Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

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Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby sje46 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:46 pm UTC

http://collateralmurder.com/

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement".

Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.

WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.


And here is the long version, with even more unnecessary death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik

They had no excuse. They were just trigger happy.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby yoni45 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:32 pm UTC

Yay for unsubstantiatedly loaded language.

Indiscriminate slaying? There was clear discrimination audible over the radio broadcasts -- they discriminated on the basis of the group being armed with AK-47's and RPG's.

Granted, as it turns out, those weren't actual RPG's, but to be honest, it did look like they were (I was fully under the impression that they were when watching the unedited version of that -- I was actually waiting for the news crew to come by later...). Mistaken identification does not make it indiscriminate by any means (nor does it make it murder -- in fact, it completely nullifies the concept of murder).

So yes, they did have an "excuse".

Whether that excuse was sufficient to open fire, I don't know -- I'm not entirely familiar on the rules under which the force is allowed to engage. But I wouldn't be surprised if a group spotted with weapons that include AK-47s and RPGs did meet the criteria for opening fire.

In terms of firing on the follow-up group, that's definitely questionable...

sje46 wrote:http://collateralmurder.com/

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded...


And here is the long version, with even more unnecessary death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik

They had no excuse. They were just trigger happy.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Texas_Ben » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:01 pm UTC

Yeah, the first bunch seemed like an honest mistake.

Shooting the van that came by picking up the wounded? Not so much.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

I thought it was reasonable that they might be mistaken about whether they had weapons, but then they start calling them AK-47s and RPGs out of nowhere. Admittedly I'm not experienced in this type of thing... but aren't those types of weapons fairly big? And don't you have to generally use them in two hands... there was absolutely nothing that looked anything like AK-47s or RPGs at all in that video from what I saw.

The only thing I saw was a box or so shaped black thing that appeared to be slung around one individual or attached to his belt or something. That was pretty much it.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Dasboard » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:27 pm UTC

Personally the thing that shocked me the most in the video was the way those soldiers talked about what they did. They actually complimented eachother for killing people. Even though they believed they prevented more killing in the first couple of shots. But honestly, the similairities to what my friend says during CoD and what those men said is shocking.

Also the "Their own fault for bringing their kids into battle. That's right.".

That video was pretty much an eye opener for me. I mean, yeah I could've known stuff like this happened there but this was quite direct.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:38 pm UTC

Dasboard wrote:Personally the thing that shocked me the most in the video was the way those soldiers talked about what they did. They actually complimented eachother for killing people. Even though they believed they prevented more killing in the first couple of shots. But honestly, the similairities to what my friend says during CoD and what those men said is shocking.

Also the "Their own fault for bringing their kids into battle. That's right.".

That video was pretty much an eye opener for me. I mean, yeah I could've known stuff like this happened there but this was quite direct.

You have to remember that these soldiers deal with armed children from time-to-time, and that Army indoctrination has bolstered their "Gun=>Shoot" instinct to dominate their "Child=>Protect" instinct. The same was true in Somalia and many other theaters where young militants have been a semi-regular occurrence.

I am by no means endorsing the action, just explaining why I'm less surprised at the soldiers' jaded nature.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:48 pm UTC

Yeah, you can't be a good soldier if you let every death affect you the way an isolated shooting would affect a civilian. Militaries do their best to train a great many human reactions out of their soldiers, and then we act all shocked when some of them occasionally do something inhuman.

Note that I'm also not saying this was justified or okay, and haven't actually watched any of the video yet. I just think it's a too frequent cop-out for people to react to things like this as if it were completely surprising and unpredictable in spite of what we train our soldiers to do.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby yoni45 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:49 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:I thought it was reasonable that they might be mistaken about whether they had weapons, but then they start calling them AK-47s and RPGs out of nowhere. Admittedly I'm not experienced in this type of thing... but aren't those types of weapons fairly big? And don't you have to generally use them in two hands... there was absolutely nothing that looked anything like AK-47s or RPGs at all in that video from what I saw.

The only thing I saw was a box or so shaped black thing that appeared to be slung around one individual or attached to his belt or something. That was pretty much it.


I'm pretty sure the AK-47's were quite notable there, between 2:06 and 2:15 on the unedited cut of the video.

