WikiLeakS.org release de-crypted US Military Apache helicopter TADS video showing 30mm cannon and Hellfire missile strike on civilians in Baghdad in 2007 - 2 Reuters journalists killed, 2 children wounded, probably at least 10 other unarmed civilans dead

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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 [88.80.28.193] 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.

9_unarmed_people_about_to_get_shot_450.jpg

9_unarmed_people_getting_shot_1_450.jpg

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.

urging_wounded_man_to pick_up_a_weapon_450

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.

minivan_unarmed_wounded_450.jpg<br />

minivan_30mm_cannon_attack_450.jpg

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.

11_KIA_1_wounded_small_child_450.jpg

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.

hellfire_1_passerby_450.jpg

hellfire_1_passerby_explosion_450.jpg

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.

hellfire_2_would_be_rescuers_450.jpg

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

  • 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 ?

Questions for WikiLeakS.org

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 [88.80.28.193] website, rather than the main WikiLeakS.org one ?

52 Comments

All the information publish by wikilead seem to be anti iraq/afghan war compaign. Why don't you show some of the iraq sniper video shooting off the head of US soldiers?

@ anti-wikilead - because this blog is not part of the WikiLeakS.org project.

We have often criticised them for their anti-US Military editorial stance, but with videos like this one, you can understand their point of view.

MURDER

This is how civilised USA doing in war on terror, which is actually war on wants or war against muslims. There are lot of things like that.

@ anti-wikilead: Iraqi has the right to shoot off anybody invading their country like USA. Iraqi people didn't come to USA to shoot off their head, Rogue USA army invaded them without any reasons & killed more than half million Iraqis.

children murder

What video? All I saw were a few still pictures of a video.

@ Guy Bourassa

Just read correctly the post:
They have to upload it on an other website:

"Interestingly this shocking video footage has not been released via the WikiLeakS.org main website, but via a specially created one:

http://collateralmurder.com [88.80.28.193] which is also hosted by PRQ Internet in Stockholm, Sweden, like the main WikiLeakS.org website is."

as you there chexk photos link with an other story about missile attack.

There is a big disconnect in the policy of the US govt. and the soldiers on the ground. It is easy to make policy in Washington but carrying it out on the ground is a different story.

There are also big disconnects between the people and govts. of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. These govts. attempt to befriend with the US but their people actually want the US out of their lands, for them the US is the axis of evil.

What else do you expect when the US army is taking all the losers and sociopaths that are good for nothing else but to be dumb soldiers! You gotta be very empty-headed to joint an army and be sent to kill and be killed for the profits of the petrol corporations- and all this in the name of patriotism and democracy?!

they had weapons. pretty clear to see. they got what they deserved.

This is bull shit...I am a United States Soldier and they don't even show the part where there was an item that looks like a fucking weapon....why don't they just show the whole video before you guys point fingers....Several americans lost there lives for you guys and have you forgotten 9/11??? They started the fight, not us....I have lost several friends over there, and you guys are trying to say they are fucking innocent....why don't you go over and live with them too please since you want to be one of them!!!

You people must be blind. I can clearly see two of the people in the main group with assault rifles. War is brutal and unfair and civilians are always going to suffer. However, our troops clearly followed the ROE and did not knowingly shoot at non-combatants.

uncivil and beastliuess and cold-blooded

@ "A US Army Soldier" and "Jan" - have a look at the whole 39 minute video, around each of the timestamps on the images above.

This full video is as widely available as the edited versions are (but obviously not directly from this blog site, so do not bother searching).

Saddam Hussein's evil regime deserved to be brought down, but he was not responsible for the "9/11" attacks.

What Rules of Engagement allow 3 Hellfire missiles to be used on a building where unarmed civilians have been seen entering, from which there is no reported enemy fire, and where very obviously unarmed civilians are walking on the pavement outside as the missiles are launched and then strike ?


We need to get out of Iraq and Afganistan we are killing kids and laughing about it we are better then this. For us to say its ok to kill women and kids because they are our enemy is wrong.

Although it might be possible for the US government to make a weak argument excusing the initial attack against these civilians, the second attack against the rescuers in the van was plain, simple murder. As an American I will DEMAND that the individuals responsible for this crime be arrested and tried in an international court.

For all of you that consider War the only solution.
Please, read this document if you haven't and if you have people under your command, make them read it. The Geneva Convention

@ Yago
The Geneva Convention was never signed by the U.S.

