culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Thursday, May 20, 2004
The Berg mystery, redux. In response to this post about
Nick Berg, Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog alerts me via email to the growth industry in alternative theories about Berg's demise.

The chain starts with this post by Soj at Daily Kos, a lengthy and thorough introduction to the mystery that was Nick Berg, particularly with respect to his relationship with Aziz Taee.

Following this are the speculations about Berg's chair (this detail about the coincidence of a mass-produced, ubiquitous item never impressed me), and CNN's agreement with the conspiracy theorists that the Jordanian Zarqawi doesn't sound Jordanian, according to Octavia Nadr, CNN Sr. Editor for Arab Affairs.

But the slippery slope of suspicions leads us to this all-Berg blog, authored by Soj, the Daily Kos poster mentioned above, where we can find out reams of information about connections between Berg and Zacharias Moussaoui, and many other incredible details.

And now The Agonist, who agrees the whole case is "very shadowy," informs us from an Iranian website that Berg was a CIA special agent who sought to make contacts with key Al-Qaeda leadership circles before he was uncovered by Al-Zarqawi.

Confession: I have not seen the video. I don't like violent movies and the purported reality behind violent propaganda is even more difficult to stomach.

But most difficult to stomach is the uncertainty of not knowing whose propaganda the Berg video is. The numerous inconsistencies and illogical aspects of the video (Why does a self-identified man wear a mask? Why are the timelines so screwy? Doesn't the real Zarqawi wear a prosthesis? Why are the masked men so damn fat?), combined with the fact that the political value and timing of the video was much more beneficial to the Bush administration than to any other party, makes the whole thing a big, sickening, persistent question mark.

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