Do you notice the ONE THING nobody is saying about Nick Berg?


May 16, 2004, 03:07 AM
Today I read about Nick Berg's funeral in the paper, about security at the synagogue, about the service. It's the first time anyone has alluded to the fact that Nick Berg was Jewish. A Jew, beheaded by Muslims, in Iraq. The press has completely avoided any mention of Judaism in any of this, and to me, a Jew, it seems to be a screaming point of mention. I suppose the media doesn't want the American public to think that Iraqis are Anti-Semitic, despite their constant call for the destruction of Israel. :scrutiny:

Boy, what strange times we live in. :uhoh:

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May 16, 2004, 03:23 AM
HMMM, yes, it is strange that the media has not picked up on that. But I would be banned or slapped by a mod if I stated what I think the problem is.:scrutiny:

May 16, 2004, 04:15 AM
I kinda suspected that he was Jewish, based on the last name. Rational: Here in Denver there was an outspoken, opinionated radio personality named Allen Berg, who as gunned down by a sorry waste of food and air white supemicist. Allen Berg was Jewish. Sorta tenuous yes, but...

I do find it rather "interesting" that the news media either overlooked or chose to omit this peice of data about Mr. Berg. Makes me wonder ***?? :scrutiny: I also noted today surfing the cable news that there was still a good deal of coverage on the prisiner abuse situation in Iraq, but darn little about Mr. Berg. This was channel surfing the news stations (CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CBN, etc...) on cable while duiing my Sat. in house chores. Another *** moment. :scrutiny: One can not help but to wonder why this is.

May 16, 2004, 04:44 AM
Tis a point that one should consider along with many others. However the folks that commit this act are such nutballs that I don't think we need to try to infer what their unstated reasons were or to seek additional reasons to despise them.

What troubles me personally is that American media chose to broadcast the full footage (with sound) and so many Americans have purposefully sought out the streamed video and watched it not once but multiple times.

It happened and it's important that we were informed. But doesn't he deserve what privacy we can give him in his moment of death rather than replaying it over and over again?? Has our society really degraded to the point where we watch the brutal execution/murder of an innocent for entertainment???

One might also consider that the media profited by providing the archived footage on-line (can you say web-hits/advertising?).

May 16, 2004, 04:44 AM
Today I read about Nick Berg's funeral in the paper, about security at the synagogue, about the service. It's the first time anyone has alluded to the fact that Nick Berg was Jewish.This is patently untrue. Posters on this board have been talking about this fact for days.

Sargeant Bob mentioned that fact HERE ( May 14.

Master Blaster mentioned it at HERE (

Langenator mentioned it HERE (

I mentioned it HERE ( mentioned this fact in a story May 12 HERE (

The Philadelphia Enquirer mentioned this in a story on May 13 HERE (|Jim|N)

CNN mentioned it on May 11 HERE (

The BBC mentioned it May 12 HERE (

I can continue if necessary.

Sergeant Bob
May 16, 2004, 07:20 AM
Tis a point that one should consider along with many others. However the folks that commit this act are such nutballs that I don't think we need to try to infer what their unstated reasons were or to seek additional reasons to despise them.

According to a fatwa issued by OBL, the killing of Jews is one of his stated goals.

Al Qaeda Goals (

Osama bin Laden's Network of Terror

Ideology and Goals

The principal aims of al-Qaeda are to drive Americans and American influence out of all Muslim nations, especially Saudi Arabia; destroy Israel ; and topple pro-Western dictatorships around the Middle East. Furthermore, it is bin Laden's goal to unite all Muslims and establish, by force, an Islamic nation adhering to the rule of the first Caliphs.

According to bin Laden's 1998 fatwa (religious decree), it is the duty of Muslims around the world to wage holy war on the U.S., American citizens, and Jews. Muslims who do not heed this call are declared apostates (people who have forsaken their faith).

Fred Thompson
May 16, 2004, 08:44 AM
I have to disagree. People should see this video, to remind them that there ARE people over there that want to inflict harm on the U.S. We're at war, and the masses seem content to absorb the drivel from the media and be outraged about prisoners being humiliated.

Someone else said it, here I think, that those Iraqis interred would much rather have the U.S. be the prison keeper than Saddam. He went far beyond humiliation, and most people here seem to lose sight of that.

May 16, 2004, 10:19 AM
Let's think about what he did wrong...
He was in Iraq on his own, without the protection of working for a company
that had one of the contracts (my feeling is that he was a 'tower climber'
looking for freelance work).
He turned down the military's offer of safe passage OUT of Iraq, and then
refused to leave on his own.
He was, as has been pointed out, Jewish.
AND he made the mistake of thinking that the Fundamentalists are rational when it involves either Americans or Jews (and possibly other Islamics that don't believe as they do), or that they have any trace of empathy in them.
I am NOT saying that he 'had it coming' but it should not have been much of a surprise to anyone.