Ill be the first to say that the rules of warfare go out the window once you are in battle, but where was the resistance here? Its a bad call plain and simple. If these people were armed and planning an attack, why the hell are they standing in the middle of a street? You can hear an Apache gun ship, probably even see it from where they were. If they were hostile its likely they wouldn't expose themselves like that. Perhaps the gunner should go back to his xbox and heavy metal music.

There are clearly two armed men in this video, and the photographer with the lens was pointing directly at the Apache helicopter - there's no quick way to tell it apart from an RPG at this distance.

Even though they were completely innocent, their actions in this video could be a valid interpretation by the pilots from what I could see. Walking around Iraq with AK47's and equipment is an enormous, known risk - most especially if you're moving as a team out in the open.

I think the whole situation is really awful, and my condolences for all the victims. I don't think we were justified in going to war with Iraq, but it is still war.

I wonder if Wikileak might post a story about a suicidebomber killing children and women in Iraq or elsewhere?

@ Nick (Sweden) - "Wikileak" i.e. this blog (no "s") will not post any such video here.

We might comment on the ethics., legality, technology or anonymity / security precautions, if the WikiLeakS.org project (which we are not part of) chooses to do so.


I wonder if the wikileaks project would consider releasing the encryption key for the file?

I will say some of the group appeared to have weapons. Not the photojournalists, but their bodyguards I guess. If I were an Iraqi you better bet I would have a gun even if I was pro-american. I can comprehend the reasoning behind killing everybody who has an ak, but it makes for a piss poor strategy. Justified or not, the killing seemed so commonplace. This suggests the US military uses such force on a regular basis. My conclusion is that force is being used to crush any opposition, and spread terror among the population. Defeating different cells of insurgents is rarely accomplished by killing every group of people on the roads. The US military knows this. It is about fear. Occupations utilize fear. Overwhelming force is a very fearful thing. If a population is constantly in a state of terror they can be guided, and rebuilt into a new set of systems.
Occupation is a dirty business. Conquests, "normalizations", and societal molding are rarely peaceful. The government that enslaves these United States appears to have become rather preoccupied with the near east. Rarely does that briar patch work out well. The Dark Prince and Rummy should have chosen Iraq or Afghanistan, and not both. Power and hubris ride together.

The moral character of any nation is compromised by the pursuit of empire.

Here is some apparently well-informed criticism of WikiLeaks for "gross errors" in the video captions, including the labeling of a Humvee as a Bradley tank.

@ Garth - you seem to be misrepresenting the tone of "Anthony Martinez's blog article

For those unaware of my background, I have spent quite a lot of time (a conservative estimate would be around 4500 hours) viewing aerial footage of Iraq (note: this time was not in viewing TADS video, but footage from Raven, Shadow, and Predator feeds). I am certain my voice can be heard on several transmissions with several different Crazyhorse aircraft, as I have called them to assist troops on the ground more times in my 24-months in Iraq than I could even attempt to guess

[...]


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.


A Bradley is, as noted in the blog article above, an Armoured Fighting Vehicle but it is not a tank e.g. like the US M1A2 Abrams or British Challenger 2


@ gary & convivialdingo:
I can understand if a couple of US soldiers have seen this footage and believe what wikileaks are proposing to be garbage. I understand where you guys are coming from. You guys have tough jobs in tough times; and there are screens in the footage which suggest, and I say suggest carefully, a weapon is being carried. But "clearly" see weapons from the footage? Really? Soldiers are trained to kill from the moment they walk into the academy, and they go to places like Iraq to serve that purpose. You would ONLY "clearly" see a weapon if you are looking for an excuse to pull that trigger. If there is "no quick way to tell it[the weapon] apart from an RPG at this distance", why did they open fire?

@ A US Army Soldier: "have you forgotten 9/11??? They started the fight, not us..." All I will say is this: the actions a few fanatics in a country is not an excuse to kill innocent people. Your words, typify the American attitude to combat, and your government's foreign policy.

@wikileaks: Thank you for revealing this footage. Incidents in Abu Ghraib and incidents like this reinforce the barbarism instilled in some members of the US armed forces. And raise questions about the legality of what they are doing over there.

Most people interested in this incident have probably read ”The Jawa report” by now highlighting some very creative editing by Wikileak. Omitting, for example, the Apache not firing at an area were there are children and non-combatants or not firing at a suspected SUV because a positive ID can’t be attained.

Apart from that however I’d like to address some of the questions raised in the above blog entry.

