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Wikileaks releases video of US soldiers killing Iraqi civilians, journalists


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And oddly enough, Fox News is one of the few US "news organizations" carrying anything about it at all:

 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/05/video-appears-forces-firing-unarmed-suspects-baghdad/

 

 

Wikileaks site on the incident here

 

Wikileaks is an organization reminiscient of the "data havens" seen in William Gibson and Bruce Sterling novels (or the CryptNet in Neil Stephenson) They provide a proxy organization between whistleblowers and other sources of information and the outside world, allowing people to release classified information without threat of litigation.

 

Recently Wikileaks released a video apparently showing US soldiers gunning down Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists from a helicopter. The US government maintains it obeyed proper rules of engagement.

 

I think this event is interesting if only because it shows how the way information is disseminated is changing thanks to the Internet. I've been reading about this sort of thing in sci-fi for awhile and it's pretty interesting to see it happening in the real world.

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I really like the inflamed opinion of the comments posted by arrogant people. People that are severely misinformed but believe what they see is everything, every detail, every fact. People that accept without testing or doubting.

 

its either arrogance or ignorance.. i really cant decide which.

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it's difficult to see if any weapons are actually present, or how this is verified before the authorization to shoot is given (or how people carrying weapons are necessarily assumed to be enemy combatants).

 

The attitude of the US soldiers you can hear in the video is most disturbing. It sounds more like they're playing a fun video game than ending real lives.

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Of course, we do not know the full circumstances: what happened off camera, before the filming started, what was edited out, etc...

 

Because I don't think any mainstream media (esp. Fox) does a very good job, I'd really like it if other mainstream media outlets picked it up. This would, in my opinion, lend credence to these claims. That it hasn't received much other attention makes me think there really is nothing to see. The whole exchange probably looks a lot different when presented in context.

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Of course, we do not know the full circumstances: what happened off camera, before the filming started, what was edited out, etc...

 

Because I don't think any mainstream media (esp. Fox) does a very good job, I'd really like it if other mainstream media outlets picked it up. This would, in my opinion, lend credence to these claims. That it hasn't received much other attention makes me think there really is nothing to see. The whole exchange probably looks a lot different when presented in context.

 

I'm guessing it doesn't look different in context, but there is still "nothing to see" anyway. Is there anything here that's especially out of the ordinary, beyond a perhaps careless but defensible error, and a level of callousness which is only unusual in that civilians are seeing it? Did anyone think it wasn't normal to shoot first and ask questions later if a threat is perceived?

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It's hard to justify "they were threatening me with their AK-47s" when you're in an armored attack helicopter.

 

I think you're probably right. I'm just saying I doubt this sort of thing is typically subject to disciplinary action.

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There's mention made of an RPG, in position to fire on friendlies. (Presumably it's one of those high tech fancy spy RPGs that fit inside a camera) The pilot got very nervous after that. Edit: Apparently there was also a real RPG. Wikileaks failed to mention that...

Edited by Mr Skeptic
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There's mention made of an RPG, in position to fire on friendlies. (Presumably it's one of those high tech fancy spy RPGs that fit inside a camera)
that, or the RPG isn't shown on camera.

 

The pilot got very nervous after that.
which indicates there was, at the least, a perceived threat (to state the obvious).
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I'm not sure I see any problem here, or any difference from dozens of other YouTube videos from the region.

 

The indiscriminate and nonchalant "video game"-like killing of unarmed civilians and journalists doesn't bother you?

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Wikileaks sounds good, but after reading this man's critique of the video, I'm not so sure their mission is a noble one. I watched the video and agree entirely with his take on this.

 

Wikileaks did not go to any trouble to point out the armed men in the video at 3:39 (one with an AK variant and one with an RPG) like they did the cameramen. That fancy pointer on the video screen should have noted such a crucial point - unless of course it undermines your agenda. I would be more forgiving, but it's just too obvious to dismiss. It's irresponsible, and dangerously so in this context.

 

The shot at 4:08 to 4:18 looked like an RPG to me - granted I don't know squat about this sort of thing - but Anthony says it's a camera lens, yet defends the mistake:

 

It has to be taken into consideration that there is no way that the Crazyhorse crew had the knowledge, as everyone who has viewed this had, that the man on the corner of that wall was a photographer. The actions of shouldering an RPG (bringing a long cylindrical object in line with one’s face) and framing a photo with a long telephoto lens quite probably look identical to an aircrew in those conditions.

 

All that said, I agree with this:

 

The point at which I cannot support the actions of Crazyhorse 18, at all, comes when the van arrives somewhere around 9:45 and is engaged. Unless someone had jumped out with an RPG ready to fire on the aircraft, there was no threat warranting a hail of 30mm from above. Might it have been prudent to follow the vehicle (perhaps with a UAV), or at least put out a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) for the vehicle? Absolutely without question. Was this portion of the engagement even remotely understandable, to me? No, it was not.

