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Wikileaks Releases Video of Journalist Killings

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the rules-of-engagement dept.

The Media 1671

linguizic writes "Today Wikileaks released a video of the US military firing large caliber weapons into a crowd that included a photojournalist and a driver for Reuters, and at a van containing two children who were involved in a rescue. Wikileaks maintains that this video was covered up by the US military when Reuters asked for an official investigation. This is the same video that has supposedly made the editors of Wikileaks a target of the State Department and/or the CIA, as was discussed a couple weeks ago." Needless to say, this video is probably not work safe (language and violence), and not for the faint of heart.

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1671 comments

Video (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31736238)

A short version with some initial analysis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0 [youtube.com]
Full version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik [youtube.com]

If you read the comments from Army and US in the video before it was now released to public, they're just really blatant lies. They also did not release the video when Reuters requested it by Freedom of Information Act. Like the earlier news note, they followed, photographed, filmed and detained a Wikileaks editor about this video, not knowing what will they uncover. There's definitely more dirty secrets they don't want anyone to know.

In the video you see the people weren't attacking anyone, weren't targeting anyone (hell, all they had was cameras!) and that they were just civilians walking on the street. The military clearly had no idea what they were doing. Now theres plans to employ remotely controlled UAC's too? Make it a video game so that you don't need to care about the people you are murdering. These are people with families, with kids, with a whole lot of their own life, dreams and childhood. Then some idiot with large caliber weapons comes and shoots them without even a blink of an eye or thinking what he is doing. In top of that the truth is held from the public and the families of those who were killed, and US Army admits no mistake. I have no respect for these people - they're scum.

Re:Video (3, Insightful)

KBKarma (1034824) | about 4 years ago | (#31736326)

WikiLeaks commented that there was a possibility that at least one person had a weapon. What really got me was that they used a GUNSHIP on HUMAN TARGETS. Would have been much better if the Military had come out and said "Yeah, we fucked up bad." when it was first hinted at. But covering it up just makes it so SO much worse.

Re:Video (4, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | about 4 years ago | (#31736434)

But covering it up just makes it so SO much worse.

Covering it up is only worse if someone finds out about it. See previous treatment of Wikileaks. All this means is that someone in the command structure will be ordered to fall on the sword.

Re:Video (2, Interesting)

KBKarma (1034824) | about 4 years ago | (#31736592)

Yeah. Might not even be anyone related to the incident. Though it'll most likely be someone near Lt. Col. Bleichwehl, as he's the one that's connected to this case.

Re:Video (3, Informative)

bkr1_2k (237627) | about 4 years ago | (#31736734)

At the rank of Lt. Colonel, he's likely to be the one commanded to fall on his sword, unless he's got some heavier clout than his rank would indicate. Lt. Colonel isn't that much of a heavy hitter, when it comes to situations like this.

Re:Video (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 4 years ago | (#31736906)

Hopefully the person that ordered the cover-up, everyone that covered it up, and last but not least the person who fucked up and ordered the action in the video.
Here's hoping for justice.

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736438)

- Yeah, we got one guy crawling around down there
- We're shooting some more.

- Look at those dead bastards.
- Nice

Re:Video (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736536)

What really got me was that they used a GUNSHIP on HUMAN TARGETS.

30mm HEDP works outrageously well on human targets.

Re:Video (1)

KBKarma (1034824) | about 4 years ago | (#31736624)

That "outrageously" is the problem. I'm fairly sure it works averagely to well on armoured targets. On soft targets, it's like crushing a tomato with a meat tenderiser.

Re:Video (-1, Troll)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 4 years ago | (#31736544)

Using a gunship on human targets is like using a football as a dildo. Either way, you can be sure I'll be in my room with the door closed for the next two weeks. Thanks for the jackoff material, you very considerate Army helicopter pilots.

Re:Video (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 4 years ago | (#31736560)

Disclaimer: I'm at work, and they have video stuff blocked, so I have not seen the video

What really got me was that they used a GUNSHIP on HUMAN TARGETS.