Sergeant Bob
May 16, 2004, 10:26 AM
It has been reported that he was carrying a copy of the Koran and some anti-semetic literature with him.
If true, why? Did he think if caught by AQ it would protect him as garlic or a cross might protect against vampires?

May 16, 2004, 10:33 AM
After the initial shock, I find it hard to muster much symphathy. Greed seems to be the reason he was there. Why else would anyone be in a war zone without protection from the troops? Given his faith (which i did not put 2 and 2 together till this thread), it seems insane to be there. If the reports are true, he repeatedly went to dangerous areas, dispite warnings.
No , I do not think "he had it coming", but JEEZ, a little common sense should have over come the greed.
Flame away.:rolleyes:

May 16, 2004, 10:37 AM
For all of it's base, abject cruelty and barbarism,the grisly video of Nick Berg being decapitated serves an essential purpose in our War on Terrorists. It allow us to stare straight into the face of the enemy and see him for EXACTLY what he is. The face is not Muslim, does not represent Islam, is not even Arabic or Farsi or even human for that matter. It is the hideous face of pure, animalistic evil incarnate. It is the face that the airline passengers saw as their throats were slit on 9/11. It is the face that Leon Klinghoffer saw as he and his wheelchair were dumped overboard off the Achille Lauro. It is the face that the Israeli Olympic team saw in Munich. It is the face of the Lockerbie bombers, the Madrid bombers, the Cole bombers, the Khobar Tower bombers, the Beirut Marine barracks bombers, the Bali bombers. It is the face of the murderers and butchers who mutilated American contractors and soldiers, dragging their corpses through the street. It is the face seen on busses in Israel just before detonation and their desperate explosion of hatred. If we quit, falter or show any lack of resolve, It is the face that will someday hover over your bed and your child's bed in the dead of night, that will blow up our trains, our busses, our buildings, our schools; given the chance, indescriminately killing us all unless stopped DEAD in its tracks NOW, TODAY.
We need to wake up. This ain't over by a damn sight. :fire:

May 16, 2004, 10:44 AM
What makes it hard is that without exception, the perps who do these horrendous things say it IS Islam. In it's truest form.

Kinda makes it rough to be objective..


May 16, 2004, 10:48 AM
Hmmmm, most of the news I've seen about it mentions the fact that Berg was Jewish, but no one is making a big deal of it.?!?!?!? The general level of outrage is underwhelming, regardless, it's as if our 'press' would rather harp on the US as the criminals for the prisoner abuse (a problem that we're jumping thru our backsides to fix) rather than vilify the terrorists for the animals that they are (a 'problem' that the 'Arab world' doesn't seem to be doing ANYTHING about). Go figure :barf: :barf: :barf:

I'm sitting here watching "Meet the Press" with Russert asking Powell why the Arab world is not showing outrage over the murder . . . Powell has no expalaination, but it doesn' sit well:rolleyes:

"Interesting" times we live in:scrutiny:

May 16, 2004, 10:56 AM
He was there as a businessman trying to turn a buck, he knew or should have known the risks. They aren't paying $100,000 for truck drivers for no good reason.

May 16, 2004, 11:54 AM
He was there as a businessman trying to turn a buck, he knew or should have known the risks. They aren't paying $100,000 for truck drivers for no good reason.

That may be true and was my initial assessment.

However, he did not enter the country legally. From what I know, contractors hire people in the US and then send them over to work. I do not believe that contractors on the government payroll stop at the corner of the local Home Depot and pick up day labor.

He was there without legal entry, with no contract or job, roaming around the nasty, violent parts of Iraq, incidentally let Mossaoui use his e-mail in 1999, had a Q'ran in his possession.......:scrutiny:

Art Eatman
May 16, 2004, 12:01 PM
Last night on Fox, it was spoken that Berg was Jewish. What seems to not be known is exactly WHY he was in Iraq in the first place. If there was any glossing-over, it was this issue.

Geraldo's reporters started out with a whole bunch of "this doesn't smell right" stuff, listing several matters. Trouble was, they never brought out anything to explain why there could be a bunch of BS in the stories, or not-BS in the stories. Disappointing.


May 16, 2004, 12:04 PM
What makes it hard is that without exception, the perps who do these horrendous things say it IS Islam. In it's truest form.

Just as thirty years ago we had ghetto thugs with evil in mind screaming "Power to the People?"

