Talk:Nicholas Berg

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Arab media reaction

There's been a lot of comment in the Arab media about this event, much of it focusing on how it (a) distracts from Abu Ghraib (b) makes Muslims look like butchers not victims [1]

Some of the commentary has been religious in nature: Islam Online, based in Doha, Qatar, reported that the Islamic militant group Hezbollah had condemned the beheading as "an ugly crime that flouted the tenets of Islam"."

Tehran also had nothing good to say about it, that may reflect a Shia view that legitimate authority must be involved in condemning anyone in custody to death. Not that Hezbollah is any kind of moral arbiter, but, it may be useful to provide a scorecard of who is condemning what, as there are real differences in doctrine and attitudes. Increasingly it looks like ordinary politics with factional and sectarian differences showing, just as they do in democracies. It is going too far to say this is a good sign, but, just as Arab web resources would be well advised to differentiate US Republican from US Democrat from US Green from UK Labour views, SourceWatch might be well advised to provide some very basic definitions of the sects and ideologies followed by these militants.

Or not. It's just an idea. Generic terms like 'Islamic militant' probably hide more than they reveal. Islam as a political movement is pretty diverse and includes the ruling party of Turkey, many other democratic parties. Many commentators like Olivier Roy seem to think militants only use religion for recruiting and justification, and brutal body-part-waving exercises seem to back that view. It sure doesn't look like anybody's idea of religion, though, it might be some sad peoples' idea of entertainment.

This article was reorganized and categorized due to its length. Suggest creating a topical article that would discuss precisely what you have stated, perhaps discussing the term Islamic militant from the non-Western perspective, then including the specific references to Nicholas Berg or other incidents such as September 11, 2001, etc. There is no room available in this article for additional information without deleting what is already there, which will, of course, happen should better information or links surface.


All true. It's a complex subject with much room for controversy. Consider for instance that on Wikipedia there is a constant ideological pull to redefine an "Islamist" as being something that is defined by US and Israeli analysts called "Islamism". This term however was invented by English-speaking analysts and no self-proclaimed Islamist would use it. They see Islam, itself, as an inherently political movement that carries with it certain obligations that might include charitable giving, social work, credit or humanitarian relief, or armed struggle. A group like Hamas actually has branches doing all these things.
It's difficult to characterize militant Islam as a single political movement because it's really many such movements, thus there is even less to say about the "Islamic militant" in general. For instance, is someone who agrees with their cleric's negative assessment of invading U.S. forces and fires at them really such a "militant" or "insurgent"? Or are they ordinary people defending their homes from what they see as occupation and maybe colonization? Much depends on whether one is to accept the government recognized abroad as being "legitimate" or not, as we usually define "militant" in terms of willingness to take up arms against these so-called "legitimate" governments. But if that government is not elected (it is only Yasser Arafat and Presidents of Egypt, of all Mideast Arab politicians, who ever stand for any kind of election, and there are problems with those elections too) what's "legitimate"?
There is also no one "Western" perspective on this. Olivier Roy for instance doesn't agree with Samuel Huntington doesn't agree with David Frum.

--- I have relocated comments from JustNews/Banana Democrats that were pasted on the article page minus the abusive comments -- bob.

WARNING: This article contains some of the most ridiculous, irresponsible, insensitive nonsense yet posted on SourceWatch. The article claims the voice on the tape was dubbed because somebody decided it sounded like a woman's voice. Of course, the person making this absurd claim (without benifit of audio analysis) has no idea how a person screems feebly when they are being forced to the floor and attacked with a knife. Then the pathetic liar who wrote the article goes on to complain that the video didn't actually show the knive crossing Berg's throat. And the abusive hatemonger has the gall to tell Berg's parents the last image of their son they ever saw was not actually their son, and that the body they buried was not actually their son.

