In the video frame above, the man in the orange outfit is a young American named Nicholas Berg.  In early May 2004 he was gruesomely murdered on camera by the man you see directly behind him.
That man is an American army sergeant named David Martha - or a name that sounds very similar to Martha.  The location is the headquarters of a military intelligence unit in or near Baghdad, most likely the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade.
At the time the general situation in Iraq was showing considerable improvement after the chaos of the American invasion.  The Iraqi population was not thrilled with the American occupation, but there seemed to be a common sense understanding that if everyone played the game the Americans would eventually go home.  But Berg's murder will be an unheralded turning point, both for the people of Iraq and the array of multinational forces and civilian contractors that have descended on the country.  As future events unfold, thousands of people will lose their lives in a carefully and deliberately engineered descent into hell itself.
This is a report I've been waiting a long time to write.  It began in 2004 with an e-mail from my friend Strider, an exceptionally gifted user of reversed speech who would later be a major contributor to the research underlying the Texas nuke story.  That is the story that led to the creation of this website (in self defense) and is permanently featured on our front page.  But there was no website when Strider wrote to me that he had made a major discovery about the beheading of Nick Berg.  He was obviously frightened.  Yet his sense of total outrage demanded that something be done.  "This has to stop!" he wrote.  His initial note was rather cryptic, though, and I didn't entirely understand what he had found.
I. The Nick Berg Beheading Video
Like many thousands of others, I had watched the Nick Berg video via the Internet, experiencing the same sense of shock and horror as everyone else.  I was also aware that the video had generated a great deal of controversy.  Initially this was highlighted by numerous claims that the whole thing was a senseless hoax.  It was virtually impossible to believe that anyone could participate in an act of such gross barbarism directed at another human being and, quite simply, no one wanted to believe it.  Yet Berg's decapitated body was soon found dumped on the side of a road near Baghdad and, despite original claims that the act depicted was physically unlikely, the awful truth began to sink in.  It was completely real.  We had actually witnessed a living man's head being sawed off with a large knife, and the severed head held up for all to see.
The video itself is an amateur effort with several scenes spliced together using home video editing software.  Digitally compressed so it could be sent over the Internet, the image quality is poor and the audio is worse.
It begins with a short scene of Nick Berg sitting in a chair, apparently answering a demand that he identify himself on camera.  He does so, telling who he is and where he is from, that he has family in America and so on.  An abrupt scene change takes the viewer to the scene shown above, with Berg sitting on the floor, hands and feet bound, and five masked thugs standing behind him.  Berg does not react to what is going on around him.  He may be drugged, or he may have been told that if he sits quietly for a little propaganda film he will be released. Obviously he has no idea of what is about to happen.  The men stand awkwardly, their posture suggesting nervousness and uncertainty.
The man in the center takes out several sheets of paper and reads a long statement in what I assume is Arabic.  We are told that he identifies himself as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.  The disgusting photos of abuse and torture at the Army-run Abu Ghraib prison have recently surfaced, outraging virtually everyone, and the speech appears to be a response to the American atrocities.
At the conclusion of the speech this man will grab Berg and force him to the floor as the others gather around and hold their victim immobile.  With a knife that looks much too small for the job he will begin sawing on Berg's neck while the camera continues to roll.  After a moment that seems to last forever it is over and the severed head is displayed as proof of the crime.  Naturally, the shock of seeing the violent death of someone who is completely helpless effects everyone who sees it.  But, more than anything else, the film powerfully conveys the evil of men who have fallen into a moral abyss from which there is no return; a theme with increasing relevance for America in the new millennium.
Once it became clear that Berg's on-camera murder was real, the rapidly increasing controversy over the video centered on identifying the killers.  This resolved to two issues.  Who was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and were there clues from the video itself that might show where it was made and who produced it?
The Arab world was just as shocked and offended by the video as everyone else, and reports from the Middle East were clear.  It was very unlikely that this was the real Zarqawi, a Jordanian street punk who, after being jailed for drug possession and sexual assault, traveled to Afghanistan to become a freedom fighter.  As far as could be determined the man was very probably dead.  Little was known about him other than the fact that he had been severely injured in Afghanistan and had been evacuated to Iraq for treatment.  His injuries were known to be sufficient to require at least the amputation of a leg, but the understanding within the Middle East was that it was unlikely Zarqawi had survived at all.  If he made it through the surgeries alive, he never contacted anyone afterward who would speak about it and apparently was never seen again in public - not even to drink coffee in a sidewalk cafe.
