13 May 2004
Already, there are questions surrounding the death of Nicholas Berg portrayed in the notorious video and supposedly committed by Al Qu-eda’s #2 Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Of course, we have no proof that ‘Al Qu-eda’ committed it let alone Zarqawi aside from the assertions that have come from the US authorities and what it says on the Website. Assertions that almost everyone accepts without question.
But a CNN story tells us that,
“The voice on the tape could not be verified as that of al-Zarqawi. CNN staffers familiar with al-Zarqawi’s voice said the voice on the tape did not sound like him.”
And according to MSNBC, al-Zarqawi died months ago in northern Iraq:
“Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in the Sulaimaniyah mountains of northern Iraq “during the American bombing there,” according to a statement circulated in Fallujah this week and signed by the “Leadership of the Allahu Akbar Mujahedeen.”
And already, questions are surfacing about the identity of the five men shown in the video. And why was Berg wearing an orange jump suit, the kind issued to prisoners in US custody?
Going through all the news reports leading to Berg’s death, the first thing that emerges are the contradictions between what the US authorities say and what his family and the Iraqi police say about the few weeks before his death (although we have no information as to when he was actually beheaded as he disappeared one month before his body was found on May 8).
This is what we do know:
“Iraqi police arrested Berg in Mosul on March 24 because local authorities believed he may have been involved in “suspicious activities.”
Apparently, he was held for two weeks, although the FBI initially denied this, even though later statements tell us that they visited Berg three times. Berg was last seen on or around April 10 at a hotel in Baghdad, which would mean shortly after he was released from custody. What were the nature of his ‘suspicious’ activities? We are not told (a BBC story claims sources in Baghdad told them the police were questioning the authenticity of his documents). And apparently, US authorities offered to fly him back to the US shortly before his disappearance, an offer he refused.
Then State Department spokesman Dan Senor this week said:
“Iraqi police arrested Berg in Mosul on March 24 because local authorities believed he may have been involved in “suspicious activities.””
Washington Post 13/05/04
Thus contradicting the earlier statement apparently made by the FBI, that they had no knowledge of his arrest. But the story gets even murkier:
“Senor referred questions about the reason for Berg’s detention to the Iraqi police. In Mosul, however, police told the AP they had no knowledge of the Berg case. Police official Safwan Talal said the only American arrested there in recent months was a woman who was released soon afterward.”
Washington Post 13/05/04
According to the Washington Post story:
“Berg told his family that U.S. officials took custody of him soon after his arrest and he was not allowed to make phone calls or contact a lawyer, his father said.
“Kimmitt said U.S. forces kept tabs on Berg during his confinement to make sure he was being fed and properly treated because “he was an American citizen.””
Then on April 5, Berg’s family sued the US government alleging that he was being detained illegally by the US and
“is currently detained in Mosul, Iraq, by the United States military” and that American diplomats “no longer” had “any authority or power to intervene” on his behalf.””
Berg was released the day after (April 6). One thing seems to be clear that if he was initially arrested by Iraqi authorities, he was almost immediately handed over to the US and detained by them from around 24 March to April 5, that is for two weeks before being released.
So where was Berg between April 10 and May 8 when his body was found?
But beyond this there are serious questions to be asked about the ‘convenient’ beheading of Berg at this critical juncture in the occupation of Iraq and the surfacing of the video, just as there are serious questions to be asked about how (and who) released the increasing flood of images out of Abu Graib. For example, reports allege that US authorities knew about the activities in Abu Ghraib as early as February (and possibly months earlier). According Secrecy News the report on these activities by Taguba was suppressed allegedly illegally:
“In no case shall information be classified in order to – conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error [or to] prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency”, according to Section 1.7 of Executive Order 12958, as amended by President Bush (EO 13292)”
Secrecy News for the full story
I’ve already posed the question about the pics that surfaced in the Daily Mirror two weeks ago and the ‘rumour’ that emerged parallel to their publication (and subsequently disappeared just as quickly) that the pics were planted by British military intelligence. Again, where did this rumour come from and why did it disappear just as quickly?
The government too, was quick to denounce them as fakes before it had (apparently) any proof, pointing to a relationship between the alleged military intelligence source and the government’s confident assertion that they were fakes. And today, Adam Ingram, the British government’s minister for the MoD, told Parliament that “These pictures were categorically not taken in Iraq,” (BBC, 13/05/04). So where were they taken? We are not told.
As anybody who reads my essays on a regular basis will know, I’m not a conspiracist, viewing such pursuits as sidetracks to the essential objective, exposing the nefarious activities of imperialism as my primary objective. That the ruling elite have the means as well as the reasons for misleading and obscuring issues should be obvious to anyone who spends a little time checking out the issues.
However, the future of governments are at stake, let alone the bigger issue of the future of capitalism. One has to ask therefore the following:
For several months (possibly as far back as May of 2003), the US government attempted to suppress knowledge of the torture of detainees in Abu Ghraib (along with activities in the 21 other prisons the US uses in Iraq) but at some point, someone or some agency released them into the public. Why? This is not a question that has been asked by the corporate media except for vague references to ‘trophies’. Is it realistic to expect that whoever took these photos was not aware of the impact they would have if released into the public domain?
If the pics that appeared in the Daily Mirror were fakes (or hoaxes as the British government calls them), who made them and why? If they are not hoaxes then the accusations by the unnamed soldiers stand and the question as to what the British government knew and when it knew have to be answered.
Viewed in the context of the lies and disinformation that we have been subjected to (the non-existent WMDs, the non-existent threat Saddam posed to the West, the fabrications presented by Colin Powell to the UN, the coverup of the US-Iraqi relationship that extends back to 1958) to justify the invasion and occupation, with so much at stake, fabrications of the Berg kind are ‘small potatoes’. Arab mercenaries are used both by the US and the Israelis. ‘Money talks – bullshit walks’ as they say.
Confusion and disinformation is the primary objective of psy-ops and it is within this context that the images of Abu Ghraib have to be viewed for although they may have a negative impact on the ‘Arab’ world in the short term, given the effect of the invasion, the images can hardly make that much difference. Where they do succeed is in diverting attention from the deteriorating situation in both Iraq and occupied Palestine. So is it a case of ‘one step forward – two steps back’?
Getting to the bottom of these issues is crucial in order to expose the lies of these gangsters as they attempt sidetrack opposition to their rule by any means available to them.
Footnote: Out of curiosity, I decided to find out who owned the site that the video of Berg’s beheading was first shown on (al-ansar.net, now shut down by the Malaysian host) and what I found is quite interesting as the domain is registered to an address here in London. What does this tell us about the ‘intelligence’ agencies ability to track down the ‘international terror network’ as this site we are informed is part of the Al Qu-eda network!
Domains: al-ansar.net, al-ansar.biz, ansar.ws
IP Address: 18.104.22.168
Host: Jazzira Net
Umloj, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia
Whois summary for al-ansar.net/ansar.ws:
R., rachid email@example.com
184 High Holborn, London, London WC1V 7AP
0207-831-2310 (this a fax/data line, I phoned it)