And what's wrong with this? The usage of 'gunships' on human targets is valid by the laws of war. There's normally nothing special on how you kill people during war.

Where I WILL get upset is the targeting of non-combatants, whether by gunship, missile, or even humble assault rifle. I understand that there can and will be collateral damage if you need to use something with explosives to take out a target, but sometimes this is necessary.

Re:Video (2, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#31736826)

"The usage of 'gunships' on human targets is valid by the laws of war.'

Excuse me, 30mm is NOT allowed for human targets just like WP isn't supposed to be used. Using anti-aircraft/anti-vehicle weaponry against non-armored human targets goes against the Geneva Convention.

Oh, yea, we didn't sign that, did we?

Re:Video (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | about 4 years ago | (#31736946)

Don't think the civies signed it so we can ignore it. It's the rules of war but this is only a conflict.

Re:Video (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 4 years ago | (#31736958)

Nothing is cuter than the concept of war waged according to rules. Who was the genius who decided that would be anything but conveniently ignored?

Re:Video (2, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31736834)

And what's wrong with this? The usage of 'gunships' on human targets is valid by the laws of war. There's normally nothing special on how you kill people during war.

Where I WILL get upset is the targeting of non-combatants, whether by gunship, missile, or even humble assault rifle. I understand that there can and will be collateral damage if you need to use something with explosives to take out a target, but sometimes this is necessary.

I have not seen the video either, but it was mentioned there may have been one person in a crowd of non-compatants with a gun. The near guarantee of collateral damage due to using a gunship is exactly the reason not to use it. That goes far beyond acceptable use in a crowded group of civilians.

Re:Video (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736836)

Actually, that's not true at all, there are laws regarding which weapons are allowable and not allowable in war (international treaties and such).

For instance, the use of landmines is currently regulated. Chemical weapons are a general no-no. Nukes are considered bad. In Vietnam, American troops carried flat bayonets, whereas Viet-Cong carried three-sided ones, because of a ban that the American troops had signed. There are also maximum calibers on guns allowed to fire on human targets, above which the gun is classified supposed to be fired at vehicles and equipment.

So, in short, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Re:Video (4, Insightful)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | about 4 years ago | (#31736842)

"What's wrong with this" is they had mounted infantry 100m away. The gunship crew could have just called in the coordinates and had the eyeballs check it out. They might have seen that the "AK-47" was a tripod and the "RPG" was a camera lens.

And there was no excuse for blowing away the minivan trying to carry off the wounded survivor.

Re:Video (5, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#31736924)

Short version: there's a few people wandering about, on the street.In the video none of them are obviously carrying anything big, though you can hear the soldiers calling in that the people were carrying AK47's and an RPG.
They shoot and kill/wound them all.

Fast forward a little with a few people bleeding to death on the ground some poor sod driving by in a minivan stopsto help and a kid and I think parents try to carry one of the injured/dead people into the car.
Over the radio you hear the soldiers calling in that more insurgents are picking up all the weapons and rescuing the wounded and they request permission to fire.
Then they shoot and kill them all.

what followed was a coverup and attempts to strongarm wikileaks into not releasing the video.

Re:Video (0, Redundant)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 years ago | (#31736940)

Disclaimer: I'm at work, and they have video stuff blocked, so I have not seen the video

What really got me was that they used a GUNSHIP on HUMAN TARGETS.

And what's wrong with this? The usage of 'gunships' on human targets is valid by the laws of war. There's normally nothing special on how you kill people during war.

Where I WILL get upset is the targeting of non-combatants, whether by gunship, missile, or even humble assault rifle. I understand that there can and will be collateral damage if you need to use something with explosives to take out a target, but sometimes this is necessary.

Ahem... There have actually been numerous agreements that use of intentionally excessive force (even on a clear enemy target) goes against common decency, and to that effect things like the NATO ban on hollow point and other intentionally egregious ammunition have come about, specifically because you shouldn't kill when you can incapacitate, even if you really really don't like who you're shooting at.

