Collateral Murder | leaked US Army video shows unprovoked attack

U.S. Army Apache and Blackhawk Helicopters

The videos from U.S. Army Apache helicopters involved in an Iraqi war incident that killed 11 were leaked today. Image from Flickr.

Wikileaks, a small and independent website, today linked a video they are calling “Collateral Murder.” The 15-minute video is the decrypted recording from two U.S. Military Apache helicopters operating in Baghdad in 2007. This Collateral Murder video shows Reuters journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh as they were killed by U.S. “Friendly Fire.” Wikileaks has only said that “U.S. Army Whistle-blowers” provided the video, and they did not receive payday loans for providing the video.

The Collateral Murder incident

The incident that the Collateral Murder video shows originally occurred on July 12, 2007. The official U.S. Army story of the incident is that the helicopter attack that killed eleven people was predicated with “U.S. Forces coming under fire.” A Reuters photographer and videographer were both killed during the attack. Reuters made an immediate Freedom of Information Act request for the video, but never received copies.

The Collateral Murder video

Leaked today by Wikileaks, the Collateral Murder video shows that the official U.S. Army story may have been a cover-up. The video had been described in detail in a 2009 book by David Finkel, and Reuters officials were shown the video in a 2007 off-the-record briefing. Off-the-record, however, cannot prevent officials who are not in need of the payday loan companies from leaking the information. However, when Julian Assange, editor of Wikileaks, showed the video at the National Press Club, it was the first time the video was available for wide viewing.

See the Collateral Murder video here

What the Collateral Murder video shows

The video of the “Collateral Murder” incident does show a few things for certain. At the time the U.S. Forces opened fire with Apache helicopters, the army was not being shot at. It also appears that the troops mistook the telephoto lens or video camera as rocket-propelled grenades. It also appears that the U.S. troops laugh and joke when two children and a good Samaritan are injured by the gunfire. One solider also asks for permission to open fire on the van that has stopped to help the wounded.

The result of Collateral Murder

The leaking of this video has not yet prompted an official response from the U.S. Army. In the past, the U.S. Army has stated that in this incident, they believe all rules of engagement were properly adhered to. Rumors of Army cover-ups and inappropriate actions have plagued the Iraqi war. Reuters news has responded to the video in a written statement. They call the leaked Collateral Murder video “graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result.”

Reuters News
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