Zarqawi's only known skill was bomb making, and the role he played in the video was at odds with what was known of his character.  The man in the video also showed no sign in his movements of the crippling injuries, and spoke with an accent that native Arabic speakers insisted was not Jordanian.
While research into the Zarqawi identity quickly dead-ended, focus on the film itself was escalating.  Both Strider and I had been watching this development, mostly from simple curiosity, on the Above Top Secret forum, where some very credible analyses, often frame by frame, were reported.
There were many visible clues that suggested the video was not what it claimed to be.  The paint on the walls had an uncanny resemblance to the colors seen in the shocking photographs from Abu Ghraib prison.  The chair Berg was initially sitting in appeared to be identical to chairs seen at a number of other American controlled locations.  The clothing of the masked thugs had a goofy look to it, and for several seconds a behind-the-camera observer moved part way into the frame, wanting a better look at the progress of the neck-sawing, and apparently wearing a military uniform.
Questions about the video circulated widely on the Internet, while the captive U.S. media continued (even now) to treat the video's authenticity as unchallenged.  And despite the increasing suspicion among those who studied it, the story would remain in the same limbo as many 9/11 investigations - handicapped by the difficulty of "proving" something with pictures alone.
Strider and I were passive observers through all this until an ATS forum member wrote that he had heard whispered voices in the video that were speaking in English.  Since we both work with audio this issue was irresistible, and we each downloaded a copy of the video to play with.  Unfortunately, we both also agreed the matter of the whispered voices was a dead end.  There were definitely some whispers from the group behind the camera.  However they were at a very low level in an exceptionally noisy environment.  There was nothing we could do to confirm the impression that the whispered words were useable English.
That's where the matter stood until the day I got the e-mail from a very angry Strider.  It was clear he was absolutely furious.  But he was also frightened and didn't want to tell me the whole story in an unprotected e-mail.  In fact, he didn't even want to talk about it on the telephone!  All I could really figure out was that, before deleting the extracted Berg audio files from his computer, Strider had followed an old habit and tried reversed speech. Obviously he had found something important about the mysterious killer, Abu Maybe-Not al-Zarqawi.
DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
II. Reversed Speech and Foreign Languages
It took a few days for us to communicate in a way that seemed more secure.  Before that, however, I'd followed the clue I was given and was examining the audio from the Berg beheading for speech reversals.  Strider was right.  In spite of the rotten sound, horribly overdriven and filled with echoes from a concrete room, the audio was a reversed speech bonanza.
Why had I not done this before?  Just stupid, I guess!  Brain dead!  Unlike Strider I've known the U.S. government was totally corrupt for as long as I can remember.  Yet, even with all the talk of a possible false-flag operation it had simply not dawned on me to try RS on this masked goon speaking Arabic.  Reversals of a foreign language are normally also in that language, and if you are not conversant with it yourself you won't even recognize them.  But to understand this rule, and why it didn't apply, you have to understand the reason behind it.
Reversed speech is eavesdropping on what might be called below-the-surface thoughts, as well as the output from a number of unconscious mental processes.  (See What is Reversed Speech) These thought forms are naturally in a person's own language.  So if you reverse a Spaniard you get more Spanish, reverse a Greek and you get more Greek.  Most of these reversals you would not even recognize if you yourself did not speak the language.
Under unusual circumstances you might pick up an English phrase.  If for some reason a person had studied a certain phrase in English, then it is conceivable that an unconscious process would pop up with it if given the right circumstances and mental trigger. If they don't know any English at all, then looking for a reason must necessarily take you into metaphysical concepts that may be better understood in the future.
Bilingual or multilingual people are a different class entirely.  A person who is good enough with a foreign language to also think in that language will produce a fair number of speech reversals in that language when they are speaking it.  The number of these reversals are a good indicator of just how comfortable they are in that second or third language.  But if they are speaking their own native language you won't see this.  They simply are not going to speak in their own language while thinking in a foreign language in any common situation.
So apparently I had bought the idea that Berg's killer was an Arab, even though it might be CIA or military intelligence paying him to put on a show.  I never thought about reversing him because there was nothing I could do with reversals in Arabic.  It would all sound like nonsense.
