July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike


July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike
July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike
Part of Post-invasion Iraq
Date July 12, 2007
Location New Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
Casualties and losses
Press reports of number killed vary from 12[1][2] to "over 18".[3][4] 2 children were wounded.[5][6]

The July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrikes were a series of air-to-ground attacks conducted by a team of two United States Army AH-64 Apache helicopters in Al-Amin al-Thaniyah, in the district of New Baghdad in Baghdad, during the insurgency that followed the Iraq War.

In the first strike "Crazyhorse 1/8" directed 30mm cannon fire at a group of nine to eleven[7][8] men, one had an AK-47 and another an RPG-7;[1][4][9][10][11] most were unarmed;[12][13] two were war correspondents for Reuters; Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, whose cameras were mistaken for weapons. Eight[7] men were killed, including Noor-Eldeen. Chmagh was wounded.

The second airstrike using 30 mm fire was directed at Chmagh and two other unarmed men and their unmarked van as they were attempting to help Chmagh into the van.[8][9] Two children inside the van were wounded, three more men were killed, including Chmagh.

In a third airstrike the "Bush" helicopter team fired three AGM-114 Hellfire missiles to destroy a building after they had observed men enter, some of whom appeared to be armed.[14][15][16]

The attacks received worldwide coverage following the release of 39 minutes of classified cockpit gunsight footage in 2010. Reuters had unsuccessfully requested the footage under the Freedom of Information Act in 2007. The footage was acquired from an undisclosed source in 2009 by the Internet leak website WikiLeaks, which released a shorter, edited version on April 5, 2010, under the name Collateral Murder. Recorded from the gunsight Target Acquisition and Designation System of one of the attacking helicopters, the video shows the three incidents and the radio chatter between the aircrews and ground units involved. An anonymous US military official confirmed the authenticity of the footage.[17]

Contents

Context

According to Tom Cohen, CNN, "the soldiers of Bravo Company 2-16 Infantry had been under fire all morning from rocket-propelled grenades and small arms on the first day of Operation Ilaaj in Baghdad".[18] Al Jazeera stated that the Army had received "reports of small arms fire" but as they were unable to positively identify the gunmen they proceeded to dispatch Apache helicopters to the area.[19] According to a military review, soldiers in that company "had been under sporadic small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire since" the operation—described as "clearing their sector and looking for weapons caches" began.[20]

The Air Weapons Team (AWT) of two Apache AH-64s (part of the 1st Cavalry Division) had been requested by the Army's 2–16 Infantry Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, before July 12 to support Operation Ilaaj. Tasked to conduct escort, armed reconnaissance patrols, counter-IED and counter-mortar operations, the two helicopters left Camp Taji at 9.24am. They arrived on station in New Baghdad at 9.53am, where, according to the official report, sporadic attacks on coalition forces continued.[21]

Incidents

The first part of the video released by WikiLeaks, showing the first attack, on a group of men and the second attack, on a van. This is 13 minutes of onboard footage from one of the two AH-64 Apache helicopters involved in the incident released by WikiLeaks. This video is from the editorialized version of Collateral Murder, but has had the editorial removed. (Full audio transcript) Other video clips including the full 39-minute footage and clips corresponding to the Army report exhibits were also made available by WikiLeaks.

Attack on personnel

On the morning of July 12, 2007, the crews of two United States Army AH-64 Apache helicopters observed a gathering of men near an open air section of Baghdad from a distance up to 800 meters away.[7][18] The crews estimated that group was made up of twenty men.[22] This group included two members of staff from the Reuters news service, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh[18][23][24][25][26] who were not identified as journalists.[27] The helicopter crews mistook the photographic equipment carried by Chmagh and Noor-eldeen for weapons.[28]

A crew member reported seeing "five to six individuals with AK-47s" and requested authorization to engage.[18] The men then became obscured behind a building.[18] Once some men became visible again, both helicopters strafed a group of around ten men with 30 mm rounds.[17][18][29] Several men were killed, including Noor-Eldeen, and others wounded, including Chmagh.[7][18][24] At least one man in that group was carrying a RPG-7[1] and another was carrying an AK-47 or AKM assault rifle.[9][11][18]