At around 2:35, it looks like the guy is holding up an RPG while hiding behind that building, and it looks around the right size...
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Manial » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:52 pm UTC

Dasboard wrote:Personally the thing that shocked me the most in the video was the way those soldiers talked about what they did. They actually complimented eachother for killing people. Even though they believed they prevented more killing in the first couple of shots. But honestly, the similairities to what my friend says during CoD and what those men said is shocking.
That was the most disturbing part for me as well (after the actual shooting of course). For the first time ever I'm concerned about the dehumanising effects of violent videogames.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:07 pm UTC

More than anything, this makes me realize that the US Military cannot be a police force.

For 6 months, maybe, but in 6 years of sending trained soldiers to police an area in military helicopters, tragedies like this are going to occur.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Dasboard » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:11 pm UTC

Manial wrote:
Dasboard wrote:Personally the thing that shocked me the most in the video was the way those soldiers talked about what they did. They actually complimented eachother for killing people. Even though they believed they prevented more killing in the first couple of shots. But honestly, the similairities to what my friend says during CoD and what those men said is shocking.
That was the most disturbing part for me as well (after the actual shooting of course). For the first time ever I'm concerned about the dehumanising effects of violent videogames.


I don't think it's the video games really.

The soldiers have to distant themselves from the violence or they'll go insane. I know I would do that. If you're in such oncditions and see so many things then at a certain point you'll have to distance yourself from the things you see.

It's a pretty fascinating thing really.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Spen » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:28 pm UTC

Wow, just WOW. The disregard for human life shown there was unbelievable, one of the pilots laughed about them driving over a body.
The first attack is justifiable I guess, they would have had serious difficulty distinguishing whether or not they had weapons but I guess you need to take a look at a picture from that camera of someone with weapons side by side with this video, the difference will be obvious I think (might find one later if I can find dig out the book with the url in).
EDIT from Spen: This post is definitely wrong. They obviously wouldn't have had time to compare against another image and the weapon could have been a different shape anyway. The image is probably zoomed in the full 127 times that the sights on the Apache allow (can't remember if that spec varies between the brits and the US) if they are trying to self assign the targets.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Kizyr » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:32 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:More than anything, this makes me realize that the US Military cannot be a police force.

For 6 months, maybe, but in 6 years of sending trained soldiers to police an area in military helicopters, tragedies like this are going to occur.

Agreed... Military training isn't training to be a policeman, or training to be a prison guard. So when soldiers are placed in those roles, it shouldn't be surprising that they act differently than would personnel who are trained for those roles.

It's something that bothered me about Abu Ghraib. I actually don't fault those soldiers to the same extent as they got, well, rather reamed by the public/media... some of the blame has to be due to whoever placed them in the role of prison guards without specific training to be a prison guard. So... similar to here, I'm hesitant to go placing all the blame on the individuals directly involved.

I don't know... I'll probably just keep an eye on this story and reserve any judgment. KF
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Griffmo » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:31 pm UTC

I think it's shocking how many of you are appalled by the way the soldiers deal with the slayings. I mean think about it: What's the one way people use to distance themselves from atrocious events? Laughing about it. They're shooting living human beings, of course they're probably deeply disturbed, but the way they treat is as a game is a defense mechanism. It's a way of protecting their mind from going insane.

I'm not saying what they did was justified, but if you're in a land where anyone or anything could kill you and people are wielding AK-47's and what looks like an RPG I'd be on edge too. All it takes is for one person to start shooting before they all start.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby mypsychoticself » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:45 pm UTC

On a related note, has anybody else noticed that US news sites don't seem to be covering this video? Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places, but I can't find a single US news source that has addressed it.

Image for comparison, spoilered for size.
Spoiler:
Image


ETA: Fox News now has an article up! CNN still doesn't.
ETA2: CNN has now posted the video.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby el_loco_avs » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:10 pm UTC

The way these soldiers conducted themselves is probably consistent with all war and soldiers before them. The enemy is de-humanized. There is no other way to not go crazy in combat situation. (imo).

Can't really fault them with that first group. Some of those guys looked armed to me. Picking out two guys with cameras would be hard with this image quality. Assuming they're carrying some type of gun as well would be logical, I guess.


