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U.S. Occupation Authority Says Berg Was Arrested By Iraqi Police, Who Deny Detention

there is a story recounted by an "unidentified foreign reporter" - and alternately by "Berg's friends" - that Berg was arrested in Mosul by Iraqi police.

a slightly modified version of the story goes that Berg was held only *briefly* by Iraqi police, and then turned over almost immediately to the U.S. military where he spent his detention. [U.S. occupation authorities will not comment on this version . . . ]

Dan Senor, spokesman for the occupation authority, claims that Berg was held exclusively by Iraqi police - not at all by the U.S. military or coalition - and also flatly contradicts and denies the claims of Berg's family that U.S. consular officials told them Nick Berg was in U.S. military custody (not being held by Iraqi police).

In the version recounted by "unidentified foreign reporter", Nick Berg 'jokingly' tells him:

"You wanna hear something funny? I got arrested in Mosul when the police asked me for I.D. I showed them my U.S. passport with the Jewish name and the Israeli stamp and I guess they figured I was a spy."

ha, ha, ha . . .
ONE VERSION of the story:
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 http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/CalgarySun/News/2004/05/14/459132.html

BAGHDAD -- An American who was beheaded by militants told friends he was arrested by Iraqi police in Mosul because he had an Israeli stamp in his passport. An Iraqi police chief said yesterday, however, Nicholas Berg had never been arrested by Iraqi authorities in Mosul and the man's family disclosed e-mails it said proved he had been in U.S. military custody despite official denials.

Also, a friend who saw Berg the night before he disappeared said the 26-year-old planned to leave Iraq by way of Turkey.

In Mosul, Iraqi police chief Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Khair al-Barhawi insisted his department had never arrested Berg and said he had no knowledge of the case.

"The Iraqi police never arrested the slain American," al-Barhawi said.

. . .

But questions about Berg's stay in Iraq persist, including the time and place of his abduction.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have offered varying accounts of their contacts with the self-employed telecommunications businessman from West Chester, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.

U.S. officials said Wednesday that Iraqi police arrested Berg in Mosul on March 24 because they believed he may have been involved in "suspicious activities."

U.S. spokesman Dan Senor would not explain, but insisted Berg was held by Iraqi -- and not U.S. -- authorities.

He said the FBI visited Berg three times before he was released April 6.

However, Berg's family yesterday revealed an e-mail from a U.S. consular official in Iraq, dated April 1, that said he was being detained by the U.S. military.
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ANOTHER VERSION of the story:
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 http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=510918&section=news

While the circumstances of Berg's detention remain obscure, his friends recall the episode and his account of it as an incident which showed Berg's ability to brush up against danger and emerge unfazed, until his death.

"He was not even pissed off," said a foreign reporter who ran into Berg upon his return from Baghdad after being released. "He said it was an adventure. He was like, this sort of thing happens."

"He told me, 'You wanna hear something funny? I got arrested in Mosul when the police asked me for I.D. I showed them my U.S. passport with the Jewish name and the Israeli stamp and I guess they figured I was a spy," said the reporter, who asked not to be identified.

The reporter said Berg told him he had been in Iraqi police custody only briefly, spending most of his detention with the U.S. military and representatives of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the occupation's civilian administration.

CPA and military officials declined to comment immediately on that claim.