Collateral murder, wikileaks

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Steve_j
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Apr 6 2010 02:03
Collateral murder, wikileaks

5th April 2010 10:44 EST 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.

Not to sure what i want to say about this, but particularly the events around 9 mins on flipped me out.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement".

http://www.collateralmurder.com/

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jesuithitsquad
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Apr 6 2010 04:08

It really is horrible. I saw this earlier today and just couldn't stomach it . I think the worst part is the only reason we know of this one is because it involves reporters. Imagining how often this happens and how many untold similar situations there are that we'll never know about really makes me ill.

posi
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Apr 6 2010 08:09

It's awful. I don't know why, but the bit with the soldiers evacuating the two injured kids at the end made me the saddest.

gypsy
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Apr 6 2010 08:37

I saw this last night and was pretty shocked, I know this stuff goes on but to see it is something else. sad The whole thing is upsetting but the minibus part is probably the most outrageous thing I have scene in a while.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 6 2010 10:05

hmm don't get me wrong, this is a blatant example of the casual, impersonal murder that is modern war, but at 3:45-3:50 there does appear to be a guy with an RPG (or a pipe-like object a similar length), and possibly his mate with an AK (obviously the apache gunner/pilot saying '5-6 guys with AK-47s' is innacurate). that would put it within military rules of engagement in a war situation.

from a possible war crimes point of view, you could argue that since the war was officially over by 2007, using apache helicopters to remotely assassinate possible armed individuals without warning is massive overkill for what is essentially a peacekeeping/police operation. they could easily have despatched the Humvee team that evacuated the kids to investigate/arrest/engage as appropriate. but of course the aversion to US casualties means they'd always rather shoot from a safe distance and ask questions later.

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Rob Ray
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Apr 6 2010 10:16

It's debateable about the guns, there's a brief bit where someone *might* be holding a rocket launcher, but the photographer is pretty obvious and as is pointed out in the video, the behaviour is all wrong for actual combatants - would you casually stroll around with an RPG strapped to your back when an Apache was hovering around you?

The van meanwhile was a clear rescue mission and completely non-aggressive. Their talking about "picking up guns" is utter bollocks.

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Steven.
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Apr 6 2010 10:28

That's one of the most horrible things I've ever seen. It's important people see it, though.

Joseph:

Joseph Kay wrote:
hmm don't get me wrong, this is a blatant example of the casual, impersonal murder that is modern war, but at 3:45-3:50 there does appear to be a guy with an RPG (or a pipe-like object a similar length), and possibly his mate with an AK (obviously the apache gunner/pilot saying '5-6 guys with AK-47s' is innacurate). that would put it within military rules of engagement in a war situation.

from a possible war crimes point of view, you could argue that since the war was officially over by 2007, using apache helicopters to remotely assassinate possible armed individuals without warning is massive overkill for what is essentially a peacekeeping/police operation. they could easily have despatched the Humvee team that evacuated the kids to investigate/arrest/engage as appropriate. but of course the aversion to US casualties means they'd always rather shoot from a safe distance and ask questions later.

I think the first thing to remember is that we saw poor quality video - the people in the helicopter were actually there and could see with their own eyes, and possibly binoculars.

Even if they did believe one or two of the men had weapons- it was clear that the rest of them didn't.

On top of that, it was also clear that the people in the minivan were going to try to help the injured photographer - and under rules of war you have to you allow this to happen. The killings of these people were clearly murder.

However, on a more general point I agree that it is useless to separate "war crimes" from "legal" deaths in war. We should oppose them all equally.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 6 2010 10:37
Steven. wrote:
Even if they did believe one or two of the men had weapons- it was clear that the rest of them didn't.