Attack on a van

The wounded Chmagh was crawling on the ground,[24][30] when a van appeared at the scene.[18][24][30] The van had no visible markings to suggest it was an ambulance or a protected vehicle.[9] Unarmed[24] men attempted to get him to the van.[18][24][30] The watching helicopter crews requested permission to engage, stating "…looks like [the men] possibly uh picking up bodies and weapons" from the scene,[31] and upon receiving permission opened fire on the van and its occupants.[18][24][30] Two children sitting in the front seat were wounded but survived.[18][24][30] Chmagh was killed[18][24][30] along with the father of the children.[32]

Attack on a building

The second part of the video released by WikiLeaks, showing the attack on a building.

There is a period of 20 minutes not included on the leaked tape.[33] According to the internal legal review, the helicopters engaged a group of armed insurgents, and that some were seen entering a nearby building.[7]

As the tape resumes, two men holding objects are seen walking. They split up and the footage focuses on one who appears to be armed.[16] He walks into a building, after which the helicopter crew reports that "there's at least six individuals in that building with weapons". They request permission to fire a missile at the building, describing it at first as "abandoned" and then as "under construction". The ground controller responds, "If you've PIDed the individuals in the building with weapons, go ahead and engage the building". The gunner then takes a few moments to ready a Hellfire missile, during which two more seemingly unarmed men are seen entering the building.[16] One member notices this saying, "Got more individuals in there". As the gunner prepares to fire the first missile, a man is seen walking along the street in front of the building. The missile is fired and hits the building in a large explosion through which the man can no longer be seen. Afterwards, Crazyhorse 1/8 asks for permission to fire another Hellfire a few times. Once granted, they take a few moments to ready another missile, during which several people are seen walking around the debris from the first missile.[34]

Commentary

WikiLeaks said in the preface to one of their videos of the incident that "some of the men appear to have been armed [although] the behavior of nearly everyone was relaxed" in the introductory text of the shorter video.[35] Julian Assange said “permission to engage was given before the word ‘RPG’ was ever used”.[35] Politifact states: "When Assange points out in the context of justifying the title "Collateral Murder" that the word "RPG" was not used until after the permission to engage was given, he leaves the impression that the soldiers were given the okay to open fire on a group of unarmed men, or men believed to be unarmed. But the video and accompanying audio make clear that the soldiers in the helicopter said they spotted "weapons" among those in the group. -- later identified by an army investigator as an AK-47, RPG rounds[36] and 2 RPG launchers, one of which was loaded.[7][37] Assange later acknowledged "Based upon visual evidence I suspect there probably were AKs and an RPG, but I'm not sure that means anything," [9] Assange stated that initial attempts to evacuate the wounded children to a nearby US military hospital were blocked by US military command.[38] The legal review carried out by the US Army states that the two children were evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital via Forward Operating Base Loyalty, then transferred to an Iraqi medical facility the next day.[7]

Fox News said that of the attack “WikiLeaks appears to have done selective editing that tells only half the story. For instance, the Web site takes special care to slow down the video and identify the two photographers and the cameras they are carrying.... The Web site does not slow down the video to show that at least one man in that group was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a clearly visible weapon that runs nearly two-thirds the length of his body. WikiLeaks also does not point out that at least one man was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle. He is seen swinging the weapon below his waist while standing next to the man holding the RPG." [9]

'The Guardian stated “It is unclear if some of the men are armed but Noor-Eldeen can be seen with a camera”.[24] Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com said that “the vast majority of the men were clearly unarmed”.[39] Greenwald called the second airstrike a "plainly unjustified killing of a group of unarmed men carrying away an unarmed, seriously wounded man to safety".[39] The Australian newspaper said the group was displaying “no obvious hostile action”.[40]