Fucking sucks whenever this happens though. People tend to forget, soldiers are trained for combat. Army is a blunt instrument. It's inevitable.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Box Boy » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:42 pm UTC

Dasboard wrote:
Manial wrote:
Dasboard wrote:Personally the thing that shocked me the most in the video was the way those soldiers talked about what they did. They actually complimented eachother for killing people. Even though they believed they prevented more killing in the first couple of shots. But honestly, the similairities to what my friend says during CoD and what those men said is shocking.
That was the most disturbing part for me as well (after the actual shooting of course). For the first time ever I'm concerned about the dehumanising effects of violent videogames.

I don't think it's the video games really.
The soldiers have to distant themselves from the violence or they'll go insane. I know I would do that. If you're in such oncditions and see so many things then at a certain point you'll have to distance yourself from the things you see.
It's a pretty fascinating thing really.

I've got to admit, the whole complementing each other for kills doesn't shock me. It seems, although still disturbing, logical that using positive reinforcement at moments when a soldier will be at the risk of being traumatised, while killing/shooting/firing, would be a good way to blunt the trauma of it early on and continued usage could help to encourage better performance later.
I still don't videogames dehumanize you unless you're already fairly unstable however.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Texas_Ben » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:10 pm UTC

Spen wrote: I guess you need to take a look at a picture from that camera of someone with weapons side by side with this video, the difference will be obvious I think (might find one later if I can find dig out the book with the url in).

On other websites I've seen a lot of people say stuff like this, or "If you pause at x:xx you can clearly see the children in the car" or "They shouldn't have fired until they were SURE it wasn't a camera". All this from people who seem to fail to realize that they were in a warzone. They didn't have the luxury of pausing, or zooming in, or making a side-by-side comparison... They had to make a call, and considering how bad an RPG can fuck up a helicopter I'm inclined to say that we can't really fault the pilot for the decision to fire on the first group.

It's the second one, where they fire on some guy coming around to pick up the wounded, that really bothers me.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Gellert1984 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:23 pm UTC

Well having watched the whole video and then taken some time out to think about it, its not that bad tbh. So far as I can tell the apache's were called out due to small arms fire on a column (possibly the one that shows up later in the video) identifying weapons they choose to engage. I don't think they should have fired on the truck and I think they misrepresented the trucks actions to their superiors (picking up the wounded and weapons, up until that point they were helping the singular wounded guy, there was no reason for them to assume they were grabbing guns yet). I'm undecided on the missile attack on the partially constructed building at the end, I dont think they had enough reason to blast it to smithereens.

Now that being said from the video I only saw one AK in the first group, one guy with a satchel, and one guy that looked like he was waving round a corner that the pilots seemed to think was an RPG being targeted at the US army column. As I understand it the reuters reporter had a bodyguard armed with an AK. So I feel that this was a bit dicey, however, we seen the footage leading up to the engagement nor comm chatter, its entirely possible that the apache crew were lead laser perfect to the hostiles.

On a side note, it was difficult at times watching the vid since it seemed so much like the AC-130 mission in COD:MW even down the crews stupid comments, yes I understand its necessary for sanities sake, that doesnt mean I have to like it.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby EmptySet » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:38 am UTC

I'm not really seeing the bunch of AK-47s and RPGs which were claimed. I can see how the guy near the corner of the building might have been mistaken for having a weapon, but most of the others are carrying nothing, or just have a satchel on one hip. I'm not seeing five or six people with weapons in their hands, but because it is a warzone and everyone is a bit jumpy I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The van, however... they were just picking up the wounded guy.They didn't seem to be making any threatening moves as far as I can see. I'm not entirely sure why it was necessary to shoot it. The fact that the military denied any knowledge of how the people were killed also undermines their credibility somewhat...

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby G.v.K » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:52 am UTC

the behaviour of the initial group doesn't look at all threatening. surely they could have seen and heard the helicopter and yet at no stage did they look like they were doing anything to try and hide the supposed weapons. in fact, it hardly looked like they paid any attention at all to the chopper.

if the guy with the supposed RPG was getting ready to fire, surely the other guys in the group would have taken cover behind the building as the chopper came around. instead they were just hanging around and paying no attention to it. by that stage though the guys in the chopper had already decided to shoot.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby yoni45 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:02 am UTC

The chopper was actually pretty far away. I doubt the guys knew the chopper could see them considering the huge distance, and I wouldn't have expected them to had I been inside it...
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby G.v.K » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:13 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:The chopper was actually pretty far away. I doubt the guys knew the chopper could see them considering the huge distance, and I wouldn't have expected them to had I been inside it...


how far away do you think it was? from the video it seems pretty close (but i guess that could be a zoom thing).

the guy with the RPG/camera/whatever it was seemed to be pointing it at the chopper, so one assumes he knew the chopper was there.

