Wagging the Dog with Nick Berg

An extensive overview of the various Lee Harvey Oswald Nick Berg conspiracy theories:

Nick Berg's Killing: 50 Fishy Circumstances, Contradictory Claims, and Videotape Anomalies.


39 Responses:

  1. cschmidt says:

    Honestly, who cares? In my opinion any news from or relating to the War in/on Iraq/Drugs/Terrorism is bullshit. A man died. That really sucks. People die every day. Maybe if everyone's death was taped and publicized as much as this poor souls then we would stop fucking killing each for nothing.

    • lars_larsen says:

      The point is that its a political stunt, involving killing a man.

      • cadmus says:

        The point is who the author of the stunt is, right?

        • lars_larsen says:

          Who else would have any motivation to do that?

          The terrorists dont need to cut someones head off to recruit terrorists among the arab population. The torture photos do that for them. The only reason to release a video like that is to distract the world from the prison photos and garner support for the war effort. The exact OPPOSITE of what the terrorists want.

          I have no idea what happened. I wasnt there. But I do wonder what happened. And I see the motive and opportunity. Its worth investigating further.

          Most of those "anomalies" are bullshit, but some of them are actually compelling.

          Its all just Psy-Ops. The prison abuse photos were Psy-Ops too. Only they were intended for a different audience. When they got out, what do they do? Create some Psy-Ops that ARE meant for that audience.

          • loosechanj says:

            Talk about missing the point. The terrorists want to piss us off. Support for the war (on the U.S. side) is exactly what they want. They want to goad us into going all out againt all of "them", so Allah can obliterate us. Hey, they're terrorists, they don't need to make sense.

            • lars_larsen says:

              How does more US troops shooting at them help their cause? They want iraq back, not more americans occupying it! They're already getting their asses kicked. And the guy who's supposedly responsible for all of this is about a heartbeat away from being caught (if he isnt already dead).

              I dont see a motivation for it. If there were one, why dont we see videos like this from them all the time?

              • loosechanj says:

                I said it didn't have to make sense. It's not like we're dealing with rational people here.

              • zhixel says:

                Weeeell, if you drink the kool aid, this whole deal was done by Abu Masab Al-Zaraqawi, a rather infamous jordinian al-qaeda agent. Does Al-Qaeda have any particular interest in having Iraq "back"? They never "had" it in the first place. What Al-Qaeda HAS shown is that they have an interest in #1 killing americans and #2 dying for their cause. Keeping that in mind it makes perfect sense to try and drag more americans forces into Iraq for combat. Iraq right now is basically a big battlefield for a bunch of terrorist interests because we're there.

                Remember, this is a movement consisting of people who had no problem flying planes into buildings with themselves already on them. I don't think they're afraid of dying.

                • lars_larsen says:

                  This has nothing to do with al-queda. These people are Iraqis who want their country back. They want us TO LEAVE, not more of us to show up.

                  You buy that "Iraq is part of the war on terrorism" bullshit?

                  • zhixel says:

                    I have no illusions that Iraq was involved in 9/11. However I do think that Iraq is a handy place for al-qaeda militants to try and kill americans in their own back yard. Is this the work of Al-Qaeda? Or the work of Iraqi religious zealots? Does it matter? It's practically the same shoe there.

                    And yes, Iraqis do not appreciate us being there, but a lot also realize that if we leave Iraq is going to degenerate into a much worse situation that it is already in. Iraq is so factional that it is very hard to try and define "what Iraqis want". This factionality will most likely also lead to a bigger clusterfuck civil war if we leave (and it might still even if we dont leave, I don't know.)

              • wilecoyote says:

                They are already getting their asses kicked.

                Sorry, but wasn't the Iraq occupation a quagmire? So you mean that the U.S. is winning now? When did the party line change? I must have missed the memo.

                • lars_larsen says:

                  Hell yeah we're winning! There are a few hundred "criminals" in one tiny little town. A soldier who's journal I read said that there are more violent criminals in a small city in minnesotta than there are in falluja.