In The Independent on April 8, 2010, human rights activist Joan Smith asserts that the engagements were as a game to the helicopter crew. She writes that the co-pilot urged a dying, unarmed journalist to pick up a weapon as he tried to crawl to safety; and claims that the footage shows "...the Apache crew opening fire on civilians...".[41] When the crew were informed that a child had been injured by their attack, one commented "Well, it's their fault for bringing kids into a battle".[41] Smith describes this reaction as inhuman. She draws parallels with soldiers who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder in earlier wars. She continues "...the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are inflicting huge psychological damage on combatants".[41] In refusing to recognise this, the US military fails both its own soldiers and their "victims".[41] Command structures need to be in place to identify "combatants with serious psychological problems",[41] she concludes.

On Democracy Now!, Josh Stieber, a conscientious objector who was at the time assigned to Bravo Company 2–16, said that although it's natural to "judge or criticize the soldiers", in fact "this is how [they] were trained to act". He said that the debate should be re-framed, that it is more appropriate to ask "questions of the larger system" that teaches "doing these things is in the best interests of my own country".[42]

Ethan McCord, A soldier who arrived on the scene after the attack stated on an interview for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

From being in the perspective of the Apache helicopter crew, I can see where a group of men gathering, when there’s a firefight just a few blocks away, which I was involved in, and they’re carrying weapons, one of which is an RPG. ... Their overall mission that day was to protect us, to provide support for us, so I can see where the initial attack on the group of men was warranted. However, personally I don’t feel that the attack on the van was warranted. I think that the people could have been deterred from doing what they were doing in the van by simply firing a few warning shots versus completely obliterating the van and its occupants.[43][44]

On June 7, 2010, The New Yorker reported that Kristinn Hrafnsson, an investigative reporter who worked on the Collateral Murder video and has since become a spokesman for WikiLeaks,[45] claimed to have found the owner of the building who said that three families had been living in the there and seven residents had died, including his wife and daughter.[16] The report stated that the helicopter crew did not know how many people were in the building when they destroyed it with missiles, and that "there is evidence that unarmed people have both entered and are nearby".[16] It concludes that an investigating officer would want to know how the armed men were identified as combatants from the earlier engagement; would question the nature of the collateral-damage estimate carried out by the crew before the missiles were launched; and would wish to determine whether a missile attack was a proportionate response to the threat.

A Pentagon spokesman insisted the video did not contradict the official finding that the helicopters' crew acted within the rules of engagement and said that the inquiry backed the assessment that the group of men was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).[46]

2007–2009 coverage

On the day of the attack the US military reported that the two journalists were killed along with "nine insurgents", and that the helicopter engagement was related to a US troop raid force that had been attacked by small-arms fire and RPGs.[47] US forces spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Scott Bleichwehl later stated: "There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force".[47]

The Washington Post reported it was unclear whether the journalists were killed by U.S. fire or by shooting from the targeted Iraqis. Captain James Hall stated they couldn't drive in Bradleys in fear of running over bodies. Major Brent Cummings claimed they took great pains to prevent the loss of innocent civilian lives.[48]

Reuters reported that it could locate no witnesses who had seen gunmen in the immediate area. Reuters also stated that local police described the attack as "random American bombardment".[49] Reuters subsequently asked the US military to probe the deaths. They asked for an explanation of the confiscation of the journalists' two cameras, access to the on-board footage and voice communications from the helicopters involved, and access to the reports of the units involved in the incident, particularly logs of weapons taken from the scene.[49]

The Pentagon blocked an attempt by Reuters to obtain the gunsight footage of the incident through the Freedom of Information Act.[24]

An internal legal review by staff at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Iraq during July 2007 stated that the helicopters had attacked a number of armed insurgents within the rules of engagement, and that in an apparent case of collateral damage two reporters working for Reuters had also been killed. The review would not be released in full until 2010, after the video of the incident had been released by WikiLeaks.[2]

