Nicholas Berg's family says that he was in US custody for all or part of the period before his release, a release followed almost immediately by his capture by Al Qaeda or someone equally vicious. The US government's denial of this claim is one of the weirdest I've ever heard. The US admits:
- “the FBI asked the police to keep Berg in custody while its agents reviewed the case”
- FBI agents met with him repeatedly while he was in custody
- Berg was freed the day after his parents filed suit claiming he was being held by the US
All together, this hardly paints a picture of US authorities with their hands off. Nevertheless, the US maintains that the Iraqi police were the ones responsible for Berg's detention. But here's the missing element: why is that relevant?
The United States plans to 'return' sovereignty to Iraq on June 30 (although whether this legal action will include any real power is obviously a hotly debated topic in DC right now). It follows that Iraq is not currently sovereign; that sovereignty is being exercised by the occupiers, who might be described as “a coalition of forces” or as “the United States”.
Currently the Iraqi police are an agent of the sovereign power in Iraq. And that's the US (or the 'Coalition' of which the US is the driving force). So either way the US is ultimately responsible, isn't it?