1. Depleted uranium is almost exclusively used with the 30 mm cannon mounted in the A-10 “Tank killer” ground support jet. The rounds used in the Apache are foremost designed to fragment as an anti-infantry/ light vehicle weapon while depleted uranium is an anti-armor weapon.

2. The reason the collateralmurder site is placed in Stockholm, Sweden is most likely because of Sweden’s firm freedom of publishing laws. It’s the same reason that many terrorist groups host their sites in Sweden.

Stay informed

Wikileak should investigate the treasonous media outlets that inscript terrorists as part of their organization and call them reporters.
Under the law - If you participate or are witness to a crime you are complicit in that crime.
Reporters are clearly part of some Islamic terrorist organizations and vice versa.
A very conveniant arrangement.
WIKILEAK WHERE IS YOUR OBJECTIVITY???
Like most other media outlets you wouldnt know objectivity if you tripped over it.

@ Jacob W - do you have a link for "The Jawa report" ? Most people have never heard of it.

This blog has often criticised the WikiLeakS editorial team's political bias in the past - they are no different to the mainstream media in that respect.

The rounds used in the Apache are foremost designed to fragment as an anti-infantry/ light vehicle weapon while depleted uranium is an anti-armor weapon.

Either way the weapon is overkill for shooting unarmoured civilians or "Good Samaritan" mini-vans.

What about the 3 Hellfire missile attack which the video also shows ?

2. The reason the collateralmurder site is placed in Stockholm, Sweden is most likely because of Sweden’s firm freedom of publishing laws.

That is one of the reasons that the main WikiLeakS.org servers are hosted there.

However, you are wrong about:

It’s the same reason that many terrorist groups host their sites in Sweden.

Can you actually name or link to any "terrorist groups" hosting their websites in Sweden ?

If you bother to look, you will actually find many more "terrorist" websites hosted in the USA than in Sweden !

@ Smitty - you must live under a brutal repressive dictatorship if

Under the law - If you participate or are witness to a crime you are complicit in that crime.

really applies where you live.

Do you place any value on independent investigative journalists or war zone reporters at all ? Or do you simply believe, without question, what either side of a conflict issues via their public relations, media spin and propaganda units ?

WikiLeakS.org clearly state that they aim for "the maximum political impact" with their publicity around "whistleblower leaks". If you understand their in built political bias and remember that they are mostly not US citizens, you can factor that in to how you analyse their press releases etc.

They are no different in this respect to any other worldwide media organisation.

To be fair to WikiLeakS.org, they have shown that without any publicity and hype, the under resourced mainstream media simply do not bother with most "whistleblower leak" documents, unless the story is literally handed to them on a plate.

If information is available for free, or to everyone at the same time, then the mainstream media are simply not commercially interested in it.

@wikileak
The Jawa Report link asked for:
http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/201929.php

Another eye-wintess account by a different journalist: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2010/04/06/DI2010040600750.html

The last link is slightly off-topic but interesting reading which gives more insight into the entire situation.

Personally I have no opinion on wether the weapons used were overkill or not. While the collateral damage is great the situation seems serious. I guess you had to be there to really know.

Regarding the claim that terrorist websites are hosted in Sweden I can only give my daily paper as a source. I could probably find the article on their site but it'd be in swedish. I should point out though that the article focused on islamic terrorist groups. I'm sure the US hosts more of these sites but whichever country that served the most was never a point for me.

(I have no idea how to quote in MT)

@ Jacob W

The Jawa Report article claims that are there some 20 minutes of missing footage from the 38 minute version of the video. However that article also assumes that WikiLeakS.org edited it out because it shows the US Apache helicopter pilots in a good light, by not immediately opening fire on a suspect vehicle etc.

Reading the censored Sworn Statements from the Apache crews, it could be that the Jawa Report article is confused as to which bit of the video footage comes from Crazy Horse 18 and which from Crazy Horse 19.

The video only shows the viewpoint of one helicopter (although it flips between daytime TV and Forward Looking Infra Red, and sometimes the picture breaks up totally), but there is audio from both helicopter crews.

The "missing" footage may simply be because bits of the written report actually refer to the actions of the other helicopter, whose video we do not see.

The Sworn Statements do help to de-code some of the military jargon. Crazy Horse 18 firstly fired an AGM-114K armour piercing variant of the Hellfire missile. referred to as a "Kilo" in the audio / transcript.

They then fired an AGM-114N Metal Augmented Charge (MAC) Thermobaric Hellfire referred to as a "November" in the audio / transcript.

Crazy Horse 19 fired one AGM-114N Thermobaric Hellfire.