Re:Video (-1, Offtopic)

radtea (464814) | about 4 years ago | (#31736772)

WikiLeaks commented that there was a possibility that at least one person had a weapon.

What part of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" do you not understand?

Re:Video (1)

KBKarma (1034824) | about 4 years ago | (#31736950)

The part where a) that's in the American Constitution, whereas these people were in Iraq b) they're in a warzone, where someone armed and not on your side is normally an enemy. Unless you were making another point?

Re:Video (1)

gomiam (587421) | about 4 years ago | (#31736964)

Erm... somehow I don't USA's Constitution applies to Iraq. Then again, perhaps you really know what you are talking about, even though I doubt it.

Re:Video (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736364)

Now theres plans to employ remotely controlled UAC's too?

An unidentified program wants access to your civilians:

Large caliber weapons.exe
US Department of Defense

-> Cancel
-> Allow

Re:Video (4, Informative)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 4 years ago | (#31736400)

Wikileaks also recently released CIA "Red Cell" [telegraph.co.uk] files on how they will manipulate public opinion to keep countries around the world supporting the Afghanistan war this summer [salon.com] , a time when casualties are expected to rise and they say "public apathy will no longer be enough" to guarantee support for the war.

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736426)

For your consideration, persons controlling those remote drones see everything that happens, including watching the bomb/missile from its point of view. They experience traumatic stress at higher levels than those who are on the front lines.

Re:Video (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736686)

They experience traumatic stress at higher levels than those who are on the front lines.

I hope the guilt leads them to suicide.

Re:Video (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736762)

I hope the guilt leads them to suicide

Your mama said the same thing about you last night.

Re:Video (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 4 years ago | (#31736868)

that's not going to do anything to help those who are killed by said drones.

Meanwhile, war is a horrible economic choice for us to continue to push. What's the tax losses of 60-80 years of a soldier's life?

Sure, it's great in the short term (military business), but long term?

Re:Video (5, Insightful)

lamppost (1774314) | about 4 years ago | (#31736532)

I could follow the actions of the gunship operators up to a certain point YOU knew they had cameras, they did not. However, the targets in question did not seem hostile nor did the threat of an RPG seem very real. The firing on the van though, without question, was a mistake. They were clearly evacuating a wounded man, something I thought was pretty much a universal no-no for engagement.

This is what happens in war, this is what happens when you put kids in situations where there lives are in danger and you've taught them to kill. Rather than this specific instance (which has happened in every war ever on every side) I think the real story should be about the cover-up, and the actual purpose of the war itself.

Re:Video (4, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 4 years ago | (#31736534)

These are people with families, with kids

Worse, the video shows two children clearly visible in the front seat of a van being shot up by the gunship after their parents stopped to help the wounded from the first attack. The soldier commentary says something like "serves them right" for stopping.
Never fear, there is a new "Cybersecurity" act [slashdot.org] now to allow the president to block disturbing leaks and wikileaks from challenging incompetence and corruption in the future. Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Video (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#31736900)

Worse, the video shows two children clearly visible in the front seat of a van being shot up by the gunship after their parents stopped to help the wounded from the first attack. The soldier commentary says something like "serves them right" for stopping.

Can you please point out the exact moment (time) in either short or full version of the video when children are clearly seen, and when the soldier says "serves them right"?

Also keep in mind that, if you need to pause and watch closely to "clearly see" the children, then it's not really clear - the gunner didn't have the luxury of being able to do that back then.

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736850)

It requires login, can someone post direct links without all this 18+ bullshit?

Re:Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736880)

A short version with some initial analysis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0 [youtube.com]
Full version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik [youtube.com]

If you read the comments from Army and US in the video before it was now released to public, they're just really blatant lies. They also did not release the video when Reuters requested it by Freedom of Information Act. Like the earlier news note, they followed, photographed, filmed and detained a Wikileaks editor about this video, not knowing what will they uncover. There's definitely more dirty secrets they don't want anyone to know.

