Skip to comments.Berg's Father Demands Answers From Bush (Free Republic mentioned)
Posted on 05/13/2004 9:13:32 PM PDT by kristinn
Posted on Thu, May. 13, 2004
Berg's father demands answers from Bush BY NICOLE WEISENSEE EGAN Knight Ridder Newspapers
PHILADELPHIA - (KRT) - The day he buried his son, Nick Berg's father angrily lashed out at President Bush - and said he had a question for him:
"I would like to ask him if it's true that al-Qaeda offered to trade my son's life for another person," Michael Berg told a small group of reporters early Thursday morning outside his West Chester home.
"And if that is true, well, I need that information," said Berg, a self-proclaimed peace activist who has marched against the Iraq war. "I think that the people of the United States of America need to know what the fate of their sons and daughters might be in the hands of the Bush administration."
In the video showing Nick Berg's decapitation, one of the masked men read a statement that Berg had been offered in exchange for some Iraqi prisoners. U.S. officials deny that.
Berg said he did not blame the terrorists for his son's violent death.
"Nicholas Berg died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld," he said, shortly after posting a "War is not the Answer" sign on his front lawn. "The al-Qaeda people are probably just as bad as they are, but this administration did this."
Hours after his strong remarks, Michael Berg said goodbye to his son in a private burial ceremony attended only by family members. A private memorial service will be held Friday.
In other developments Thursday:
The CIA confirmed that, according to voice analysis, terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the masked man who beheaded Nick Berg in the video that was beamed around the world on the Internet earlier this week.
While U.S. officials continue to deny that Berg ever had been in U.S. military custody, Michael Berg produced e-mails from Beth Payne, the U.S. consular officer in Iraq, dated April 1, that said his son was being detained by the military.
An alternative, left-leaning blog, www.breakfornews.com, posted a story theorizing that the Iraqi police had detained Nick Berg because his company, Prometheus Methods Tower Service Inc., and his father had been named on a list of "enemies" of the Iraq occupation in March.
More information - and theories - surfaced about why the Iraqi police had detained Berg and what happened to him after he lost contact with his parents on April 9. Meanwhile, in Mosul, police chief Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair al-Barhawl insisted his department had never arrested Berg and had no knowledge of the case.
Luke Lorenz, one of Berg's best friends, got a Web site - www.nickberg.org - up and running in honor of his slain friend.
Late Wednesday, Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., sent a letter on behalf of the Berg family to Secretary of State Colin Powell seeking answers to the puzzling questions surrounding Nick Berg's final days in Iraq.
Thursday, Michael Berg addressed a number of questions that have surfaced in recent days, including why his son had refused offers by the FBI and the military to fly him home.
Berg said his son may have turned down the offer because he'd "had enough of the FBI." Payne, the U.S. consular officer, also told the family she'd try to get him on a military flight out of Baghdad, he said.
"I told my son this when I spoke to him on the telephone for the last time ever on April 9, and he said, `I don't take too seriously anything that the State Department promises,' " Berg said, just before taking off on his morning bicycle ride.
"I don't think he was doubting their sincerity but their ability in the situation. And it was only a promise for a try so that didn't give us a whole lot of confidence."
Berg also said that the FBI told the Iraqi police to hold his son after spotting him riding in a cab in Mosul late at night.
"The Iraqis arrested him," Berg said. "He was doing nothing wrong. He was not breaking the curfew. He was in a taxicab. It was late at night. They were suspicious. I don't blame them for that. What I do blame them for is detaining him for 13 days without due process."
Thursday, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that another reason that Nick Berg had been held for so long was that the FBI was checking into some contact he may have had with terrorists while he attended the University of Oklahoma.
Michael Berg said his son had attended the university and had been taking a course at a remote campus, near the airport, and had to take a bus to get there.
"Some terrorist people - which no one knew were terrorists at the time; they were just going as students - were also taking that bus," Berg said. "And someone asked him basically if he could use his computer. And he did. College kids did it all the time. And it turns out this guy was a terrorist and he used my son's e-mail address - amongst many other people's e-mail who he did the same thing to.
"He was not a friend of my son's, not even an acquaintance," Berg said. "Just a guy sitting next to him on the bus. The FBI was satisfied with that."
A senior law-enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Nick Berg had volunteered information about the 2002 investigation when he was detained in Iraq. The official said that an e-mail address traced to Berg had been used by an unidentified individual with purported connections to terrorism.
The investigation showed that Berg had never met the suspect individual and had not given the e-mail address to that person. Investigators concluded that Berg's e-mail address had been spread among dozens of people with links to the university.