However the 38 minute video and audio actually shows the US ground forces in a positive, humane, good light e.g. carrying the two wounded children in their arms and calling for them to be medically evacuated to hospital.

Why would WikiLeakS.org not have edited that out then ?

If, as seems likely, the source of the video is from a copy of the analogue TADS tape, presumably prepared for some later report or inquiry, then any editing or missing footage could have been done by US Military staff, not necessarily to hide anything, but just to leave out bits of footage that they did not think were directly relevant to the actual incidents that they were investigating or evaluating.

In the Sworn Statements and the transcripts of the short interviews, neither the helicopter crews, nor their de-briefers even bother to mention the unarmed civilians just outside on the pavement, or the unarmed people who were shown in close up going into the target building.

(I have no idea how to quote in MT)

you can use the

[blockquote] and [/blockquote] HTML tags on this blog (replace the square brackets with angle brackets for these to display correctly)

I wouldn't even kill animal like this as these Apache bastards are killing these innocent civilians. Only a person with no family background would commit crimes like these because they never seen their parents or lived in an influence of civilized parents. It proves these are bastards who have no idea about the value of human life.

@wikileak

Why would WikiLeakS.org not have edited that out then ?

Because ground forces are not Apache helicopter pilots? I wouldn’t know, nor care.

It seems that you have assumed I have picked some kind of side in this incident. I actually haven’t. The only thing I have a real opinion on in this matter is that wikileakS motivations are financial. That this video is a scandal they are trying to sell just like any Big Mac.

@ Jacob W

The only thing I have a real opinion on in this matter is that wikileakS motivations are financial. That this video is a scandal they are trying to sell just like any Big Mac.

It is certainly true that they have tried to give the video release as much publicity as possible, but there is no evidence that WikiLeakS.org's "motivations are financial".

The core political activists and editors, including Jullian Assange seem to be very non-commercial and anti-capitalist:

Nor can we accept government or corporate funding and maintain our absolute integrity.

They did try an experiment last year with a media auction, for "exclusive" access to whistleblower leaked documents, to make them more commercially attractive to the mainstream media, but this failed.

See this blog's previous commentary on

Leak-o-nomy: The Economy of Wikileaks - Julian Assange interviewed by Stefan Mey

and

WikiLeakS.org media auction

@wikileak
one by publishing the ROE's of american forces you have given an edge to our opponents. IF they were all innocent then why were they walking around in the middle of a gun fight with elements on the ground any respectable news reporter knows that when there is gun fire to get to cover or at least put something on to show that they are a reporter.
Yes them shooting the van was uncalled for but if they had reasonable doubt that the guy they were picking up was one shooting at the ground forces they had every right to fire upon the van.

@ sapperdaddy3 - be very clear - this blog WikiLeak.org (no "s") has published nothing of the sort.

WikiLeakS.org have published some old and almost certainly out of date US military Rules of Engagement documents, but since their website wiki is no longer operational (whilst they beg for more money) these are not as easily available any more.

What use are secret Rules of Engagement documents, when they appear to be ignored, or worked around, by the people firing the weapons ?

None of the ROE allow clearly unarmed civilians to be targeted, do they ?


@ wikileak

Rules of Engagement (or ROE as we in the military call it) is a very broad term in real military doctrine. You have to understand that ROE changes based on location, unit, and status of the situation. For example if the unit on the ground prior HAD NOT been engage and the Apache pilots had instead just seen the gathering of locals with weapons they wouldn't have been authorized to engage. Matter of fact, they wouldn't have even asked for it. Most likely the ground team would've been called in to investigate to make sure all was well, for most neighborhoods in Iraq have their own private militia to protect them selves from Shia and or rival Shiite tribes. Especially in 2007, when civilian on civilian violence was still quite high (compared to the present). Unfortunately, the ground unit was or had been in contact which changes the ROE for that sector enabling for that contact to be completely legal. Most people go home or find shelter when bullets start flying these guys are out in the open and in the beginning you see the guy peaking around the corner with an RPG

Even if the Apache pilots had recognized the journalists with cameras instead of AKs the ROE does not change for that group, for historically the enemy in Iraq has used cameras to document their attacks on coalition forces throughout the war. To put this in a more civilian example; if 3 guys decide to rob a store and 1 is the get a way driver just because he doesn't run in and kill the clerk with the other two doesn't mean he's exempt from murder 1. Especially, if he knew that the other two are going to run in and kill the clerk before they take the money. Same thing applies here, just because your not holding a weapon doesn't mean your not a combatant.