Imagine my surprise when 98 percent of the killer's reversals were in good American English!
There is really only one way this could happen and there are absolutely no exceptions to the rule.  The man who killed Nick Berg, and was now calling himself Zarqawi, was one hundred percent American.  His thoughts and mental processes continued in his native English while he read foreign sentences from the paper in front of him.  For reversed speech this man's mind was an open book!
III.  The Mind Of A Killer
This article marks another "world first" for Ken-Welch.com; listening to the mind of a murderer during the actual crime.  However it was not a particularly easy process.  The extracted audio was the worst either of us had ever dealt with.  Eventually a combination of tonal filtering steps cleaned it up fairly well, although the reversed voice sounded pretty odd.  The combination of filtering, slowing and reversing emphasized the echoes in the room, and now you heard them all too well.  With only one man speaking the reversals sounded like three or four people speaking in unison.  However the filtering process was well worth the trouble.
In the sound clip below you can hear an example of the original material, followed by the same sound after processing.  This was the first segment I attempted to reverse, and I saved it.  It was my own moment of discovery; finding English words in what should have been unrecognizable backwards Arabic.  It's three minutes into the video and contained the only word I recognized, al-Qaeda (pronounced Al-Kay-Da).  Zarqawi was declaring the arrival of al-Qaeda in Iraq, now commencing "official" operations there in the form of himself and his buddies.  When I first reversed this sentence I distinctly heard the words, "I don't know" and marked them as a valid reversal.
After several weeks of trial and error, Strider and I agreed on a set of filtering steps that produced the most useable file.  After filtering the sound, it was clear that the al-Qaeda sentence included a continuos set of reversals, which were now easily identified.  In order they are "I don't know", then "On the way they told me", and "Army".  In the clip below they are in the backward sequence, as they are heard in the reversed file.  If you repeat the audio several times, giving your ears a chance to get up to speed, you can hear that the reversals are also present in the unfiltered original - they were simply less recognizable.
BEHEADING OF NICHOLAS BERG
DATE: May 8, 2004
INITIAL INVESTIGATION OF AUDIO FROM
TERRORIST VIDEO RELEASED ON WEB
ENGLISH Found in Speech Reversals
Example of Digital Filtering
Reversals Found - First Run:
I DO NOT KNOW
Reversals Found - After Filtering:
ON THE WAY THEY TELL ME WHY
I DO NOT KNOW
Once we had a useable file, Strider and I both worked on it during our spare time, starting from the beginning.  The initial reversals from "Zarqawi" were quite astounding in a number of ways.  He is much more concerned that he and his unit are in really big trouble, rather than the fact that he is about to commit a gruesome murder on camera.  We also learn how Berg came to be the victim.  Most surprising of all, the killer identifies himself with the first words out of his mouth.
Military personnel pick up strong habits from their training, and one of those follows the rule that when addressing a group you stand up and identify yourself first.  The killer is already standing of course, and in those first few seconds of reversed speech we hear him say,
"I'm David Martha."
Although I've been extracting information from RS for many years, I am not entirely certain how to evaluate this because it has never happened before!
Normally, a person refers to himself in RS in only two ways.  Thoughts near the surface will often use the word "I", but most unconscious expressions will use the word "you" to address the conscious person who is speaking.  This reflects our experience that many unconscious processes seem to be independent and tend to observe and judge the conscious person as if he or she is a separate entity; perhaps an unruly sibling.  I decided that I am willing to take this statement at face value until there is some reason not to.
Please note that some equipment may slightly alter the vowel, shifting the name toward "Murtha" from "Martha". Also, in bad recordings there is the possibility of sound-alike letters, such as F or PH instead of TH, and occasionaly the first reversal in a series will lose the last syllable... So "Martha" is a starting point, not a 100% certainty.
Listen now to the mind of a killer while he actually commits a murder:
VOICE OF ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI
COMMANDER OF AL-QAEDA IN IRAQ
Berg Beheading Video
DATE: May 8, 2004
First 25 seconds of long speech in Arabic
Speech Reversals Found:
I'M DAVID MARTHA
IS THE ROOM LOUD?