On top of that, it was also clear that the people in the minivan were going to try to help the injured photographer - and under rules of war you have to you allow this to happen. The killings of these people were clearly murder.

yeah sure, i'm not saying it's ok, just that to my untrained eyes a couple of those people may have been armed, and an RPG isn't a personal defence weapon (afaik AK ownership in Iraq is very high given the instability, so shooting on site for carrying firearms is dodgy in itself). reminds me of this one that came out a while ago (including the revealing line "Roger, he's wounded - hit him"):

posi
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Apr 6 2010 11:45
Joseph Kay wrote:
at 3:45-3:50 there does appear to be a guy with an RPG (or a pipe-like object a similar length)

Even the radio voices don't claim there's an RPG at that point, just AK-47s. An RPG launcher plus loaded grenade is a good 4ft long, and fairly bulky:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ISF_member_armed_with_RPG-7.jpg

If you pause at 3:45 there is a guy holding something longish, but I'm not convinced it's that big - and neither were the helicopter crew.

The RPG claim first comes up at 4:07-4:15, and they're referring to what is in fact the photographer's telephoto lens, which could just about be the bottom of an RPG, but then when they actually shoot (4:47-4:50) it seems pretty clear it's a camera. There's no moment when you can pause it and make it look like an RPG.

Dunno if it was on purpose, probably not. Just had their heads on in a certain way. That's the way it goes.

gypsy
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Apr 6 2010 11:53
posi wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
at 3:45-3:50 there does appear to be a guy with an RPG (or a pipe-like object a similar length)

Even the radio voices don't claim there's an RPG at that point, just AK-47s. An RPG launcher plus loaded grenade is a good 4ft long, and fairly bulky:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ISF_member_armed_with_RPG-7.jpg

If you pause at 3:45 there is a guy holding something longish, but I'm not convinced it's that big - and neither were the helicopter crew.

The RPG claim first comes up at 4:07-4:15, and they're referring to what is in fact the photographer's telephoto lens, which could just about be the bottom of an RPG, but then when they actually shoot (4:47-4:50) it seems pretty clear it's a camera. There's no moment when you can pause it and make it look like an RPG.

Dunno if it was on purpose, probably not. Just had their heads on in a certain way. That's the way it goes.

You know they report gunfire to the radio is there actually any? When they come round the wall and spray the men with gunfire, the men do not seem to be firing anything at them. And one of the press with them is talking on his mobile.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 6 2010 12:29
Posi wrote:
Dunno if it was on purpose, probably not. Just had their heads on in a certain way. That's the way it goes.

well that's really the point, it doesn't have to be a deliberate killing of civilians (although shooting up a vehicle evacuating casualties is a no-no in pretty much any circumstances i think) to be bad. this is what war is.

also when they're looking at the bodies it's clear the optics have a greater zoom mode as they jump in and out, they never looked that closely at the crowd before deciding they were armed and should be killed.

Boris Badenov
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Apr 6 2010 17:10

"It's their fault for bringing their children into a battle."
and
"lol did the tank just go over a body?"
depressed the fuck out of me.
I don't want to go into bullshit philosophical musing, but it seems that the most basic kind of human empathy has been completely uprooted in many of the combatants, and not just those on the American side of course, and I don't know if you can get that back once you reach the point where you find a tank running over a human corpse a commonplace, and even amusing, occurrence.

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jesuithitsquad
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Apr 6 2010 18:06
Vlad336 wrote:
I don't want to go into bullshit philosophical musing, but it seems that the most basic kind of human empathy has been completely uprooted in many of the combatants, and not just those on the American side of course, and I don't know if you can get that back once you reach the point where you find a tank running over a human corpse a commonplace, and even amusing, occurrence.

I was thinking about exactly this when I woke this morning. I'm sure a bit of gallows humor is essential to survive psychologically in a war zone, but the complete disregard for human life evidenced by their banter and laughter is sickening.

Assuming the audio is properly aligned with the video the helicopter has to be close to a mile away given the differential between the sound of the gun firing and the impact of the ordnance. Obviously, there was no immediate threat.

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The Angry Anarchist
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Apr 6 2010 18:29

In one day almost 2 million YouTube views.... yet CNN won't even MENTION it (although some British news agencies have) and Facebook has blocked any mention of "Collateral Murder"..... scary world we live in....

Boris Badenov
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Apr 6 2010 18:37
The Angry Anarchist wrote:
and Facebook has blocked any mention of "Collateral Murder"..... scary world we live in....

I just posted a link to the CM website on fb a couple of hours ago and it's still there.