                  The media focuses on the negative and makes it look worse than it is. Most of Iraq is safe. They're fighting a very small number of people.

                  • Yes, but things like making Mr. and Mrs. American think that random guys are getting their heads chopped off sure does help encourage the whole quagmire argument, doesn't it?

                    The goal of terrorism is to inspire terror. Chopping a guys head off and making sure the video gets out seems pretty much in line with that. I see many advantages for the terrorists, and pretty few for Bush and the CIA. By doing this, the terrorists know they are going to scare some people. Even if this action goaded more American attacks, all that does is bring more Americans into the line of fire for the terrorists. If you're Al Qaeda and you don't really care if some Iraqis get caught in the cross fire of your war (or you think that the more the Iraqis suffer, the more recruits you will get), this makes perfect sense.

                    Now, the CIA has done some completely wacky things before, mind you. And questions are still open on whether or not Berg was a spy or some other sort of shady operative. But it just doesn't add up in a way that makes me believe that this is an American conspiracy, the evidence of that is shaky at best. Certainly, the results from the video don't seem like anything beneficial to the administration's interests.

                  • lars_larsen says:

                    Then why did they kidnap people and not release videos of their heads being chopped off before?

                    Can you find me one incident in the history of international terrorism where anyones head was ever cut off before? Let alone videotaped and shown on television?

                    I cant believe so many of you are arguing that the release of this video has not benefitted the white house. Bush if doing a touchdown dance right now.

                    If you really believe this is "bad" for the white house. Just turn on the news, the prison abuse scandal fucking EVAPORATED overnight. You dont see anything about a "quagmire" in iraq either.

                    If bush came up and asked me "what can we do to get rid of this scandal?", I'd have said "make a video of the terrorists cutting some guy's head off and release it". It doesnt really take a psy-ops genius to figure out how to redirect outrage.

                    The prison abuse photos were Psy-ops. Created by military intelligence. Then they got burned over them, now they have to cover their tracks. So what do they do? They take YET ANOTHER prisoner, and turn them into YET ANOTHER psychological operation. Its so obvious. That video was shot in the prison, not some bullet-riddled terrorist hideout.

                    This is not fucking rocket science. If it was done by terrorists, then they just played into the american's hands. Thats all there is to it.

                  • kchrist says:

                    Can you find me one incident in the history of international terrorism where anyones head was ever cut off before? Let alone videotaped and shown on television?

                    Daniel Pearl

                  • lars_larsen says:

                    Holy shit, I thought they shot him in the head. I didn't know that.

                  • Why would a "terrorist hideout" be bullet-riddled? They like to use their walls for target practice? I'd pretty expect walls to look like, well, walls. It's a room with Iraqi walls and Iraqi chairs. Could be a prison. Could be a million other buildings in Iraq, I'd imagine.

                    Anyway, as I said... if this is an attempt to redirect discussion of the prisoner abuse scandal, it's not working. At least in my area (Metro Detroit), the stuff I hear on AM news is still pretty heavily weighted towards discussion of this topic. Just yesterday I heard a story about whether or not Bush signed an order that granted the CIA powers to implement the abusive questioning techniques. Sure, I heard a story about Berg too, but it hardly overshadowed the other news. So I'd say they needed a better tail-wag if this was an attempt to influence people :-).

                    I'd say this story:


                    with claims of Sarin gas rounds being found in Iraq, are more likely as potential plants to redirect attention.

                    It's not that I don't believe it is possible that Bush or the CIA would try something crazy to shift blame/attention, I'm just saying this doesn't seem to be the case here.

                  • lars_larsen says:

                    Why would a "terrorist hideout" be bullet-riddled? They like to use their walls for target practice?

                    Because the US military has them cornered. Ever seen what an ac130 gunship can do to a building?

                    You're just arguing that it "worked, but not that well", that doesnt mean it didnt work, and that doesn't mean they didnt do it thinking it would work.

                    You're right, I just saw that on CNN. Finally the weapons of mass destruction are found! WOOO go us!