The suspect individual appears to have been acquainted with Zacarias Moussaoui, an al-Qaeda adherent now in federal custody and awaiting trial on conspiracy charges stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks, the official said.
Moussaoui attended flight school in Norman, Okla., home of the university.
Also Thursday, Michael Berg said he has been a member of International ANSWER - Act Now to Stop War & End Racism - for the past year and has participated in several anti-occupation marches. He said he planned to march on the Pentagon with the group, which is calling for Bush to bring the troops home now, on June 5.
The story on the alternative blog site theorized that information about the Bergs and the "enemies" list made its way to the FBI and, eventually, into the hands of those in Iraq who track or harass anti-war activists entering the country.
The list appeared on www.freerepublic.com, a neo-conservative, pro-war Web site, on March 7. It posted questions from an unidentified reporter from Salon.com Thursday.
Berg said his son was a supporter of Bush up until he died.
Bill Schneider, a CNN political analyst, said it's clear that both liberals and conservatives are trying to use Nick Berg's gruesome death to advance their causes.
"The Right seized upon his terrible death to try to reverse the momentum of horror over prisoners being abused," he said. "They immediately seized upon that to say, `You see. These are the people we're dealing with.'
"And now the Left is trying to say he was arrested because he was harassed because of his father's anti-war ideologies," he said. "Both sides are trying to use any scrap or evidence they can to discredit the other side. This whole tragic affair has gotten caught up in the controversy over the war. And it's probably not going to end anytime soon."
The danger facing American contractors in Iraq like Nick Berg is likely to continue, said Kathryn Rosenblum, editor of the Iraq Reconstruction Report, a newsletter devoted to Iraq business prospects.
"It's an incredibly risky place," she said Thursday, estimating that 30,000 to 50,000 Americans, Iraqis and Third World nationals are working there now. She said she's aware of 60 American workers who've been killed in Iraq and a handful who are missing.
At a ceremony Thursday in Center City, former Army Specialist and POW Shoshana Johnson said that Berg's death should be a warning to all non-military personnel over there.
"Get civilians out of Iraq," she said, after accepting the Freedom Award at Citizen Crime Commission's Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
Philadelphia Daily News staff writers Barbara Laker and Simone Weichselbaum and Daily News wire services contributed to this report.
Ok, your tin foil theory is scary and also very plausible. Stop being so sensible, who knows who might be lurking out there.... great job!!!! :)
Yeah, right, sure. College kids let complete strangers on a bus use their e-mail addresses all the time.
Maybe it's time Berg's father got FREEPED with lots of posters with sane clear truth for a change.
It might be a novel experience for him to have to face the truth.
Sheesh. Sure he's suffering. And, he's an idiot.
Berg's spokesperson, his neighbor, Bruce Hauser was on a local talk radio program today. After offering my condolences and mentioning that Mr. Berg's father had expressed anger toward president Bush for his son's death, I asked him if Mr. Berg thought the Alqaida terrorists in Iraq were at all responsible for Nick Berg's beheading and also whether Mr. Berg had asked for retribution against them.
Mr. Hauser said he hasn't had the chance to discuss those things with Mr. Berg.
This article has ANSWERed my question. Mr. Berg is obviously NOT rational. The above would have been the normal and proper response for any father who had lost his son in this horrifying manner.
No matter, I and likely many other Americans place the blame exactly where it lies, and we are calling for the heads of Nick Berg's be-headers.
On the way home from a band competition one time (back when Nick was in ninth grade), Nick somehow managed to get part of a hanger up in his nose (accidentally).
Nick was a good friend of my brother's, and through him I heard many fantastic stories about Nick's adventures. One that stuck with me that I've told almost everyone who wants to know more about Nick is the time Nick decided he wanted to ride a bicycle to Florida. Sooo, he did. From what I recall, he just got a bike at like a yardsale, got on, and rode to Florida.
No, his dad is an idiot, just plain and simple...
Berg's father is a real nut-- I know his son died in a horrific way and that gives him the right to be crazy, but he is really going overboard.
He was an infidel first.
And he was sacrificed, per the manual, to the blood god...
Has it been determined or conjectured why Berg, in the video, seems reasonably calm throughout and SEEMS taken very much by surprise when the beheading begins..? In the minutes prior, he doesn't hang his head, nor look to either side. He seems to stare directly into the camera, directly ahead.
It would seem normal that a person in such a situation would perhaps hang his head in frustration or reflection, or perhaps look side to side for whatever else might be going on in the room, or over his shoulder, wondering wtf the masked freaks were doing behind him...
I saw Heather Nauert's interview with the fellow who was in the room next to Nick Berg. That fellow seemed a bit odd...