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Last Updated: Monday, 17 May, 2004, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Resignation call over Iraq murder
Still from the video
The broadcast of Nick Berg's murder prompted shock and outrage
The father of a US man whose murder in Iraq was videotaped has blamed the US defence secretary for his son's death.

Michael Berg said he held Washington responsible, particularly Donald Rumsfeld, whom he said should resign.

Nick Berg's headless corpse was found on 9 May in Baghdad and days later a video of his decapitation appeared on an al-Qaeda related website.

The hooded men who carried out the killing claimed they were avenging the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

These people had nothing against my son... They were against what the United States is doing to their section of the world
Michael Berg

Mr Berg told Israeli Army radio: "I very definitely do hold the department of defence, the FBI, the Bush administration and especially Donald Rumsfeld responsible.

"He [Rumsfeld] said he is taking responsibility for the sexual abuse scandal... he hasn't really taken responsibility, he didn't lose his son, he didn't lose anything," Mr Berg added.

"I think that a resignation will be great, I would love it."

Mr Rumsfeld has been embroiled in the scandal that followed the release of photographs of US forces apparently physically abusing and sexually humiliating the Iraqi detainees in the Baghdad jail.

On Sunday an article in The New Yorker magazine published an article in which it accused Mr Rumsfeld of personally authorising a secret programme that encouraged prisoner abuse.

The article said Mr Rumsfeld extended a system already in use in Afghanistan which encouraged coercion and sexual humiliation of detainees to gain intelligence.

The Pentagon dismissed the claims as "outlandish, conspiratorial... filled with error and anonymous conjecture".

'Exchange refused'

Nick Berg's killers said they had offered to exchange him for inmates at Abu Ghraib prison, but the coalition authorities had, they said, refused.

Michael Berg being comforted by his son David
Michael Berg broke down on hearing of the video

The graphic images of the 26-year-old's death prompted shock and outrage all over the world.

The grainy pictures of the murder were preceded by a caption announcing that Jordanian-born al-Qaeda suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would carry out the killing.

After analysing the footage CIA experts said there was a high probability that the speaker on the tape was Zarqawi.

"These people had nothing against my son, they couldn't have had anything against my son. They were against what the United States is doing to their section of the world," Mr Berg said.

Nick Berg was buried in small, private ceremony near his home in Pennsylvania on Friday.




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