HELP ME GOD
READY - TROY'S HERE
A RED AGENT
C'EST LA VIE (French: "That's Life")
THERE'S MY P.B.O.
I COMMUNICATE AHEAD
FREAKY DATA FROM E.D.I.
THEY FOUND THE GUNNY
HE'S OUR PROPERTY
HE'S NOT A LITTLE GUY
BUT WE'RE OUT OF HOPE
AND NOW A LIE
AND WHAT HAPPENED TONIGHT
A LONG ONE
JULY - THE PFD BEHIND
PULL HAT ON
THEY LET HIM LOOSE
P.B.O. - Property Book Officer
GUNNY - A Marine N.C.O., Gunnery Sergeant
E.D.I. - Electronic Data Interchange, the means by which Federal agencies share files.
P.F.D. - Too many possibilities - might refer to a Procurement Fraud investigation
As Strider and I methodically worked through the Berg material a pretty good picture of the killer(s) and their environment emerged.  They were military of course, primarily Army, and the facility they were using was a military headquarters of some kind.  The color of the walls is surely the original Iraqi version of "GI" paint for low level government buildings.  Also, when we first reviewed the audio before using RS, we had noticed an interesting sound that kept repeating.  A sort of "swish" that we eventually decided was an automatic sliding door.
This might be used to keep air conditioning in, or to provide sound isolation between different work areas.  Using RS, we learned that during the filming of the murder people kept walking by.  Some of them come through this door.  Apparently there is a hallway behind the camera, visible from the room, which may even have had a glass wall there or no wall at all.  This was apparent because the killer kept mentioning the people who were passing, and it was a fairly busy place.  An example would be the reversal, "THERE'S MY P.B.O."
The PBO reversal was also helpful in other ways.  Every army unit has a Property Book Officer, usually a Lieutenant, who signs for (and owns) all the government property the unit is responsible for.  Interestingly enough, the only people who would likely use the phrase "my PBO" are NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers, i.e. Sergeants).  They are the ones that routinely deal with property, especially the "supply sergeant" who must interface with "his" PBO constantly.  This, and other references to NCOs, such as the "Gunny", made it fairly clear that the beheading project was put together and acted out by a group of Sergeants, the people who actually get things done in the Army on a day to day basis.
Names popped up, although they were not particularly useful.  Gunther, for instance, did the rush job of honing the knife that would be used on Berg.  There had been a rehearsal.  Someone named Schroeder, presumably an officer, had "tried them out", but it was not clear if it was for the drama they were putting on that night or for something else.
One of the goons you see in the picture is Howard.  I suspect that during a rehearsal the hapless Howard ended up under foot as they fell on their victim.  As the killer goes to work he reminds himself, "DON'T SIT ON HOWARD".
The speech in Arabic goes on forever, and is a continuous stream of speech reversals.  We never catalogued them all because there was really no benefit to doing so and because working with the material was deeply distressing.  We learned that David Martha and his friends were in pretty serious trouble of some kind.  There were references to investigations and needing to hide.  In an environment like Baghdad, the opportunities for corruption boggle the mind, especially if you have the kind of job that lets you go anywhere you please.  We also know that the uproar over the barbaric torture at Abu Ghraib is only beginning, although it has been simmering on the Internet for some time.
IV.  The Murder
Once the speech is over it is time to do the deed.  The leader has actually given little thought to this, which is somewhat mind-boggling, but has apparently wondered if he will be able to carry through with he has been ordered to do.  This seems like curiosity rather than any moral concern. One must assume he has been selected for his role because he is a stone cold killer.
In the cleaned up audio you can hear much more than you want to.  Berg begins to scream when he feels the knife and finally understands what is happening. Even at the end you can hear his body trying to draw in a final breath.  During this horrible time the other killers have been told to yell out various slogans in Arabic to add to the show.  At this point it becomes impossible to determine who is speaking until the end when the leader has the last word.  At that point there is a fascinating moment in which all are speaking at once and we find a group reversal, something that normally occurs only in music.  It's unusual because it means that multiple minds are in sync regarding a key idea, all speaking at once, and all affirming that same idea even at an unconscious level.
It should be no surprise that the single idea that links all five men as Berg's head is lifted into the air is that they must never tell a living soul how Nicholas Berg died.
BEHEADING OF NICHOLAS BERG
Berg Beheading Video
DATE: May 8, 2004
Last 17 seconds of audio.
