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Thursday, May 13, 2004

Berg arrested "because of his Jewish name"

Jew Overtaken By Events (JOBE?)
Nicolas Berg, the American who was filmed being beheaded, had been previously arrested by Iraqi police and held on suspicion of being a spy because he had a Jewish name and an Israeli stamp in his passport, it emerged yesterday.

At the Al Fanar Tower Hotel in Baghdad, friends spoke fondly of a body-building adventurer who shrugged off danger, was passionate about his family and had been capitalising on the technology boom in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

"He knew who he was and he was not unaware of the risks here," said Andrew Duke, 49, a Colorado businessman who drank beer with Mr Berg, 26, at the hotel the night before he was abducted, apparently on the way to Baghdad airport.

"Nick was well-educated, articulate and confident. He didn't consider the political risks any greater than the physical risks of climbing up a radio tower. Unfortunately he was what we call OBE - overtaken by events."

There is still confusion over the circumstances of his 13-day detention in Iraq after being stopped at a checkpoint on March 24.

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