raised questions.

CNN military analyst James Marks, a retired Army general, questioned its authenticity.

He told CNN in a phone interview that the flak jacket in the picture had a kind of trim along the edges that he'd never seen before, and that the open-legged pants, as opposed to gathered hems, struck him as odd.

He also questioned what appeared to be camouflage paint on the face.

"We have not used camo paint with conventional forces serving in Iraq," Marks said.



Copyright 2005 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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