Speech Reversals Found:
DON'T TELL HOW
(IT WAS) ARMY
I WANT TO GO HOME
GUNTHER HONES IT
DON'T SIT ON HOWARD
I'M DOING IT! (MAN PICKING UP HEAD)
DON'T TELL HOW (GROUP REVERSAL)
DON'T TELL HOW (LEADER)
While it was obvious that the United States Army killed Nicholas Berg, there remained the larger question of why.  Events of the day suggested that the graphic revelations of barbarism at Abu Ghraib prison must be a factor.  A film that would distract attention from the Army's guilt, and at the same time demonstrate that a faceless enemy was much more barbaric than prison interrogators might save a lot of people from a trip to Leavenworth.  And I suspect the incident took place at the headquarters of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, the unit that was running Abu Ghraib even though they were not the actual "owners" of the prison.
Intelligence operations include the production of propaganda.  Remember that at least one officer walked by the "studio" and apparently felt no need to inquire why men dressed as masked insurgents were being filmed.  Motive and means seem to come together here.
Berg himself was not what he claimed to be.  The Berg family was noted for political activism, aligned with the left or communist side of the socialist spectrum.  They would be natural enemies of fascism, which would put them in a strong anti-Bush position.  There is general agreement that Berg traveled to Iraq to learn what he could about U.S. operations there, presumably to dig up whatever dirt he could find.  With the uproar over Abu Ghraib, it seems very likely that he would have been interested in those involved.
Supposedly he was looking for a market for his business.  However he was picked up as a suspicious character, held for a few days, identified (E.D.I.) and released.  Before he could get out of town he was kidnapped and killed.  RS suggests that he was there to snoop, but nothing he might have done would justify what happened to him.
V.  Bush Knew Army Killed Berg
Although the beheading video was produced by NCOs, it could never have happened without orders and permissions from the chain of command.  Considering that the film had a specific message, that a new enemy had appeared in a country that was otherwise settling down to occupation, the murder of Nick Berg clearly had a strategic purpose beyond diverting attention from scandal.  What that was, and how it would work out in the future was not at all evident at the time.  And the question of just how far up the chain of command one might find guilty knowledge remained open.
As it turned out, guilty knowledge went all the way to the top.  George W. Bush, the man who just recently reminded the nation that the purpose of our presence in Iraq is to find and kill those darned "beheaders", was capitalizing on the incident right away.
I was able to get a copy of the Saturday Radio Address that followed the murder.  Naturally, he was discussing the shocking incident.  A short series of reversals while he was telling us what he knew about Nick Berg made it clear that Junior was in the loop, although clearly after the fact.
No, Bush didn't order the killing; he's not that creative.  But I can hear the phone call now: "Who were those guys, General?" "Just a bunch of NCOs, Mr. President.  Did a great job, didn't they?"
Actually, they didn't.  The amateurish production had a number of basic mistakes that immediately brought its authenticity into doubt.  Virtually all discussion of the murder centered, not on the hateful enemy, but on the suspicious nature of the video itself.  Although it distracted attention from the Abu Ghraib atrocities for a short while, even the nation's Cokehead-in-Chief admitted it was a mess.  Of possible interest to some future government, he also tells us the nickname of the man who put it all together.  Noosh.
GEORGE W. BUSH
President of the United States maybe
Saturday Radio Address (5/15/2004)
Lead topic: Beheading of Nick Berg
Speech Reversals found:
IT'S A MESS
IN THIS UNIT
IS NOW A MOVIE
YEAH, NOOSH DID THIS
This week, our nation was sickened by the murder of an American civilian, Nicholas Berg. The savage execution of this innocent man reminds us of the true nature of our terrorist enemy, and of the stakes in this struggle.  The terrorists rejoice in the killing of the innocent, and have promised similar violence against Americans... There's only one way to deal with terror: We must confront the enemy and stay on the offensive until these killers are defeated.
VI.  Strider Reveals The Secret
Strider had initially approached me about the Berg case because he thought I might know how to publicize his findings in a way that would provide him some protection from retaliation. This was easier said than done.
The challenge of posting audio content anonymously, and then getting other people to listen to it was daunting.  Generally, no one wanted to host audio files because they either feared people would upload copyrighted music, or they believed that sound files were large and if many people listened they drained expensive bandwidth.  Now, only two years later, there are hosting opportunities for media files all over the place, although anonymity could still be tricky.
