WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded. For further information please visit the special project website www.collateralmurder.com.
This is the sort of material we are normally not allowed to see. Because of its classification by the US military.
Congratulations to Wikileaks for making this video available to the public. And congratulations to those who supplied Wikileaks with the video material.
This is the sort of material we need to see, to properly understand what actually happens in situations like the Iraq invasion.
That being said, for the sake of discussion, I am, for now, willing to assume that this incident was every bit as horrible as Robert charges.
Has there ever been or is there currently an army actually engaged in an effort to win a war that has been more focused on keeping these sorts of incidents from happening than the US military?
It's easy to decry violence when you know you're not going to stop it, but still benefit from it.
Is hollow righteous outrage not disgusting in its own way?
Congratulations to Wikileaks for making this video available to the public.
Where was the New York Times? Where was CNN?
Host Neal Conan asked whether in retrospect something might have been done differently, and the tragedy would have been prevented.
"What could it be?" Finkel wondered. "An operation took place. And it was an operation with merit because it was preceded by soldiers just getting banged up all over the place and they had to do something about it. ... The operation was planned thoroughly for days and days and out they went. ...
"Here came some guys walking down the street -- one with a (rocket) launcher; one, at least one, with an AK(-47). And in the middle of them were two guys, one of whom had something long (a camera) hanging around his neck. And there was no word to the soldiers that journalists were going to be there.
BOWMAN: Well, it shows a group of people walking down the street. Military age men, as they would say in the military. And it's in the new Baghdad section of the city. And it's just south of Sadr City, which was a notorious hotbed for the insurgency. And one is holding something. Maybe a couple are holding things.
And then the helicopter crew mistakenly believes that the cameraman is holding an RPG or a rocket propelled grenade. That came out later in the investigation by the Army. And you hear the crew talking about the insurgents. And at one point, one member of the crew says light them up - meaning to shoot at them.
MONTAGNE: Although I've looked at this video, they're talking about five to six individuals with weapons. You only see a couple of guys with something over their shoulder.
BOWMAN: Right. The investigation writer did find that a couple of guys did have weapons. One had an assault rifle. One had an RPG. And they found RPG rounds at the scene.
MONTAGNE: So what happened next?
BOWMAN: Well, then the shooting starts from the helicopter and it's horrific. And people are scattered all over the place and there are a number of bodies on the ground. And the Apaches are equipped with a 30 millimeter chain gun. A very, very deadly weapon, very accurate weapon. It's basically a heavy machine gun. But again, you look at the video, there's no evidence these people were threatening the helicopters at all. But on the other hand, again, they did find RPGs on some of these folks and assault weapons at the time.
And the other thing is, in the video you see a van pull up to start to collect the wounded and the helicopter starts shooting at the van, as well. And the men carrying the victims into the van scatter. And apparently two children were injured inside the van. When the whole thing ended, 12 people were dead.
...nearly every time such atrocities come out they get brushed off as not being "surprising". I don't think this should be surprising, it should be disgusting and often it's downplayed for lacking an element of surprise.
Or, as in this case, the civilian casualties are brushed off as mere "collateral damage".
msolga wrote:Or, as in this case, the civilian casualties are brushed off as mere "collateral damage".
Not just the "regular" civilian casualties, the casualties of Reuters journalists covering the civilian casualties, too.
Family Weeps at Video of Son’s Death in U.S. Strike
By MUJAHID YOUSEF
Published: April 6, 2010
MOSUL, Iraq " The family of a Reuters photographer killed in an American military airstrike watched the video of it late Monday and burst into tears as they saw what appeared to be the crews of two American Apache attack helicopters kill their son and 11 other people, gloating at what the crewmen seemed to think was a successful strike on insurgents.
“At last the truth has been revealed, and I’m satisfied God revealed the truth,” said Noor Eldeen, the father of the photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, who was 22 when he was killed in July 2007. “If such an incident took place in America, even if an animal were killed like this, what would they do?”
Other family members said Tuesday that the video was clear enough to remove any doubt about the identity of their son. Also among the dead was a Reuters driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.
The video was released Monday by Wikileaks.org, an online organization that said it had received it from a military whistle-blower and used donated computing power to decrypt it. United States military officials have confirmed that it appears to be authentic.
In the video, the group of men on the street in the eastern Baghdad district of New Baghdad on July 12, 2007, seemed to be mostly unarmed, although the chatter among the air crews shows they are convinced that the people on the ground have both AK-47s and a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher. An American Army ground unit nearby was receiving fire from insurgents at the time.
On the video, there is at least one of the group of victims who appears to be carrying a rifle, but it is dangling at his side in a relaxed manner, and he does not appear to deploy it. In another scene, a large camera lens poking around the corner of a building is interpreted as a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher. The view of the men is obscured by a building as the attacking helicopter circles around it. The helicopter opens fire almost immediately after they come into view again.
“Look at those dead bastards,” one of the cockpit voices says. “Nice.”
When a vehicle arrives at the scene to help the wounded, the helicopters fire into it. United States troops call for a child who had been in the vehicle to be taken to the hospital.
“Well, it’s their fault bringing their kids into the battle,” one of the cockpit voices says.
The Associated Press quoted a spokesman for the United States Central Command, Navy Capt. Jake Hanzlik, as saying that the military had no reason to believe the video is a fake, but that they were still comparing the video and audio to see if it matched the original.
The United States military’s censored version of its report on the episode maintains that the crewmen acted appropriately and within the rules of engagement and that the Reuters employees were mixed in with a group of insurgents so their cameras were easily mistaken for weapons.
“My question is, how could those highly skilled American pilots with all their high-tech information not distinguish between a camera and a rocket launcher?” the photographer’s brother, Nabeel Noor-Eldeen, an archaeology professor at Mosul University, said on Tuesday after watching the video with the rest of the family a few hours earlier.
Wikileaks is a Swedish-hosted website launched in December 2006 that publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of sensitive documents from governments and other organizations, while preserving the anonymity of its sources. The website is run by The Sunshine Press, and has said it was founded by Chinese dissidents, as well as journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the U.S., Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. ...<cont>
And I'm supposed to take your outrage seriously Thomas?