Much of what has been said about the Nick Berg conspiracy is untrue. The times of the video cameras are time since beginning filming, not actual time of day, so the eleven hour difference is incorrect. There are two cameras here. Most of the world exists on 24 hr time,its not 'military' time. Most video cameras will be set to 24 hr time by default. The white chairs, can be found world wide. From what I saw there WAS a struggle. Its a stomach reflex, as one who is bound arms and foot and held down, pulls their head down and knees up, the only muscles available are the stomach. On close observation Nick Berg does this. The audio correlates to the splicings, about 1 minute 7 sec lost overall, but the audio has about a seven second start on the beheading. I think when the job was not being done effectively there are moments of silence, anyway, the audio being made from only one camera makes perfect sense that with the splicings, the audio would be ahead of the actual final video. The knife wielder changes from black ski mask to white headress, but there is a 1 minute 10 sec splice there. Its possible they changed positions in that duration. I believe the job was not being done well at the neck bone and the other guy stepped in. As far as it being at Abu Graib, the floors of the prison are concrete, here they are red. Yellow paint would be common almost anywhere in the Mid-east.

That said, there are big problems with the video. Most of it is about who really did it. I will agree that lack of blood spatter is an issue. The costumes are almost ridiculous, as well the constant fidgiting with the headresses. They do not look mid-eastern at all and three are stocky if not downright fat. Its been said they were possibly russian. Chechneyan fighters are known for beheading, not in the mid-eastern way of back of the neck but from the side to front. Zarqawi was declared dead on March 4 2004 in an open declaration. He was known to have an artificial leg, and if you watch, this guy moves with agility.

The US has used Zarqawi as a pretext for connecting Saddam/Iraq to Al-Qaida and terrorism and for much of the insurgency. It is strange that terrorists would sign a person to the video theyve aknowledged to be dead. Only the US,or Israeli Mossad perhaps has reasons to blame this on Zarqawi, it boosts their claims that terrorism is causing the fighting, not that Iraqis themselves would fight to get us out. The blame for this on Zarqawi is very suspect. The killer is definately too white. Unless he is an indoor terrorist (possible), hes too white. The guy to the far right is the most unconvincing of all. Fat, white fidgeting and wearing sneakers. At least one cameraman is in a khaki one piece suit ( although I wouldnt know what that means, it suggests a workmans overgear.)Of course the orange suit worn by Berg is the strange.

The most difficult part to comprehend is that the headless body was found on Saturday the 8th, and the family notified by Monday the 10th. This is unreasonably expedient. How they identified the body, and even if so wasted no time in trying to find out through DNA or other means that it WAS Nick Berg, and notified the family that their son had been decapitated, not knowing how or by whom is the most suspect part of the entire story. Considering the time change and war zone, this part is simply not possible if someone had not known what was to come. THIS to me suggests that there was either complicity, cooperation, and US involvement. So, Who was Nick Berg?

"Terrorists don't put the people they kidnap in orange prison jump suits!"


Judea Pearl, father of Daniel Pearl, has publicly called on moderates in the Muslim world to condemn on specific religious grounds the execution of Nicholas Berg. He says (in radio interviews) that he is distressed in the extreme that the public statements by these moderates don't live up to their condolences in private.

Where is Evidence of Beheading?

References to Nick Berg's "beheading" or "death" or "murder" or "killing" or "killers" don't really belong in the Nick Berg article without heavy qualifications. Where is the evidence this man is dead? He's a suspected spy, identified by Free Republic as an enemy of the state and the body was not even allowed to be viewed by Nick Berg's family when it returned to the US. The body was also found headless. How did they identify the body? Solely on the basis that the man in the video said he was Nick Berg? Given the obvious hoaxing that's gone on with the video it seems quite dangerous to speculate that Nick Berg is dead. For this reason I intend to remove all cases of this specific type of speculation until some support can be provided for this idea that Nick Berg is dead. How was the body identified? DNA? Fingerprints? Dental records, whoops, not that, oh yes I went there. Plautus Satire 11:07, 28 May 2004 (EDT)

Freeper Enemy List

Where should this go? It definitely seems relevant but may not belong in the opening paragraph (where I put it - Plautus Satire). Anybody have any suggestions? Plautus Satire 12:07, 28 May 2004 (EDT)

The following article is posted at the Nicholas Berg (External Links) page ... suggest you explore this as a separate topic.