Did they understand the concept any more than than Berg's killers? Any word or term can be used as an expletive, and, as Harris suggests, it's not meant to communicate but rather to create a bond among those who utter it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving anyone a pass here, just saying we need to look past words, with everyone, and at their actions.

May 16, 2004, 12:19 PM
"'s as if our 'press' would rather harp on the US as the criminals for the prisoner abuse..."

Right on. We on this site all know the reason for this. The "abuse scandal" can be used to flog Dubya. The fact that Mr. Berg was Jewish, if stated too loudly, might get the sheeple to thinking that we are dealing with anti-Semetic scum and may hold Dubya in a favorable light and think that maybe he should continue to lead this WOT.

After all, the "mainstream" press and the terror enablers in congress would rather win the WH than stop terrorism. Liberty is in the balance. Which way will it go. Totalitarianism is a lot easier to maintain than liberty with all of its business with individual rights.

The bliss of tyranny vs. the chaos of Liberty?? Which way do you vote??

Well, tyranny ain't very blissful if you happen to think. However, gov't schools are taking care of that. They are doing kids a favor in the long run. When thinking is outlawed, those properly taught kids will be ahead of the rest of us.


May 16, 2004, 12:58 PM
I saw one report one time that said Berg was picked up with anti-semetic literature and a copy of the Koran in his possession. No other details.

My gut tells me there is more to the story to come out.

Cool Hand Luke 22:36
May 16, 2004, 01:22 PM
Do you notice the ONE THING nobody is saying about Nick Berg?

That he has a good head on his shoulders? :evil:

...sound of distant rimshot......

(Sorry, it was too obvious to pass up)

Don Gwinn
May 16, 2004, 01:27 PM
Yeah, I don't know what coverage you've been watching, but I've been hearing on ABC and CBS news on the radio that the captors actually stated at one point that Berg was killed at least partly because he was Jewish. The point was discussed. I don't think there's any kind of liberal media conspiracy not to cover that point. I'd guess you just happened to miss it one way or the other.

May 16, 2004, 01:52 PM
I've heard reports that pointed out both he and Daniel Pearl were Jewish, so it is being brought up. I think most of us just tend to identify with them as Americans and assume that's why they were killed.

May 16, 2004, 03:02 PM
I'm putting on my flame proof underwear now so have at me, but when I consider all the wrong, dangerous, ill-advised things he did leading up to his death, maybe he should be given a Darwin Award.

May 16, 2004, 04:49 PM
Bravo Oldfart, you took the words out of my mouth. Why anyone who is an American (and a Jew) would wander about Iraq on his/her own is beyond me and said person deserves a Darwin award. Unless he was something in addition and they are not telling us.

May 16, 2004, 05:03 PM
I second the nomination.

May 16, 2004, 05:11 PM
My money is on the guess that he was a Mossad agent.

May 16, 2004, 05:22 PM
Or at least a Mossad asset.

Of course, with the Mossad we will never know because, unlike our own CIA and congress which can't keep a secret about anything, they will never tell.

May 16, 2004, 05:35 PM
He could also have been a useful fool for AQ.

May 16, 2004, 05:35 PM
William of Occam (1284-1347) was an English philosopher and theologian. His work on knowledge, logic and scientific inquiry played a major role in the transition from medieval to modern thought. He based scientific knowledge on experience and self-evident truths, and on logical propositions resulting from those two sources. In his writings, Occam stressed the Aristotelian principle that entities must not be multiplied beyond what is necessary. This principle became known as Occam's Razor, a problem should be stated in its basic and simplest terms. In science, the simplest theory that fits the facts of a problem is the one that should be selected.

May 16, 2004, 05:52 PM
All of the 'useful tools' of Al Quida
are in the US Congress, led by Teddy bin Drinkin.

May 16, 2004, 06:28 PM
OK, I'll be the first to speculate on a possiblity........

Was he in ca-hoots them which was his reason for being there, which is why the FBI/Iraqi police held him? Also, his beheading was either for fear he turned over information to the FBI/Iraqi police or, for just being a liability to Al Qaeda from then on?

I know, a ton of questions, me too. What other senarios do you all see?

May 16, 2004, 06:37 PM
I think it would be absurd to believe that an American Jew was in cahoots with Al Qaeda. That is, unless he was as twisted as his dad. All information points to him not being anit-American.

So, Occam's razor leaves us with the Mossad. That would explain his happenstance meeting with AQ agents in the US, his passage to Iraq illegaly with only an Israeli stamp in the passport (although I can't believe they would slip like that), his detention on suspicion by Iraqi/US forces, the offered flight out (as an asset), his hanging around bad parts of town "looking for work" while possibly running nefarious errands.......

You get my drift...