                  • Another beheading story, from the Phillipines in June 2001. These guys didn't get it videotaped, but it still shows that this method of execution and terror is not new by any means:


                  • lars_larsen says:

                    Wow, I guess it is standard operating procedure for islamic terrorists. Weird.

                  • nelc says:

                    "Most of Iraq is safe"? Unless you're holding a wedding....

                    The number of people the US is fighting increases with every innocent arrested for no reason, increases more for every one tortured, and increases vastly more for every one killed. Small or large, the number being fought isn't getting smaller.

                  • I'm not sure if I can 100% believe the spin the writer of the editorial puts on things. He is noted as serving at a consultant for this site:


                    Their history page notes that they have roots in support for a strong defense, including Reagan's defense initiatives during the 1980s. They seem very conservative in viewpoint, and very pro-defense. So I'll take his perspective with a grain of salt, although I do hope he is correct. It seems like to really understand the situation, many viewpoints and pieces of data are required.


                  • lars_larsen says:

                    Well everyone who is actually there and knows whats going on is in the military. So you're not going to find anyone completely unbiased.

                    I suggest digging up the blogs of soldiers on the front lines, they ALL say we're making a lot of progress, and there are very few criminals (mostly in faluja and najaf) who are still causing trouble.

          • wilecoyote says:

            Your whole point rests on a challengable assumption: that the terrorists are smart.

            Remember Richard Reid, the shoe bomber? As my father said when he was busted: "that guy was so dumb. If he had only gone to the airplane toilet to take his shoe off and take out the bomb, nobody would have seen him".

          • flipzagging says:

            There are some interesting claims in those conspiracy theories, but few of them are sourced. It's all "some guy says this thing in the tape isn't right".

            As for motive: it's hardly a slam dunk for pro-war American entities. They don't even want you to see coffins! Why would they want you to see this? The right wing spins this as here's-what-we're-fighting, but that's damage control. Remember Somalia? Al-Qaeda does.

            That said -- just because it doesn't make sense doesn't mean it wasn't staged by somebody, or there aren't anomalies. But neither do anomalies imply the CIA or Mossad. For all we know, it was some bloody execution filmed by terrorists, and fiddled afterwards to make it relevant to the Abu Ghraib photographs. The hoods and the supposedly wrong accent? Maybe someone wants the US to believe Zarqawi is still alive, when he's really dead. Who knows?

            • lars_larsen says:

              I agree that "some guy says thats an anomoly" is usually wrong. I dont believe most of that. They're trying to hard to put holes in it.

              I can't go on "facts" because we dont have enough information yet. But I can go on motive and opportunity. The white house has motivation to release a video like this, and they had him in custody (in an orange jump suit) so they had opportunity as well. Thats all I'm saying.

              What do you mean why do they want us to see this? They want you to take your rage about the prison abuse photos and redirect it towards the enemy. "Nothing to see here, please move along".

              Haven't you noticed that this tiny little story about one guy's death has completely obliterated a massive scandal? A few days ago we were calling for Rumsfeld's resignation! Now how can you compare simple humiliation with cutting off a living mans head?

              Combine motive an opportunity with obvious lies by the government, and it just doesnt smell right to me.

              You, me, everyone are just victims of psychological warfare.

              There is a scandal about psychological operations prison photos, and then another piece of Psy-Ops comes out right on its heels and we dont think there is a connection?

  2. No one ever asks about the most hard-to-swallow claim and critical unanswered question:

    If the unfettered secret operations wing of the most powerful nation in the world made this video, using their unrivaled access to video editing equipment, supercomputers, and cultural knowledge experts and their nigh-unlimited funds, how did they let so many errors through?

    • internebbish says:

      Budget cuts. They probably subcontracted the work to a local highschool av club.

      • zhixel says:

        Oh my GOD, I totally told Jimmy to use more corn syrup blood on the dude, but noooo... he was more interested in chatting with Kate the WHOLE time... like HELLO, why did he even join the AV Club in the first place!! I'm so going to write about this in my livejournal.

