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Tue 6 Apr 2010 07:18 AM

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Leaked US military video shows Apache attack

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

Leaked US military video shows Apache attack
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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 .

 

Hadeedi 9 years ago

This is really horrible. I heard many Iraqis saying that the US military killed more innocent people than the insurgents. Now I have reason to trust them. There were not even a single short ''fired'' by the people to misunderstand that they are carrying weapons with them. To avoid the second shooting you don't need to be a rocket scentist, any lay man could have comes to know once there is no return of fire after the first firing. The main problem with US is that they do not value anybody else life and they still cry on 9/11.

Muhammad Iqbal form kuwait 9 years ago

after seeing the video i was surprised and shocked. GOD bless to every muslims and GOD show the straight Path to USA.

AJ 9 years ago

It's not that the world doesn't know of Americas hidden agenda with Afghanistan & Iraq. It's horrible to even think of what hundreds & thousands of innocent people went through, for the selfish objectives of certain people in the cases of Iraq, Afghanistan, 9/11, 7/7, 26/11, etc etc etc. But, to be honest, I feel this was slightly in bad taste for AB to publish; of course, that's just my opinion, people at AB know their job best.

Mohamed Salman 9 years ago

The way the situation was handled was poor to say the least. There wasn't a remotest sign of objectivity in the decisions made by those in command, might it be correctly identifying the victims, identifying the items they were carrying or choosing the correct line of action to deal with them. Using such insufficient technology as the cameras used to relay and record the incident to make decisions was a major mistake (since as the footage shows they mistook a professional camera for an AK47 which is ridiculous considering that both items look nothing alike). The attitude of the soldiers was also gung ho and blood thirsty since after one person drew the wrong conclusion regarding the identity and motives of the victims (a bad decision for the reason mentioned above) no one decided to reconsider or be patient until further confirmation is made, not to mention that once the violence was launched the victims were dealt with as the article stated as if they were character in a video game to be eliminated without remorse or respect (driving a tank over a corpse is repulsive regardless of whither the person was guilty or not). What unsettled me though is… If this was the way the military dealt with all similar cases then this incident is probably the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds perhaps even thousands or tens of thousands (or maybe more) were probably killed under similar circumstances that were hidden due to the civilians in question not being of any significance to have the case reported to the authorities and probably blamed on insurgence. What this does is explain the wide spread hatred towards US military in regions of conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan (since amongst the family and friends of the victims the truth couldn’t be easily hidden and the anger spreads like wild fire within the society) and why the insurgence is seemingly unrelenting and unstoppable (validating resistance and use of force against US forces and its supporters). What this leaked tape will do is further affirm their cause for resistance and give them a much needed boost (the way Abu-Ghraib did 6 years ago) to continue for the next decade. Personally I believe that there couldn’t be a worse time for this type of exposure to occur especially in light of the Iraqi election, those against the election (mostly Sunni Arabs) were of the view that such an election is illegitimate because the country is still under US (and its allies) invasion and there couldn’t be a free election in an invaded country since the invader will always be in control instead of the people of Iraq. This view was slightly tamed by the media campaigns showing that the true enemies were groups such as Al-Quaeda with the US acting as peace loving partner aiming for a free and democratic Iraq. I don’t have to explain how this concept will probably be shattered by a tape only three years old showing the systematic and ruthless killing of freedom agents (journalist of a major news corporation) and other defenseless civilians. In light of the above many will give the opposition view a chance and change their mind hopefully towards the more respectable opposition groups. Simply put this incident will probably be written in history as the point when the US truly lost its grip over the situation in Iraq.

Chandra 9 years ago

This is disgusting !

Rebecca 9 years ago

They are playing video games. This makes me sick. Sick of America, sick of war. When are they going to stop? Of course a van came to help the wounded. The US soldiers are clearly so detached from who they are shooting at they they cannot imagine why a van would be coming to help that dying man. Then they are all executed just for helping. They are laughing!!!!???? How has humanity sunk so low?? How are these people allowed to man weapons? Evil evil evil. I hope you understand the pain you inflict on the planet.

Dan 9 years ago

I remember an embedded French reporter writing about the push from Basra to Bagdad in the first weeks of the war. He wrote: “later people will find out what these 18 and 19 years old US soldiers have done to all these towns and villages on their way to Baghdad, how they test all their guns and shoot with artillery for fun and pulverized some of the smaller communities, even when there is zero resistance” I admire US for many things, it’s a leader in the world and I don’t blame many Americans for what happened in Iraq. Their country was hijacked by a small group and even Americans suffered by their actions during those 8 years. They introduced patriot act and many other sanctions that reduced the freedom of Americans. (Many Iranians used to equate Ahmadinejat and Bush) But next time there is a crisis people will again ask US to intervene. I just hope some more passionate and just people are at the helm.

MA 9 years ago

Now the question >> who is the real terrorist?? the people who kill innocent people officially!!! There must be thousands of such crimes hidden & not known to public...

AJ 9 years ago

There isn't any one side that is the 'real terrorist' here, dude. It's all politics, from both ends, at the end of the day. I feel sorry for all the people that sucked into propoganda of any kind (of course they dont realise it is actually just propoganda, belive what you want based on 'centuries' of history) that eventually leads to killing of innocent people. Grow Up EVERYONE.

AK 9 years ago

I would like to answer the famouse Question of the president of the USA when he asked WHY THEY HATE US the answer is in this video . This simple evidance for why you got hated this and many other crimes all over the world makes you the american people got hated and targeted your so called civilized weapons killing innocent people in palestine in Iraq in afghanistan and then you didnt got the ANSWER ??Wake up america .......