Washington Post reporter David Finkel, who at the time was embedded with Bravo Company 2–16 Infantry, later reported the day in his book, The Good Soldiers.[50]

2010 coverage

Leaked video footage

Early in 2010, the internet leak site WikiLeaks made a public request for assistance in decrypting a video it described as "US bomb strikes on civilians", specifically requesting access to supercomputer time.[51] The site stated on its Twitter account on January 8, 2010, that it had a copy of gunsight footage of the incidents,[52] and announced that it would release it by March 21.[53] The footage was released during an April 5 press conference at the National Press Club, and subsequently under a designated website titled "Collateral Murder". WikiLeaks stated that the footage shows the "murder of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists".[54][55] WikiLeaks identified the leak's source as "a number of military whistleblowers".[38] Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, a U.S. Defense official confirmed the authenticity of the leaked audio and video.[17] The military reported that it could not find its copy of the video.[56]

WikiLeaks released a 39-minute version, which shows all three incidents, and a 17 minute version, which shows only the first two incidents. Highlighted in the 17 minute version of the video are Noor-Eldeen with a camera and Chmagh talking on his mobile phone.[24] Both videos depict the attack on the van, van driver, and two other men, and the aftermath when the two seriously injured children were evacuated by US ground forces who arrived on the scene.[38] The longer video shows the third attack, in which Hellfire missiles were fired into a building.[16]

WikiLeaks' rationale for their title of the footage

In an Al Jazeera English interview on April 19, 2010, WikiLeaks' Julian Assange explained why WikiLeaks titled the video "Collateral Murder":

And you can see that they also deliberately target Saaed, a wounded man there on the ground, despite their earlier belief that they didn’t have the rules of engagement — that the rules of engagement did not permit them to kill Saeed when he was wounded. When he is rescued, suddenly that belief changed. You can see in this particular image he is lying on the ground and the people in the van have been separated, but they still deliberately target him. This is why we called it Collateral Murder. In the first example maybe it’s collateral exaggeration or incompetence when they strafe the initial gathering, this is recklessness bordering on murder, but you couldn’t say for sure that was murder. But this particular event — this is clearly murder.[57]

Regarding the title Toby Harnden in the London Telegraph wrote: "Oddly enough, it was Stephen Colbert, ostensibly a comedian, who skewered him":

"The army described this as a group that gave resistance at the time, that doesn’t seem to be happening. But there are armed men in the group, they did find a rocket propelled grenade among the group, the Reuters photographers who were regrettably killed, were not identified…You have edited this tape, and you have given it a title called ‘collateral murder.’ That’s not leaking, that’s a pure editorial."

According to Harden "Assange admitted that he was seeking to manipulate and create "maximum political impact."[58][59][60][61][62] Dan Kennedy wrote in The Guardian "Even the comedian Stephen Colbert, in an interview with Assange, dropped his rightwing-blowhard persona momentarily to make a serious point, calling the edited version "emotional manipulation".[63]

Bill Keller of the New York Times wrote "But in its zeal to make the video a work of antiwar propaganda, WikiLeaks also released a version that didn’t call attention to an Iraqi who was toting a rocket-propelled grenade and packaged the manipulated version under the tendentious rubric Collateral Murder.[4] The New York Times reported that "Critics contend that the shorter video was misleading because it did not make clear that the attacks took place amid clashes in the neighborhood and that one of the men was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade." [64]