To counter the bandwidth issue I learned how to create low-resolution Real Audio files, and then made them as short as possible.  People might have to listen five times before they could hear the reversals, but they took less bandwidth than a couple of good photos.  After several weeks of looking I finally found one person who appreciated the importance of the story and was willing to host the sound files that supported it.
Strider was not thrilled.  The site was too "far out" for his taste.  But events would persuade him he couldn't wait any longer.  On June 23rd we learned that in Baghdad a young Korean man, Kim Sun-il, had been beheaded the previous day by the man the wire services were now calling "the country's most-wanted terrorist: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi". Strider sent me a two word message, "Do it."
On the next day, June 24th, I sent Strider's article and the condensed sound files to the gutsy owner of Surfing The Apocalypse.  The story "Berg Killed By Americans" was posted that evening, and was read almost 20,000 times over the following two weeks. But the results were quite different from what we had hoped.
There was no sign that it made any difference to the Baghdad terror campaign, which went on for another four months. Apparently it was too valuable to give up if it looked like only a tiny minority of Internet users were privy to the secret. This, of course, is the same problem we face all the time with government run amok. Factual information must reach "critical mass" before it can truly begin to spread widely. Even then it will still be ignored if it is judged that the citizenry are powerless to stop a program before it has accomplished its goal.
The failure to halt the beheading campaign was frustrating because we learned very quickly that the Army in Iraq had gotten Strider's message loud and clear. In fact, U.S. Central Command reacted like all of Baghdad had been hit by lightning.
VII. U.S. Army Discovers Reversed Speech
It took six days for the Army to discover the reversed speech article, communicate that fact upward through the chain of command, evaluate the threat, and react with hysterical panic on the morning of July 1st.  Did their reaction have anything to do with "terrorists"? Not at all.  As it turned out, the morning of July 1st, 2004, was the first court date for captured dictator Saddam Hussein.
Preparations for the show trial of the decade had been ongoing for some time, and millions of people around the world were waiting for the first glimpse of Saddam in the dock.  For days the television networks had been preparing their viewers for live coverage, and looking at the expected drama from all angles.  Would Saddam be defiant, or was he a beaten man?  Would he be led into the courtroom in chains, or allowed some dignity?
Live coverage had been pre-planned, although not to everyone's satisfaction.  Only two television networks, CNN and Al-Jazeera would be in the courtroom itself.  Their feeds would be available to all the others in the familiar "pool" concept.  Naturally they were in the courtroom early, stringing their cabling, setting up lights, cameras and microphones, and so on.  Everything seemed normal until thirty minutes before the proceedings were to begin.
Without warning two military vehicles came to a screeching halt in front of the building, and a group of Army officers raced inside.  Entering the courtroom itself they announced that all sound cables had to be disconnected.  There was no discussion and no time wasted.  According to one report, when network technicians didn't move quickly enough, the soldiers began pulling the cables themselves, literally stumbling over each other in their haste.  Later in the day, reporters were told that the Iraqi judge had ruled out audio recording but if that had been the case it would have been established early on, and announced by an officer of the court.
Only one microphone was left connected.  In their haste the officers had overlooked a small unit that had been set up to record the noise in the back of the room.  If it hadn't been for that unit, there would have been no sound at all from Saddam Hussein's first day in court.
Two reporters, one from BBC as I recall, filed stories describing the bizarre scene that morning.  Although the descriptions were fascinating they've now disappeared from the web.  Perhaps if some reader has access to Nexus or a similar news database they can still be found - I'd love to post them here.  However a story posted by Variety the following day focused on the consternation at U.S. networks when they went to "live coverage", only to discover there was no sound.
Sounds of Silence
Nets Air Censored Saddam Footage
by Pamela McClintock
(July 2, 2004 - Variety)
NEW YORK -- U.S. news networks agreed to let the American military censor out certain images of Saddam Hussein's court hearing Thursday in Baghdad, one in a bizarre series of events surrounding coverage of the session.
American and Iraqi officials did not want any footage shown of Iraqi guards or court personnel, and they asked broadcast and cable news nets to honor this request.
