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Sergei

Covering up a mass killing

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This is simultaneously a depressing and furiating thing to watch...

http://collateralmurder.com/

(be warned, has a video of people being killed)

They attacked unarmed civilians without provocation and then murdered others (including children) coming to help the wounded, laughing along the way at it all. They probably got a medal for that. Then, when Reuters started to ask questions, the military covered up the whole thing to protect those damn criminals.

July 12th, 2007 New York Times reports that two Iraqi journalists were killed in a militia clash with U.S. forces - ''There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,'' said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad.

I hope heads roll, lessons are learned and changes made, that kind of culture of sadism and covering up has (or should have) no place in a modern military. Until that time, nothing that the coalition says can be trusted. I can only assume that this is just the tip of an iceberg and there are many more cases like this, only those never come up because they don't involve Reuters reporters.

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While some of the people were unarmed, there were definitely people who I would have assessed to be carrying rifles in the group that was engaged.

The more troubling aspects were the mini-van engagement, as there was nothing obvious that would indicate that these were anything other than passing good samaritans, the desire to engage and kill parties who appeared to be hors de combat, prior to the ground forces arriving and the ensuing cover-up*.

*It has to be said that the cover-up is less clear cut (as a cover-up) when you factor in the presence of the Kalashnikovs. We also don't know what the local situation regarding minivans picking up wounded combatants and weapons was.

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While some of the people were unarmed, there were definitely people who I would have assessed to be carrying rifles in the group that was engaged.

In a city of 6.5 million people if you shoot every person who carries any kind of object in their hands, you're going to end up killing hundreds of thousands. The flyguys also claimed the men were shooting. It's inexcusable carelessness, and all the smack talk makes them look like they were trained on videogames.

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Sites appear to be down but hear is the basic I am quoting from another site

If you want to see how the Americans operate in Iraq head on over to Collateral Murder and watch the video available from Wikileaks. It isn’t pleasant viewing. But it is the naked face of modern warfare.

I suspect it may not be around for long before ‘officialdom’ get it pulled so go and see it now and see what your taxes fund.

Everything below is from the website Collateral Murder:

Engagement

All times are presented in Zulu time (UTC), which is used by the military and can be seen on the top left corner of the video. Baghdad local time at the time of the incident was UTC+4. Military documents state that events start at 09:50, which is approximately 28 minutes before the video starts.

06:50:00 1/8 CAV moves in to assist 2/6 after a report of Small Arms Fire (SAF) in the area. They fail to positively identify (PID) the attacker. 06:18:40 Crazyhorse [lead helicopter] notices a group of people on an open plaza. 06:20:05 Crazyhorse: “Have five to six individuals with AK47s. Request permission to engage.” 06:21:09 First shots fired at the group. 06:21:41 Helicopters cease fire. 06:22:02 Helicopters notice that Saeed is injured and is crawling. 06:24:54 Crazyhorse: “Come on, buddy. All you gotta do is pick up a weapon.” 06:25:26 Helicopters notice a mini-van arriving, attempting to help Saeed. 06:25:58 Crazyhorse: “Roger. Break. Uh Crazyhorse One-Eight request permission to uh engage.” 06:26:29 Bushmaster gives permission to engage. Proceed to open fire on the mini-van. 06:27:27 Helicopters cease fire. 06:31:53 Bradley armored vehicle arrives on the scene, followed by ground personnel. 06:33:12 They discover two wounded children in the van. 06:35:14 Ground unit reports: “I’ve got uh eleven Iraqi KIAs [Killed In Action]. One small child wounded. Over.” – “Roger. Ah damn. Oh well.” 06:36:05 “Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.” 06:36:45 Humvee drives over Namir’s body. 06:43:06 Bradley armored vehicle drives over a second body. 06:49:09 Video cuts. 07:20:42 Helicopter reports that 6 individuals have entered a building. It appears to be either under construction or an abandoned construction site. 07:21:40 “This is Bushmaster Six Romeo. Crazyhorse One Eight is going to be engaging north to south with Hellfire missiles over.” 07:23:39 Hellfire missile is fired. “Target hit.” 07:25:27 “There it goes! Look at that bitch go!” 07:26:42 “Roger, building destroyed. Engaged with three hellfire missiles.” Responses

July 12th, 2007 New York Times reports that two Iraqi journalists were killed in a militia clash with U.S. forces – ”There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,” said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad.