In the video you see the people weren't attacking anyone, weren't targeting anyone (hell, all they had was cameras!) and that they were just civilians walking on the street. The military clearly had no idea what they were doing. Now theres plans to employ remotely controlled UAC's too? Make it a video game so that you don't need to care about the people you are murdering. These are people with families, with kids, with a whole lot of their own life, dreams and childhood. Then some idiot with large caliber weapons comes and shoots them without even a blink of an eye or thinking what he is doing. In top of that the truth is held from the public and the families of those who were killed, and US Army admits no mistake. I have no respect for these people - they're scum.

I can see how they were mistaken for insurgents. One guy was peeking around the corner with something. They were carrying something that could be mistaken for weapons. It's obvious thats what the people in the apache thought they were. But the military shouldnt have covered it up.

Conditional Freedom of Speech? Yay! (1, Insightful)

Zixaphir (845917) | about 4 years ago | (#31736302)

Awesome, we need to have a completely anonymous leak site to even know how corrupt our government even is. What a statement!

Re:Conditional Freedom of Speech? Yay! (4, Insightful)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about 4 years ago | (#31736504)

Awesome, we need to have a completely anonymous leak site to even know how corrupt our government even is. What a statement!

I always find it interesting that folks are so quick to jump on the band wagon on stuff like this. I mean you suspect everything from any government (and rightfully so), along with any large corporation, but the moment one source puts out one piece of potential evidence everyone is all over how corrupt the entire process is. Really? The whole process of government? Wow. Well, good luck with that.

Let the facts come out and be reviewed. Cover up or not, that too shall be vetted. Perhaps there is more here then what is in the video. We still only see one side of a story here.

Americans (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736336)

Shit like this is why the rest of the world hates you.

Re:Americans (2, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#31736464)

No, you hate us because have and control the world's money and cultural trends.

Minor military fuckups like this happen all over the world everyday, it's not a problem unique to the US.

Re:Americans (5, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 years ago | (#31736682)

Minor military fuckups like this happen all over the world everyday, it's not a problem unique to the US.

Yeah, and it's the US's hypocrisy that really chaps people's hide - "You should stand for freedom of the press!" while their military gunning down journalists and hides/denies the action.

Noone says that the US is the most brutal government (far from it), but when it does not practice what it preaches, scorn, derision and hatred ensues.

Re:Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736722)

What money? You owe us over a dozen trillions.

Re:Americans (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736756)

No, you hate us because have and control the world's money and cultural trends.

Minor military fuckups like this happen all over the world everyday, it's not a problem unique to the US.

"Minor" military fuck-ups like this happens all over the world in totalitarian states. Also pointing out that you arent the only one doesn't put you in a better light. Wanna be a moral leader? Act like one.

Re:Americans (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#31736872)

This was an ACCIDENT. Watch the video, they thought they had an AK and an RPG.

They weren't like "Oh shit, there's a reuters van and some kids... waste 'em!"

Re:Americans (1)

Millennium (2451) | about 4 years ago | (#31736890)

Kindly leave your strawman at the door, please. "Minor" incidents like this one happen all over the world in every state that is at war. This is why war sucks.

Re:Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736948)

interesting use of the word "minor."

also, while it is true that it's not a uniquely American problem, that doesn't make it any less of one.

Well, I'm going to make my first donation. (4, Insightful)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | about 4 years ago | (#31736346)

For anyone who complains that the main-stream (or alternative media) aren't doing their job, perhaps you should make a donation too. The truth needs to be known and if wikileaks is the only entity out there willing to take that risk, the least we can do is support them.

Context? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736356)

I don't really feel like watching people getting gunned down at the moment. Where was this, when was this, and why isn't this on CNN.com, NYtimes.com, msnbc.com, etc.?

Re:Context? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#31736456)

Probably because they are too busy running basically content-free "analysts" who just so happen to be retired military of various flavors, with current ties to a variety of defense contractors?

Re:Context? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#31736460)

Where was this, when was this, and why isn't this on CNN.com, NYtimes.com, msnbc.com, etc.?