Reactions to the video footage

Capt. Jack Hanzlik, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command stated that the airstrike video "gives you a limited perspective, [it] only tells you a portion of the activity that was happening that day. Just from watching that video, people cannot understand the complex battles that occurred. You are seeing only a very narrow picture of the events." Hanzlik said images gathered during a military investigation of the incident show multiple weapons around the dead bodies in the courtyard, including at least three RPGs. "Our forces were engaged in combat all that day with individuals that fit the description of the men in that video. Their age, their weapons, and the fact that they were within the distance of the forces that had been engaged made it apparent these guys were potentially a threat."[9][65] Also, WikiLeaks "does not point out that at least one man was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle. He is seen swinging the weapon below his waist while standing next to the man holding the RPG". The Wikileaks edited video did not add arrows pointing to these men, nor did they label them, as was done with the men carrying cameras. WikiLeaks did, in fact, state "some of the men appear to have been armed [although] the behavior of nearly everyone was relaxed" in the introductory text of the shorter video.[35] In an interview with Fox News Assange acknowledged that "it's likely some of the individuals seen in the video were carrying weapons". He explained, "based upon visual evidence I suspect there probably were AKs and an RPG, but I'm not sure that means anything ... Nearly every Iraqi household has a rifle or an AK. Those guys could have just been protecting their area". Fox News later stated that "although it could be argued AK-47 rifles are common household items, RPGs are not". A draft version of the video WikiLeaks produced made reference to the AK-47s and RPGs, but WikiLeaks said that ultimately they became unsure about the RPG, believing the long object could have been a camera tripod, so they decided not to point it out in the released version.[9]

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates criticised WikiLeaks for releasing the video without providing any context. "These people can put out anything they want, and they're never held accountable for it. There's no before and there's no after". Gates remarked that the video provides the public a view of warfare "as seen through a soda straw." [66] Gates stated: "They're in a combat situation. The video doesn't show the broader picture of the firing that was going on at American troops. It's obviously a hard thing to see. It's painful to see, especially when you learn after the fact what was going on. But you -- you talked about the fog of war. These people were operating in split second situations." [20][67]

The New Yorker praised its release, calling it "a striking artifact – an unmediated representation of the ambiguities and cruelties of modern warfare".[3] Julian Assange said "it’s ludicrous to allege that we have taken anything out of context in this video".[9]

Daniel Ellsberg, a former United States military analyst best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers to the media, said of the airstrike:

It would be interesting to have someone speculate or tell us exactly what context would lead to justifying the killing that we see on the screen. As the killing goes on, you obviously would see the killing of men who are lying on the ground in an operation where ground troops are approaching and perfectly capable of taking those people captive, but meanwhile you’re murdering before the troops arrive. That’s a violation of the laws of war and of course what the mainstream media have omitted from their stories is this context.[68]

Gabriel Schoenfeld, Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute said of the airstrike:.

It is precisely the presence of weapons, including RPGs, that goes a long distance toward explaining why cameramen for Reuters—pointing television cameras around corners in a battle zone—were readily mistaken by our gunships for insurgents. The video makes plain that in this incident, as in almost all military encounters in both Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers are up against forces that do not wear uniforms—a violation of international law precisely because it places innocent civilians in jeopardy.

Responsibility for civilian deaths in such encounters rests with those who violate the rules of war.

The Wikileaks videos also do not reveal the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which American forces refrain from attacking targets precisely because civilians are in harm's way.[69]

Subsequent mainstream media coverage

Publicity of the incident ballooned following the release of the footage. The event was covered by Al Jazeera English, RT[70] and Reuters,[17] and was also followed by organizations including The Washington Post,[71] the New York Times,[2] the Christian Science Monitor,[72] the BBC,[55] and CNN.[29]

Assange stated that some of the press had not reported on the third airstrike, in which three Hellfire missiles were fired onto an apartment complex, which only appears in the longer unedited version of the two videos.[30]

In an interview on NPR on April 6th, the day after the Collateral Murder video release, David Finkel pointed out that the Reuters reporters were not embedded with anyone, but working independently. He also gave his view of the context of the killings:

the Reuters guys walked into the hottest spot of a very hot morning. There had been running gun battles. There had been a lot of RPG, grenade fire and so on, and they were doing what journalists do. They heard about something, they came to it and they just wanted – from everything I've learned since, they were just there to get that side of the story.[73]

