portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

imperialism & war

Contractor Nick Berg Beheaded in Iraq

"For the mothers and wives of American soldiers, we tell you that we offered the U.S. administration to exchange this hostage with some of the detainees in Abu Ghraib and they refused."
 http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=11&u=/ap/20040511/ap_on_re_mi_ea/egypt_iraq_american_beheaded

Video Seems to Show Beheading of American

By NIKO PRICE, Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt - A video posted Tuesday on an Islamic militant Web site showed the beheading of an American civilian in Iraq, and said the execution was carried out by an al-Qaida affiliated group to avenge the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers.

The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit similar to a prisoner's uniform who identified himself as Nick Berg, a U.S. contractor whose body was found on a highway overpass in Baghdad on Saturday.

"My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mother's name is Susan," the man said on the video. "I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in ... Philadelphia."

After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" "God is great." They then held the head out before the camera.

Berg's family said Tuesday they knew their son had been decapitated, but didn't know the details of the killing. When told of the video by an Associated Press reporter, Berg's father, Michael, and his two siblings hugged and cried.

"I knew he was decapitated before. That manner is preferable to a long and torturous death. But I didn't want it to become public," Michael Berg said.

On the Web site, one of the executioners read a statement:

"For the mothers and wives of American soldiers, we tell you that we offered the U.S. administration to exchange this hostage with some of the detainees in Abu Ghraib and they refused."

"So we tell you that the dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls. You will not receive anything from us but coffins after coffins ... slaughtered in this way."

The video bore the title "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shown slaughtering an American." It was unclear whether al-Zarqawi a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden was shown in the video, or was claiming responsibility for ordering the execution.

The Web site on which the video was posted is known as a clearing house for al-Qaida and Islamic extremist groups' statements and tapes. An audiotape purportedly from bin Laden which the CIA said was probably authentic appeared on the same Web site last week.

Western officials say al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmad Fadhil al-Khalayleh, is a lieutenant of bin Laden. The United States has offered $10 million for information leading to the capture or killing of al-Zarqawi, saying he is trying to build a network of foreign militants in Iraq to work for al-Qaida.

In the video, the speaker threatened both President Bush and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

"As for you Bush ... expect severe days. You and your soldiers will regret the day you stepped into the land of Iraq," he said. He described Musharraf as "a traitor agent."

The slaying recalled the kidnapping and videotaped beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 in Pakistan. Four Islamic militants have been convicted of kidnapping Pearl, but seven other suspects including those who allegedly slit his throat remain at large.

Suzanne Berg, the mother of the 26-year-old Berg, of West Chester, Pa., said her son was in Iraq as an independent businessman to help rebuild communication antennas. He had been missing since April 9, she said.

"He had this idea that he could help rebuild the infrastructure," she said.

The U.S. military Tuesday said an American civilian was found dead in Baghdad, but did not release his identity. State Department spokeswoman Susan Pittman said she couldn't release the name of the dead American, but said she not aware of more than one civilian found dead in recent days.

The military said there were signs of trauma to the body. Suzanne Berg said she was told her son's death was violent but did not want to discuss details.

Berg, who was in Baghdad from late December to Feb. 1, returned to Iraq in March. He didn't find any work and planned again to return home on March 30, but his daily communications home stopped on March 24. He later told his parents he was jailed by Iraqi officials at a checkpoint in Mosul.

"He was arrested and held without due process," his father, Michael Berg, told the Daily Local News of West Chester recently. "By the time he got out the whole area was inflamed with violence.

The FBI on March 31 interviewed Berg's parents in West Chester. Jerri Williams, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia FBI office, told The Philadelphia Inquirer the agency had been "asked to interview the parents regarding Mr. Berg's purpose in Iraq."

On April 5, the Bergs filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia, contending that their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military. The next day Berg was released. He told his parents he hadn't been mistreated.

The Bergs last heard from their son April 9, when he said he would come home by way of Jordan, Turkey or Kuwait. But by then, hostilities in Iraq had escalated.