July 13th, 2007 Press statement from public affairs office in camp Victory reports on the event. There is no question that Coalition Forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force, said Lt. Col Scott Bleichwehl, spokesperson and public affairs officer for MND-B.

July 13th, 2007 Reuters blog posts an entry on the killings of Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Namir was the 109th journalist to be killed in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, and Saeed the 40th member of support staff.

July 16th, 2007 Reuters seeks U.S. probe into the killings of their staff. Our preliminary investigation raises real questions about whether there was fighting at the time the two men were killed, said David Schlesinger, editor-in-chief of Reuters. Specifically, Reuters wanted an explanation of why the two cameras were confiscated, access to any cameras onboard the Apache helicopters that were involved in the incident, access to any voice communications between the helicopter crews and U.S. ground forces and access to reports from the unit involved in the incident, in particular a log of any weapons taken from the scene.

July 16th, 2007Counterpunch reports that The US military says US and Iraqi forces engaged “a hostile force” and, after coming under fire, called for air support that killed nine insurgents and two civilians. The police and witnesses tell a different story. A preliminary police report from al-Rashad police station said Mr Noor-Eldeen and Mr Chmagh were killed along with nine others by a “random American bombardment.” One witness, Karim Shindakh, said: “The aircraft began striking randomly and people were wounded. A Kia [mini-van] arrived to take them away. They hit the Kia and killed … the two journalists.

March 2008 Reuters opens website Bearing Witness dedicated to the memory of the Reuters journalists that have been killed in Iraq during the war: Taras Protsyuk (2003); Mazen Dana (2003); Dhia Najim (2003); Waleed Khaled (2005); Saeed Chmagh (2007); Namir Noor-Eldeen (2007); and an anonymous Reuters journalist who was killed in 2007.

July 15th, 2008 Reuters posts memorial article. In it they mention that “Reuters News is seeking video footage from the U.S. military and other materials relating to the killing of Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh. The footage was taken by cameras on board the U.S. helicopters involved in the incident, in which nine other people were killed. The U.S. military said last week it is still processing the request”

April 5th, 2010 WikiLeaks releases video footage from Apache helicopter.

—————————————————————————————–

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.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

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”.

Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.

WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.

I don't doubt that Wikileaks has the genuine article.

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This is odd:

06:21:09 First shots fired at the group.

06:21:41 Helicopters cease fire.

06:22:02 ...

06:24:54 ...

06:25:26 Helicopters notice a mini-van arriving, attempting to help Saeed.

The van arrived within 4 1/2 minutes of the first shots being fired. That's pretty freaking prompt.

It'd be better if the transcript writer didn't editorialise (the underlined bit). There's no way to know the motivations of the van - or, more plausibly, it's occupants - and assigning motive just muddies things.

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For those that haven't seen the video, the minivan rocks up to the other end of the block from the intersection where the initial engagement took place, so about 30-40m away. Two or three people (adults) get out of the van and move towards the injured journalist, who is apparently the only survivor of the attack. Certainly he is the only one moving. They pick him up and carry him to the van, at which point the helicopter fires on it. The first volley strikes mainly around the van, catching the two adults on the ground and possibly the injured journalist as they load him in through the side door. The van manoeuvres violently before being hit again and is then shrouded in smoke. When the smoke clears, the two adults from the van are visible where they attempted to run and the journalist is visible where he has apparently been thrown during the van's movement. The van is hit in multiple locations including a round that has hit roughly in the centre of the windscreen.