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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby yoni45 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:56 am UTC

It was definitely zoomed -- you can tell from the opening shots before they zoomed in, and even that was likely already zoomed in to an extent. You could barely see anyone from the original zoom levels.

You can also note a significant delay between when the shots are audibly fired and when you can see the shots hit the area -- I don't have the numbers on me (although I'm sure you could do the math to get a pretty accurate distance), but whatever it adds up to, I highly doubt they were close with that much of a delay...

It also didn't look to me like he was pointing it at the chopper at all -- just that he was mounting it on his shoulder behind that wall...
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:25 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:I thought it was reasonable that they might be mistaken about whether they had weapons, but then they start calling them AK-47s and RPGs out of nowhere. Admittedly I'm not experienced in this type of thing... but aren't those types of weapons fairly big? And don't you have to generally use them in two hands... there was absolutely nothing that looked anything like AK-47s or RPGs at all in that video from what I saw.

The only thing I saw was a box or so shaped black thing that appeared to be slung around one individual or attached to his belt or something. That was pretty much it.


I'm pretty sure the AK-47's were quite notable there, between 2:06 and 2:15 on the unedited cut of the video.

At around 2:35, it looks like the guy is holding up an RPG while hiding behind that building, and it looks around the right size...


At 2:06 and 2:15 one guy is holding something stick like that goes from the ground upto his chest. If it is a gun then he seems to be holding it by the "nozzle" most of the time and leaning on it.. And if it's a gun it's too big for an AK-47, it might maybe be a rifle, or a crutch. Another guy is holding something that looks like a bag. At most there was 2 people there with weapons (the guy with the big 'rifle' sized one, and the other guy with something smaller dangling by his size) and they said "Have five to six individuals with AK-47s"....

At 2:35... it's tiny, it looks nothing like an RPG at all, it's a tiny small little box, the way he is holding it there is no possibly way he is holding an RPG.

You're saying this tiny thing down near this guy's knee
Spoiler:
Image


Is one of these?
Spoiler:
Image


To me it looks like someone kneeling down and checking what's inside some box shaped thing. It's also clearly pointed away from the chopper, he isn't even out from the corner enough to target the helicopter. I did notice he came out and was pointing the box down the street, but it was hardly even pointing upwards so I doubt it was aimed at a helicopter.

One of the problems I have with this is... are they really just allowed to attack anyone who has a weapon? If I'm wandering around with an gun for protection that allows a helicopter to randomly fire on me? When they opened fire on the group of people I couldn't see any weapons at all and they obviously couldn't not see or did not take notice of the helicopter and were standing around casually in a tightly bunched group. Also at this point when they were bunched up the camera was pretty damn clear. One of the random sites I found about an Apache Helicopter (not sure if it's the same model) says the muzzle velocity of it's guns is about 792m/s, if we assume that is about right for this weapon then that group was about 1600m away or so.

With the missile attack, they said there was 6 or something people in the building with weapons... but then just before they shot the missile two people who were obviously not carrying any weapons went into the building and as they fired another random passerby was sitting just outside the building and was caught in the explosion. Can they really just shoot like that without verifying whether those people are civilians or friendlies or not?
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby yoni45 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:56 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:At 2:06 and 2:15 one guy is holding something stick like that goes from the ground upto his chest. If it is a gun then he seems to be holding it by the "nozzle" most of the time and leaning on it.. And if it's a gun it's too big for an AK-47, it might maybe be a rifle, or a crutch. Another guy is holding something that looks like a bag. At most there was 2 people there with weapons (the guy with the big 'rifle' sized one, and the other guy with something smaller dangling by his size) and they said "Have five to six individuals with AK-47s"....


As already pointed out, that's an analysis you can make now. Otherwise, those easily look like AK-47's (in fact, I'm pretty sure at least one, if not more, actually are). They were counting guys with weapons at first -- I guess the presumption was that the weapons were all ak-47's, which adds up to 4. Their math was a bit off.

Gelsamel wrote:At 2:35... it's tiny, it looks nothing like an RPG at all, it's a tiny small little box, the way he is holding it there is no possibly way he is holding an RPG.