As tragic as this was for those two journalists and their families, this wasn't "collateral murder" as you call it, more of a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So heres my question to you Wikileaks; if these guys had just been guys with cameras instead of known journalists (which these Apache pilots could've never known), would you have made such a big deal about this? or better yet would it have been Wikileaks worthy?

I would LOVE to see any of you people who are screaming outrage on this video to spend 10 minutes getting shot at. Anything looks like an RPG from that distance, why don't you look at a video of them shooting down a helicopter with RPGs or beheading soldiers. They did the right thing. All of you people who sit around and cry about this video get to sleep in your warm bed every night under the protection men and women like these provide. People who spend years away from their families to have friends killed next to them, trying to bandage their wounds covered in blood. Spend a week in a soldiers boots before you cry foul.

PS: Don't forget to thank a soldier who has to bear these memories the rest if his/her life so you can live the life you want to.

@ Brian - if the Rules of Engagement allow thermobaric warhead Hellfire missiles to be fired at a building, even when unarmed civilians have been clearly seen entering it (something which the helicopter crew misleadingly reported on via radio, implying that the two people shown were like the previous, unseen ones, armed with AK47 etc) and if unarmed pedestrians, simply walking on the pavement outside the target building can be literally blown away, then the Rules of Engagement are very wrong and actually counter productive.

Allowing Apache helicopter crews to pick their own targets such as tanks or other conventional military forces, away from civilian areas makes some sense.

However, allowing them to (mis)identify targets in a city, surrounded by the people the US Military are supposed to be protecting (innocent civilians, including, as you mention, some legitimately armed civilians) without any direct line of sight, or video link observation by ground forces, is insane.

Simply radioing someone who is out of sight of the target, for permission to fire is utterly wrong.

This blog (no "s") often criticises WikiLeakS.org (with whom we are not affiliated) but my impression is that they would have published the video even if there were no Reuters journalists involved.

Their fundamentalist attitude is "publish and be damned" and they do have a transparent anti-US Military / anti-capitalist political agenda, which you just have to factor into your analysis of their stories, just as you should do with any mainstream media organisation, who also have commercial and political biases.

If it had only been non-journalists involved in this incident, it is unlikely that the video footage would have been preserved or have been identifiable.

This is because Reuters had been reportedly shown, but not given a copy of the video footage, in their aftermath discussions with the US Military regarding visible identification of journalists in combat zones etc., so they knew that it existed and they asked for it via a Freedom of Information Act Request, as you would expect a professional news organisation to do.

Trying to identify a particular bit of Apache TADS video footage probably presents even authorised US Military analysts a formidable challenge, given how much of it there is.


Accorsding to WikiLeakS.org, the encrypted video footage had been collated together, preserved since 2007 and made available on some webserver somewhere, albeit in an encrypted format.

WikiLeakS.org then did much more than passively wait for a whistleblower to leak it to them, they actively sought out the footage and then apparently went to considerable effort to de-crypt it.

This is not a "neutral" media organisation, it is an active political one, which, in its own words, "aims for the maximum political impact".

The danger with this sort of "ends justifies the means" fanaticism, is that innocent people will get hurt.


@ American Soldier - you are no longer a proper soldier, if you negligently or deliberately target non-combatant, unarmed "Good Samaritan" civilians and children or other innocent passers by.

If Apache helicopter crews can be easily confused, due to the distances involved, then they should not be allowed to pick their own targets, without the authorisation of someone on the ground, who has a direct line of sight.

Would you be discussing this topic, if WikiLeaks.org had not hyped and promoted their investigative journalistic scoop (it is not actually a whistleblower leak, it is an example of politically motivated computer assisted investigative journalism) to the mainstream media ?

@ wikileak

As a former soldier of 5 years with two deployments under his belt, as well as, a officer in training I must say the missile attack is much harder to defend than the rest of the video. Including the shooting of the van, which in that case even if those people were just trying to be good human beings and help the journalist, was a epically bad decision, which sadly they paid for dearly.

In the case of the missile attack I did see at least to arm individuals enter that house before the Apache had rounded the corner. Regardless it may have been wiser to reestablish contact with the enemy to make that engagement more legit instead of just neutralizing that possible threat as it presented itself.