Suzanne Berg on Tuesday said she was told her son's body would be transported to Kuwait and then to Dover, Del. She said the family had been trying for weeks to learn where their son was but that federal officials had not been helpful.

"I went through this with them for weeks," she said. "I basically ended up doing most of the investigating myself."

Nothing like a beheading to distract the unwashed masses 11.May.2004 12:52

repost

Really, a beheading is about as far south as you can go . . . even beyond Micheal Jackson being arrested over and over. What are they hiding right now? This beheading happened weeks ago, so why release it now?

Sometimes things are not as they seem... 11.May.2004 13:11

Tony Blair's dog


amazing 11.May.2004 13:40

tt01

some of you are amazing. you think everything is a distraction. tell me, please what exactly is THE issue i should be paying attention to above all else at this moment? is there only one? it is voiced by a few over and over that this or that is a distraction. well guess what? i have the ability to focus on more than one thing at a time. you relate the beheading of a man to michael jackson. really... get a goddamn clue. and tell me what the fuck exactly you think is the only thing i should care about. "far south"? that is sick and pathetic. have you no compassion...even for your enemies...who seem to be your countrymen?

not my countrymen 11.May.2004 15:00

0tt1

It would seem that "your" countrymen (ie, US soilders in Iraq) have no respect for the lives and dignity of other humans. So this beheading comes as no surprise, as grusome as it is. What did you expect, hugs and kisses?

There are Many Important Issues, tt01... 11.May.2004 15:04

Tar/Feather

...but if I had to pick one to recommend that you focus on, it would have to be the selling of you freedom. The people that have gained power in our country, especially the ones that shrink-wrap themselves in the flag for camaflouge, are traitors to democracy, traitors to the republic, traitors to the constitution, and worldwide terrorists and enemies of humanity.

They have only contempt for anyone that does not control billions of dollars of resources, and they would kill you in the blink of an eye if it suited their needs. So, unless you are a billionare who hates freedom, consider setting aside your differences for the moment, and lend a hand in ousting these pirates. There are lots of ways that you can help. This site should give you some ideas.

I feel bad for his family... 11.May.2004 15:14

abc

Sounds like the U.S. screwed him over in Iraq:

--------------------------------------------------
Berg family angry with American government over son's brutal death

By Jason Straziuso
Of The Associated Press

May 11, 2004, 2:34 PM EDT

WEST CHESTER, Pa. | -- The family of an American civilian shown beheaded on an Islamic militant Web site huddled in in tears Tuesday after learning of the existence of the graphic videotape.

The video showed Nick Berg, 26, in a staged execution carried out by an al-Qaida affiliated group. The video said the killing was to avenge the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers.

"My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mother's name is Suzanne," the man said on the video before being killed. "I have a brother and sister, David and Sara. I live in ... Philadelphia."

Berg's family said U.S. State Department officials on Monday had told them Berg was decapitated. The family, though, had wanted that information to remain private.

When told about news of the Web site Nick Berg's father, brother and sister, collapsed to the ground in a tearful hug in their front yard.

"I knew he was decapitated before," said the father, Michael Berg. "That manner is preferable to a long and torturous death. But I didn't want it to become public."

Michael Berg lashed out at the U.S. military and Bush administration, saying his son might still be alive had he not been detained by U.S. officials in Iraq without being charged and without access to a lawyer.

Nick Berg, a small telecommunications business owner, spoke to his parents on March 24 and told them he would return home on March 30. But Berg was detained by Iraqi police at a checkpoint in Mosul on March 24. He was turned over to U.S. officials and detained for 13 days.

His father, Michael, said his son wasn't allowed to make phone calls or contact a lawyer.

FBI agents visited Berg's parents in West Chester on March 31 and told the family they were trying to confirm their son's identity. On April 5, the Bergs filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia, contending that their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military. The next day Berg was released. He told his parents he hadn't been mistreated.

