The Strange Case of Nicholas Berg

May 12, 2004 - Fortuitously, some would say suspiciously, a grisly video turns up just in time to dampen the perilous flames of Abu Ghraib scorching the credibility of Rumsfeld and Bush.

Nicholas Berg -- described as an independent contractor scouting work on communications towers in war-torn Iraq -- is brutally decapitated, his body found near a highway overpass in Baghdad on Saturday, May 8. Three days later a video of Berg's execution, allegedly entitled "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shown slaughtering an American," surfaces on an "al Qaeda-linked" web site.

In a matter of hours the depravity of Abu Ghraib is locked in head-to-head competition for newspaper and television space with the murder of an innocent American.

"Americans grappled with shocking new images of horror, from scenes of masked militants beheading a Pennsylvania man to descriptions of U.S. soldiers torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners," writes Terence Hunt of the Associated Press. "After days of issuing apologies, President Bush shifted from defense to offense with a tough condemnation of terrorists."

Conspicuously ill at ease with the humbling prospect of assuming responsibility for the torture and mistreatment of Iraqi detainees (apologizing is not Dubya's forte), Bush grabbed the bull by the horns and mounted up the presidential saddle to strike a pose he finds far more to his liking -- that of the global village sheriff hunting down and smoking out terrorists.

"The actions of the terrorists who executed this man remind us of the nature of the few people who want to stop the advance of freedom in Iraq," said Bush from the White House. "Their intention is to shake our will. Their intention is to shake our confidence. Yet, by their actions, they remind us of how desperately parts of the world need free societies and peaceful societies. And we will complete our mission."

It was a godsend for reactionary radio talkshow hosts and irate senators weary and angered by all the attention paid to what they consider the insignificant and wholly-overblown torture of Iraqis who they believe are criminals, terrorists, and murderers (even though the military admits many if not most -- possibly 90 percent -- of the Iraqis detained have done nothing wrong).

"The U.S. government is committed to a very thorough and robust investigation to get to the bottom of this," Dan Senor, spokesman for the occupation, promised reporters in Baghdad.

But if the troublesome details surrounding the Berg case are any indication, the Bushites may want to leave the story alone and call off the investigation before it turns into another fiasco.

How is it Nicholas Berg ended up a captive of -- so were are told -- psychopathic fundamentalist Muslims? Did he simply walk into a den of vipers or is there something else behind his abduction and murder?

It is now well established that Berg was in the custody of either the US military or the Iraqi police (actually a component of the US military and occupation at this point) prior to his disappearance and murder. On May 13 CNN reported that Berg "was detained by Iraqi police at a checkpoint in Mosul on March 24, under suspicion of possible involvement in illegal or terrorist activities." Berg aroused sufficient interest that the FBI decided to visit him several times while he was in jail.

The FBI "met with him on three occasions and made their own determination that he was not suspected of being involved in any criminal or terrorist activities. But he was at no time under the jurisdiction or within the detention of coalition forces," Senor said.

But why would the FBI consider Berg a terrorist suspect in the first place?

Is it because his father is not only an outspoken critic of Bush's invasion and occupation but also because he decided to sue Donald Rumsfeld for holding his son for nearly two weeks without charge or allowing him to seek legal representation?

On April 5, the Bergs filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia, contending that their son was being held illegally by the US military in Iraq, according to the Associated Press. On the following day Nick Berg was released from custody. He disappeared three days later.

"I still hold [Rumsfeld] responsible because if they had let him ago after a more reasonable amount of time or if they had given him access to lawyers we could have gotten him out of there before the hostilities escalated," Michael Berg said in an interview on Boston's WBUR radio station. "That's really what cost my son his life was the fact that the U.S. government saw fit to keep him in custody for 13 days without any of his due process or civil rights and released him when they were good and ready ... It goes further than Donald Rumsfeld. It's the whole Patriot Act, it's the whole feeling of this country that rights don't matter anymore because there are terrorists about."

But the FBI may have had additional incentive to single out Nick Berg.