Finkel had reported the day in his book, The Good Soldiers,[50] including conversations which closely matched the subsequently leaked video footage. On the same day as the NPR interview, Finkel was asked how he had gotten a chance to see the unedited video and whether WikiLeaks had shown it to him. He responded, "I hadn't heard of WikiLeaks before yesterday. I based the account in my book on multiple sources, all unclassified".[74] WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange said that Finkel had seen the video and that at least one individual at the offices of the Washington Post had a copy of the video for at least a year, prior to its release by WikiLeaks.[68] The Washington Post has denied having any copy of the unedited video prior to WikiLeaks release of their edited version, and Finkel (who was on book leave from the Washington Post at the time) has said that he has never made any statement about his sources for the story, except that it was "sourced [...] from unclassified information and my presence in the area that day".[75]

Interviews with Ethan McCord

Ethan McCord, the soldier seen in the video carrying the injured boy, recalled in an interview on The Marc Steiner Show that on arrival at the scene, "The first thing I did was run up to the van...". After attending the girl's wounds and handing her to a medic, he was ordered to take position on roof but he returned to the van to find the boy moved his hand. "I grabbed him and ran to the Bradley myself". He claims he "got yelled at" for not "pulling security". "The first thing I thought of ... was my children at home". He later sought help for psychological trauma, but was then ridiculed by his NCO and told that if he were to go to the mental health officer, "there would be repercussions".[76]

McCord further discussed his experience in the battle in an interview with the World Socialist Web Site on April 28th, 2010.[77] In this interview, he reports the above "repercussions" could include being labeled as a "malingerer," or one who exaggerates incapacity to avoid work or duty. As malingering is a crime under U.S. military law, McCord infers that refusing to "get the sand out of [his] vagina" or to "suck it up and be a soldier" could result in criminal prosecution.[78] McCord recounts the airstrike as an "everyday" military proceeding in Iraq.[79]

When interviewed by Wired, McCord was asked if he supported Wikileaks in releasing the video. McCord said: "When it was first released I don’t think it was done in the best manner that it could have been. They were stating that these people had no weapons whatsoever, that they were just carrying cameras. In the video, you can clearly see that they did have weapons … to the trained eye." And: “I don’t say that Wikileaks did a bad thing, because they didn’t…. I think it is good that they’re putting this stuff out there. I don’t think that people really want to see this, though, because this is war…. It’s very disturbing."[80]

Arrest of Bradley Manning

In May 2010, a 22-year-old American Army intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning was arrested after telling Adrian Lamo he had leaked the airstrike video, along with a video of another airstrike and around 260 000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks.[81][82] As of June 7, Manning had not yet been formally charged.[81][82] Manning said that the diplomatic documents expose "almost criminal political back dealings" and that they explain "how the first world exploits the third, in detail".[83][84] WikiLeaks said "allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect".[84] WikiLeaks have said that they are unable as yet to confirm whether or not Manning was actually the source of the video, stating "we never collect personal information on our sources", but saying also that "if Brad Manning [is the] whistleblower then, without doubt, he's a national hero"[84] and "we have taken steps to arrange for his protection and legal defence".[81]

As of April 2011 he has been charged with 34 separate counts, including 4 counts that directly mention a "2007 July 12 Baghdad video". The counts that mention the video include violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) (the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950 modification of the Espionage Act of 1917), as well as 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a) (the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986), and Army Regulation 25-2 Paragraph 4-6(k).[85]

Legality of the attacks

In an June 7 article in The New Yorker, Raffi Khatchadourian addressed several issues involved in determining the legality of the attacks, including "proportionality", "positive identification" ("reasonable certainty" that the target has hostile intent), and "the treatment of casualties during an ongoing military operation".[86] Mark Taylor, an expert on international law and a director at the Fafo Institute for International Studies in Norway, has stated that there is "a case to be made that a war crime may have been committed".[87] An article in Gawker stated that Reuters reporter Luke Baker had written an article claiming that the airstrikes may have been war crimes, but the editor in chief of Reuters declined to run the story.[88]