But the "stupid" angle does have its merits.

May 16, 2004, 06:59 PM
What's his reason for carrying a Koran? His OU happenstance with Mossoui and the computer password?


May 16, 2004, 07:51 PM
I also mentioned in a thread a few days ago that Mr. Berg was a Jew. Someone responded by saying "what does his religion have to do with anything.......

The simple reason usually being correct leads me to believe that perhaps Mr. Berg was like many Americans today......they think that going anywhere in the rest of the world is like wandering around in Michigan.


May 16, 2004, 07:53 PM
"All of the 'useful tools' of Al Quida
are in the US Congress, led by Teddy bin Drinkin."

Well, not all of them. There's Looneywood, CNNABCCBSNBC.
95% of college profs. and airhead america.



May 16, 2004, 07:59 PM
Didn't he have an Iraqi uncle/relatives living in the northern part of Iraq? There a very few Iraqi Jews left, so I'm guessing these relative may have been Christian (perhaps Muslims)?

May 16, 2004, 08:07 PM
Shucky Darn, I forgot about that

Didn't he have an Iraqi uncle/relatives living in the northern part of Iraq? There a very few Iraqi Jews left, so I'm guessing these relative may have been Christian (perhaps Muslims)?

He does have Iraqi relative(s). Now that screws up the whole Occam's razor thing.

Unless.............The marriage within the family to an Iraqi(s) was designed for future Mossad cover? :confused:

:uhoh: :scrutiny: :D

It is getting deep.

Stoopid is looking very likely

May 16, 2004, 08:21 PM
Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg were both Jewish. It's not a coincidence that they were both beheaded on video. The subject has been discussed at length in the media.

May 16, 2004, 09:14 PM

What is troubling is that their are extremely intelligent people on this forum and when we are all kinda..uhhh...stumped, daised and confused about this, it leaves too much to the imagination. The whole thing just doesn't add up.

May 16, 2004, 09:49 PM

We may never know.

May 16, 2004, 10:13 PM
True my friend, true.

R.H. Lee
May 16, 2004, 10:57 PM
That he was a Mossad agent makes no sense. What Mossad agent would be undercover as an American Jew? I would think Mossad would want an agent who looked and spoke Iraqi, not a chubby 26 year old American.:confused:

May 16, 2004, 11:59 PM
Nick’s religion has been front and center in the headlines here. As for CIA/Mossad; probably not. The insurgents may have thought he was, but I don’t think it mattered to them one way or the other.

There were remnants of an Iraqi Jewish community, but from what I’ve heard, most of them have gotten out of dodge since we rolled through; so the family story is plausible.

But the pieces still don’t add. With the limited available set of facts, my guess is that the father asked some of his ANSWER friends to make sure that someone looked after his kid in the sand box.

And they looked after him.

I can imagine he refused the ride home offered to him, because he thought transport was taken care of through his father.

That would also explain why no one would touch him for the microwave antenna repairs. Tech’s from my old employer (a microwave based phone company) get pestered on a weekly basis to head over; there is lots of work to be done in that field. But, if you can’t pass a clearance because you are linked to a Sadam funded anti-war group with reputed ties to the current insurgency, you don’t work.

I hope I’m wrong with this guess. The Berg’s have enough pain on their plate.


May 17, 2004, 03:47 AM
You're wrong-I don't think there's ANYTHING like wandering around in Michigan :D

OK, maybe I should have clarified in my initial post. I was seeing very little in print. As to why he was there, you conspiracists can shed your tinfoil. As 7.62fmj points out, Occam's Razor has not left the building. My guess is, Mr. Berg was in Iraq partly because he was in denial about reality. Liberals see what they want to see. Or to put it more accurately, "If I can envision a better world, then I should behave as though that world is already in place." Mr. Berg ignored common sense and the warnings of his government, and ignored the fact that his religious beliefs made him an extra special prize.

And no, he wasn't Mossad :rolleyes: . Mossad isn't that obvious.

Deguello, Daniel Pearl was a reporter, and reporters put themselves in harm's way sometimes. And Pakistan wasn't thought to be as dangerous as we KNOW Iraq to be.

No, Nick Berg just FUBARed.

OK, I've repudiated my original post. You can all go somewhere else now. :p

Are you gone yet?

May 17, 2004, 04:44 AM
...Nick Berg was a bit like that guy and his girlfriend who went up to Kodiak Island or someplace without a gun because they thought they could sing to the bears and be OK.

Is this it??


May 17, 2004, 05:16 AM
Maybe the the guy was just a weird, cranky, idiosyncratic individualist? Of course, that doesn't describe any of us...

