Leaked US military video shows Apache attack

Wikileaks releases classified video showing 2007 attack in Baghdad that killed a dozen civilians.

Classified US military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff, was released on Monday by a group that promotes leaking to fight government and corporate corruption.

The group, WikiLeaks, told a news conference at the National Press Club it acquired encrypted video of the July 12, 2007, attack from military whistleblowers and had been able to view and investigate it after breaking the encryption code.

A US defense official confirmed that the video and audio were authentic.

The helicopter gunsight video, with an audio track of talking between the fliers, shows an aerial view of a group of men moving about a square in a Baghdad neighborhood. The fliers identify some of the men as armed.

WikiLeaks said the men in the square include Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, who were killed in the incident.

"The gathering at the corner that is fired up on has about nine people in it," Julian Assange, a WikiLeaks spokesman said.

The gunsight tracks the two Reuters news staff as the fliers identify their cameras as weapons.

The helicopter initially opens fire on the small group. Minutes later a van comes by, and starts assisting the wounded, and the helicopter opens fire on the van.

David Schlesinger, Reuters' editor in chief, said of the video released by WikiLeaks that the deaths of Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh were "tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that exist in covering war zones."

"The video released today via WikiLeaks is graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result," he said.

Reuters has pressed the US military to conduct a full and objective investigation into the killing of the two staff.

Video of the incident from two US Apache helicopters and photographs taken of the scene were shown to Reuters editors in Baghdad on July 25, 2007 in an off-the-record briefing.

US military officers who presented the materials said Reuters had to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get copies. This request was made the same day.

Assange said he disagreed with a US military assessment of the incident that the attack was justified.

"I believe that if those killings were lawful under the rules of engagement, then the rules of engagement are wrong, deeply wrong," he said. The fliers in the video act "like they are playing a computer game and their desire is they want to get high scores" by killing opponents, he said.

WikiLeaks posted the video at www.collateralmurder.com .


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Posted by: Oz

And when asked for justification, all they say is 'Collateral Damage'. Easier said than done.

Posted by: Babar

What a justification Mr. Munro. So these armies, which you seem to be taking sides of, kill but do not kill thousands? Then give me the facts please, who raided Iraq and killed hundreds and thousands on a false pretext of WMDs? Oh, so did you mean to say that they kill innocent people not by error, but by precision? When, the end result is that more civilians and innocent lives are lost by the raids of armies your support, then why to spend so much money on laser guided and other precision weapons? Where is the benefit? Lives are still lost wether it is by gassing, or by bombardment. Talking about precision, for your info, US army is using drones to attack and kill millitant leaders 'supposedly' hidden in North Western Pakistan. And you know what such advanced weaponry has achieved? Perhaps, just 5% of millitants and 1000s of innocent, harmless civilians. Another piece of info, the US has used daisy cutters (the 15000 pounds) bombs in Afghanistan too. Very precise, ins't it? Your shallow justification seem to suggest that a precise attack on military installations in any country is justifiable, but not on civiliam population. Ridiculous! There can never be a justification for such a horrendous act as in this video, where humans are being fired at for fun.

Posted by: D Munro

War is a messy affair and unfortunately the innocent are often caught up in it, if you look at the bigger picture around this horrible incident you cannot deny that Americans & British try their hardest to accurately engage only their enemies. They spend a fortune on on laser guided bombs and equipment to avoid unessesary killings. How many times did you hear them ask for permission to engage? LOADS Who else fights a war in such a precise and controlled way? Iraqis? Russians? Iranians? Isrealis? Serbians? Cosavans? Africans? Chinese? Mexicans? Indians? Pakistanis? Columbians? .....????? Just Who ? NOT MANY, sure they got it wrong but you don't see them murdering thousands of men women and children and dumping them into hidden mass graves. You don't see them setting of bombs in shopping malls/trains or buses either or gassing thousands of people. Are they Perfect - NO THEY ARE NOT Do they show more restraint when in war compared to the rest of the world - YES THEY DO. Whilst this is a horrible and unfortunate incident in pales in comparision to what goes on when some of the above mentioned countries decide to go to war.

Posted by: JLocke

@Salman Speaking of respect, I respect your emotional reaction to this and other deaths you have witnessed, via video, and the emotional ties you seem have to the Arab world but surely you don't believe that American soldiers "HAVE NO RESPECT FOR ARAB LIFE!" If that was true Salman there would be no Arab life left in Iraq. It is exactly the opposite of what you believe. Great amounts of restraint is applied everyday for the soldiers there. The tactics used against our American military warrant a response that is overwhelming to anything I have seen from video or anything I have read about. Not very long ago we would have leveled entire villages, towns and cities to wage this battle, instead our American countrymen move on foot from house to house and village to village to root out insurgents in an effort to avoid killing the innocent. It is this method that has cost Americans so many of our beloved soldiers lives and limbs. Believe me when I say this, if we show no restraint the war would end in a flash, literally.

Posted by: John

I am shamed that my Planet is a planet where things like this happen.

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