Military legal review

On April 5, 2010, the same day as the release of the video footage by WikiLeaks, the United States Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released a collection of documents including two investigative reports.[2][21] Pentagon officials told the Reuters news agency that US military lawyers were reviewing the video and could reopen an investigation into the incident,[56] but said more recently that there are no plans to reopen the investigation.[89]

The report states that at least two members of the group which were first fired on were armed, that two RPGs and one AKM or AK-47 rifle could be seen in the helicopter video, and that these weapons were picked up by the follow-up U.S. ground troops. The report concludes that the Reuters employees were in the company of armed insurgents. It also states that "The cameras could easily be mistaken for slung AK-47 or AKM rifles, especially since neither cameraman is wearing anything that identifies him as media or press".[18] The report recommends encouraging journalists in Iraq to wear special vests to identify themselves, and to keep the U.S. military updated about their whereabouts. Reporters "furtive attempts to photograph the Coalition Ground Forces made them appear as hostile combatants"[11][90]

Incident according to the report

Attack on personnel and a van per US army report account

According to the U.S. Army investigation report released by the United States Central Command, the engagement started at 10:20 Iraqi local time and ended at 10:41. A unit from Bravo Company 2–16 was within 100 meters of the individuals that were fired upon with 30mm AH-64 Apache cannons. The company was charged with clearing their sector of any small armed forces, and had been under fire from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The company was supported by two Apache helicopters from the 1st Cavalry Division's Aviation Brigade, callsigns "Crazyhorse 1/8" and "Crazyhorse 1/9". Two men were identified by Crazyhorse 1/8 as carrying an RPG launcher and an AKM or AK-47. When the cameraman on the ground aimed his camera in the direction of Bravo Company 2–16, a pilot remarked "He's getting ready to fire". An Apache maneuvered around a building to get a clear field of fire and shot all nine men, killing eight. A van then arrived and attempted to load a wounded man. After getting permission to fire, the Apache crew fired on the van. When Bravo Company arrived at the scene, they reported finding two RPGs and an AK-47 or AKM. They also found two Canon EOS digital cameras with telephoto lenses. Two children were found in the van, a four year old girl with gunshot wounds and embedded windscreen glass wounds and an eight year old boy with multiple wounds, including brain damage arising from shrapnel damage to his right temporal lobe. Both children were evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital via Forward Operating Base Loyalty, then transferred to an Iraqi medical facility the next day.[7] This account of first bringing the wounded children to the Combat Support Hospital appears to be contradicted by orders by radio that form part of the video record, which forbids it and orders that the children be handed over to local police.[91]

While the Air Weapons Team was providing support at the first engagement area they were informed by ground troops that they were receiving small arms fire from the south/southwest. The crew for Crazyhorse 1/8 then located multiple individuals with weapons about 400 meters east of coalition forces and was given clearance to engage the targets. However, the co-pilot/gunner then observed a child and some other non-combatants in the vicinity of the individuals and decided to hold off on the engagement until the non-combatants were clear. After the non-combatants were clear Crazyhorse 1/8 engaged the targets. The crew for Crazyhorse 1/9 could not engage due to target obfuscation from buildings and dust.[7]

The team observed several individuals from this group, some possibly wounded, run into a large multistory building. The co-pilot/gunner for Crazyhorse 1/9 spotted three individuals near this building get into a red SUV and drive away to the west. For about 5 to 10 minutes the team diverted its attention to this vehicle. However, according to the co-pilot for Crazyhorse 1/8 they failed to positively identify the occupants as combatants and returned to the previous engagement area.[7]

Attack on building per US army report account

The events between the attack on the van and the attack on the building (approximately 30 minutes) were not captured on the leaked video footage.[92] The military did not include the attack on the building in their report.[16]

Assange responded to the investigation report released by the Army in an interview with Democracy Now!, stating that "the tone and language is all about trying to find an excuse for the activity... It’s very clear that that is the approach, to try and find any mechanism to excuse the behavior, and that is what ended up happening".[30] Assange also stated that the building attacked by missiles was not abandoned, and that WikiLeaks had evidence that "there were three families living in that apartment complex, many of whom were killed, including women".[30]

