WikiLeakS.org have now, after a couple of weeks of media hype / teaser campaign via Twitter and via email press release, finally released some de-crypted footage, from a US Military Apache helicopter Target Acquisition Designation Sight (TADS) video recording, showing 30mm cannon fire and Hellfire missile strikes on civilians in Baghdad in 2007.
Interestingly this shocking video footage has not been released via the WikiLeakS.org main website, but via a specially created one:
http://collateralmurder.com [22.214.171.124] which is also hosted by PRQ Internet in Stockholm, Sweden, like the main WikiLeakS.org website is.
This website does has background links to the original mainstream media reports about the deaths of the two Reuters journalists.
It is interesting to note in the end credits, that the famous hacker / entrepreneur Rop_Gonggrijp is credited as the co-producer of this video.
There are versions of this video available initially via YouTube etc. (although these will probably be censored soon, as any slightly politically controversial videos seem to be)
Our impression of the video:
The first 30mm cannon attack seems to have killed about 11 unarmed people, including 2 Reuters photojournalists. The Hellfire missile attack might have killed none of its intended targets, but several innocent passersby and "Good Samaritan" rescuers were caught in the 3 missile blasts.
The Apache pilot somehow managed to mistake their telephoto lens SLR cameras for, initially AK-47 assault rifles, but then , incredibly, the same camera was mistaken for an RPG anti-tank rocket launcher.
Their video footage clearly shows that the rest of the group of civilians in the open street were not carrying any such items, but they still shot them all.
One person was wounded and crawling away, but the helicopter crew kept him in their sights, urging him to reach for a weapon, so that they could open fire again.
There were no US military or Iraqi forces or who could possibly be under any threat from this wounded man, crawling on the ground, even if he actually had a gun, which he did not.
When a mini-van turned up, and a couple of unarmed "Good Samaritans" came to this unarmed wounded man's aid, the Apache crew got "permission" from someone who obviously did not have direct visual or video sight of the scene. They then blasted the mini-van with armour piercing cannon fire as well.
They used up about 200 rounds of 30mm cannon shells out of 252. Were any of these Depleted Uranium rounds ?
A second Apache helicopter also participated in the cannon fire as well.
When the US ground forces arrived in Bradley armoured fighting vehicles, they reported 11 dead and two wounded children.
This incident resulted in 2 Reuters journalists killed, 2 children wounded, probably at least 10 other unarmed civilians dead.
Some 20 minutes later, after still circling the area, the Apache helicopters decided somehow that half a dozen armed people had entered an abandoned / still under construction building, some distance away from the original incident. There is no video footage of anyone carrying any weapons.
Again, without any clarification from forward air observers or ground troops with an actual line of sight onto the building, they decided to attack it with Hellfire anti-tank missiles.
They watched and commented on another man entering the building, although he was clearly carrying no weapon, but they decided to fire their missile anyway. Another innocent passerby could be seen walking along the pavement outside the building (this is a city not some remote desert outpost), when the missile exploded.
A few minutes later, although their TADS video showed a couple unarmed civilians picking their way past the debris, presumably to look for survivors (bottom
right left of the image below) , they still fired off another Hellfire missile regardless.
The helicopter taking the video footage fired one Hellfire missile and its partner fired two.
It is impossible to see if anyone who entered the building survived or was killed, but it is likely that the innocent passersby and attempted "Good Samaritan" rescuers were killed or injured.
There was no ground to air fire on the Apache helicopters at all, so these pilots were not acting in self defence.
Is it any wonder that so many people hate the US Military ?
Questions for the mainstream media
Questions for WikiLeakS.org
- If the mainstream media do pick up on this video, will there be calls for those trigger happy US Apache helicopter pilots and their commanders to be prosecuted ?
- How can such a disproportionate abuse of deadly force and a callous disregard for unarmed civilians, ever be justified in the middle of a city ?
- Is there evidence of a US Military counter-propaganda spin and public relations campaign over this incident and video or are they hoping simply to try to ignore it ?
The Reuters news agency appear to have been shown this video privately, shortly after the incidents back in 2007. They requested copies of the video through the US Freedom of Information Act.
This rather implies that the encryption which WikiLeakS.org and its helpers claims to have broken with the help of some "supercomputer" time, is of a subsequent video tape (akin to satellite or cable tv pay channel de-cryption) rather than of an actual military real time air to air, or air to ground encrypted tactical data link, simply on the grounds of finding the correct half hour of footage, out of the thousands of hours of such data being transmitted by the US military.
- Will WikiLeakS.org reveal any details of exactly what they de-crypted ?
- Do WikiLeakS.org have any other Apache helicopter or Predator drone attack videos ?
- What about the B1 bomber attack video which was going to be released by General Petraeus, which WikiLeakS.org encouraged the mainstream media to speculate was the one which they were going to release?
- Has there been any more US Military / US Intelligence or other "cloak and dagger" surveillance / harassment of WikiLeakS.org personnel, before or after the release of this video ?
- What is the reason for the separate http://collateralmurder.com [126.96.36.199] website, rather than the main WikiLeakS.org one ?