[Marxism] FYI: Abu Nasr on Berg Execution -- Against "Bloggers"

Pieinsky pieinsky at igc.org
Thu May 13 21:05:38 MDT 2004

Dear Jay,

I actually never saw the Berg execution video, only
still clips on an Islamist website and they were not
your best quality film, so I really can't say anything
about how much blood there was or wasn't or how
possible it was for him, bound hand and foot, to fight
or squirm.

I also didn't hear a recording of anybody reading the
message on the voice over.  But even if the accent of
that person were not Jordanian it wouldn't prove who
did the cutting.

But I did read the statement that accompanied the
video and, more importantly, a letter on that same
Islamist website dated two days before the video
statement.  Check the story on the latest Iraqi
Resistance Report for Tuesday.  Somewhere there
there's an account of the beheading and of that letter
by "Husayn ibn Mahmud".

The concepts and language of those letters sound quite
authentic to me.

As to the objection that the timing is bad - I think
that is simply true from the standpoint of doing
anit-war propaganda work in the west.  But al-Qa'idah
is not playing to the western audience at all.  Their
focus is the battle field and the recruiting field.

>From their perspective, the whole campaign of showing
photographs of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghurayb (which,
by the way, was reported in the Arabic media regularly
since the middle of last year, and which is also a
practice in all the US concentration camps and
prisons, not just Abu Ghurayb) that recent campaign in
al-Qa'idah's estimation is intended to intimidate the
Iraqis and Muslims in general, to deter them from
fighting.  In a sense the photograph campaign or
"scandal" also poses a challege to them, "well, what
are you going to DO about this?".

Al-Qa'idah doesn't see the latest spate of pictures of
abuse in Abu Ghurayb so much as a scandal because this
pattern of stripping and sodomizing prisoners and so
forth has been a steady pattern of US behavior towards
the Muslim prisoners from Afghanistan and Guantanamo
and in all the camps in Iraq.

So as they see it, the US purpose in broadcasting the
images is to intimidate and humiliate not only the
prisoners who are being stripped and abused, but the
Muslims outside the prisons as well.

Therefore NOW IS the time, as they see it, to respond.
And they have to respond or look, well, impotent.

Husayn ibn Mahmud explained that it's prohibited in
Islam to abuse prisoners as the Americans have done
(and added basically "anyhow they enjoy that sort of
thing"), but he said that "they have prisoners, and we
too have prisoners" and said that some of "our"
prisoners should be butchered and the killings
broadcast on Islamist websites as a deterrent to the
American abuses.  He also told the Arab media NOT to
show the scandal pictures from Abu Ghurayb or
elsewhere in order to protect the honour of those

The fact that Berg wore one of those orange prison
jump suits is very significant.  It underlines the
parallel that the Mujahideen were drawing between
their prisoners and the ones in the hands of the US. 
That was the whole thrust of their message.  They
never once said anything about Berg being Jewish or
speculating that he worked for Mossad or whatever.

I don't know when Berg was killed but the Husayn ibn
Mahmud letter was posted on that Islamist website two
days before the pictures and statement of the
beheading went up, so it looks like the one prepared
the way for the others.

Berg himself is quite a puzzle. I tend to think he was
some kind of Mossad agent.  Otherwise I don't
understand why he'd be held so long by the US and its
stooges prior to his capture by the mujahideen.  The
Mossad has supposedly been very active in northern
Iraq and Mosul fits in with that as well.  The notion
that he was hopelessly naive doesn't ring true to me. 
Nor the idea that he was an opponent of the
occupation, but wandering around all on his own.  
It's not impossible, I suppose, but it seems unlikely.

Well, those pretty much are my thoughts on that.

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