Did you bother to read the summary?

Wikileaks maintains that this video was covered up by the US military when Reuters asked for an official investigation.

That would probably be why you didn't see it on any of those sites.

Re:Context? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736664)

Yes I read the summary. The summary didn't say "this incident happened 3 years ago in Baghdad". Also, I meant why isn't the MSM covering the leak on wikilinks, not the incident itself. Or is that being covered up as well?

Thanks to the other person who posted the wikipedia page w/more background.

Re:Context? (3, Informative)

gront (594175) | about 4 years ago | (#31736562)

In a press conference on April 5, 2010 at the National Press Club (USA), Wikileaks released a video "showing murder of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists".[106] The 38 min video shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site reveals that US military mistook the journalists' cameras for AK-47s and a Rocket-propelled grenade, and opened fire, resulting in the violent death of several people, including the two Reuters news staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikileaks#Airstrike_Video_Release [wikipedia.org]

Reuters article: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL1617459520070716 [reuters.com]

Re:Context? (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 4 years ago | (#31736838)

I work for CNN, and we're all back here in the newsroom jacking off to this video. As soon as my boss shoots his load, it's going on the air!

Because they were complicit? (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | about 4 years ago | (#31736920)

Glenn Greenwald's entry this weekend [salon.com] pointed out that when a source from the military states that something happens in Afghanistan, major news sites repeat it directly as reliable news without any sort of follow-up on the source. Maybe "complicit" is too harsh a word - it's just more that news sites are more interested in the headline than in the research.

Outrage of the week (5, Insightful)

MaXintosh (159753) | about 4 years ago | (#31736372)

I find this all sorts of appalling. As someone else who started watching it said, "That's really screwed up." But that said, I have almost no hope that this will ever go anywhere. We've seen a seemingly never ending parade of illegal and barbaric behaviour come to light in both Iraq and Afghanistan, on the part of US forces, but each time nothing ever happens because of it. We all seem to just shrug our shoulders and go on with our lives.

Wikileaks is just peeing into the wind. Nothing will probably come of this, because outrage is dead.

I'm really hoping someone proves my cynical attitude wrong.

Re:Outrage of the week (5, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 4 years ago | (#31736490)

Americans don't really have ways to participate in organizations that will stop this sort of thing from happening.

Republicans endorse it, Democrats endorse it, and third parties are barely even a sideshow. As far as I know, there's no group of "stop sending our military to kill browns" that I can give money to.

I can do all kinds of stuff about domestic policy, try to encourage foreign policy to increase intervention (Darfur (no thanks)), but there's nothing I can do to decrease foreign intervention. It's ugly and the citizens are powerless.
I can't even really blame the troops that much because it's basically a trap for poor people who can't find a job to do the bidding of our imperialist leaders.

I highly recommend everyone read Killing Hope by William Blum to get a good rundown of how much this has been happening in just the last 60 years.

Re:Outrage of the week (5, Insightful)

MaXintosh (159753) | about 4 years ago | (#31736634)

I think the problem is that Republicans (I speak as if they're a vague monolithic organization) feel they have to go gangbusters on the war, no matter what. Because it started under their tenure as president.
Democrats (generalization!) feel like that they have to support it, or else risk alienating voters by appearing 'soft' on security.

And the public is very distractable, is the problem. It seems like political views are more hereditary now, instead of come to through introspection.
I think you got a good point about there being nothing to we little people can do to decrease foreign intervetion. But I guess what I'd say is that maybe we can try to lessen the effects of foreign intervention. Give money to try and help the people who's country/lives have gone to hell in a hand-basket. I'm not sure what NPOs are doing work in Afganistan and Iraq...

Re:Outrage of the week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736930)

As far as I know, there's no group of "stop sending our military to kill browns" that I can give money to.