You're saying this tiny thing down near this guy's knee
Spoiler:
Image


Is one of these?
Spoiler:
Image


An RPG isn't very big from that distance -- that actually does absolutely look like the tip of an RPG, especially the way it's being held.


Gelsamel wrote:I did notice he came out and was pointing the box down the street, but it was hardly even pointing upwards so I doubt it was aimed at a helicopter.


Who said it was aimed at a helicopter?
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Telchar » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:03 am UTC

I'd like to point out that shooting a guy with an RPG after he has aimed it at your helicopter is probably not the pros play.

That being said, I think the most disturbing thing about the whole incident is the commentary. I understand what it is, and why it happens, and what it's from, but even more than the loss of life is the people relishing in it. And we wonder why so many of these veterans end up homeless....
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:06 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:As already pointed out, that's an analysis you can make now. Otherwise, those easily look like AK-47's (in fact, I'm pretty sure at least one, if not more, actually are). They were counting guys with weapons at first -- I guess the presumption was that the weapons were all ak-47's, which adds up to 4. Their math was a bit off.


Like you, though, I have no idea what their protocol is, but does a few people carrying weapons really warrant opening fire on them especially since they didn't seem to be threatening.

An RPG isn't very big from that distance -- that actually does absolutely look like the tip of an RPG, especially the way it's being held.


Not to me, the way it's being held it would be stabbing through his chest, the tip is boxy rather than aerodynamic so it doesn't look like the right shape to me right shape. Maybe I'm viewing it from a different perspective than other people are.

Who said it was aimed at a helicopter?


The people in the helicopter said he was shooting at them, suggesting that he was aiming the RPG at them.

In any case, it's true this is stuff we can say in hindsight, still, the group was very casual and just sitting around when they opened fire. I couldn't see any weapons at that point, and the camera was very obviously a camera in the video when you see the group, are they really allowed to open fire on suspicious groups who aren't immediate threats and who are very obviously unaware of the helicopter? What about the missile case with unarmed going into the building and a random passer by walking past the building?

I am curious as to whether those in the helicopter were later breifed about those who were killed in their shooting? Would they have even found out? I wouldn't be surprised if they just went about their mission and the only info they heard about it was the same stuff that was told to the rest of the world.


Oh, and the commentary for me was absolutely fine, I didn't see anything wrong with it especially considering these are soldiers who need to do a job effectively.




Edit: To me, at 2:35 it looks like the person behind the wall is doing this:
Spoiler:
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While checking something box like (I'm guessing it's supposed to be a camera, but all I can tell is that it's something box like) between their legs.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:23 am UTC

The only really upsetting part here is that the children were ordered to a different hospital. I can almost fully pardon warzone mistakes when reasonable suspicion of intent is present. If a mistake was made, then whoever gave the command to fire needs to be reviewed.

It's not surprisingly to me that we aren't quick to question why children were there at all. Why were they in the backseat of a car being driven to a square where people had just been gunned down by STILL CIRCLING helicopters? Obviously we don't know everything that happened, and pointing fingers at the soldiers and crying out how awful they are seems very knee-jerk and short sighted.

Personally, were I in an open place being circled by two known trigger happy choppers, I would not be hiding behind buildings or crouching or driving my children towards the aftermath. I'd distance myself from anything larger then a pack of cigarettes, and with my arms raised above my head, walk calmly and slowly down the street away.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:34 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The only really upsetting part here is that the children were ordered to a different hospital. I can almost fully pardon warzone mistakes when reasonable suspicion of intent is present. If a mistake was made, then whoever gave the command to fire needs to be reviewed.


If they acted in line with protocol then I don't have a problem with the soldiers... however I do have an issue with the protocol if it allowed for fireing at groups of seemingly random people who have weapons but who otherwise don't seem to be an immediate threat. Also if it allows them to shoot a missile at a building with at least 2 people who are unarmed and unconfirmed as enemies while a random passerby walks right in front of the building...

Personally, were I in an open place being circled by two known trigger happy choppers, I would not be hiding behind buildings or crouching or driving my children towards the aftermath. I'd distance myself from anything larger then a pack of cigarettes, and with my arms raised above my head, walk calmly and slowly down the street away.


