Sunday, May 30, 2004

The cutting room floor

Nicholas Berg sure got around. Now it turns out he was filmed as part of an interview for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, but this footage didn't appear in the final movie (he was - forgive me - left on the cutting room floor). How was it that this supposedly unknown freelance radio-tower technician/adventurer found himself being interviewed for a possible part in an important film by the most famous documentary maker in the world? Or, as William Brunch asks:

"So, how would a completely unknown young wannabe contractor like Berg come to the attention of Moore, whose anti-President Bush screed 'Dude, Where's My Country?' was the best-selling book in the nation at the time?"

Apparently Moore's people attended a conference on business possibilities in occupied Iraq looking for interviews with those prepared to take advantage of the situation (the two slightly different Associated Press stories are: 1) here or here or here, and 2) here or here). These are the kind of people that Moore likes to feature in his films as they are apt to say telling things about the real state of the world. This was the same conference where Berg met Aziz al-Taee, his eventual business partner in Iraq. Two possibilities come to mind:

  1. Berg was working for somebody who wanted him to watch a certain kind of person, which would include both Aziz al-Taee and Michael Moore (and Moussaoui's friend). It was widely known that Moore was working on an anti-Bush film, and not surprising that somebody would want to keep an eye on what Moore was doing. Berg's real job may have been to introduce himself to people like Moore to spy on them.

  2. Berg managed to have himself hired as a freelance investigator for Moore, saw something he shouldn't have at Abu Ghraib prison, and was detained and eventually killed because of what he saw.

Berg seemed to live quite a life of adventure with very marginal means of support. You have to wonder whether he had a secret sponsor. His propensity for 'running into' certain people is beginning to look like a pattern.