For most of the video he has 5 armed & hooded terrorists behind him yet
he shows no anxiety. The orange prison jumpsuit defies explanation.
If Berg is killed to avenge prison abuse, why isn’t he abused before being
executed? Why isn’t he naked? Iraqi prisoners were not made to wear
this clothing, only foreigners bound for Guantanamo were. (Some suggest
he’s wearing an expensive Iraqi silk garment rather than US-issued prison
clothes, as if that makes more sense.)
2. Time the victim. He shows movement at 2:40:11, 2:41:11, 2:42:11
2:43:11, 2:44:10 (camera display time). Why does he move at 60-second
intervals? Why is his mouth airbrushed out but at times can be seen
moving when the statement is being read (yet no sound comes out)?
Why is his neck never visible after the “prison interview” scenes?
3. Mark the victim. Place a cursor on his nose or left eye for 2, 3, 4
minutes. Notice how steady he holds and even after his 60-second
interval shrug, he returns to the same spot. Three of the men standing
behind him try to remain still. Try the cursor spot test on them: they
show natural shifting, turning, moving.
4. Count the pages. The reader finds a 5th side to read of a 2-page
statement (page mark at 2:40:05, 2:41:15, 2:42:17, 2:42:40, 2:43:00).
5. Watch the hood. The beheader is wearing a black hood when he
begins and a white hood (no ammo vest) when he finishes.
6. Where’s the blood? It should be everywhere, it should be fresh.
When the head of the victim is lifted off the floor, it has no blood on it
or dripping from it.
7. Look at the timestamps. Scene 1 begins 13:26:24; scene 2 begins
2:18:33; scene 3 begins 2:40:03; scene 4 begins 13:45:47; scene 5
begins 13:47:46 after a 73-second break; scene 6 begins at 2:46:18;
scene 7 begins 13:48:29. Two cameras shooting the scene but neither
captures the fatal cut or any blood flow? Try reconciling elapsed time
of the cameras without inventing contorted scenarios.
8. Compare the Daniel Pearl video. Same title page, same Urdu font,
same sentence structure, same distinctive word (“slaughters”) in the title.
Same relaxed interview format, same postmortem beheading, same display
of severed head near the end. The similarities indicate a deliberate
attempt to mimic or insinuate the style of the Pakistani nationalists who
killed Pearl in the killing of Berg. Why would a real terrorist need to make
such a conscious reach to “sell” the authenticity to the American public?
9. Arabic speaker gives the specific date of his message as 22 Rabi-I
1425 --- May 13, 2004 (May 11 by the British Islamic calendar). Berg’s
body was recovered on May 8. Was the video made on May 11? It
was uploaded on that date. The camera date stamps are edited out. Why would a real terrorist need to do this?
10. Three weeks after the video appeared, no agency (FBI, CIA, Dept
of Defense, State Dept, White House, Iraq CPA) has certified on the
record, even in Orwellian language, that the video is authentic or that the
audio has the voice of al-Zarqawi. Under oath in front of a Senate panel on
May 19, General John Abizaid did a “crab-walk” around the questions of al Qaeda and al-Zarqawi involvement in the murder of Nicholas Berg.
11. Look at the “terrorists”: what they wear on their feet, what they wear
on their heads, what they wear for clothing, how they stand, how big they look, how white they look. They are wearing costumes, they look like props from an old Chuck Norris movie. Not one of them looks at, taunts, kicks or berates the victim. Nothing about them (not even their headgear) looks or sounds authentic. One of the assailants is about 6 feet 4 inches tall and 240 pounds
in weight. Another is over 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds in weight.
12. Listen for the English. Because the video is “padded” with 8-10 seconds
of non-contiguous frame splices, the audio is ahead of the video near the end by this amount. When the last chant is heard at camera time 13:46:23 it corresponds to the removal of the head at 13:46:33 (when the scene ends).
But “after action” English comments can be heard at 13:46:29 and 13:46:32.
It sounds like “how’ll it be done?” or “thy will be done” followed by “how’d we
do?” or “how’ll we know?” in a southern American dialect.