  • Fintan Dunne, "Berg's Father and Firm Were On A Right-Wing 'Enemies' List," Break for News, May 12, 2004: "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." See Free Republic web site.

The date of May 11th has nothing to do with an actual video taping date, if there is one. It is merely the date the video appeared on the internet.

Actually I'm pretty sure the audio track in the video identifies the date as May 11, I'll see if I can find confirmation of that. Not sure where that should go in the entry, though. I'll post more on this when I find it. Plautus Satire 15:13, 28 May 2004 (EDT)

Found a reference to Drudge and al Jazeera both reporting the video "signing off and dated the 11th" or some such, still looking for a primary source. Plautus Satire 17:57, 28 May 2004 (EDT)

Name lookUp result Using domain server: Name: Address: Aliases: has address

Output from ARIN WHOIS

Search results for:

OrgName: Net Access Corporation OrgID: NAC Address: 1719 STE RT 10E Address: Suite 111 City: Parsippany StateProv: NJ PostalCode: 07054 Country: US

ReferralServer: rwhois://

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TechHandle: ZN77-ARIN TechName: Net Access Corporation TechPhone: +1-800-638-6336 TechEmail:

OrgAbuseHandle: ABUSE156-ARIN OrgAbuseName: Abuse Department OrgAbusePhone: +1-800-638-6336 OrgAbuseEmail:

OrgNOCHandle: NOC270-ARIN OrgNOCName: Network Operations Center OrgNOCPhone: +1-973-590-5050 OrgNOCEmail:

OrgTechHandle: AR97-ARIN OrgTechName: Rubenstein, Alex OrgTechPhone: +1-973-590-5101 OrgTechEmail:

OrgTechHandle: ZN77-ARIN OrgTechName: Net Access Corporation OrgTechPhone: +1-800-638-6336 OrgTechEmail:

  1. ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2004-05-27 19:15

How's this for bizarre?[2]

Moore interviewed Berg for "Fahrenheit" The murdered American hostage had given an interview for the documentary, but it is not included in the final version.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - By Rebecca Traister

May 27, 2004 |

Filmmaker Michael Moore filmed an interview with American Nicholas Berg in the course of producing his documentary film "Fahrenheit 9/11," before Berg was taken hostage and killed in Iraq, Moore confirmed to Salon in a statement Thursday. The 20 minutes of footage does not appear in the final version of "Fahrenheit 911," according to the statement.

Word of the footage reached Salon through a source unaffiliated with Moore, or his film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," which is reported to feature stark images of U.S. civilians and soldiers grappling with conditions in war-torn Iraq, as well as examining the relationship between President George W. Bush and the bin Laden family. It received the Palme d'Or, the Cannes Film Festival's highest honor, on Saturday.

organizational changes

I did a bit of organizing on the Nick Berg entry, I tried no to delete anything but I think I did take out one passage that had an open-ended quotation problem and wasn't cited so I didn't track it down. If nobody reverts the page I'll see if the jumble of details at the end can be condensed or something, it's a madhouse of facts. Plautus Satire 23:51, 28 May 2004 (EDT)

"All members of the Cornell University community are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the death of Nick Evan Berg, who was a student here for two and a half years.

"Nick enrolled as a freshman student in the College of Engineering at Cornell in the Fall of 1996. He spent the Spring 1998 semester in Uganda through Cornell's Study Abroad Program. He took a voluntary leave of absence from the university after completing the Fall 1998 semester.

"Nick Berg is remembered by his professors and classmates at Cornell as an excellent student who made the Dean's List every semester that he studied here. His adventuresome nature took him to Uganda, where he studied development issues. He was a serious, caring individual who expressed the desire to help people and have a positive influence in the world."

Truth Detector

I don't know about anybody else, but this "truth detector" is setting off my BULLSHIT DETECTOR. Likely scenario: Berg is testing a new toy he made under adult supervision. Berg is busted using the toy, so he uses the short con as instructed by this supervising adult, rips two wires out, wraps them around his finger and says, "See, it's a truth detector, those flashing lights mean I'm telling the truth!" Plautus Satire 14:17, 30 May 2004 (EDT)