May 17, 2004, 05:31 AM
Of course it ain't healthy to be an individualist, all by your lonesome, in a war zone.

Cool Hand Luke 22:36
May 17, 2004, 06:31 AM
My theory:

Berg the younger traveled to Iraq in order to make contact with the insurgents linked to Al-Queda.

This was at the behest of his father and more senior elements of International A.N.S.W.E.R.

The reason was to establish their own "back channel" negotiations with Al-Queda and the Iraqi insurgents, in order to embarrass the Bush Administration.

Intl. A.N.S.W.E.R. may have been hoping for a situation similar to that which existed during the Vietnam War where anti-war Americans (notably John Kerry) met with North Vietnamese Government officials in France in order to "negotiate" terms of peace and a US withdrawal from S. Vietnam.

Intl. A.N.S.W.E.R. would love to be able to serve as a conduit for Al-Queda and Iraqi Insurgents "reasonable" demands to end the war and stop terror attacks on the US. The attacks would never stop of course, but the extremist leftists in A.N.S.W.E.R. could use that as propaganda against the US Government just as well.

Berg was in Iraq on a mission for US anti-war groups, that's clear from his earlier contacts with Al-Queda operatives in the US.

As his father said: "They killed their best friend" referring to the Al-Queda terrorists who murdered his son.

Master Blaster
May 17, 2004, 09:23 AM
Personally I think he was just there trying to get work fixing towers, and it seems that he was what we would call an adrenalin junkie, he was ther because it was dangerous and challenging.

Posted on Sun, May. 16, 2004

• Peace is the answer, Berg's father says
• U.S. kills 18 loyalists of radical cleric Sadr
• Rumsfeld OKd prison plan, report says
• More on Iraq

A life lived fearlessly, but lost too soon

Idealistic, trusting, brash, Nick Berg went to Iraq to help. It cost his life.

By Sandy Bauers

Inquirer Staff Writer

He was 26 years old.

He introduced himself in Arabic as bogdne - "tower guy."

He traveled the Iraqi countryside, climbing 1,000 feet into the air to inspect and repair communications towers.

In chatty, quirky e-mails to family and friends, he sounded upbeat, even happy.

He came across as someone who felt safe, someone on a mission that was worthwhile. With a bit of adventure tossed in.

But by the time Nick Berg was released after 13 days in an Iraqi prison, hostilities had escalated dramatically.

By then, getting from his Baghdad hotel to the airport and a flight home was the equivalent of "crossing a pit of fire to get to the golden oasis," said a friend, Tom Clardy.

Berg checked out of his Baghdad hotel about 7 a.m. on April 10 and told the receptionist, "Inshallah [God willing], I will be back in a few days."

A porter put his bags on a cart and they walked toward busy Saadoun Street. But the U.S. Army had blocked it. A soldier motioned for them to turn around.

The porter dropped the bags and turned back. Berg picked them up and kept walking.

His decapitated body was found 28 days later, on May 8, at a Baghdad highway overpass.

Prometheus Methods Tower Service Inc. was the whimsical name Nick Berg cooked up for his West Chester company.

According to Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from heaven and gave it to man.

Maybe Berg had a little of that brashness in him, too.

At the base of a radio tower taller than One Liberty Place, he'd grab hold and begin climbing. Sometimes it would take two hours to get to the top.

On the way, he'd inspect the structure, the guy wires, electrical cables. He'd repair things.

He'd done it in Texas and across the Mid-Atlantic. On Dec. 21, he left to do the same thing in Iraq.

After a conference about business opportunities in Iraq, he hooked up with Aziz Taee, Philadelphia director of the American-Iraqi Council, who agreed to give him Baghdad office space.

Berg's family said he was an idealist who had traveled to Third World countries on other projects. He wanted to help.

He quit several colleges. A hands-on guy, he disdained "the kind of job where the engineers are afraid to get their Jaguars dirty," his father said.

"The game plan was to make the towers in Iraq serviceable again," said Berg's U.S. foreman, Scott Hollinger.

In the north, Berg inspected a tower at a broadcast site near Kurdish-controlled territory.

It was kind of un-nerving to inspect this thing with so many incongruities... . Still, it was beautiful, a really superb piece of engineering nestled on a beautiful riverside... .

Before visiting a country, Berg would immerse himself in its culture, history and language, Hollinger said. He read Livingstone before he went to Africa. When he went to Iraq, he was reading A.J. Barker's Arab-Israeli Wars.

He always carried a copy of the Torah, Hollinger said. "He was a glutton for information. It wouldn't surprise me that he had the Koran with him, too."

The night before he went home from that first trip, Berg was mugged, Taee said. "I was always pressuring him to keep a low profile, but he ignored all my caution and advice." He was out late at night and took public transport.