Prior to this it is possible to pick out two blobs in the window that hindsight tells you are conceivably the two children.

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It'd be better if the transcript writer didn't editorialise (the underlined bit). There's no way to know the motivations of the van - or, more plausibly, it's occupants - and assigning motive just muddies things.

The van stopped by Saeed Chmagh, men carried him to the back of the van. The firing resumed as the van started moving again. I think it's pretty clear what the motivation was, unless you suppose they were trying to kidnap him or something.

If the Wikileaks site doesn't load for you, there are multiple copies of the video all over the internet by now, like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH9xSHcFreY.

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The Apache still relies on targeting information from the ground. While you can never rule out a pilot getting carried away most of the cases turn out the pilot having asked the right questions according to the ROE and getting answer from the ground being the ROE equivalent of "everything moving is definitely hostile". A similar situation was presented in September when German special forces called in F-18 air strikes on two tanker trucks, with the German colonel straight lying to the pilots when telling them that his orders to engage we based on this and that fact (such as whether he has eyes on target).

There are exceptions to this rule, the most famous recent one when a couple Canadians died from friendly fire, where IIRC a fighter pilot was too convinced to be right and released ordnance violating protocol.

Overall the report as such seem plausible but you should hesitate to blindly assuming the pilots went on a self-motivated rampage.

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The van stopped by Saeed Chmagh, men carried him to the back of the van. The firing resumed as the van started moving again. I think it's pretty clear what the motivation was, unless you suppose they were trying to kidnap him or something.

The way it's written - or the way I read it - it sounds like the transcript writer thinks the van was called up like an ambulance. I think it's more plausble that the van just happened to be driving past, saw the wounded, and did the Good Samaritan thing, then got caught in the crossfire. Who's right - me or the transcript writer?

It doesn't matter who's right because, regardless of how it actually transpired, my point is that editorialising in a transcript is a bad idea. It's a bad idea because it's a loose thread that can be picked at to unravel the credibility of otherwise sound data.

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Those Apache jockey's IFF evaluation isn't much better then this guy's:

They saw what they wanted to see. The second attack in particular is indicative of an unsuitable mindset.

As per usual though, I'm more offended by the cover-up then the incident itself. This kinda stuff, though bad, happens. But lying about it, no, that just sends the wrong signals about what the organization condones.

Counter productive too. I bet anyone living near that location took note of what they know had happened, what was said by the US to have happened and drawn their conclusions from that.

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Is this really anything new though? This sort of thing has been happening since the start of the invasion. In fact it's largely because of this sort of careless killing that the USA et al faced such burgeoning opposition, armed and unarmed.

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This was just one of many returns on Google when I was searching for that original incident in 2003 when 1st Cav troopers panic fired into a crowd of demonstrators. Thought it was worth adding here though because it also includes choppers and dead cameramen.

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Someone else on another board summed this event up pretty well:

Fog of War.

We apologize for killing your reporters embedded with bad people. We're sorry for killing bad people's kids too. Maybe they should have been better parents.

When you try to get some good photos of hell, sometimes you get burned.

Now, I think that sums it up nicely but, the way I see it is: It's WAR. Whether you like it or not people are going to die, some good, some bad, some trapped in the middle. I have a really hard time buying the good Samaritan bit. Based on my experience, Iraqis tend to run around with blinders on, it it's not in their living room and it doesn't directly effect their family, they stay out of it.

Stopping to render aid? I have seen more than a few Iraqi traffic accidents (no US involvement), I've have yet to see an Iraqi stop to render aid. If the average Iraqi won't stop for a traffic accident, what makes you think they would run Willy nilly into a 30mm HE is tearing bodies apart in the middle of the street type of scenario? Much less with their kids in the car?

