Opinion » Columnists

Could N. Berg's execution be fake?

Given the incomprehensible jungle of information, the very first question, when viewing this video of an American civilian, N. Berg’s execution, should be whether it is even true?   
There appear to be a few problems with it, casting doubt on its authenticity.  If these questions aren’t answered, one should be wary of the entire matter and be advised not to give in to the patriotic blindness brought on by the emotional charge this video packs.   

Consider these inconsistencies with the video before making up your mind: 

1) CIA claims it has examined the video and concluded that the hooded figure is Zaqrawi, a high level al-Qaeda operative.  However, anyone who has seen the video will attest to the fact that there is no way to identify anyone from it, including the victim.  Second, according to an US military report in April ’03, Zaqrawi was killed in the bombing of Falluja.  CIA does not elaborate whether Zaqrawi has magically sprung back to life or whether the April report was wrong. 

2) The US media claimed that Zaqrawi lost a leg in 2001.  Now, it says that he did not lose his leg after all.  This flip flop seems too coincidental as the purported figure in the video doesn’t appear handicapped.  The US does not elaborate on which intelligence is wrong. 

3) The US media says the audio says that N. Berg was executed in retaliation to the US prison abuse.  The reaction of the media was far too quick.  It moved straight to using it in making a comparison between prison “humiliation” and a “beastly killing” saying to the shocked public “Look, we only humiliated them in the prison and look at what the animals do to us.”  It was quick to point out that what the terrorists do to Americans is far worse than what the US is doing to the Iraqis.   

There are several problems with this.  First, there have been numerous reported deaths in the US prisons caused by severe beatings so comparing “humiliation” to a death is the wrong comparison.  Second, the tortures and abuses have gone on for over a year.  If al-Qaeda were in the business of avenging prison abuse, it would have already done it and probably on several occasions.  Otherwise, it means that al-Qaeda gets their information from CNN or that it just happened to be a coincidence matching Abu Ghraib prison pictures with this video.  It’s very unlikely that al-Qaeda would and could engage in this synchronized US media play.   The timing of the video release and the media attempts to whip up an anti-Islamic frenzy suggests a media ruse timed perfectly to deflect the mounting outrage and condemnation of the US military. 

4) The voice on the video says that an offer was made to the US military to exchange N. Berg for “some of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib”.  The US has not commented on this. 

5) The Bergs claim their son was detained by the US and are blaming their son’s death on the US military but the US says that N. Berg was never detained and instead was offered a free plane ride from Iraq.  It does, however, seem that in order to offer a plane ticket, the US military must have had some dealing with N. Berg.  In any case, N. Berg disappeared when in US custody. 

6) The victim in the video is wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, the kind seen in pictures of Guantanamo inmates.  It’s hard to believe that al-Qaeda terrorists would be supplying their victims a regulation outfit.  None of the recently kidnapped hostages in Iraq (Japanese and Italian) wore any uniform outfits whatsoever. 

7) [WARNING: Reader’s discretion advised] A human head contains 1.5 gallons of blood yet the freshly decapitated head shown in the video is leaking none.  Neck artery would squirt a foot long geyser of blood.  There is no evidence of that either.  Only one answer lends itself here: the video was doctored.  Either a portion was clipped out or the beheading never took place as shown, with the possibility of the victim being already dead. 

8) The victim never resisted the killing.  Even when on the ground, only one person sufficed to completely subdue N. Berg.  

This article aims at proving or alleging nothing.  The point is to provoke doubt and hopefully stave off a few readers from becoming an easy emotional target and a news puppet.   

Pater Havlasa

Special for PRAVDA.RU

 

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