When Berg got home on Feb. 1, "we breathed a sigh of relief," his father said.

His parents hadn't wanted him to go. They'd been afraid for him. They had even done their best to talk him out of it. At least now he was home safe.

Then he shocked them again.

He said he was going back.

Nick Berg infuriated his family sometimes.

He was so trusting, he'd leave his apartment door unlocked.

He believed in people.

He didn't believe, Michael Berg said, "that people would" - he paused - "do things."

Back in high school, he was the energetic one, the one who was outgoing, funny, inquisitive. The one who was always rigging up a zany device to demonstrate a physics principle.

They should have known he'd go to high places, his family and friends joked. On a family trip to the Grand Canyon, he went to the edge. When the 2000 Republican National Convention came to town, he went to the ceiling to rig wires.

He was fearless.

Nick Berg left the second time for Iraq on March 14.

He invited Taee to go to Mosul with him, but Taee said it was too dangerous.

By now, lots of tower companies were in Iraq. Hollinger said Berg looked to be more of a service broker.

He was compiling a database of all the towers in Iraq and what they needed. He had a likely customer: Harris Corp., a company with a $96 million contract.

"He climbed every tower in Iraq," Hollinger said. "He didn't care if he had to climb them in the dark. That was his nature."

The game plan was to score a contract, Hollinger said. Berg wanted to cover his costs.

But he also had a wedding to go to. A friend, Doug Strickland, was getting married April 3.

Berg was to be on a March 30 flight from Jordan to New York.

Michael Berg met the plane, but Nick wasn't on it.

April 2 was Nick Berg's birthday, and he spent it in an Iraqi prison, doing push-ups.

He was placed in an Iraqi police cell block with 70 criminals. He found humor in it, comparing it to the song "Alice's Restaurant": "I felt... like Arlo Guthrie walking into a cell full of mother-rapers and father-stabbers as an accused litterbug."

By April 2, he had already been in prison nine days. Just two days earlier, the FBI had come to the Bergs' home to ask them about Nick; the Bergs felt they had verified who he was.

But still, Nick wasn't released.

On April 5, they filed a federal suit, claiming he was being held illegally by the U.S. military.

But the question that rankled and escalated last week was: Who was really holding Nick Berg?

The U.S. government said the Iraqi military kept him. A Mosul police official said they didn't.

Michael Berg produced an April 1 e-mail from a U.S. consular officer in Iraq: "I have confirmed that your son, Nick, is being detained by the U.S. military in Mosul. He is safe... ."

A government official later said the e-mail was in error.

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter has vowed to sort out the truth. "The inquiries will be very intense," the Pennsylvania Republican said.

Meanwhile, various news events swirled around the vortex that had become Nick Berg.

It turned out that the FBI had questioned him a few years ago over a possible connection to accused 9/11 coconspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. Michael Berg said Nick had simply shared his computer with a fellow student at the University of Oklahoma. It was a coincidence.

But apparently, when Berg revealed that to FBI officials in Iraq, it delayed his release.

Michael Berg has contended that if his son had been released earlier, he would be home safe today. The "terrorist" connection enraged him.

"In the '50s, if you called someone a communist, you didn't have to prove it; just calling him a communist relieved him of all his rights," he said. "And that's what the word terrorist means today."

After he got out of prison, was Nick Berg scared?

"It's kind of difficult to say," Michael Berg said. "You're talking about a 26-year-old male who would like the world to believe he's not scared of anything. But... reading between the lines, I'd have to say yes."

The government says he refused its offer to "facilitate safe passage" out of the country.

Hollinger thinks he knows why Berg might have been reluctant to leave: "He was close to getting some... contracts."

The days after his release are murky territory. One guest at Berg's hotel told a reporter they had had beers together and Berg had told him he intended to go sailing in Turkey.

Hollinger can't believe it. "Nick never had a beer in his life. He was absolutely vice-free."

Berg told his parents he was looking for a way out. He might go through Kuwait. Or get to Turkey. He felt it was too dangerous to try to get to the airport on the other side of Baghdad.

Michael Berg told him on April 9: "Use your judgment. Get home as fast as you can. But don't take any chances."

They never heard from him again.

Aziz Taee did, however. He said Berg called him April 10 "to say he found some friend to travel with to Jordan... . I told him to have a nice trip."

Now, amid the outpouring of concern and compassion, some have wondered why Nick Berg was there in the first place.

He was an anomaly: alone, unauthorized, a guy trying to find work. Was his idealism misplaced or naive?

On April 14, four days after Berg disappeared, the U.S. Commerce Department held a conference in Philadelphia to promote working and investing in Iraq.