"The web site and forum has a reputation for right-wing views, fanatical Republicanism and relentless pro-war activism," writes Fintan Dunne, editor of "On 7th March, 2004, just three weeks before the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, an 'enemies' list of anti-war groups and individuals was posted on the Free Republic forum ... It began: 'Here you are, FReepers. Here is the enemy' ... Among those listed as having endorsed the call to action was this entry: 'Michael S. Berg, Teacher, Prometheus Methods Tower Service, Inc.'" Prometheus Methods Tower Service was the independent communications company owned by Nick Berg. Michael Berg was his son's business manager.

Is it possible Nick Berg's arrest and detention was not only ordered by the military but he was also set up to be brutally murdered? More than a few people seem to think so.

Sam Hamod comments:

"There is [a] strange matter to this situation that troubles me. Why was Mr. Berg picked up by coalition forces and imprisoned, so much so that his family sued Donald Rumsfeld for his release and information on him. The military says it released him, but suddenly then, he disappeared because when people went to see him at the hotel he was allegedly registered at, he wasn't there and no one there knew of him. Very strange point number two is, why was Mr. Berg in an American issued orange jump suit -- the kind Americans put prisoners in, when he was photographed and killed? The Iraqis or other Arabs would have had him in Arab clothing so as not to draw suspicion to him of his being a prisoner -- not an orange jump suit. Also, the way the men were standing, and their size, as a person experienced in the middle east, most Arabs don't stand that way and most Iraqis are not that tall -- the men stand more like Westerners of some sort, or even Israelis, but not like Arabs or Iraqis."

Alex Jones of published several emails that raised additional questions about the alleged Muslims -- supposedly connected to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (said to be affiliated to al-Qaeda, although this allegation is tenuous at best):

"The picture the media is now showing of the guy the terrorist beheaded as revenge for what went on in the Iraqi prisons looks odd to me. If you look at the men dressed in black, they all seem well fed. Actually most look fat. That bothers me, because these guys are fighting a war and eating on the run. They are constantly on the move and should be either very fit and trim or scrawny and malnourished because of the same reasons. One thing they should not be is fat like couch potatoes. If you look at all of the photos of the prisoners who were naked who supposedly were just plucked of the street, most of them are thin."

Another email sent to Jones makes a few trenchant points concerning the video:

"Tape obviously spliced together and heavily edited. Goes from a) Berg sitting in chair talking about family, to b) Berg sitting on floor with hooded "militants" behind, to c) blurry camera movement, to d) almost motionless Berg on floor as head cut off ... Audio clearly dubbed in ... "Arab" reader flips through pages of "statement" and keeps ending up on the same page. Perhaps doesn't even known enough Arabic to recognize what page he's on? ... "Arabs" have lily-white hands and (other exposed) skin ... "Arabs" have Western-style body posture and mannerisms ... When Berg decapitated, there was almost no blood. If Berg were still alive at this point, with the cut starting at front of throat, blood would have been spraying everywhere. Berg's severed head, the floor, Berg's clothes, and even the hand of the "Arab" who decapitated Berg had no visible blood on it ... Berg's body didn't move while on the ground. Although held down, Berg would have tried to instinctively wiggle and writhe away from captor's grip ... Camera angle made it impossible to see if Berg's eyes were even open ... Alleged "scream" from Berg sounded to be that of a woman and was clearly dubbed in."

When I first looked at captures from the video -- I have yet to see the actual video and quite frankly I don't want to see it -- I noticed immediately a lack of blood coming from Berg's severed head. This seemed very strange to me, even though I admit I am hardly an expert on such things -- even so, it makes sense that a freshly severed head would bleed profusely, as the above comment points out. I can only assume from the comments of people who have the stomach to view the video that Berg did not struggle as al-Zarqawi cut off his head with a knife. If true, none of this makes any sense. Is it possible Berg was already dead or this may not even be Nick Berg in the video?