Awards

In June 2011 the Federation of German Scientists (VDW) awarded the "Whistleblower Award" to the person who made the video "Collateral Murder" public via Wikileaks.[93][94]

References

  1. ^ a b c Schmitt, Eric (2010-07-25). "In Disclosing Secret Documents, WikiLeaks Seeks ‘Transparency’". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2011-04-27. http://www.webcitation.org/5yG7ggzUp. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bumiller, Elisabeth (2010-04-05). "Video Shows U.S. Killing of Reuters Employees". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/world/middleeast/06baghdad.html. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  3. ^ a b Khatchadourian, Raffi (2010-06-07). "No Secrets". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
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  35. ^ "Gates said leaked military video of shooting in Iraq doesn't show the broader picture of Americans being fired upon". PolitiFact. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/apr/12/robert-gates/gates-said-leaked-military-video-shooting-iraq-doe. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
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  38. ^ a b http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/04/06/iraq/index.html
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  41. ^ "'This Is How These Soldiers Were Trained to Act'–Veteran of Military Unit Involved in 2007 Baghdad Helicopter Shooting Says Incident Is Part of Much Larger Problem". 2010-04-08. http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/12/this_is_how_these_soldiers_were. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
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  72. ^ "Leaked Video Depicts Civilian Deaths In Iraq". NPR. 2010-04-06. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125630795. 
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  78. ^ Ibid.
  79. ^ Kim Zetter (2010-04-20). "U.S. Soldier on 2007 Apache Attack: What I Saw". Wired. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/04/2007-iraq-apache-attack-as-seen-from-the-ground/. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
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  82. ^ Ellen Nakashima (2010-06-10). "Messages from alleged leaker Bradley Manning portray him as despondent soldier". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/09/AR2010060906170.html. 
  83. ^ a b c Sheridan, Michael (2010-06-07). "Report: Soldier arrested for allegedly leaking 'Collateral Murder' helicopter video to WikiLeaks". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/06/07/2010-06-07_spc_bradley_manning_allegedly_arrested_for_leaking_collateral_murder_helicopter_.html. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  84. ^ See United States v. Manning
  85. ^ Khatchadourian, Raffi (2010-04-05). "The WikiLeaks Video and the Rules of Engagement". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2010/04/the-wikileaks-video-and-the-rules-of-engagement.html. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  86. ^ Fordham, Alice, Baghdad families to sue US Army over deaths in 2007 airstrike 'mistake', The Times, April 8, 2010
  87. ^ "Exclusive: Reuters Chief Spikes Story on Killing of His Own Staffers In Baghdad". Gawker. 2010-04-08. http://gawker.com/5512623/reuters-chief-shoots-down-story-on-killing-of-his-own-staffers-in-baghdad. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  88. ^ "US 'reviewing' Iraq killing video posted on WikiLeaks". BBC News. 2010-04-08. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8608972.stm. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  89. ^ Nathan Hodge (2010-07-04). "U.S. Military Releases Redacted Records on 2007 Apache Attack, Questions Linger". Wired. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/04/military-releases-report-on-2007-apache-attack-and-questions-linger/. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  90. ^ Amy Goodman (April 6, 2010). "Rush transcript of video". democracynow.org. http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/6/massacre_caught_on_tape_us_military. Retrieved 2011-03-11. 
  91. ^ CollateralMurder's Timeline of attack: relevantly, '06:49:09 Video cuts; 07:20:42 [video resumes]'
  92. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.hintergrund.de/201106061576/politik/inland/verleihung-des-whistleblower-preises-2011.html&act=url
  93. ^ http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Whistleblower-Preis-2011-geht-an-Kernforscher-1255724.html

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Coordinates: 33°18′49″N 44°30′43″E / 33.3137°N 44.512°E / 33.3137; 44.512 (Airstrike of 2007-07-12)


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