    • otterley says:

      Not only that, but I think that the US Government is well aware of how much they would lose if anyone ever discovered that they created the video as a hoax.

      Journalists have a lot to gain by uncovering any foibles the Government tries to foist upon its people -- and people tend to have big mouths and leak to well-connected reporters on a regular basis. It's just way too difficult to keep secrets of that magnitude -- and especially those of such a morally-troubling nature.

      On top of that, quoting anonymous sources, particularly truthful quotes, has been protected time and time again by the US Supreme Court, so there's not much for insiders to fear should a reporter out the operation on their behalf.

      • Well that's exactly what they *want* you to think!

        Didn't you ever watch the X-Files?

        Next thing I know, you're gonna tell me the timing of the UFOs in Mexico and the NBA playoffs is a total coincidence!

  3. jkonrath says:

    51. The guy opening and closing an umbrella in the background before they cut his head off.

  4. phaid says:

    The best citation in support of the conspiracy theories has to be:

    me and a friend were discussing recent news events and trying to piece together the information presented to us, thought you might want to look into this further, they said in the news that Nicholas Berg was killed 2 weeks ago (i think), however in the video the culprits who killed him said they were "avenging iraqi prisoner abuse" but those photos weren't released until last week...

    You just don't get insightful news analysis like that in the mainstream press.

    The real timeline is: Berg went missing on or about April 9, CBS aired the prison photos on April 28, Berg's decapitated body was found on a Baghdad overpass on May 8 and the al qaeda video appeared on the islamist web site on May 11. Don't see anything wildly inconsistent there.

    The more interesting tidbits not widely discussed in the media have to do with the Berg family's connections with ANSWER and Nick Berg's passing connection to Zacarias Moussaoui. I suspect those go a long way towards explaining the FBI's interest in Berg.

  5. khephra says:

    The jury is still out for me on the tape, I've watched it a few times now.
    Some of the points in the link you posted stood out though. If you've spent anytime over there with the locals they're sort of moot.

    Anyway, I address a couple here (like I said, I have no conclusions on it's validity though, just raising counterpoints)

    15) Orange jumpsuit
    Standard issue in the U.A.E., Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc. Many "U.S." goods are bought and sold there. You can buy the same suits on the internet.
    Bright orange makes it hard to elude your captors etc. If it works, use it.

    16) No blood at decapitation
    The video is so fuzzy it's hard to say how much blood was there. There is a notable growing `dark' area blow the body. Plus like I said before the first cut was made on the side of the neck that was facing the floor.

    19) Straight cut on the neck
    The argument here is that the cut was too straight and to clean for it's speed.
    Truth of the matter is, the sharper the knife, and the faster and more consistant the speed, you'll get a cleaner cut. The carving a turkey analogy doesn't really apply.

    33) Western body posture and mannerisms of "terrorists"
    Volunteer forces of Feyadeen or Mujahadeen are from a variety of different countries. Some have lived in America, the U.K., France, etc. This doesn't account for the possible history of the people involved. The head of the Forensic unit in Dubai that I worked with did his Graduate studies in my hometown in the states. He picked up on some of my `slang' from that region and immediately knew where I was from.
    (remind me and I'll tell you that story next time we're out)

    34) "Terrorists" were fat
    Again the assumption is these are battle hardened veterans that have been in the field for six plus months. Go to any market in Pakistan, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, etc and you'll see people of all shape, form and size.

    35) White hands of "terrorists"
    See 33 and 34

    45) Firearms Israeli, not AK-47s
    One of the worst points I've seen in this list. Partisan forces don't give a shit where it came from as long as it fires and fires straight. You see mixes of Israeli, American, Russian, Chinese, etc weapons in a lot of these places. Usually the more obscure foreign ones have been picked off the bodes of dead enemies. The only ones that they don't use, are the ones that have an hard to find ammunition supply. The Israeli Kalashnikov knock off uses (depending on model) the 5.56 or the 7.62, which are the most common rounds found in that area.

  6. jotunheim says:

    Berg isn't necessarily a Jewish surname.