Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Nick Berg Beheading Video Analysis


Bloodstain Analysis from Nick Berg Beheading Video Forensic Irregularities Cast Doubt on Events
Excerpted from issue 9 ofNortheast Intelligence Network HQ INTEL-ALERT :

Nick Berg
Nick Berg
My reaction to the horrific nature of the now infamous Nick Berg video overshadowed any consideration of performing any type of forensic bloodstain pattern analysis of the decapitation of this victim. Frankly, it appeared to be a rather open and shut case; a cold-blooded murder, an al Qaeda made-to-order snuff film where the victim was a 26 year-old American contractor working in Iraq. He was reportedly killed on Saturday, 8 May 2004 in a particularly gruesome manner his throat was cut and he was decapitated. His body was reportedly found near a highway overpass in Baghdad, where his head was fully separated from his body. As the week progressed, analysts at the Northeast Intelligence Network found the absolutely revolting video posted on an al Qaeda linked website. The video was downloaded on 11 May 2004 for analysis.

As Laura Mansfield began her analysis of the footage, specifically the audio statement being read by the primary assailant identified as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, I began to hear rumblings about oddities surrounding the footage. One of several oddities involved the blood evidence shown on the video. As I am certified in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis by the Laboratory of Forensic Science (Corning, New York, 10 May 2002) and a member of the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts-IABPA, I decided to take a closer look at the video. The following is my report that details my analysis of the bloodstain patterns only. It is important to note that this analysis is only a detailed summary of a more lengthy analysis; for the sake of brevity, some of the written commentary regarding each frame has been omitted.

2004 Northeast Intelligence Network. All rights reserved

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