Even if there is, once you give money to it, chances are your name will appear on terrorist lists. The "patriot" act makes anyone donating to "terrorist" organizations a "terrorist."
The witch hunt never stopped, and anyone who does not play along is a witch... in the last few hundred years or so.
And, at the same time, I spoke with someone pretty high in the government and what they said was that giving up on causing change is the worst the public can do, and that public cynicism and resignation is exactly what "shadow/money government" wants.

 

Re:Outrage of the week (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 4 years ago | (#31736498)

We'll be lucky if the MSM even mentions it.

When did this take place? Under Obama or Bush? If it was under Obama then Fox might be all over it. Depends on whether they love the war or hate Obama more, though.

Re:Outrage of the week (1)

kungfugleek (1314949) | about 4 years ago | (#31736568)

It's awful hard to get up in arms over something after the new season of American Idol starts up. If this happened while that was between seasons, oh boy!

Translation: When people are comfortable and entertained, they accumulate inertia. Just my own uneducated observation.

How long will this video last? (2, Informative)

compucomp2 (1776668) | about 4 years ago | (#31736374)

I'd imagine the CIA and DoD get on this fairly quickly and get it taken down.

Re:How long will this video last? (5, Insightful)

fysdt (1597143) | about 4 years ago | (#31736440)

It's gone viral.. they can't take it down

Re:How long will this video last? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736808)

And yet none of the real news outlets are mentioning it. This will have as much affect on the main public perception as a facebook rumor.

Re:How long will this video last? (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 years ago | (#31736476)

Dude, it's on the internet. It's been downloaded, uploaded, torrented, copied, cleaned up, trimmed down, analyzed, re-analyzed, commented on, posted, and removed dozens of times already. Even if you somehow identified every website that currently has it posted and somehow forced them to pull the video, it would live on and be recovered from people's caches and be re-posted to an order of magnitude more websites tomorrow. It's over. If the DoD has any intelligence whatsoever they'll ignore the video and hope it goes away, such is the only possible defense to something you don't like hitting the internet.

Re:How long will this video last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736620)

Dude, it's on the internet. It's been downloaded, uploaded, torrented, copied, cleaned up, trimmed down, analyzed, re-analyzed, commented on, posted, and removed dozens of times already.

I'm waiting for the Rick Astley mashup.

Re:How long will this video last? (1)

Zelucifer (740431) | about 4 years ago | (#31736650)

Its in the cloud man, it doesn't matter. Its been saved to enough hard drives at this point, that any time it's pulled down, it Will be uploaded in minutes again.

How are we supposed to understand this? (4, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | about 4 years ago | (#31736428)

I always feel like the key trouble with video of any military operation is that the general public has absolutely no basis from which to really understand what they're seeing -- the context of civilian day-to-day just doesn't create the sort of base of experience you need to watch this sort of video and draw decent conclusions from it.

What was the situation? What were these guys trained to do in this sort of situation? What had happened the hour or day or week before in this area, what was happening in the region, what sort of tactics had the bad guys been using, what were other patrols telling these guys? These details are actually more important than what we see in the video towards understanding the events, but we have none of it.

I don't want to make apologies if these guys screwed up -- I'm not of the mindset that out men and women in uniform are all heroes who can do no wrong or anything of that nature. That said, I'm also willing to accept that I don't have the experience or understanding to understand what I'm seeing... I'd be interested to hear from someone who does.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736540)

What could possibly be said to justify firing into a crowd of unarmed people?

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (4, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | about 4 years ago | (#31736732)

What could possibly be said to justify firing into a crowd of unarmed people?

I suppose my base assumption is that this patrol wasn't just walking down the street one day, saw a group of people and thought to themselves, "Hey, let's blast away at these motherfuckers! I haven't gotten to shoot anyone all day, and I just can't get an erection anymore if I don't do so. Also, maybe we can punch a baby or two when we're done."

For example, why exactly did people have video cameras? I admit that my sole experience in this is having seen 'Hurt Locker', but it seems to me that's the sort of thing that would set off certain alarm bells for me if I were a soldier. What was being said on the ground? What sort of behavior preceded attacks in this area in the past, what sort of warning signs were these guys responding to?