But the situation took an unexpected turn even before the hearing began, when U.S. officials ordered CNN and Al-Jazeera, the pool camera crews, to disconnect their audio equipment. Officials said it was the wish of the Iraqi judge.
... TV journalists were frustrated by the fact that there was no audio -- at least initially. It turned out that some of the footage had ambient sound, albeit in Arabic.
It's also possible that some of the footage was supplied by Dept. of Defense cameras, which were allowed to record sound. Throughout the day, several news nets said it wasn't always clear which footage was from what source, and that it could have been DOD footage, meaning the Pentagon was directly controlling what was being heard.
The two U.S. military officials watching over the CNN footage being transmitted ordered that some of the ambient sound be muted. However, other portions of CNN tapes with audio may have been allowed to go through.
... The Pentagon could not be reached for comment as to why it didn't want any audio, or why it allowed some of the sound.
Obviously there was someone in the courtroom who was not who they were said to be.  The prime candidate, of course, is the man who is playing the role of Saddam Hussein.  I ran across an article on a UK site that pointed out that there was a significant difference in the appearance of the old and new Saddams.  Specifically, they've got different teeth - a hard item to fake.  After doing a search for old photos, I have to agree.  The real Saddam had prominent, impressive, and probably quite expensive teeth.  Take a look:
Since Saddam in-the-dock no longer needed to hide, I had wondered why the man continues to wear a rather scraggly beard when it obviously does not reflect his personal preference. Have you noticed what a distinct chin the real Saddam has? Then there's the shape of his eyebrows...
Of course in today's world of near-total illusion I also note that all the microphones were pulled, not just those aimed at Saddam himself.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were a number of people there who would have revealed much too much to the probing ear of reversed speech.  From the news report above, it appeared that there were other people whose voices also had to be muted when they were picked up by the only functioning microphone.  Their secrets are still safe, however.  Little of the resulting trial is available to the American people except for the briefest of scenes, and all the microphones can be turned on or off in an instant.
VIII. The Strange Aftermath
After the posting of the RS article on Nick Berg, a strange electronic malady began to spread throughout the Middle East, although it was most noticeable in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Video cameras in the hands of terrorists began to lose their sound circuits.  In fact, sound tended to mysteriously disappear even from video tapes filmed quite a bit earlier.
As Donald Rumsfeld emphasized earlier this year, Al Quaeda (and other terrorists) have become quite adept at reaching the American public with their propaganda.  Most people do not realize that some new piece of video has been released almost every week since the "war" magically rekindled itself in 2004. All too often these are brief scenes of American soldiers being killed or maimed by roadside bombs or sniper fire.  A large portion of these have sound that has been edited out and Arabic music is played instead.  This would be an incredible waste of good propaganda time unless, of course, muting of voices was necessary for other reasons.
A number of early videos attempted to look "authentic" by including material suggesting that Arabs were too stupid to operate video camera's correctly.  An early "Bin Laden" video included boring segments in which the operator moved from one location to the next with the camera running and pointed at the ground, as if he couldn't figure out how to let go of the button.  Now we are told that the most recent release of an old video described as showing Osama and many supporters in Afghanistan has no sound because the camera man was too stupid to turn the sound on.  I suppose this might make sense if you had never owned a video camera.  If you have, do you remember ever having to "turn the sound on" before you began filming?
The lack of sound on this latest release has become a topic of interest among various reporters, so this is the point at which Strider and I must offer our apologies.  We did it.  We're sorry.
As we penetrate the cartoon-like illusion in which we've been living for so long, it is important to keep one thing firmly in mind.  We've known this was coming for generations.  Evidence of the total corruption of our governmental structure and political processes has been apparent for decades and only matches the clear warnings of our nation's founding fathers.
And we cannot avoid the fundamental truth: Both moral and legal responsibility for the monster that is now running loose in the world lies firmly on the shoulders of the American people themselves.  We created it, we pay for it, and it commits its evil at home and abroad in our name.  We've continued to support it long after the point at which the whole thing should have been dismantled and built anew with stronger safeguards for our freedom and safety.
Many people believe our servant has become our master, and there is nothing that can be done.  But the responsibility is still ours and we will pay a terrible but well deserved price if we fail to do what must be done.  The only obstacle in our path is the self-defeating myth that someone else will do it for us.
Best wishes to all,
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