13. Look at the Newsweek photo (also appears in US News & World
Report). The middleman (reader of the statement) has grabbed the victim
by the hair. The two men on the viewer’s left were at “parade rest” and are
caught by surprise by the man in the middle’s action. The two men on the
right are perusing the statement handed to them. The victim is looking pleasantly into the camera. When his hair is grabbed, the victim still
maintains his pleasant expression and his head dislocates (one analyst
says the head starts to detach, another says the face is superimposed on
the head and digitally relocated unrealistically).
14. What beheading? The camera action is stopped (time goes from
2:44:10 to 13:45:46), then the shot goes blurry for 5 seconds (13:45:49 to
13:45:54), then time skips 6 seconds (jumps from 13:45:54 to 13:46:00)
and somewhere in that lost time the fatal cut supposedly takes place. At
13:46:33 the head is detached but there is no way to tell from the video
if this head was ever attached to the body shown in the scene.
15. Look at the head. It is in full rigor mortis with makeup on. But not
a drop of fresh blood on it (13:46:33, 13:47:52, 13:48:38).
16. Listen to the scream. The victim’s scream begins at 2:44:06 camera
time, the scene ends at 2:44:12 and the victim’s expression has not changed.
The next scene begins at 13:45:47, the last scream is heard at 13:46:02 and
the last vocalization is heard at 13:46:15. The audio rolls through the scene
change in the produced version. In the version modified to put the audio in
sync with the video, the scream begins at 13:45:47, ends at 13:46:10 and the
last gasp is at 13:46:25. www.mysticfish.net/images/bergvideoaudio
The first cut shown (simulated?) at 13:45:48 was to the front of the throat. All
screaming would have ended by 13:45:50. When the last vocalizations are
heard (in the synched version) the head is almost completely detached.
The 28 or 38 seconds of vocalization in the audio do not match the video,
nor does the victim yell STOP, NO, PLEASE or any English word.
17. Stylistic problems in the Arabic statement. Addressed to Muslims,
by a supposed religious leader, with no traditional Islamic greeting and
blessing upon the Prophet. (Americans can spot Billy Graham within
the first dozen words from his mouth.) The speaker has eight names
in the Islamic world, but he picks the one the US Department of Defense
knows him by. He insults Shiite clerics, although as a fugitive Jordanian, he
is at their mercy and hospitality. He refers to the people of Iraq as now
“free Muslims” -- which is the rhetoric of the White House rather than the
rhetoric of jihad. Deconstructing the statement shows it was likely first
written in English, translated into Arabic, and read without passion or accent.
Why does “Zarqawi” need notes anyway to make this statement?
18. Statement predicts where body will be found. The speaker seems to
know where the body and head will be recovered – on a bridge in central
Baghdad. It was 3am on a prayer day (Saturday, May 8) with coalition forces
running frequent patrols. Just being in a car at that hour was dangerous
enough but with the beheaded body of an American? If you just made a
video that the whole world will see, why risk capture and confiscation by US
troops by attempting a bridge display?
And you see the slaughter-- your fighting brothers. Suspend the head of this
unbeliever on one of Baghdad’s bridges so that they teach a lesson to others
from the infidels and serve as a witness to the honour of the Muslims.
19. The delayed upload of the video. Berg was killed on May 8. The
video was shot using digital equipment, heavily edited, transferred to analog
(tape), re-converted to digital, edited again, uploaded to a London website
on May 11 (Tuesday). The body and head were recovered by US troops on
May 8, the family was notified on May 10. Why would a real terrorist need to
do so much editing and manipulation? Why wouldn’t they have posted the
video to a real Arabic website? Why would they wait until May 11 to upload?
20. Official disinformation. The Defense Department and the FBI released
misinformation and disinformation concerning Nicholas Berg “unofficially”.
The US State Department confirmed that Berg was in US custody then later said they had made a mistake. The FBI interviewed Nick Berg three times in Iraq. Were these interviews videotaped? The Defense Department says
Berg was never in their custody but admits he was released the day after Berg’s father filed a lawsuit in a US court against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The CIA and the Defense Department created the unofficial
perception that Berg was killed by Al-Zarqawi and by al Qaeda, and that’s
the story that ran in the world press but the CIA has said nothing officially.
VictorP June 1, 2004