PHILADELPHIA - The father of Nick Berg, the American beheaded in Iraq, directly blamed President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday for his son's death.
"My son died for the sins of George Bush and Donald
Rumsfeld. This administration did this," Berg said in an
interview with radio station KYW-AM.
In the interview from outside his home in West Chester,
Pennsylvania, a seething Michael Berg also said his 26-year-old
son, a civilian contractor, probably would have felt positive,
even about his executioners, until the last minute.
It's not the same America I grew up in.
"I am sure that he only saw the good in his captors until
the last second of his life," Berg said. "They did not know
what they were doing. They killed their best friend."
Two days after the publication of a video showing the
execution of his son by five masked men, Berg attacked the Bush
administration for its invasion of Iraq and its sponsorship of
the Patriot Act, which gives sweeping powers of surveillance to
the federal government.
Berg described the Patriot Act as a "coup d'etat." He
added: "It's not the same America I grew up in."
The criticism came amid finger-pointing between Berg's
family, U.S. military officials and Iraqi police over the young
businessman's imprisonment before his execution.
Michael Berg rejected U.S. government claims that his son
had never been held by American authorities in Iraq. The Iraqi
police chief in the city of Mosul has also contradicted
statements by the U.S.-led coalition concerning the younger
'FBI CAME TO MY HOUSE'
"I have a written statement from the State Department in
Baghdad ... saying that my son was being held by the military,"
Berg said. "I can also assure you that the FBI came to my house
on March 31 and told me that the FBI had him in Mosul in an
Dan Senor, spokesman for the Coalition Provisional
Authority, said this week that Nick Berg was arrested in Mosul
by Iraqi police on March 24 and released on April 6.
Senor said the FBI visited Berg three times during his
detention by Iraqi police and determined that he was not
involved in criminal or terrorist activities.
Brig.-Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the top U.S. military spokesman in
Iraq, said American military police had seen Berg during his
detention to make sure he was being fed and treated properly.
Berg returned to Baghdad from Mosul in April and went
missing on April 9, during a chaotic period when dozens of
foreigners were snatched by guerrillas west of the capital.
His body was discovered by a road near Baghdad on Saturday.
The video of his decapitation was posted on the Internet on
Berg had been in Baghdad from late December to Feb. 1 and
returned to Iraq in March. He did not find work and planned to
return home at the end of March, according to his parents.
Berg's communications to his parents stopped on March 24
and he told them later he was jailed by Iraqi officials after
being picked up at a checkpoint in Mosul.
On April 5, the Bergs filed a lawsuit against the U.S.
government, naming Rumsfeld and alleging their son was being
held illegally by the U.S. military in Iraq. The next day, he
Additional reporting by Maher al-Thanoon
Copyright © 2004 Reuters Limited.