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=> Aljazeera.Net - Bloggers doubt Berg execution video

Aljazeera.Net - Bloggers doubt Berg execution video
Posted by Tony (Guest) - Sunday, May 16 2004, 22:48:52 (CEST)
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Website title: The Nation

Aljazeera.Net - Bloggers doubt Berg execution video

Bloggers doubt Berg execution video
By Lawrence Smallman

Friday 14 May 2004, 0:08 Makka Time, 21:08 GMT

Was this really Nick Berg's last moment or was he killed earlier?

Revolting millions around the world, the video footage of an American
citizen's execution has also raised numerous questions concerning its
Even at first glance, internet bloggers were asking on Thursday why Nick
Berg was wearing an orange jumpsuit - just like US prisoners wear.
Other net surfers point to the unlikely timing of the executioner's dubbed
announcement that Berg was to die for "Iraqi prisoner abuse".
Berg was last seen alive on 10 April, when his father Michael Berg believes
he was killed - two weeks before the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal broke
in the world's media.
Some discussions focus on the timing of the video's release - guaranteed to
divert attention from the outrage over US abuse of Iraqis.
Video oddities
There are plenty of questions raised concerning the video too. The body is
completely motionless even as the knife is brought to bear - not so much as
an instinctive wriggle.
More graphically, some claim that cutting the throat's artery would cause a
significant amount of blood to gush out. But little emerges and when the
head was raised - not a drop of blood is seen to fall.
"That's really what cost my son his life, the fact that the United States
government saw fit to keep him in custody for 13 days without any of his due
process(es) or civil rights"
Michael Berg,
victim's father
In a possible explanation, one discussion room member suggested that Berg
was killed and then beheaded later.
However, the circumstances of the video release are also strange. A Reuters
journalist in Dubai first named the Muntada al-Ansar al-Islami website as
the source for the video - at
Although the site has now been shut down, looked at the site
within 90 minutes of the story breaking - and could find no such video
But Fox News, CNN and the BBC were all able to download the footage from the
Arabic-only website and report the story within the hour.
Days before death
Other questions presented by bloggers are Berg's peculiar circumstances in
the weeks before his death. Why would a private Jewish American citizen
choose to wander around Iraq by himself?
Additionally, some have pointed out that his last email on 6 April to his
family stated he wished to return home as soon as possible - yet the FBI
claims he refused an offer of help to get home.

Some claim the face in the video
looks remarkably unlike Berg's
In the wider press, FBI involvement has also generated much discussion as to
why Berg was really arrested and detained for two weeks in Mosul.
The unemployed visitor was suspicious enough for Iraqi police to arrest
him - with FBI knowledge.
He had only just been released from prison where he had been held for 13
days by Iraqi police for reasons he said he did not know.
Family blames government
A US newspaper claims an official familiar with the case knew that FBI
agents had interrogated Berg, but had left him for two weeks because he was
in Iraqi - not American - custody.

Father Michael Berg has blamed
US forces for his son's death
But the official was unable to clarify the legal difference between the two,
given the US occupation.
On 5 April, Berg's family filed a suit in federal court in Philadelphia -
contending that their son was being held illegally by the US military in
Iraq. The next day, he was released and left to get himself home.
The last time the family heard from him was on 9 April. His headless body
was found near Mosul on 8 May.
"That's really what cost my son his life, the fact that the United States
government saw fit to keep him in custody for 13 days without any of his due
process or civil rights," Michael Berg said.
Final question
Some bloggers focused on the accent of the purported executioner. Many deny
the accent is either Iraqi or Jordanian - while claims the voice is Egyptian
or Iranian have been made.
The Jordanian accused of the beheading Berg is himself believed to have been
killed in March, according to two Islamist groups.
An eight-page leaflet circulated this week in Falluja said Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi was killed in the Sulaimaniya mountains of northern Iraq during a
US bombing.
But even if it were the Jordanian, one discussion room member observes his
face is so well-known that "why would he bother to cover it?"


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