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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Fuel on the fire: Four arrested in Berg beheading, but big fish gets away

Four men have been arrested in the slaying of Nichols Berg, according to AFP, but not Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the suspected mastermind and the most wanted terrorist in Iraq.

The report is likely to spark a fresh round of conspiracy theories in the Middle East and around the Internet (where "Nick Berg" has become the most requested search phrase). The release of the Berg beheading video sparked an uproar of analysis and questions, especially after reports that Berg knew al Qaeda suspect Zacarias Moussaoui in the U.S. and that Berg told family and friends he was detained in Mosul by U.S. authorities.

The U.S. has denied that report despite substantial inconsistencies in the accounts of Berg's detention, which the U.S. says was at the hands of Iraqis. E-mails from the U.S. consul, obtained by the Associated Press, seem to contradict that claim.

Speculation aside, it does beg the question when a video showing five masked men leads to four arrests — none of whom are the only clearly identified person on the video. The Berg controversy only deepens with every passing day, and it shows no sign of slowing.

-- JMB

Related Stories:

  • Berg Conspiracy Theories Run Thick, But Facts Are Few For Now

  • The Tangled Web of Nicholas Berg, Abu Al-Zarqawi, Zacarias Moussaoui & Chemical Weapons

  • Violent Video Invokes Abu Ghraib Photos, But Don't Call It 'Revenge'


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    INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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