Finally, the blogger xymphora posted an interesting -- and entirely plausible -- summary of what may have happened to the hapless Nick Berg:

"Reading between the lines of the many conflicting reports of the beheading of Nicholas Berg, it appears that he had been in the control of the U. S. military before his death, possibly using the Iraqi police as a front. He then mysteriously ended up in the hands of fundamentalist Iraqi freedom fighters. It is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Pentagon arranged for him to be turned over to the freedom fighters in order that Berg's inevitable death could be used to divert attention from the George W. Bush Rape Rooms and give the knuckle-dragging Americans another reason to think of Iraqis as sub-human and thus deserving of torture, rape, and murder at the hands of the Penta-torturers."

I don't necessarily buy into the theory that the US military, military intelligence, or the Israelis, either on their own or in cahoots with the above, killed Nick Berg. But I cannot discount it either, especially considering the repeated and continuous lies of the Bush administration and the blood-spattered history of US intelligence, especially the CIA.

I'll end with another quote from Sam Hamod:

"We must also ask the question intelligence agencies use, 'Who would most benefit from this act?' In this case, if not Israel, then Bush and America to take the heat off of America for the brutality of the torture in Iraq and Guantanamo. This terrible act also took a lot of pressure off the U.S. Thus, it is also possible, since the killers were hooded, and thus we can't know who they were, that it could have been American counter-insurgency agents, CIA or mercenaries who did this heinous at a time when the glare of anger toward the U.S. was growing in the world. I don't know that this is true, but having worked in intelligence situations, I know it has been done in the past."

for more recent article by William Bunch check out 


The Nicholas Berg execution
A working hypothesis and a resolution for the orange jumpsuit mystery

15 Anomalies Surrounding Death Of Nick Berg

Berg met with shadi Iraqi
Nick Berg Was Arrested Twice At Oklahoma Unniversity
"How will it be done?"
Shades of Nick Berg
Berg and Abuse Cameras Were the Same?



Inconsistencies in the Timeline Edit

WM-----|--Video Clock-|--- Screen Shot
0:00 ---|--- nothing ------|--- Arabic letters
0:05 ---|--- 13:26:24 ---|--- Nick Berg speaking
0:09 ---|---- 2:18:33 ----|--- Nick Berg sitting
0:20 ---|---- 2:40:33 ----|--- Speach in Arabic
4:36 ---|---- 2:44:56 ----|--- Speaker pushes Berg over
4:38 ---|--- 13:45:48 ---|--- Decapitation begins
4:43 ---|--- 13:45:52 ---|--- Picture lost
4:44 ---|--- 13:45:59 ---|--- Picture returns, decapitation continues

2:42:11- Notice that #3 keeps moving his head from the pages to the camera very frequently and there is more page flipping where the voice does not take a pause.

13:46:19- #3 is finishing off the head while #2 is holding Nick's arm.It seems as if any motion of Nick's body are due to #'s 2&3 pulling on his body, not any resistance, which has been mercifully absent since this last filming segment started.

13:46:31- Head is being severely tilted back as what looks like the last cut in being made

13:47:48- ANOTHER TAPE GAP: This segment begins with #2 lifting up the head. How did it get transfered to him?


-By the time any cutting started on the neck, the body was lifeless.
-Nick was not killed directly after being pushed over; that was some 11 hours earlier
-The severed head did not look tormented.
-Between 13:26:24 (when Nick is last seen sitting in the chair in the very first clip) and 13:45:49 or so (when the cutting started in earnest, the body has become lifeless. How is unclear.
-Citing an 11-hour gap in the sequence is probably nonsense.
The video is shot with 2 video cameras with their internal timestamps set differently.

One of the men has a large silver watch with a large bulbous crystal on his left hand.
If you find that watch in any of the Abu Ghraib abuse pictures, you'll know who one of the murderers are.

The guy in the white hood is not the same as in the last frame:
He goes from holding Berg's body (at the back) to suddenly being the guy making the final cuts and holding up his head.