 

Do I like it when people ask themselves questions just to turn right around and answer them? No.

 

But I do think the fella has a balanced point. They were wrong. It was a bad shoot. And Wikileaks has a new, unique burden that I hope they get right in the future. It has the chemistry to be an awesome device against corruption and another chance at the truth.

 

The indiscriminate and nonchalant "video game"-like killing of unarmed civilians and journalists doesn't bother you?

 

It bothers me about as much as it does when I see detectives laughing and telling jokes about 10 feet away from a dead hooker in the street. People adapt to uncomfortable realities. You bet they're callous, and you'd have to be shoot people, no matter what they've done.

 

It always looks so awful to us, yet we have minimal - no make that fractional - exposure to such things at all, (here in grainy black and white video). Seems obvious I'm watching people who have adapted to their life in battle on the other side of the world. They could die any time. I don't think their priorities are the same as ours, and I don't have a problem with it.

 

Did you also notice that was one or two people in the whole thing? The rest of them are quite professional on the radio - but you know what they say...do something right and nobody notices, do something wrong and you never hear the end of it.

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The indiscriminate and nonchalant "video game"-like killing of unarmed civilians and journalists doesn't bother you?

 

"Excuse me, Senator, will you be resigning or will you continue to beat your wife?" :rolleyes:

 

There were many elements of that scene, in fact most of what we see in that video, that do not come under fire. If this were a video game on the XBox 360 that tank of fuel would have gone up for sure, not to mention the woman in the burka and the child walking alongside her (what, he was on a coffee break?). This "video game" analogy is completely invalid.

 

 

The "war" ended back in 2003, if you ask the administration. Our role is policing, not conquering.

 

What conquering did you see?

 

What I saw was a bunch of guys with weapons being taken out on what appeared to be the periphery of a firefight that was already underway nearby. I don't know what the rules of engagement were, but they appeared to be following some, attacking only specific targets and seeking permission to open fire.

 

Is it a tragedy that a reporter and photo were killed, and a child injured? Certainly. Is the dialog a bit callous? Sure. People say stupid things in combat sometimes. Maybe it's just stress, or maybe these trained combat specialists are actually just sadistic rednecks who snuck into centcom and now need to be taken out back and beaten. I don't know, but I see no reason to make any assumptions here.

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What conquering did you see?

 

What I saw was a bunch of guys with weapons being taken out on what appeared to be the periphery of a firefight that was already underway nearby. I don't know what the rules of engagement were, but they appeared to be following some, attacking only specific targets and seeking permission to open fire.

What about the bit after they're wounded and being picked up?

 

I might note the current rules of engagement in Afghanistan prohibit soldiers from firing on people without weapons, even if they just put down their guns and walked out of their building. Soldiers are frustrated -- there will be people they know are insurgents but can't fire upon -- but there will be far fewer civilian casualties.

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What about the bit after they're wounded and being picked up?

 

I might note the current rules of engagement in Afghanistan prohibit soldiers from firing on people without weapons, even if they just put down their guns and walked out of their building. Soldiers are frustrated -- there will be people they know are insurgents but can't fire upon -- but there will be far fewer civilian casualties.

 

You mean the van being shot up? As I said, I don't know what the rules of engagement were.

 

I agree soldiers can get frustrated and I also agree that sometimes they do things they're not supposed to. I don't see how such a quick and decisive determination can be made based on the evidence here, however, because I lack (and I believe everyone else here lacks) the experience and information necessary to do that. I do not see a lot of angst or craziness on the part of these individuals and this radio traffic. I see some regretable comments, but I don't see any evidence of them being out of control.

 

I also see ideological motivation for the publicizing of this video, and I have to question that. The derogatory remarks regarding military explanations of what we're seeing based on a presumption that it must be wrong because the military said it is not something I can go along with. Not that that was the case in your post.

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What about the bit after they're wounded and being picked up?

 

I might note the current rules of engagement in Afghanistan prohibit soldiers from firing on people without weapons, even if they just put down their guns and walked out of their building. Soldiers are frustrated -- there will be people they know are insurgents but can't fire upon -- but there will be far fewer civilian casualties.

 

Well, after the one guy was injured and the van was coming to pick up. IMO what the gunner said was more of an act of mercy than any sort of sadistic video game speech. He wanted to kill the guy not wound him, hence why he wanted the guy to pick up a gun. Also it should be noted that they did feel guilt and compassion about injuring the little girl, but in their mindset their thought process was that they could do nothing about it so they said "oh well".

