I initially found no reason to watch the video of the apparent killing of Nick Berg. But when CNN notes that Zacarias Moussaoui used Berg’s hotmail account in the US, it is bound to trigger conspiracy theorists. Perhaps it is simply a coincidence, but it seems like a pretty strange one. Of course, it’s hard to know what the chances are of a meeting between a terrorist and an unrelated person who then provides the terrorist with his email password, but I suspect this happens pretty infrequently.
There is always room for doubt, but this list of issues on kuro5hin is worth a look over. It was enough to spur me to download and watch the gruesome video. I haven’t seen enough beheadings to be able to compare them, but the suggestion that Berg was dead when decapitated does not appear to be inconsistent with the video. Neither is it obvious that this was the case. I find it silly to think that this was an orchestrated attempt to “wag the dog,” but it does seem like there are some strange coincidences and contradictions in the story. Does it change the gruesome nature of the killing if, for example (and there is no evidence of these examples), Berg was already dead when decapitated, or if Berg was working for US intelligence. I think it would clearly change the rhetorical place of Berg’s killing.