Extremely convenient "wag the dog" timing at the height of furor regarding U.S. torture of Iraqis

Berg's last known whereabouts was in U.S. custody

Berg shown in video wearing orange jumpsuit known to be of U.S. issue

Berg mysteriously captured by Al-Quaeda (still wearing jumpsuit). Either he escaped from U.S. captors or U.S. let him out -- with orange suit and all -- to be immediately apprehended by Al-Quaeda (before he had a chance to change)

Tape obviously spliced together and heavily edited. Goes from a) Berg sitting in chair talking about family, to b) Berg sitting on floor with hooded "militants" behind, to c) blurry camera movement, to d) almost motionless Berg on floor as head cut off.

Audio clearly dubbed in, but probably also CODEC problem

"Arab" reader flips through pages of "statement" and keeps ending up on the same page. Perhaps doesn't even known enough Arabic to recognize what page he's on?

Arabs" have lily-white hands and (other exposed) skin

"Arabs" have Western-style body posture and mannerisms

When Berg decapitated, there was almost no blood. If Berg were still alive at this point, with the cut starting at front of throat, blood would have been spraying everywhere. Berg's severed head, the floor, Berg's clothes, and even the hand of the "Arab" who decapitated Berg had no visible blood on it.

Berg's body didn't move while on the ground. Although held down, Berg would have tried to instinctively wiggle and writhe away from captor's grip.

Camera angle made it impossible to see if Berg's eyes were even open

Alleged "scream" from Berg sounded to be that of a woman and was clearly dubbed in

Berg goes to great trouble to identify himself, providing information about his family. Why? To elicit greater sympathy? Or to provide a positive ID. FBI visited Berg family in an attempt to "verify his identity". Guy in video looks very little like Berg photos provided by family

Nick Berg's Connection with the "20th hijacker" of 9/11, Zacarias Moussaoui, is yet not really explained

Fat, white fidgety terra'ists wearing tennis shoes, the leader of which:

a) is wearing the sort of large gold ring that is expressly forbidden in fundy Islamic communities, and

b) starts cutting the head, but is replaced (as the camera time signatures change) by someone wearing a white head covering when it's time to show off the head.

Video is out of synch soundtrack and jumping time signatures on the video production.

For the first time in recorded history, Arab terra'ists post a video of an atrocious murder on a website -- right in the middle of Bush Admin's most damaging national scandal -- a scandal driven completely by its own disgusting pictoral and video imagery.

Berg had been held in US custody (or in the Abu Ghraib prison?) for two weeks without charge or access to phones or legal help just days before he was last heard from. And the US now denies this, despite the family's insistence and overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Berg was an American Jew traveling alone in Iraq without a job. He reported that he was taking lots of picture around the suburb of Abu Ghraib. He also reportedly worked "on the tower" in Abu Ghraib

Ugly yellow paint, orange jumpsuits, and the white plastic "Walmart chair" -- appear in both the Berg video and the Abu Ghraib prison videos

Zaqawi rises from the dead, has a letter fall into coalition hands that just happens to confirm everything BushCo is dreaming about the Iraqi situation, grows another leg, loses his Jordanian accent, puts on a forbidden gold ring, reads from a long speech that he's written in a mysterious mobius fashion across both sides of a single sheet of paper, decides to give up his hobby as a poison expert to get down and dirty with a dull knife, and carefully hides his face while screaming, "Yoo hoo - Zarqawi here!"

CIA claims it has examined the video and concluded that the hooded figure is Zarqrawi, a high level al-Qaeda operative. However, anyone who has seen the video will attest to the fact that there is no way to identify anyone from it, including the victim. Second, according to an US military report in April -03, Zaqrawi was killed in the bombing of Falluja. CIA does not elaborate whether Zaqrawi has magically sprung back to life or whether the April report was wrong.

The US media claimed that Zaqrawi lost a leg in 2001. Now, it says that he did not lose his leg after all. This flip flop seems too coincidental as the purported figure in the video doesn-t appear handicapped. The US does not elaborate on which intelligence is wrong.

