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Collateral Death: Video Shows U.S. Forces Killing Reuters Reporters

by @ 8:16 am on April 6, 2010. Filed under Foreign Affairs, Iraq, War On Terror

This is disturbing to say the least:

WASHINGTON — The Web site WikiLeaks.org released a graphic video on Monday showing an American helicopter shooting and killing a Reuters photographer and driver in a July 2007 attack in Baghdad.

A senior American military official confirmed that the video was authentic.

Reuters had long pressed for the release of the video, which consists of 38 minutes of black-and-white aerial video and conversations between pilots in two Apache helicopters as they open fire on people on a street in Baghdad. The attack killed 12, among them the Reuters photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and the driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.

At a news conference at the National Press Club, WikiLeaks said it had acquired the video from whistle-blowers in the military and viewed it after breaking the encryption code. WikiLeaks edited the video to 17 minutes.

David Schlesinger, the editor in chief of Reuters news, said in a statement that the video was “graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result.”

On the day of the attack, United States military officials said that the helicopters had been called in to help American troops who had been exposed to small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades in a raid. “There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,” Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad, said then.

But the video does not show hostile action. Instead, it begins with a group of people milling around on a street, among them, according to WikiLeaks, Mr. Noor-Eldeen and Mr. Chmagh. The pilots believe them to be insurgents, and mistake Mr. Noor-Eldeen’s camera for a weapon. They aim and fire at the group, then revel in their kills.

“Look at those dead bastards,” one pilot says. “Nice,” the other responds.

A wounded man can be seen crawling and the pilots impatiently hope that he will try to fire at them so that under the rules of engagement they can shoot him again. “All you gotta do is pick up a weapon,” one pilot says.

A short time later a van arrives to pick up the wounded and the pilots open fire on it, wounding two children inside. “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” one pilot says.

At another point, an American armored vehicle arrives and appears to roll over one of the dead. “I think they just drove over a body,” one of the pilots says, chuckling a little.

Ugh.

Here’s the video

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6 Responses to “Collateral Death: Video Shows U.S. Forces Killing Reuters Reporters”

  1. Rock says:

    Now show the video of the beheading of Daniel Pearl and a few others to remind us what murder really looks like.

  2. When criminals murder someone this is a law enforcement issue. It should never be used as an “excuse” to wage war. (Rock should swear off the Kool-Aid.)

    The USA has morphed into the world’s biggest bully killing millions of civilians for corporate war profiteers.

    The US government is seen by many world citizens as the largest terrorist organization in the world.

    Unfortunately what you see in this video is NOT uncommon…it has become standard operating procedure for our armed forces.

    We even have a general finally breaking the code of silence and verbalizing concerns over the large numbers of innocent civilians that the US is routinely killing.

    Ask yourself…how does this make any of us safer? Then ask yourself who is getting rich from our military actions. (You can put both Dick Cheney and the Bush family on the getting rich list….)

    Isn’t it time for America to STOP waging war against innocent people around the world?

    Maybe we need a law that only allows our military to be used to stop invasions on our soil?

    Why are we always at war against someone?

    Let’s bring all our troops home and use the money to wage a war on poverty!!

  3. Rock,

    I didn’t call it murder.

  4. Not quite sure why you find this “disturbing.” Here are insurgents in the streets of Baghdad carrying weapons, including an RPG-7. It’s a war zone. Insurgents get taken out. Two Reuters employees decide to embed with terrorists. In a war zone.

    The insurgents were engaged or about to be engaged with US troops. Notice that the street was wisely evacuated by the Iraqi people, who knew something was about to go down.

  5. Rock says:

    mosquitoskeeter, we’ve been waging war on poverty for the last 40 or so years. President Johnson declared “War on Poverty” back in the 60s Did it work? No.

    Doug, WikiLeaks, who released the video called it Collateral Murder.

  6. tfr says:

    > Why are we always at war against someone?

    Because it keeps nationalistic feelings high, and keeps us from questioning the necessity of certain unconstitutional actions of our masters.

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