ETA: Some of you are armchair quarterbacking...er...general-ing with little or no operational experience. War games and actual shoot-mutha-frackas-in-the-face war are two completely different things. Sometimes you have seconds to make a decision that is no-s#!t life or death, sometimes you make the wrong decision and the wrong people die. If any of you feel that you could have made a better decision, I invite you to try: CLICK ME [/rant]

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"Bad people"? Seriously? Was that post written by the same chimpanzee that wrote all of GWB's speeches, because it does have a familiar Axis of Evil vibe?

De-humanizing the enemy is one thing, but de-humanizing frickin' innocent, unarmed civilians is quite another. Okay, they're Muslims and brown and what not, but still. They're your brothers, not enemies. They're not bad people, probably less than you are.

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Not my brothers, guy.

Honestly, I think "bad people" is a wholly appropriate moniker for some of the "people" I have encountered in Iraq. What is your aversion to that phrase? Would you prefer something more vulgar?

You need to get a clue, dude. Islamic extremist are not above using women and children as shields.

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You need to get a clue, dude. Islamic extremist are not above using women and children as shields.

And some people in the US military are not above killing civilians. Which, by the way, the people killed in that 2007 incident were. Why you're defending it is a mystery.

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... the way I see it is: It's WAR.

Wrong.

Wrong technically, wrong legally, and wrong jingoistically.

Whether you like it or not people are going to die, some good, some bad, some trapped in the middle.

Just so. It's a shame that every 'good' or 'trapped in the middle' one killed makes the job harder, huh?

War games and actual shoot-mutha-frackas-in-the-face war are two completely different things.

Just so. And Iraq circa 2007 is something else again.

Sometimes you have seconds to make a decision that is no-s#!t life or death

Just so. This, however, was not one of those times. Edit: wait - for Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh yes it was.

ETA:

... If any of you feel that you could have made a better decision, I invite you to try: CLICK ME [/rant]

:rolleyes:

Been there, done that, didn't kill any civilains, so wind back the brain dead rhetoric Rambo.

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And some people in the US military are not above killing civilians. Which, by the way, the people killed in that 2007 incident were. Why you're defending it is a mystery.

Why? That's easy. The terrorists have won, and he likes side with the winners ;)

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Not my brothers, guy.

If innocent, unarmed civilians do not fit there, then what the heck are/were you* doing in Iraq? :confused:

* You personally. Not the US. You.

Edit: wait ... Angryson? The sanctimonious dick that shoots his mouth off without thinking? Ah well, we can't expect much in the way of higher brain functions from you, huh?

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You need to get a clue, dude. Islamic extremist are not above using women and children as shields.

If this sort of attitude is prevalent in US Army, not surprisingly war in Iraq is lost, soon followed by failure in Afghanistan and in entire so called war on terror. Similarities to the never ending and equally unsuccessful war on drugs, anyone?

Maybe someone else should get a clue , dude.

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Man what a (disgusting) joke.

We need to get the **** out now before any more of this happens.

Too bad Ron Paul got shunned by the Repubs, he would have had a pretty good shot against Obama :(.

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Someone else on another board summed this event up pretty well:

I have a really hard time buying the good Samaritan bit. Based on my experience, Iraqis tend to run around with blinders on, it it's not in their living room and it doesn't directly effect their family, they stay out of it.

What utter bull****. For all you know it was the dude's family member/friend or something. That would explain the prompt drive up.

Arabs tend to be very sociable, friendly people, I would know I lived in the middle east for 7 years. They tend to be much more outgoing withs strangers than Americans and Europeans (except for Italians maybe ;))

And just because some insurgents use human shields does not justify our military blasting away everyone.

This kind of thing really just shows why we shouldn't be there in the first place. You can't defeat a paramilitary organization that has a loose structure, doesn't fight conventional "battles", AND has the support of a pretty large number of the local populace, with a standard military force. Actions like this just boost recruiting for them you can be sure. It's utterly unwinnable. The longer you stay, the more pissed off people get, the more people join the insurgency. It'll go on forever.

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