 

Is the dialog a bit callous? Sure. People say stupid things in combat sometimes. Maybe it's just stress' date=' or maybe these trained combat specialists are actually just sadistic rednecks who snuck into centcom and now need to be taken out back and beaten. I don't know, but I see no reason to make any assumptions here.

[/quote']

In general that is how people talk over there in the sandbox. it really is not callous or even uncommon. If you would have heard the dismounted element talking after they got into position to secure the area, You would have heard much worse because aircrew are taught brevity in speaking both on and off radio. I suppose the apparent callousness is due to the mindset that these people need in order to even try to do their jobs.

 

"It always looks so awful to us' date=' yet we have minimal - no make that fractional - exposure to such things at all, (here in grainy black and white video). Seems obvious I'm watching people who have adapted to their life in battle on the other side of the world. They could die any time. I don't think their priorities are the same as ours, and I don't have a problem with it.

The shot at 4:08 to 4:18 looked like an RPG to me"

[/quote']

 

That so called grainy black and white video, is IR.

What we can almost glean from the video is that the Dismounted element was under gun fire prior to the event, and this Helo was circling to provide close air support (also knows as over watch). when they saw this group of individuals it looks extremely similar to a group of individuals that are setting up an attack or and ied or what have you.

Also, when the element secures the perimeter around the element they do say that it does appear to be an unexploded RPG. one of the reasons why they did not move the body was because they were bringing in a EOD team. Later in the video you can also note that it was confirmed to be an unexploded RPG.

 

It's hard to justify "they were threatening me with their AK-47s" when you're in an armored attack helicopter.

actually it is pretty easy to justify that, one bullet that makes it into the inside of the Helo can ricochet and enter the cockpit and kill the pilot or damage critical flying instruments. Yes the outside is in fact armored. but the inside is still as fragile as ever. depending on the type of Helo it was the gunner was probably sitting at the gunners seat with an open window allowing him to view the outside area. the open window is just a hole in the aircraft. here is an image to give you an idea

http://tri.army.mil/lc/cs/csa/uh1d20mm.jpg

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actually it is pretty easy to justify that, one bullet that makes it into the inside of the Helo can ricochet and enter the cockpit and kill the pilot or damage critical flying instruments. Yes the outside is in fact armored. but the inside is still as fragile as ever. depending on the type of Helo it was the gunner was probably sitting at the gunners seat with an open window allowing him to view the outside area. the open window is just a hole in the aircraft. here is an image to give you an idea

http://tri.army.mil/lc/cs/csa/uh1d20mm.jpg

 

It was an Apache gunship. Apaches are designed to take 23mm gunfire and survive.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AH-64_Apache#Design

 

The gun the helicopters were firing was the nose-mounted 30mm cannon.

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oh, and besides that the caption at the bottom was wrong at times, and did not include other radio calls being made. the other radio calls could be understood and may have had to do with the scene however they may not have coincided with the point the video cut to and trying to make.

For instances if your trying to make it look like these guys are playing a video game then you don't put xray lima mike "out" you put xray lima mike "oh" there were several little details like that that subtlety could make you believe the statement that the speech was similar to someone playing a video game. i saw many discrepancies with what was written and what was said. many of those discrepancies lead validation to the video game theory when in actuality those discrepancies were just the regular format for radio calls.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
It was an Apache gunship. Apaches are designed to take 23mm gunfire and survive.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AH-64_Apache#Design

 

The gun the helicopters were firing was the nose-mounted 30mm cannon.

 

it may have been, but i don't think the video told us what it was.

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http://ttp2.dslyecxi.com/images/role_door_gunner.jpg

http://www.patriotfiles.com/forum/imgcacheA/25010.png

are more accurate pictures of what i was trying to represent.

I remember a certain type of helicopter i was shown back in tech school where the gunny sat a seat in it. i just cant for the life of me remember the damn name of the helicopter.

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In general that is how people talk over there in the sandbox. it really is not callous or even uncommon. If you would have heard the dismounted element talking after they got into position to secure the area, You would have heard much worse because aircrew are taught brevity in speaking both on and off radio. I suppose the apparent callousness is due to the mindset that these people need in order to even try to do their jobs.

 

Sounds about right. I've heard this from a number of other sources as well, including relatives who served over there.

 

 

It was an Apache gunship. Apaches are designed to take 23mm gunfire and survive.

 

Sure, but note that the same article you linked states that 12 Apaches have been shot down since 2003 in Iraq.

 

The Apache operators probably knew they weren't threatened by the people we see in the video (they were obviously some distance off). The threat is presumably other, unknown combatants potentially underneath them.

 

They also have the stress of target selection and rules of engagement. It's not hard to look at that environment and understand how hard it must be to deal with that.

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Pangloss, I don't know what to say, besides I can pretty much guarantee you we'll see an investigation into the content of this video, and I predict the outcome for the US military will not be a positive one.

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