William H. Lash 3d, chairman of the department's Iraq and Afghanistan Reconstruction Task Force, said: "Don't think of it as an economic opportunity; think of it as a moral obligation."

Last week, a militant group released a video of Nick Berg in an orange jumpsuit, his hands and ankles bound, as five masked men stood behind him and read a statement.

Then one of them pulled out a very large knife.

The Defense Department confirmed that the voice on the gruesome video was that of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The confirmation "is highly significant," Specter said. "That makes it squarely an al-Qaeda operation... . There now appears to be clear-cut evidence of a connection between al-Qaeda and the insurgency and the militia action in Iraq today."

Nick Berg came home on a military transport plane after all. His body was flown home to U.S. soil Wednesday.

The family had requested permission to meet the plane in Dover. It was denied.

They spent the week grieving inside their home under the intense scrutiny of worldwide media, condolences pouring in from around the globe, flower arrangements piling up in front of the house.

Occasionally, a family member would come out to ask the media to go away and to beg that they not attend the memorial service. Those requests were denied, too.

On Thursday, Michael Berg made angry comments about President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying they had as good as caused his son's death. He planted an antiwar sign in his yard.

While Nick Berg had supported this country's intervention in Iraq, Michael Berg vehemently opposed it. Long ago, they had just agreed to disagree.

On Friday morning, as flags throughout Chester County flew at half-mast, Nicholas Evan Berg was buried in Jenkintown.

That afternoon, hundreds of people filed into a West Chester synagogue to memorialize the man they had lost - grandson, son, brother, student, friend.

Yesterday morning, Michael Berg came out onto his front lawn one more time. He straightened the peace sign, which had blown over, and declared, "If peace is radical, I'm a radical."

He said he knew "in my heart that the vast majority of people in this country and in Iraq... want peace."

But, he said, "we're not politicians. We're not power-brokers... . We're people out here cutting our grass on a Saturday morning.

"What we want is peace, and what we want is our sons and our daughters back."

I dont think Mr. Berg and Nick agreed on politics at all, Nick Berg was a Bush supporter according to his friends. JMHO

Master Blaster
May 17, 2004, 09:30 AM
Berg had a towering achievement in mind

By Nancy Petersen

Inquirer Staff Writer

At the time of his death, Nick Berg's dream was finally taking shape.

On a small Lancaster County farm near Quarryville, Pa., in a wooded area halfway up a hill, a grid of steel rods crisscrossed the bottom of a 12-by-12-foot pit dug about five feet into the ground.

It was the foundation for a 199-foot-tall communications tower that would be built from massive, interlocking concrete blocks made and designed by Berg. Each of the blocks would be at least 4 feet long, and fit like giant Legos.

He called them bovl blocks. Bovl, according to the Yiddish Dictionary Online, can mean to grant or to accord.

"We were going to build the first permanent [concrete] tower here," Scott Hollinger, Berg's crew foreman, said standing over the hole. "It seemed like an idea with merit."

A huge, concrete radio tower is probably not a practical idea for this country, but in the Third World, where a conventional steel tower would not only be prohibitively expensive, but hard to come by, it would likely be a hit, Hollinger said.

By building them from his concrete blocks, Berg could make the towers out of whatever kind of sand or dirt was at hand. They would be easy to build, maintenance-free, and readily available. And they would be the perfect vehicle for countries struggling to get ahead in the 21st century.

Indeed, he had already set up a subsidiary of his company, Prometheus Methods Tower Service Inc., in Kenya.

"This was the master plan - he would be the owner of multiple towers and then rent space on them," Hollinger said. "That was how he was going to build his empire."

Hollinger, 37, a tree surgeon, landscaper and Marine Corps veteran, met Berg when he answered Berg's ad for a climber.

"I was always interested in the tower game, and the pay was good," he said. He joined Berg's company in January 2003.

Hollinger said the idea for a concrete tower first took shape several years ago when Berg traveled to Uganda as a college student. Later in Kenya, he worked with Masai villagers to craft early versions of the bovl blocks, showing them how to build towers that served double duty as both anchors for radio gear and storage containers for fresh water, Hollinger said.

By last fall, Berg was ready and eager for the engineering community to see the foundation of his dream.

He buttonholed Dale Gehman, vice president of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, and said he wanted to be a vendor at the organization's annual engineering conference that was held at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center last October.

His exhibit: a 20-foot model of his concrete tower.

"I had to get a special exception from the convention center because the tower was so heavy," Gehman said. "But to me, it was totally fascinating."

The night before the conference opened, Berg arrived with the concrete blocks, a flatbed truck on which he had rigged up a crane, Hollinger, a few friends - and plenty of energy.

