At Least 50 Anomalies In Berg Videotape - Report
LONDON ( - The videotape showing the execution of Nicholas Berg in Iraq has at least 50 anomalies, video experts and computer analysts unveiled.
The Times reported this week the analysts' suspicions that Berg could have been working for the American intelligence services or that the U.S. forces might have faked the video to cover up Berg's death.
"Take, for example, the suspiciously white that appears shortly after frame 9,306 of the beheading video. It appears to belong to a captor wearing an American cap," said the British paper Sunday, May 23.
"This is one of at least 50 anomalies now being pored over by an assortment of video experts, computer analysts and ghoulish internet surfers," it added.
A video put on a website reportedly linked to al-Qaeda shows the beheading of Berg with his executioners saying it came in revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops.
Berg arrived in Iraq for the first time in December 2003. In mid March, he was held by the U.S. military in the northern city of Mosul for no apparent reason, prompting his father to file a lawsuit in a federal court in Philadelphia.
He was released by the Americans on April 6 and disappeared since April 9 in unknown circumstances, the daily said.
Guantanamo Chair
The Times said questions have been raised about the orange jumpsuit worn by Berg, "which appears similar to those worn by prisoners at Guantanamo". A reference to the notorious military camp, where the U.S. was accused of committing human rights violations.
In the video tape, Berg appeared "sitting on a white chair similar to the one shown in an image from Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad".
The prison was the scene of numerous scenes of death due to torture and abuse as shown in photos splashed by American media outlets.
But, the paper admitted, "no credible evidence has yet been advanced to the outlandish but inevitable suggestion among conspiracy theorists that the U.S. forces might have faked a video to cover up Berg's death".
The Times underlined that more problematic is the American government's claims that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whom the CIA announced that it believed he is the man who read the statement before beheading Berg.
"The CIA's insistence that al-Zarqawi was responsible appears based on the scantiest of evidence," said The Times.
"Al-Zarqawi is known to have lost one leg, yet there is now sign on the video of either a prosthesis or any awkward movement."
"Sound experts have speculated that the voice believed to be of al-Zarqawi's might have been dubbed on."
Intelligence Services
The British newspaper said Berg's alleged past links to an al-Qaeda cell have raised questions in some quarters as to whether he might have been working for the intelligence services.
It referred to a curious connection provided by Berg's family.
The FBI discovered that Zacarias Massoui, a French Moroccan who was awaiting trial on charges that he would have been one of the September 11 attacks, used Berg's university's e-mail password.
The Times said: "When Berg was arrested at a roadblock in Mosul, northern Iraq, last March, his Moussaoui connection provoked further scrutiny of the password incident".
The paper said that he was interrogated three times by the FBI in Mosul before being eventually released.
A senior Justice Department official admitted it is "unsettling it seemed that a civilian randomly executed by al-Qaeda should himself have been investigated for al-Qaeda links".
However, he insisted, American officials have no doubt that it was a "total coincidence".
Plot Thickening
The plot seemed to thicken when Michael Berg's grief at his son's murder turned to rage against the U.S. administration.
Berg had charged that his son's detention in Mosul had been unlawful, and "had immersed my son in a world of escalated violence were it not for his detention (he) would have (been) in my arms again".
On May 19, the father sent a letter to The Stop The War Coalition in London, saying that U.S. President George W. Bush's "ineffective" leadership is a "weapon of mass destruction".
"We are fed up with the lies from our government about Nick's detention," the father said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to
"The improbable sequence of events provoked intense scrutiny of both the U.S. government's treatment of Berg and the video that shows his death," said the Times.
More Anomalies
The arrest last week of four Iraqis suspected of involvement in the revenge killing of the 26-year-old civilian adventurer had added to the confusion, the paper said.
The paper also said that there are numerous discrepancies in the times stamped on the video frames.
"While some of the anomalies appear easily explained by the obvious splicing and editing of the tape, others have excited intense debate."
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