Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Berg Conspiracy Theories

from the Philadelphia Daily News (registration is required to read it, so I'm reposting the entire article here).

By William Bunch

The strange life and brutal death of Nick Berg, the 26-year-old radio-tower repair whiz from West Chester, has prompted a din of Internet conspiracy chatter. Without endorsing anything, here’s a guide:

Theory: Video was fake
What they’re saying: If Berg was beheaded on live video, as purported, why wasn’t there more blood splattered on the camera and on his killers? Was he already dead? Why doesn’t the audio portion match up with the video? What about strange jumps in the date stamp, and evidenc e that more than one camer a had been used?

How come the masked men, chubb y and pale-skinned and possibly wearing bulletproof vests, don’t look like Arab terrorists? And why was Berg sitting in the same style white plastic chair seen in photos of the Abu Ghraib prison?

Theory: CIA claim that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the killer is bogus
What they’re saying: Why did both CNN translators and CIA sources quoted shortly after Berg’s slaying insist that the alleged lieutenant of Osama bin Laden was NOT the killer.

Supposedly al-Zarqawi has a prosthetic leg, yet there’s no sign of that. Also, al-Zarqawi is Jordanian, but fluent Arabic speakers say the speaker doesn’t have a Jordanian accent. The killer appeared to be wearing a gold ring, supposedly prohibited in Islam.

Why does it sound like the killers are shouting in Russian at one point ? There have even been some credible news accounts that al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. bombing raid a long time ago. If he wanted the world to know that he killed Berg, why did he cover his face in a mask?

Theory: Nick Berg wasn’t really who people think he was
What they’re saying: Why would Berg abandon an Ivy League education and turn up in Oklahoma, where his e-mail password ended up with a terrorism suspect linked to 9/11 figure Zacarias Moussaoui? Why did he hang with other suspicious characters, including a U.S.-backed Iraqi ex-pat with a criminal past that included a Russian-emigre crime ring?

Why did Berg reportedly travel to Iraq with an Israeli stamp in his passport and brag to a U.S. journalist of his visits to Israel? Why did he admittedly carry literature in Farsi, the language of neighboring Iran? U.S. officials also say that Berg, who is Jewish, had the Koran and what they have described as “anti- Semitic” literature.

Who financ ed Berg’s travels? Why was he climbing radio towers in sensitiv e areas, including near the Abu Ghraib prison? How likely is it that a Jewish kid from the Philly suburbs would have an uncle by marriage living in Mosul?

Why did the last people to see Berg alive in a Baghdad hotel report downing beers with him, when friends at home insist he didn’t drink?

Theory: Berg’s death is somehow linked to his dad’s anti-war activities
Why was Michael Berg's membership in the anti-war group ANSWER posted on an “enemies” list on the conservative Web site freerepublic .org, and who saw it?

Is there any link between Nick Berg’s firm, Prometheus Methods Tower Servic e, and the Philadelphia-based Prometheus Radio Project, a liberal low-power FM-radio group whose founder also is involved with ANSWER ?

Where to read more



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