Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Puzzles of the Berg videotape answered

The thesis that the Nicholas Berg execution video is a composite made up of two parts - one part being a routine interrogation when Berg had previously been in American custody, and the other part being a faked beheading of the already dead Berg - explains two of the biggest mysteries about the death:

  1. Why did the Pentagon lie in saying that Berg was never in American custody?; and

  2. Why did the video contain odd incongruous statements by Berg identifying his father and mother?

Why wouldn't the Pentagon have simply confirmed what Berg's family already had official notice of? It could have stated that Berg had been in American custody, but was released before he fell into the hands of the bad guys. Why lie about it? The Pentagon lied because it did not want anyone to know about the prior interrogation by American officials and the fact that it was videotaped. Many people must know about standard procedure, which probably consists in the taking of such a videotaped statement, with the prisoner wearing a standard-issue orange jumpsuit, sitting on a standard-issue prison plastic chair (someone should ask Andreas Shafer about his experiences). Anyone who knew that Berg had been in American custody would be able to put two and two together. In other words, the Pentagon lied, not because it was concerned about the fact that Berg had been in American custody, but because it didn't want someone who knew that there would have been a videotaped interrogation to reconsider the nature of the obviously heavily edited decapitation video (the video was edited with extremely sophisticated techniques to make it look completely amateur, with degradation of image quality used to hide the editing). The odd statements by Berg identifying his father and mother are even more interesting. Why would Berg even think to raise the names of his father and mother to a bunch of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in Iraq? What would they care about the names of his father and mother? However, there are people who would care. Nick Berg's father's name was on a enemies list published by the Free Republic. Military interrogators are apt to be aware of that site, and it is not inconceivable that Berg was picked up due to the fact that his father's name was on that site. It would have been normal for an interrogator who knew about Berg's family background to begin by confirming the names of Berg's suspicious parents. That particular snippet then made it into the final composite video, possibly as part of a message to those who might question the wisdom of King Bush. Berg may not have been intentionally killed, but his dead body, together with a pre-existing interrogation videotape, made an excellent video distraction from the stories of torture and murder, and has even been used to argue that continued discussion of the torture issue is unpatriotic as it puts the lives of Americans in Iraq at risk. The American knuckledraggers see the video as confirmation that the 'sand niggers' are subhuman, thus confirming the righteousness of murdering them in large quantities. It has been an extremely useful piece of propaganda, and is almost certainly a fabrication of the Pentagon or the CIA.