The past though is not always 20/20 and from what I remember about New Baghdad (the location in which the video taken) had mostly Black routes. Which simply means too dangerous to drive on. Establishing, why I believe it took so long for ground forces to move 300 meters from their location to the engagement site. Also possibly making such a maneuver to in that Area of Operations to dangerous. In addition when in the heat of the moment things can get hazy. I have seen the inside of a Apache helicopter before and they are immensely complex. During the time of the arming and launching of the Hellfire missile they might of not even noticed the man walking in front of the building. I believe this based on the fact that they don't mention him neither before or after the missile hits and impacts its target on the video.

To quote you Wikileaks:
"Simply radioing someone who is out of sight of the target, for permission to fire is utterly wrong."

Maybe but that is the system in which the U.S. Army operates. If you don't like it blame the system not the pilots that operate by it. Regardless the ROE for the Southwest Asian theater of war changes nearly everyday and the protocols that the military operates now is most likely completely different than that it was in 2007. Matter of fact it is. Even if you were able to change it, the first time it failed, it would be changed again.

@American Soldier

We fight every day to insure that what you ask of these people will never happen. They will never truly grasp the realities of war and though it seems wrong of them to criticize our fellow soldiers for what they do, you must understand that this is apart of our life and all that we can do is stand united behind each other in order to counter and overcome these claims. If you really want to sway people from demonizing our troops you must be humble in the face of criticism and speak logically.
Good luck brother in all that you do.

Many people must be held responsible for this war crime. Remember that "the Army" used the same defense in Vietnam. The pilots & co-pilots
of Crazyhorse 1-8 and 1-9 should be the subject of a General Court Martial. There also needs to be a Congressional Investigation into this entire
"fire mission". Was there a [FAC], Forward Air Controller in the area? Was there a [JTAC], Joint
Terminal Attack Controller in the area? Was there any [FIST] teams , Forward Observers or Scout Spotters in the area that could have been used? What type of 30mm Cannon ammunition was used against these "soft targets / civilians"?
Too many Professional Journalists & Reporters have been "targeted" and killed with extreme
prejudice by US Army Pilots and other US Armour Units. Then there is the matter of "frendly fire" where US Marines have been targeted and killed as well as Canadian and British Units.

"The Truth Is The Sum Of The Facts"

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

Wikileaks really needs to pay attention to how they generate public keys.
There should be a common policy concerning choice of ciphers, key lengths,
and operating options. In addition, those of you that use PGP at Wikileaks
should generate and sign each others keys during face to face meetings. it
would appear that key generation, revocation, and posting of current and
valid keys is pretty casual.

In addition the blogs PGP key 0x2367F4F7 is not optimised for maximum
security. The compression function is not activated. The vulnerabilities of
such keys is fully described in the paper at the following link:

http://www.schneier.com/paper-pgp.pdf

Take a look in particular at part 3 of the paper.


Walsh

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First of all. ROE is clear. You dont fire, unless fired upon. Or until you see a hostile threat, which these individuals showed no threat. Secondly, it is clear from the footage taken from the Apaches, that these "civilians" had no weapons, and the one poking his head around the corner, was not carrying an RPG, but was holding an expensive camera with a zoom lens. All of this is clearly visible from the Apache footage. To fire upon "innocents" is a no-no, in anyones book that has a conscience. They had no threat, and had no rhyme or reason to fire upon them. This is a clear indication of discrimination against certain individuals, and is obvious when you see the pilots language. to quote, "Kill them f****!" This is not a legitimate reason for firing upon civilians. But God will have His revenge on the murderers.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

@ Walsh - if WikiLeakS.org bothered to publish even a single
PGP Public Key on their website, crippled as it is at present,
that would be an improvement.

It has been suggested in the past that WikiLeakS.org should
generate and cross sign PGP Public Encryption and Signing Keys
for each of their published contact email addresses
e.g. editor@wikileaks.org, africa@wikileaks.org etc.

This would have allowed for digitally signed Press Releases - it is
only a matter of time before someone plants some fake ones.

This would also have aided whistleblower leak document submissions,
including those using postal mail to send in floppy disk, CD, DVD or
USB flash memory media.

It would also help the core media activist / editorial team to
establish private and secure, but not necessarily anonymous, two way
communications with a whistleblower source.

WikiLeakS.org have ignored all such suggestions.

As to the alleged lack of compression used by this blog's PGP Key,
that is simply not true. Where no preferred Compression algorithms
are specified ZIP compression is used by default.

The theoretical scenario of a chosen plaintext attack is also
extremely unlikely to work against humans rather than against
machines.

Humans do make lots of mistakes with encryption.