Well, it's not entirely certain that they knew the helicopter was there, for all they know they were just shot at by something. And it's likely the van came after hearing the gunfire and the seeing the smoke/dust rather than from any request from a survivor (either that or they were already on their way from that guy with the phone). So it's entirely possible the van was unaware of what exactly went on and was just concerned with helping the people there.

But yeah, if I knew there was a copter there thinking of firing then I'd have my hands up and I'd wait out in the open, or just lay face down and hope they don't shoot me more. But it would suck being randomly shot at while sitting around in a group of people solely because some of them had weapons (for what ever reason) or because some of the people they saw before they moved behind the building had things which looked like weapons.




Edit: Ah, it should be said that from what I'm reading on news sources the helicopter was called to help a group of soldiers ingaged in fire nearby and that they suspected the group of people shot at in that video were on their way to help which makes the situation a tad more dire. Still, they were just hanging around making it unlikely that they were any immediate danger. The news articles I'm reading also say that it isn't confirmed that those people labeled were the Reuters Employees or that this was even the firefight which ended in their deaths.
Last edited by Gelsamel on Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:42 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Silas » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:41 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:[D]oes a few people carrying weapons really warrant opening fire on them especially since they didn't seem to be threatening.

I feel like we ought to take some notice of the fact that the photographers were coming up on a gunfight in progress (you can hear infantry discussing it starting around 11:30), and at least a couple of them have what definitely look like rifles (striped shirt guy at ~2:10 has what looks like an AK by the pistol grip). In fact, Reuters itself says this:

Reuters wrote:The two Reuters men had gone to eastern Baghdad after hearing of a U.S. military raid on a building around dawn, and were with a group of men at the time. It is believed two or three of these men may have been carrying weapons, although witnesses said none was assuming a hostile posture.


I get it- they're war photographers, and being near the fighting is in their job. And Baghdad is a dangerous place, so they have bodyguards. But how was this supposed to work? Did they suppose they could come into that (frankly non-existent) ring where they're close enough to get good photos, but far enough away that their guns didn't pose a threat to the soldiers on the ground?
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:52 am UTC

Yeah I didn't notice that until I was reading these articles I mentioned in my edit above. That being said, I think how casual these guys were is fairly key. First they were just casually walking down a street, then just before opening fire we see them standing in a tight group talking to eachother or something, and we see a person checking a camera (3:14 for a second or so) and they start to disperse and casually walk down the street more as the bullets hit and all hell breaks loose.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Silas » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:10 am UTC

See, I don't know what an actual band of Iraqi insurgents looks like- but I don't assume they move with some purposeful gait. I have heard that it's common for only a few members of the group to be armed- which is what there was, here. And the guy peeking around the corner with what looked* like the bulbous warhead of an RPG, then going turning back to consult with the rest of his crew doesn't look harmless. Crouching was a mistake.

*only sorta- but the gunner can't freeze the frame or replay, and he's providing air support to an infantry unit that'd already reported RPGs in the area.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Red Hal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:11 am UTC

Given the video and the ROE which I believe were still in force at the time, it is my opinion that section 3.B.(2)(C) (U) FLEETING TARGETS would apply (please review the ROE yourself and either confirm or oppose my suggestion).

US Iraq Rules of Engagement wrote:3.B.(2)(C)(i) (S//REL) Fleeting Target analysis is to be used only when a target is
(1) of significant value, (2) temporary in nature, (3) a declared hostile force or a
designated terrorist (see Par. 3.H.(15) below), AND (4) constrained timelines
prevent acquiring a formal CDE.
3.B.(2)(C)(ii) (S//REL) Under these circumstances, CDRs may conduct an
informal CDE prior to engagement. HOWEVER, if the informal CDE reveals the
target is in a HIGH collateral damage area, a formal CDE must be made and the
strike must be authorized by SECDEF.
3.B.(2)(C)(iii) (S//REL) If the informal CDE determines that the fleeting target
would result in NO or LOW collateral damage, then the following command levels
may approve employment of the following assets:
3.B.(2)(C)(iii)(a) (S//REL) NO COLLATERAL DAMAGE: DIV CDR is
authorized to employ any available weapons system. The CDR approving
the strike is responsible for establishing PID and responding in a proportional
manner.
3.B.(2)(C)(iii)(b) (S//REL) LOW COLLATERAL DAMAGE: DIV CDR is
authorized to employ any organic direct fire weapons systems except fixed
wing assets for precision guided bomb drops. DIV CDR may also authorize
employment of AC-130, Armed Predator, and Maverick Missile assets. The
CDR approving the strike is responsible for establishing PID and responding
in a proportional manner.
3.B.(2)(C)(iii)(c) (S//REL) CDR, MNC-I may employ any available assets to
engage NO or LOW collateral damage fleeting targets.


