Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Berg again

A fellow named Nick Possum, previously unknown to me, offers an analysis of the Berg video.

Possum solves the orange jumpsuit mystery with this scenario: The first part of the video shows Berg during his first period of captivity by the "Iraqi police" (i.e., the Americans). On this occasion, Berg delivers identifying information about his parents while being videotaped. Berg is released, spends a few days in a hotel in Baghdad, and then -- something happens on the way to the airport. He is killed, perhaps accidentally. Recognizing the propaganda implications, the Americans take the body into prison, dress it in an orange jumpsuit, and cut off the head of the corpse while tape rolls. The jumpsuit was necessary to match the previous footage.

Possum has put some thought into his theory, but I see problems.

1. Berg was initially captured in Mosul, quite some ways away from Baghdad. Published reports -- which may not be accurate -- say that Berg traveled from Mosul to Baghdad after his release. We have yet to hear from Michael Berg as to whether his son called him on April 6 from Mosul or another city. If from Mosul, then Possum asks us to believe one of two scenarios: 1. Berg's corpse was shipped from Baghdad to Mosul for the second part of the shoot (unlikely; rigor would set in), or 2. The execution portion of the video was carefully rigged to look just like the previous scenes -- wall color, chair color, floor color, costumes for the bad guys, etc.

2. Possum suggests that the first part of the video shows "routine investigative documentation by CIA and/or FBI interrogators." Hardly! The video shows men in hoods, speaking in Arabic. Not routine at all. Possum believes that Berg was "already dead" in the shot in which he sits upright while the lengthy message is read. Impossible: He is clearly moving, blinking, and so forth.

A careful analysis cited by Possum concurs with my assessment: "Nick is definitely alive and conscious though-out this section."

If the video is in fact a staged event, then we are left with two options:

1. The video was, as is commonly believed, shot after Berg's re-capture on April 10.

2. The video was shot during the period of his incarceration; Nick Berg knowingly participated in a faked death.

The second option will strike most people as incredible -- so much so, that I hesitate even to list it as a possibility. Some may feel, however, that the second theory helps to explain Berg's odd behavior (not contacting his parents; refusing official aid in leaving Iraq) between his release on April 6 and his recapture on April 10.

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