We have in the past, seen PGP encrypted email messages sent to a
Military Computer Emergency Response Team, who really should have
known better, detailing a major computer security vulnerability,
where the reply came back as an unencrypted email, with the original
email containing sensitive information, decrypted into plaintext
and quoted below the top posted reply.

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Version: PGP 8.0.3 - not licensed for commercial use: www.pgp.com

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-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

@ Butch McBride

I will start with your very last comment "the Truth is the Sum of the Facts"

Your very first sentence is a contradiction of this. Wether this be a war crime is a matter of opinion not a fact. Actually most of your post was a matter of opinion with no facts backing it up.

For everyone else since I believe Mcbribe doesn't know what he's talking about:
JTAC or FAC first of are US Air Force usually assigned to divisional command centers and are base run operators not ground level. They sit in TOCs (Tactical Operation Centers) and air traffic control towers too monitor operations and flight patterns. They DO NOT give fire missions only pass them though from combat operators I.E. FIST and ground troops. They mostly monitor operations and only to insure any target that the US Air Force receives to engage doesn't endanger Friendly Forces in that sector.

FIST ( which is US Army ) by the way are generally not used (or needed for that matter) for Apache strikes but more for calling, artillery and or mortars (which FIST is also not necessary to do), but mainly to coordinate Air strike operations between the Air Force/Navy. FIST teams are usually imbedded at the company level but cannot be everywhere (they have to sleep at some point too!).

Ground commanders wether they be Platoon Sergeants and or Platoon Leaders (Officer) are more than qualified to utilize Apache gunships for strikes on the enemy. If you think that FIST have direct feeds to Apache cameras your dead wrong and they would most likely have made the same decision to engage given what they Apaches saw and reported. How do I know this? I as McBribe mentions, I was a US Army Scout, but not to be confused with FISTers' as we used to call them. For we worked together all the time.

@ CHUCK BANKS

The ROE is not clear as you have stated, and the fire only when fired upon doesn't apply as much when in as hostile of a country as Iraq was in 2007. Let me give you a few examples why it doesn't. This was in 2006 by the way.

1. Several times in Iraq while my unit and I conducted operations we mostly, as Scouts do, would observe locations that had high amounts of enemy activity. We would (mostly at night) watch insurgent groups come out to roads (or routes) commonly used by coalition forces and try to place IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) on the road ways. This is called a hostile act. By the ROE a hostile act allows you to engage a target because even though the insurgents we're watching aren't actively shooting at us they are actively setting up a device to kill us. In other words we don't have to drive up to the IED and let it explode on us in order to engage them. If you consider this collateral murder your sense of war and really your reality is terribly distorted.

2. To put this in civilian terms that may be more understandable, if I point a gun at you or at your family, you don't have to wait for me to actually shoot you before you can shoot back. Same logic applies to example number 1.

3. By Iraqi Law and our ROE and as I stated in an earlier post, Iraqis are allowed to be armed for self protection which includes a rifle, mostly only AK47s, with ONE magazine but this does not include but not limited to; RPGs, sniper rifles, shotguns, IEDs, mortar tubes, and pistols. Note for Pistols: They can only with a proper permit. US forces by ROE are allowed to consider the carrying of these weapons to be a hostile act and therefore engage. Discretion is used for shotguns and pistols of course but the situation usually dictates the decision.

Now lets put this in terms of the video:
If you read the 15-6s (which wikileaks has kindly provided in one of his/her posts) in military terms is the following investigation the the military conducts after ALL instances where rounds are fired in combat. That the Apaches were called in too support ground troops that had according to the 15-6s had been fired upon by small arms and RPG fire. The Apache pilots observe a group of individuals with guess what ? AK47s and RPGs.

Though some state what was recognized as a RPG may have been in reality a and I quote CHUCKS BANK "an expensive camera with a zoom lens." This in the end doesn't matter because the ground team found RPGs at the contact site. Let me give you a real life example why. I myself one time while observing a site (as I stated before as us scouts do) saw a Iraqi truck pull up and to what I thought started to set up an Mortar site to send indirect fire to the nearby (believe it or not the same Base the these pilots where stationed at.) Camp Taji. I called up what I was seeing to the Patrol leader and was authorized to engage. Afterwords it turned out that these insurgents had not been setting up a mortar site but where setting a IED instead to ambush a nearby unit. Admitably, I had miss interrupted what the Iraqis were doing, but because they had been conducting a hostile act regardless no negative action was carried against me.