Again, these guys may well have screwed up and may well be deserving of punishment. Assuming, however, that my base assumption (that these guys aren't all evil merciless killing machines) is correct, there must be factors we don't, as civilians, understand.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (5, Insightful)

burkmat (1016684) | about 4 years ago | (#31736862)

Even so, firing at the van stopping to assist the wounded is something I simply cannot wrap my head around.

Say for sake of argument that the crowd of people really were bad guys.
Someone comes driving along, and finds a large amount of dead bodies, with a wounded man writhing at the side of the road. The driver pulls over, and runs out to help the person - and this grants the coalition forces the right to engage? Someone finds a wounded person and tries to help, and for this they deserve to die?
Even if that was a Really Evil Terrorist I can't grasp how the ROE would permit engaging someone to stops to help a wounded person.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736876)

I'm sure you say the same apologizing things about the sep. 2001 attacks, right? You aren't a hypocrite, right?

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (2, Informative)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#31736824)

The military personnel CLEARLY thought that crowd had an RPG, AK and other weapons. You don't carry that type of weaponry for protection. Hell, you can even hear them talk about being worried the RPG was being readied to fire on them.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 4 years ago | (#31736864)

They mistook cameras for guns in a hostile environment; I believe that's the official word on the matter. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's not impossible. That doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake, and that it's not a tragedy; but it is an explanation, and a reasonable one. That sort of incident is really inevitable in a military conflict, to some degree.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (1)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | about 4 years ago | (#31736904)

Human error led them to believe that they were armed. They mistook a DSLR with a big zoom lens and a shoulder strap for an AK-47.

I'm not excusing their actions, but you can't just say that they fired on a crowd of unarmed people. I don't have enough back story or context to draw valid criticism with.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#31736962)

What could possibly be said to justify firing into a crowd of unarmed people?

During the first attack, they sure look like carrying weapons to me. The gunner even comments on that ("several AKs, an RPG").

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 years ago | (#31736612)

I'll grant you there may be reasons why this happened. Maybe a suicide bomber hit their squad mate in that square just a week ago. Maybe the rules of engagement said to fire if you felt threatened (I highly doubt that but maybe). Maybe some in the crowd looked suspicious, maybe a camera looked like a gun for a second.

None of that would change the fact that a fully automatic weapon was discharged into an unarmed crowd of civilians. If it was a mistake, fine, warfare is ugly and brutal. But the soldiers involved should have been investigated, public apologies should have been made, rules of engagement should have been changed, training should have been improved. Instead, the incident was lied about, covered up, denied, and ignored and that is unforgivable in my opinion.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736936)

Are we sure it was a mistake? Can't watch the video now, but it's not like Osama and company have a machine gun on them at all times. Do we know just who these 'civilians' were? Let's not pass judgment with no idea of the circumstances leading up to this. For all we know, they got a positive ID on a known terrorist. If the only thing making people queezy is the manner in which they were killed, then newsflash for you guys - war is graphic, messy, brutal, violent. It's aim is to kill the enemy, and that doesn't happen by smiling at them until they pass out.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736644)

From the video it seems that the soldiers involved genuinely thought there was a present threat, so I don't hold them at fault that much. What they did might have been totally justified by the circumstances surrounding the events.

However, there is a huge amount of blame to be placed in how the government dealt with this situation after the fact. Being open about the situation and not doing what amounts to a cover-up would have helped. A statement of apology and explanation should have been made.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (5, Insightful)

Jerrei (1515395) | about 4 years ago | (#31736654)

I see civilians being shot, I hear officials on comms laughing about the truck driving in there to attempt to save those shot running over a corpse and I see us being told that Iraqi insurgents were responsible. How the fuck is this open to interpretation?

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#31736678)

None of that matters, they had a really good view and must have been fucking blind to have believed that those guys were armed.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (2, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | about 4 years ago | (#31736718)

the general public has absolutely no basis from which to really understand what they're seeing

sure we do. we see the military killing innocent people. and when this happens, our leaders do their best to cover it up and not let their media lapdogs talk about it. what else is there to it? innocent people die needlessly in EVERY war.

