Ever since the release of footage showing American Nick Berg being decapitated by
terrorists, there has been a huge reaction of shock, anger, disgust and sadness.
However, not surprisingly there have been a number of conspiracy theories appearing questioning the validity of the tape, and because of this I
decided to do a little digging into the footage myself.
Graphic Content WARNING
This Story Contains Graphic Content
Although many of the questions raised about it have been about the actual content, I was more concerned with the actual method with which the
footage was obtained itself. It seems to have been done very professionally, but let's first break down the footage shot for shot.
Ok, the video starts
and we have a shot of Nick Berg side on. The time starts at 13:26:24
and carries through a few seconds to 13:26:27
After this it cuts to a complete straight on shot of Nick, seemingly a continuation of the last portion but the time is 2:18:33
cut number 1
This portion carries through until 2:18:43
and then we cut to the main portion of the footage with the terrorists behind Nick. Here the
footage time begins at 2:40:32
. That's cut number 2
This is the lengthy
part of the footage and it continues until 2:44:42
when he is thrown on the floor and the knife is pulled.
Then we cut to a close up of Nick on the floor and the time begins at 13:45:47
. That's cut number 3
Now this lasts for
a few moments as Nick struggles on the floor and the camera man decides to go for an extreme close up which means you can't see anything for a few
seconds as the camera shakes like hell. The camera then starts to zoom out but cuts at a strange time at 13:45:52
It cuts to what looks like the exact same camera and shot but a few moments later at 13:45:59
. That's cut number 4
This shot plays out
as they start cutting his throat and lasts until 13:46:33
It then cuts to what must be a few brief seconds later at 13:47:46
where they lift his head towards the camera. That's cut number 5
and the footage ends after about another thirty seconds.
In order for it to be done this way it could only have been done really two ways:
First would be that it's one camera. If that is the case then the changes in time are really weird regardless of edits for time or not. To go
from 13:00 approx hours to 2:00 hours approx and back again to 13:00 approx would mean that not only were bits filmed many hours apart, they are
also out of order.
This doesn't make sense except for the last bit were it's just jumping forward in time by the space of a few seconds, but one has to ask why there
are cuts here? It's hardly to save time, not that much passes. It's also before and after the cutting which concerned me. One person pointed
out that this may have been done to make the killers look more efficient, but if you check the times I fail to see how a matter of 1 minute 13
really makes look any more efficient. If you wanted it to look as grizzly as possible you'd show the slow, hard and disgusting process
of trying to get through the spinal cord. Maybe they saw it differently though.
Method 2 - Most likely
Because of these weird jumps in time as well as the sometimes unusual cuts, it was most likely done with 2 cameras.
This would explain the apparent major jumps in time near the beginning because maybe both cameras were set to different times.
However this is what bothers me. If it was one of the terrorists who was an "amateur photographer" filming it for his fellow terrorists, why have
they used such a professional set up? They have decided to use a two camera angle set up which means that they've edited it afterwards.
Of course they could do this editing on a computer, they wouldn't need a professional editing system but how would a terrorist thug think of using
these techniques? It isn't the usual stop and start on your camera when something interesting isn't going on; they've actually done it
afterwards for pacing.
This would have to be people with media experience and know what they're doing. Now, if they're professionals and they know what they're doing
by deciding to get multiple angles and use editing techniques, why use such poor quality video camera? It just doesn't make sense to me, you might
as well go all out.
If they can afford/rob an editing system or a computer to edit the footage on, they can afford/rob professional cameras rather than the extremely
poor quality video they used.
One thing is for sure though, the last few shots were definitely the same camera. They've shaved out time between him going to ground, him
struggling on the floor as the camera zooms in and out; shaky and unfocused, then between the actual cuttings and finally to them lifting up his
What is the need for these cuts? It is definitely the same camera and there is no need to cut for pacing as we're talking a matter of seconds
here, there is absolutely no point.
The timing of where the cuts occur also concerns me. I'm not saying this is a fake, but what I have to say for the benefit of discussion is that
these would be the perfect spots for edits if you were in the special effects business. The beginning, the act, the effect.
Now if this actually turned out to be true it could mean a number of things. It is not necessarily "America fakes tape in response to the Iraq
abuse pictures so Bush can gain support". It really could mean anything, including that they showed Nick alive, killed him humanely and then
faked it themselves. They could also have faked the puppet e.t.c. It could mean many things so let's not jump the gun.
It is also possible that the terrorists sent the two separate tapes to the jihad website and they did the edit themselves. Unfortunately though no
one has come forward to claim credit for this edit as of yet, hopefully in the near future they will. Yet even if they did they will have to
seriously explain why they inserted the cuts where they did. There are still a few question marks over this one.
Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussions
Video Shows Beheading of American Civilian Nick Berg by Al Qaeda Group
Was Nicholas Berg Executed by the CIA?
Nicholas Berg Timeline and Video analysis
Nick Berg and Zacarias Moussaoui Linked
Nick Berg: US PsyOp sacrifice?
Fishy Circumstances and Flawed Timelines Surround American's Beheading
New View on Nick Berg
Is Aljazeera watching us? Re: Nick Berg
[Edited on 18-5-2004 by John Nada]