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Tojiah
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Apr 6 2010 18:41

That was one of the saddest things I've seen. I hope it makes a difference. I know that a similar video involving an Israeli gunship above Gaza wouldn't, as far as most Israelis are concerned.

Yeah, the part where the survivor was crawling away, and the van had come over and was about to rescue him.. sad

gypsy
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Apr 6 2010 19:01

Channel 4 news mentioned it I think.

Boris Badenov
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Apr 6 2010 19:16

tbf, it is starting to get quite a few mentions as the big papers begin to wise up:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/7560561/Calls-for-inquiry-into-Apache-attack-on-Iraqi-civilians.html
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/wikileaks-defends-release-of-video-showing-killing-of-journalists-in-iraq/ (interview with Assenge from wikileaks on the NYTimes blog)
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2010/04/the-wikileaks-video-and-the-rules-of-engagement.html

gypsy
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Apr 6 2010 19:36

tbh I did initially see it on BBC news.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8603938.stm

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communal_pie
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Apr 6 2010 19:45

Welcome to the mentality of (the majority of) soldiers engaging in imperialism..

petey
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Apr 6 2010 20:19
tojiah wrote:
I hope it makes a difference

it won't.
http://www.zazzle.co.uk/taking_out_the_garbage_tshirt-235131757427338566

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Cooked
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Apr 6 2010 22:13

I have never before realised just how quickly news move, particularly on the internet. The film has already been moved away from every mainstream news home page and now resides several clicks down.

Blink and you'll miss it.

(first post, unfortunate topic.)

petey
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Apr 6 2010 23:03

i sympathise, but it's still at least on the CBS page.
of course as we all know they're america-hating, terrorist-loving liberals.

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Khawaga
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Apr 7 2010 16:39

Needless to say, this story is huge in the Middle East/Arab World.

gypsy
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Apr 7 2010 17:57

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8606801.stm

rottweiler
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Apr 7 2010 18:54

Its when you see something like this you start to understand what drives suicide bomb attacks. The superpower invaders, killing from a distance with their high-tech machines, laughing, joking, killing wounded and rescuers without remorse and no action against the murderers. One can begin to understand why people think they have no choice anymore but to seek revenge and the same time as ending their own life. Violence begats violence. Its a horrible viscious circle. The Iraq invasion has destroyed so many lives all for the gain of the ruthless US business elite and their gangster lackeys. The crime of the century.

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Tojiah
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Apr 7 2010 21:41
rottweiler wrote:
Its when you see something like this you start to understand what drives suicide bomb attacks. The superpower invaders, killing from a distance with their high-tech machines, laughing, joking, killing wounded and rescuers without remorse and no action against the murderers. One can begin to understand why people think they have no choice anymore but to seek revenge and the same time as ending their own life. Violence begats violence. Its a horrible viscious circle. The Iraq invasion has destroyed so many lives all for the gain of the ruthless US business elite and their gangster lackeys. The crime of the century.

Don't you feel like you're ignoring the choice of most Iraqis not to commit suicide bombings? Hell, a lot more Iraqis are victims of suicide bombings than perpetrators of them.

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Khawaga
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Apr 8 2010 15:07

And to expand on ToJ's critique. Suicide bombing is not something that someone just chooses to do and then go ask Islamic Jihad for a bomb belt or two. No, suicide bombers are recruited (carefully selected) and put through training before they do the deed. And suicide bomb attacks are carefully planned, often months in advance: it's simply not something that someone just choose to do.

While atrocities like the one in the wikileaks video make it easier to recruit suicide bombers, but is by no means a cause.

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888
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Apr 8 2010 21:22
The Angry Anarchist wrote:
In one day almost 2 million YouTube views.... yet CNN won't even MENTION it (although some British news agencies have) and Facebook has blocked any mention of "Collateral Murder"..... scary world we live in....

I managed to post it on Facebook... what makes you think that, TAA?

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jesuithitsquad
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Apr 8 2010 22:36

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/reuters-spikes-story-on-p_n_530564.html

Report that Reuter's watered down an article calling this a war crime.

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Apr 12 2010 19:01

Does anyone else here donate to WikiLeaks?