Re:How are we supposed to understand this? (2, Insightful)

Jawn98685 (687784) | about 4 years ago | (#31736954)

I'm sorry, but what military objective was obtained by gunning down a dozen people from a helicopter? Were they armed "bad guys"? OK, fine. Let's assume that at least some of them were. So we have less than 12 armed bad guys standing around in a street. Again, what military objective was gained?

Answer: None. There was no objective for which military force was the right tool. Suppressing insurgency from an Apache, a thousand yards off, is the wrong approach with the wrong tool. Fucking stupid.

Collateral murder is quite a charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736444)

Iraq is a historic clusterfuck of clusterfucks, but does hosting this under such a domain name really help, not withstanding the feds trying to crawl up your asses for merely making them look incompetent.

9 terrorists - 2 Civilians (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736496)

Pretty good for war.

Can't let youtube generals dictate tactics.

America! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736594)

The land of the free and the home of the brave killers.

Bombing video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736642)

Did anyone else hear about another video they may have that showed hundreds if not thousands of civilians being bombed?

Simply put you don't shoot wounded and unarmed (1, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | about 4 years ago | (#31736658)

Did some have weapons? YES. Kills authorized? YES. It's the people in the van helping the wounded that are the crime.
You never shoot wounded, ever, ever, ever.

Re:Simply put you don't shoot wounded and unarmed (5, Informative)

Jerrei (1515395) | about 4 years ago | (#31736766)

At 8 minutes 30 seconds you can hear the guy in the Apache, crosshair hovering over a gravely wounded individual that is clearly struggling to even get anywhere saying and I quote "Come on buddy all you gotta do is pick up a weapon".

Re:Simply put you don't shoot wounded and unarmed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736902)

At 8 minutes 30 seconds you can hear the guy in the Apache, crosshair hovering over a gravely wounded individual that is clearly struggling to even get anywhere saying and I quote "Come on buddy all you gotta do is pick up a weapon".

...which sort of runs counter to the point, since he didn't just drill the guy and move on to the next target like he would have if these troops were just engaging in a spot of wanton murder.

Re:Simply put you don't shoot wounded and unarmed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31736896)

Did some have weapons? YES. Kills authorized? YES. It's the people in the van helping the wounded that are the crime.

  You never shoot wounded, ever, ever, ever.

You do if they're shooting at you... (I know that's not what is happening in the video)

But what DID happen in the video, is the men were armed, 6 with AKs and one with an RPG, and one of them popped a round off. It sucks that the journalists were interviewing the insurgents at the time of the attack, but that's what happens when you pal around with terrorists.

Mistakes (2, Insightful)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | about 4 years ago | (#31736698)

In wartime there are bound to be accidents by those on the ground. That is no excuse, however, to cover things like this up. Huge mistakes like this should be used to make sure that they don't happen again. Top brass lying and changing the story around just makes the US look dishonest and 'evil' and prevents any good work that is being done from getting the credit it deserves.

Now I see why they hate us (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about 4 years ago | (#31736752)

That video is disturbing. I just did not have the stomach to watch it all.

The trouble too is that we "preach" democracy but when a democratic process puts those we "hate" in power, we (read the US government), then treat the democratically elected administration as parties not to be dealt with in any way. Hamas anyone?

I do not have an issue with this (0, Troll)

SirCodeAlot (574117) | about 4 years ago | (#31736800)

I really feel bad for the journalists. But, you knew the risk when you started walking in a war zone with the enemy of a power. A convoy was coming through the area, the chopper's job is to remove all threats. At least one of them was armed. Sorry.

well geeze. (-1, Flamebait)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 4 years ago | (#31736828)

there were armed insurgents... sorry if hanging out with them got you killed.

sad fucking face.

and some of you people really don't know how war is done...all aghast that an apache can engage personnel.

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