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Executioner wore gold ring - forbidden by Islam
uploaded 13 May 2004

Behind the Masks
Clues From Graphic Tape of Beheading Could Help Identify Killers
By Brian Ross and Vic Walter

May 13, 2004— Crucial clues into the masked men seen in the videotaped beheading of American Nicholas Berg may come from the tape itself, as well as Berg's body, federal investigators involved in the case say.
After analyzing the audio of the tape, the CIA has concluded with "high probability" that the masked speaker, who also carried out the beheading, is Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the top al Qaeda figure in Iraq. Zarqawi is also believed to be behind a wave of suicide bombings in Iraq against American targets.

The video of the killing, which President Bush has called a "brutal execution," was posted on an al Qaeda-linked Web site Tuesday, along with a verbal message from five armed, masked militants, who said the execution was in response to the abuses of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison.

While the title of the tape, posted on a pro-al Qaeda Web site, claimed Zarqawi was the speaker and the killer, the audio was compared to previous tapes of his known voice in order to match that of Zarqawi's.

The hollow audio quality of the tape also suggests the room was large and empty.

A close examination of the tape shows none of the five masked men is wearing gloves, so federal officials are trying to determine if there are any tell-tale tattoos on their hands. One of the clues the FBI and CIA is studying is the large gold ring Zarqawi is wearing on his right hand, giving off a glare several times during the six-minute tape.

Other key details found on the tape the FBI and CIA are studying include the height and weight of the five masked men, which can be estimated by calculating the known height and weight of Berg.

They are also studying four of the militants' shoulder-slung weapons, which appear to be AK-47s.

Federal Investigators Examine Body

FBI forensic agents will also examine the telecommunications expert's body, found on Saturday in Baghdad and now back in the United States.

Agents will be looking for any sign of what's called "trace evidence" — tiny hairs, fibers or fingerprints — that may have been left on Berg's body or the orange jumpsuit he was wearing when he was killed.

As the Bush administration has vowed to hunt down Berg's killers, these small pieces of evidence and clues could help catch and prosecute the perpetrators.

Source: ABC