Now we all know what happens next, the Apache pilots gets clearance to engage this group and o my do they. It seems to me though that, lot of people are more infuriated by the engaging of the van than the rest of the video. This needs to be put more in perspective. Once again I'll point to the acclaimed ROE, which as I said in a previous post is mostly determined by unit, location, and situation. Now I am assuming as much but logically from personal experience, that possibly that this unit who gave clearance to engage could of had past problems with Iraqis picking up weapons and bodies from other engagements and then using these things against Coalition Forces in the future. Even though that most likely these Iraqis were not insurgents they as I've said before had made an epically bad decision. To give you better reasoning; if you were driving down the road and saw a police officer shoot somebody on your street would you:
A. Report it via 911 and perhaps give a statement.
or
B. Drive up with you car in front of the police officer and try to rescue the person shot from the police officer by getting them to a hospital.

I'm pretty sure we would all go with A for B would usually have negative consequences for you. Essentially those people from the van got that journalist killed. If they had not interfered with a military engagement that journalist would not have been reengaged and would have been treated by Army medics when the ground unit had arrived. Also preventing the children from being hurt and any more people from getting killed (at least at that location.)

One last thing CHUCK BANKS, I'm not religious expert or anything but I'm
pretty sure God doesn't enact revenge against anybody only justice on sinners.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

Yes I totally agree that key management at WIKILEAKS is very very poor. And
yes as you have said it will only be a matter of time before WIKILEAKS
gets totally nailed by a false information release..

I am very surprised that WIKILEAKS makes very little use of digital
signatures..

If anyone needs practice or tuition regarding PGP/GNUPG usage and key
management then drop in at

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/PGPNET/

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/pgpboard/

Don't misunderstand me, I am a fan of WIKILEAKS, however I do believe that
some of their operating procedures are VERY VERY questionable, and that
they SHOULD NOT expand into areas where whistle blowing on political
figures and institutions could result in very severe personal
consequences..

Walsh

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-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

@ Walsh - WikiLeakS.org did make use of SHA256 cryptographic hashes, which they published as the "Cryptographic identity" on the (now offline) wiki page for each whistleblower leak document file.

It was never clear how anyone was meant to verify that this matched with the original uploaded file, if it ever did, especially if the WikiLeakS.org team had edited the original submission before publication, either to remove tell tale meta data which might have identified the whistleblower leak source, or for political reasons.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

It all comes down to operating procedures. Archiving the original submitted
documentation, and each revision cmplete with signature should not be an
issue. Revisions can include editorial comment, and/or the use of meta data
removal tools. For very very sensitive documents maybe should consider
optically scanning the release document and publishing the scan data file..

Again, policy and procedure... just how may operating (not personal) PK's
does WIKILEAKS really need to operate?? probably one only duly signed..

Walsh

Walsh

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I think it is great! Wikileak should not back down. What they are telling is something the world needs to know.

I used to support Pre. Obama but now I know, he sold his soul. How sad! To see how evil a man can become because he is afraid to loose his job. The pentagon has always be sneaky about every bad thing they do. They are no better then the terrorist.

They kill and pay innocent victims money to shut up. Get the hec out! Stop acting like bullies and try acting like real men for a change.

My thumbs up for wikileak and the notorious hacker, Mr. H.

Thanks.
Gio

Moral spine!!! Yes Yes Yes!!!

About this blog

This blog here at WikiLeak.org (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the WikiLeakS.org project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

This blog is not part of the WikiLeakS.org project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the WikiLeakS.org project.

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

LeakDirectory.org

Now that the WikiLeakS.org project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The LeakDirectory.org wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The WikiLeakS.org Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

WikiLeakS Links

The WikiLeakS.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The WikiLeakS.org website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive:

WikiLeakS.org Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: https://twitter.com/wikileaks

WikiLeakS.org unencrypted Twitter feed http://twitter.com/wikileaks

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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Recent Comments

  • Leah: Moral spine!!! Yes Yes Yes!!! read more
  • Giovanni: I think it is great! Wikileak should not back down. read more
  • Walsh: -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA512 It all comes down read more
  • wikileak: @ Walsh - WikiLeakS.org did make use of SHA256 cryptographic read more
  • Walsh: -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA512 Yes I totally agree read more
  • Brian: @ Butch McBride I will start with your very last read more
  • wikileak: -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 @ Walsh - if read more
  • CHUCK BANKS: First of all. ROE is clear. You dont fire, unless read more
  • Walsh: -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA512 Wikileaks really needs to read more
  • Butch McBride: Many people must be held responsible for this war read more

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