Michael Berg said he blamed the U.S. government for creating circumstances that led to his son's death. He said if his son hadn't been detained for so long, he might have been able to leave the country before the violence worsened.

"I think a lot of people are fed up with the lack of civil rights this thing has caused," he said. "I don't think this administration is committed to democracy."

The Bergs last heard from their son April 9, when he said he would come home by way of Jordan.

Berg had traveled several times to Third World countries to help spread technology, his family said. He had previously traveled to Kenya and Ghana, where they said he had purchased a $900 brick-making press for a poor village, the family said.

Berg's mother, Suzanne Berg, said her son was in Iraq to help rebuild communication antennas.

"He had this idea that he could help rebuild the infrastructure," she said.

Michael Berg described himself as fervently anti-war, but said his son disagreed with him.

"He was a Bush supporter," Berg said. "He looked at it as bringing democracy to a country that didn't have it."

Suzanne Berg said she was told her son's body would be transported to Kuwait and then to Dover, Del. She said the family had been trying for weeks to learn where their son was but that federal officials had not been helpful.

"I went through this with them for weeks," she said. "I basically ended up doing most of the investigating myself."

 http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/all-islamicsite-side-051104,0,7401208.story?coll=ny-homepage-big-pix

WTF? 11.May.2004 16:01

reader

"Nick Berg, a small telecommunications business owner"

So why was this prim and proper business owner being detained for 13 days until his PARENTS came to his rescue???

The proximity of his arrest, detention, release, capture, and beheading suggests there is something strange going on here.

Doubtful the real story is anything like what we're being told.

distraction 11.May.2004 19:24

huh?

"i have the ability to focus on more than one thing at a time."

Me, too. Unfortunately, the media doesn't, and they don't think most Americans do either. Just because it doesn't work on you or me doesn't mean it isn't working on too many people. You know, the ones that still think WMDs were found, because of all the media headfakes, those people.

Anything to with Fallujah or Najaf, the 9/11 investigation, or what the rats in D.C. are doing with our tax dollars now, or how Michael Moore is getting along with Disney, etc. etc., hid behind this story, and in America, half of the abuse story is hiding behind other stories. If you want a substantial quote of what Kuwait said about it, try Australia. It's been such a week for distraction, Yahoo! new front page wasn't even forced to make news out of what happened on Survivor this week (although they did hit the American Idol losers again the other day).

Remember when we were checking Saddam for head lice? That story crowded Patriot Act Part II right off the page. If something isn't launched as distraction, it's opportunistically used as distraction. Distraction, pure and simple.

Saudi Arabia is the next ghetto 11.May.2004 20:48

Pravda or Consequences

Your homeboys will be named Ali Muhammad(footnote 1).

 http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/BB6CD44E-946B-48D8-A2A5-DCA48E21B0BF.htm

Ayat Allah Ali Muhammad al-Sistani was born in 1930 near the city of Mashad, a Shia holy place in north-east Iran.

He is one of only five living Grand Ayat Allahs, and the most senior Shia cleric in Iraq today.

newsworthy 12.May.2004 09:24

tt01

whatever. those that responded to my comments do not understand them. i agree with you that the media takes advantage of certain incidents to push other, arguably more important ones, out of the limelight. but listen, the media put those same issues, that some argue are more important, on the front page in the first place. so your entire argument is just backwards.

>So this beheading comes as no surprise, as grusome as it is. What did you expect, hugs and kisses?

i never said i was surprised. and this guy wasnt a soldier. what is your point?

>but if I had to pick one to recommend that you focus on, it would have to be the selling of you[r] freedom.

oh, yeah? i was not aware that i had sold, am selling or will be selling that any time soon. they may be trying to censor my news, get me to believe their lies regularly, and feed me full of crap, but they wont be BUYING that from me any time soon. you assume way too much. way too much.

in any case i was simply pointing out the lack of compassion by those who say "who cares" or somehting similar, "there are more important issues, this is a distraction." no one argued against that point.

and guess what? people in the middle east weren't cutting the heads off of americans 10 years ago. they are now. this is news in my book.
(spare me the responses of why it happened now - they are quite obvious to me)


remember Daniel Pearl and ISI / CIA 12.May.2004 11:44

.

WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl made his last phone call from a Pakistani ISI office, and he was investigating ISI/CIA links and 911-the CIA/FBI have close links to the ISI.

Sy Hersh documented how the US let thousands of ISI/Taleban people fly out of besieged Kunduz to Pakistan in Dec, 2001.

Suspicious how both were in contact or custody of CIA related law enforcement before meeting their dismal fates.

see:


Berg's Family Firm Was on FREEPER "Enemies" List 12.May.2004 11:54

bfn

Beheaded Man's Firm Was On Right-Wing FREEPER 'Enemies' List

12 May 2004
Beheaded Man's Firm Was On Right-Wing 'Enemies' List

The family firm of beheaded American Nick Berg, was named by a conservative website in a list of 'enemies' of the Iraq occupation. That could explain his arrest by Iraqi police --a detention which fatally delayed his planned return from Iraq and may have led directly to his death.

Nick Berg, 26 disappeared into incommunicado detention after his arrest by Iraqi police in March, 2004. He vanished again after his release 13 days later. His body was found last Saturday in Baghdad, and a video of his beheading --supposedly by a radical Islamic group-- was posted on the Internet on Tuesday.

The official story of his gruesome murder has many dubious aspects, not least the real reason why Iraqi police detained the young man at a checkpoint. New research by BreakForNews has uncovered a plausible explanation.


The FreeRepublic.com web site and forum has a reputation for right-wing views, often fanatical Republican and relentless pro-war activism.

On 7th March, 2004, just three weeks before the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, an 'enemies' list of anti-war groups and individuals was posted on the Free Republic forum.

It began: "Here you are, FReepers. Here is the enemy."

The list had been copied from publicly available endorsements of a call to action for an imminent anniversary antiwar protest on 20th March, 2004. The protest was being organized under the banner of the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism).

Among those listed as having endorsed the call to action was this entry: "Michael S. Berg, Teacher, Prometheus Methods Tower Service, Inc."

That's Nick Berg's father, Michael who acts as business manager for his son in their family radio communications firm, Prometheus Methods Tower Service.

Both father and son cared deeply about Iraq. But they were on opposite sides of opinion  http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/sports/horse_racing/kentucky_derby/8638882.htm on the occupation --though you would never know that from reading the New York Times.  http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/12/national/12berg.html?ex=1084939200&en=b9ec546772afcab3&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE


newsworthy 12.May.2004 12:18

tt01

thanks for posting all the links - as if i've forgotten the conspiracy and horror coming from both sides. i get the distinct impression you are pointing out american complicity around the globe in supression of culture and autonomous government. and you are quite right. i will quote a character from tolkien: "Side? I am on no one's side. Because no one is on mine." figure it out for yourself. a start would be the ability to admit that atrocities are committed on BOTH sides in ALL violent actions and war. always and forever. yes, one side may have the moral imperative, be it self-defense or whatever. that was never my point. not that anyone is listening. if you cannot agree that the murder of berg was horrible and brutal perhaps you should go join those that perpetrated the crime. i stand in solidarity with the people of iraq against the invading and occupying forces of my country that are attempting to expropriate thier natural resoruces and destroy their social ones. this does not mean that under any circumstances can i condone the actions of those who did what they did - and if it was some imposters and a western conspiracy, so much the more. if you cannot understand this then just drop it cause you are making no sense posting links that show american crimes - of which there are plenty. you dont fight fire with fire. rage is absolutely understandable on the part of iraqis. i have never ever suggested that the iraqis are not totally justified in their fight against the americans. i simply find this, and every death, a tragedy. i feel sorry for you if you need to argue with me on this point.