Even Colin Powell claimed that Zarqawi was fitted with a prosthetic leg in a Baghdad hospital

26) has Traced the Address Of 'Islamic Website' that Posted the Berg Decapitation video To London, England, NOT Iraq

The Chilean freelance journalist Hugo Infante ...stays at the $30-a-night Al Fanar Hotel, where Berg was staying, and regularly chatted and shared drinks with him. According to an own INN Research, there is also someone named Hugo Infante (Bogota, Columbia), but he works at the World Bank and sent some disturbing messages in 2002: "We do not have LEADERSHIP, and the concept of globally world is the now, but our leadership is weak because we NOW need Globally Leadership."

Berg's company Prometheus Towers has no records with the Pennsylvania Department of State

When told of the video by an Associated Press reporter, Berg's father, Michael, and his two siblings hugged and cried. They knew he had been decapitated, but didn't know the details of the killing

Nicholas Berg's father was listed in a freeper- "hate list" On March 7, 2004, an 'enemies' list of anti-war groups and individuals was posted on the Free Republic

Berg's body arrived Wednesday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. His parents had requested permission to be at the base when the coffin arrived, but that request was denied

The voice on the tape could not be verified as that of al-Zarqawi. CNN staff members familiar with al-Zarqawi's voice said the voice on the tape did not sound like him

The man on the far left in the video is standing at "Parade Rest" This seems further evidence the raises suspicions that these men were NOT Arab faction Terrorists! Parade Rest is also - and would be a REFLEX action - that is TRAINED into Military personnel and becomes a HABIT

We see the wedding ring on the left hand, the sinister hand, the hand that Islam reserves for toilet functions

We notice the voices in the background not sounding like Arabs, some dialects also linked to russian language, instead of Jordanian

Why is Zarquawi not showing his face, given the fact, that his face is worldwide known anyway?

Firearms experts have stated the AK-47 carried by one man was a "Gilal." This actually is an Israeli-made weapon that improves on the famous AK- 47. Feyadeen and other insurgents almost universally use AK-47s

The US military has stated that Berg was never in US custody and that he had been in custody of the Iraqi police. The Iraqi police adamantly deny he was ever in their custody. On April 1, an e-mail from Beth A. Payne, the U.S. consular officer in Iraq, was sent to the family of Nick Berg. It stated that Ms. Payne had located Nick

The Berg's filed a lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia on April 5. A day later, Nick Berg was released. He contacted his parents and told them that he was coming home. The following day he checked out of his hotel in Baghdad, and disappeared

Notice on one frame that Berg's head has been cut off at 13:47:49 (1:47) yet at 2:44 nearly "an hour later" he is sitting with his head intact

An NBC reporter stated: "...the CIA did it to take the heat off the Pentagon"--, but his remark wasn't picked up again (at Tom Brokaw, May 12th)

One article of Billings Gazette claims, when his body was found, it only mentions "signs of trauma" , instead of "headless". The article claims, the body was found Saturday In another report, it says, "a body found on Monday by US military patrol along a roadside over the weekend was identified as Berg's"

More odd, if the body was found on Monday (May 10th), or previously "over the weekend" (prior), how could the execution and video be taped on May 11th, as is reported? "The statement in the video was signed off with Zarqawi's name and dated 11 May" (Drudge and Aljazeerah).

Why did the story of Berg change about his OK-contact with Moussaoui? First it was 2001, then already 1999?

Michael Berg, told the AP that Michael's sister, now dead, married an Iraqi man named Mudafer, who became close to Nicholas. In one of the e-mails, Nicholas Berg described going to the northern city of Mosul, where he introduced himself to Mudafer's brother, identified as Moffak Mustaffa. Who is Mustaffa?

Berg has sensitive electronic equipment on his person that he has no paperwork for

Berg's hotel was full of peace protestors and next to CIA's "HQ", Baghdad Hotel. Was there not enough police surveillance, after he arrived?

Again, If Berg was in Iraqi custody, why did the FBI visit him three times, and in what ways did the U.S. authorities have operational control over his custody? Why do the Iraqi police, working with the U.S. government, insist they never held him?

Berg met with shady Iraqi Aziz Kadoory Aziz, also known as Aziz al-Taee

Berg Video: "Someone with U.S. military cap seen in frame"


As any surgeon will testify...





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