The question that is not clear in my mind is whether this would count as a HIGH collateral damage target; the presence of children in the car would to my mind seal that deal, therefore requiring Divisional Commander authorisation to fire.

I am (sadly much like the military staff involved) distancing myself from the human aspect of this tragedy, because tears would be unseemly at work.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Silas » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:21 am UTC

Red Hal wrote:The question that is not clear in my mind is whether this would count as a HIGH collateral damage target; the presence of children in the car would to my mind seal that deal, therefore requiring Divisional Commander authorisation to fire.

How do you figure? The way I'm keeping score, nothing was damaged that wasn't actually being shot at, except some masonry. The presence of children on the scene wasn't obvious until the infantry reported it. Even when the situation is laid bare, there was no reason for them to be there.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:22 am UTC

Silas wrote:See, I don't know what an actual band of Iraqi insurgents looks like- but I don't assume they move with some purposeful gait. I have heard that it's common for only a few members of the group to be armed- which is what there was, here. And the guy peeking around the corner with what looked* like the bulbous warhead of an RPG, then going turning back to consult with the rest of his crew doesn't look harmless. Crouching was a mistake.

*only sorta- but the gunner can't freeze the frame or replay, and he's providing air support to an infantry unit that'd already reported RPGs in the area.


So don't ever crouch if you're carrying a camera in a war zone?

If these were the people who were planning on reinforcing their insurgent friends who were attacking the soldiers then I would imagine they'd have some purposeful gait, I'd also imagine they'd be holding their weapons in a ready position as opposed to holding it by the muzzle and leaning on it while aimlessly wandering around talking to their friends.

Gait aside, they still weren't being threatening, they weren't aiming at anything or anyone with anything that looked like a weapon and they clearly weren't expecting to be in any amount of combat any time soon by how grouped up and casual they were. Again, it still might be in line with protocol to fire on these individuals, but I think there is something wrong with that protocol if it allowed attacking these people without at least some further investigation.

The same goes for the missile, if protocol allows them to fire on a building with unarmed possibly-civilians in it while a possible-civilian passes in front of the building, then that protocol is pretty fucked up.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Red Hal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:29 am UTC

Silas wrote:
Red Hal wrote:The question that is not clear in my mind is whether this would count as a HIGH collateral damage target; the presence of children in the car would to my mind seal that deal, therefore requiring Divisional Commander authorisation to fire.

How do you figure? The way I'm keeping score, nothing was damaged that wasn't actually being shot at, except some masonry. The presence of children on the scene wasn't obvious until the infantry reported it. Even when the situation is laid bare, there was no reason for them to be there.
The children were non-combatants that were not being deliberately used by the "targets" as human shields. I am trying to assess - with the aid of hindsight - the legitimacy and classification of the "targets" as a separate question from whether or not the personnel on the scene could reasonably have been expected to make the same assessment.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby luketheduke » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:35 am UTC

EDIT: <something removed here because obsolete>

more reddit comment wrote:You know that the people who give him permission see the video feed live, right?

So somebody made the decision with ALL the info and NONE of the heat of the moment.


Another interesting comment wrote:What is stopping the Apache from following the van from when it picks up the wounded and drives off, we know there are 2 helicopters in the air, one could have stuck around the crime scene and the other one could have followed the van. If they were going to a stronghold to do a weapons dump, then the helo would have the coordinates of an insurgency location and either wipe it out themselves or call in the coordinates to someone else.

Not only is shooting at the van totally reprehensible and flat out evil but frankly as a soldier fighting an insurgency it's bad fucking business. If these guys were insurgents blowing them all up just destroyed important intel.
Last edited by luketheduke on Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:37 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby Red Hal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:37 am UTC

luketheduke wrote:What were the rules of engagement back then?
I linked to them in my first post in this thread. Look at my quote from the ROE, click the link.
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Re: Leaked video: US army MURDERS innocent civs in Iraq

Postby luketheduke » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:38 am UTC

yes, sorry.
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