"He started to set up at 6 p.m. and when I left at midnight, he was still working," Gehman said. "I came in in the morning and he had an American flag on top of it. It was one of the highlights of our show."

Edd Monskie, vice president for engineering at Hall Communications, a Lancaster, Pa., firm that owns radio stations, said that in his 30 years in the broadcasting business, he had never seen anything like it. But he liked the concept.

"For Third World countries, it sounded like a great idea," Monskie said. "They would just come right into the 21st century."

Berg was an idealist who wanted to help people and make the world a better place, said his friend Tom Clardy. And the concrete tower was a typically down-to-earth approach to solving a world-class problem, he said.

"For his solutions to work they had to be practical and they had to use the materials at hand," Clardy said. "He would do things the way he thought they ought to be done."

Master Blaster
May 17, 2004, 09:32 AM
Posted on Sun, May. 16, 2004

Arabs must denounce Berg's slaying

Massoud A. Derhally

is former deputy editor of Dubai-based Arabian Business magazine and a correspondent for Agence France-Presse

I feel for the family of Nick Berg, who was killed by senseless and ruthless butchers claiming to be Muslims. As an Arab and as a Muslim, I am at a loss for words. I know that my expressions of sorrow at such a chilling and inhuman act will bring little comfort to the Berg family.

But what I can say with certainty, so that the death of Nick Berg is not in vain, is that every single Arab and Muslim leader must without any reservation deplore this outrageous and heinous act.

Every Muslim cleric around the world should condemn the death of Nick Berg. They should issue edicts that outlaw such acts as un-Islamic and unrepresentative of the Arab and Muslim world.

Leaders in political and religious circles must not let this act stand. Their silence may very well be misconstrued as an admission of approval. The death of Daniel Pearl should have elicited outright condemnation. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks carried out in Saudi Arabia, and those against the United Nations and the Iraqi people should all have been denounced unequivocally.

In the minds of some, perhaps even many Arabs, the repulsive pictures of Abu Ghraib prison played a role in the death of Berg. While the likes of Osama bin Laden and his henchmen will continue to manipulate such pictures, those in leadership roles across the Arab and Muslim world must make every effort to fight such heretics and stop the spread of their poison.

It is counterproductive for Arab and Muslim leaders to say one thing to the foreign press and media and say another to their home audiences, directly or indirectly condoning hatred and mad acts of terrorism. Arabs everywhere should be enraged by the deficiency of human rights in their own countries - by the fact that such militancy and extremism have been allowed to thrive.

Arabs who rationalize Berg's killing as a response to the abuses at Abu Ghraib are bigots. Many incidents in the Arab world dwarf Abu Ghraib. Wretched human-rights violations continue daily, yet somehow aren't met with the same indignation and high standards of accountability to which Arabs hold America. The very absence of these fundamental values underscores the impotence of the Arab people. The truth of the matter is that the Arab world is not a world of moderation, so long as leaders allow such horrid people to spread their venom.

Iraq. If Donald Rumsfeld can exhibit a measurable amount of humility, so can our leaders in admitting their mistakes, and so can we as we struggle to define ourselves in this century.

True, America's unrelenting support of Israel, now anchored more than ever after Bush's unconditional endorsement of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, provides ammunition to hate. But it's also true that this alliance exemplifies the failure of Arab leaders to overcome such overbearing domination and humiliation. Most Arab governments use the Israel wild card as a way to sanction crackdowns, deny civil liberties, and instill fear and paranoia. Above all, it teaches people to hate.

Arab anger at America reflects the inability of people to express anger at their own governments; their inability to rise up against injustices committed in their own backyards; and the absence of checks and balances that in democracies ensure accountability.

Democracy, say some, is a system that is not for Arabs. Arabs need to be ruled by an iron fist. They say the culture and norms of the Arab world don't allow for the expression of different opinions or the coexistence of different ideologies. It is precisely this line of reasoning that continues to cultivate an environment that nurtures zealots.

If transparent democracy were more common in the Arab world today, those calling for reforms would be hailed, not arrested. Women would be empowered. Were our own abuses publicly acknowledged, perhaps the region would escape this twilight zone and experience an Arab reawakening.

So when Arabs look at those pictures of Iraqis being humiliated, and when they see and hear of the heartless murder of Berg, they should take a look in the mirror. They may very well not like what they see.

Contact Massoud A. Derhally at

May 17, 2004, 11:47 AM
You state that the media has "completely avoided" any mention of judaism, and that you read about it in the newspaper. The media is obviously not avoiding the issue if you read about it in the paper.

May 17, 2004, 05:23 PM
Closed as OT.

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