Terrorism in the name of Collateral Damage
April 7, 2010
AACounter Terror protests against terrorism committed by U.S. Forces.
A secret video leaked on to the internet shows American soldiers laughing as a helicopter strike kills around a dozen civilians in Baghdad.
In the 17-minute black-and-white footage from an Apache helicopter gunsight, the crew can be heard discussing the carnage as if they were playing a video war game.
One soldier can even be heard shouting: ‘Ha, ha, I hit ’em.’ Another says: ‘Look at those dead b******s.’
The film was posted online by WikiLeaks – a website that encourages whistleblowers to expose government and corporate cover-ups – in defiance of a Pentagon ban.
The footage also runs onscreen subtitles on what the crew are saying.
Before one attack on a group of men, a voice is also heard saying: ‘Light em all up. Come on, fire!’
Although the video’s existence has been known since shortly after the July 12, 2007, attack, all attempts to make it public under the Freedom of Information Act have been rebuffed by the U.S. defence department.
WikiLeaks refused to say how it got the video of the attack in which two Iraqis working for Reuters international news agency were killed.
The shocking contents were being seen last night as a huge blow to President Obama’s hopes of mending relations with the Arab world.
The video, confirmed as authentic by U.S. officials, offers a glimpse at the apparent coldness and arrogance of the Americans in two helicopters who opened fire on the unarmed civilians without any firm evidence that they were insurgents.
The chilling comments about shooting the civilians came after the helicopter raked a group of about eight men with a machine gun.
One man, believed to be Reuters driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, who later died, can then be seen crawling on the ground and a voice can be heard over the video urging the wounded man in his sights to pick up a gun so he can finish him off.
When a van pulled up in what appeared to be an attempt to get the shooting victim to hospital, a second helicopter opened fire.
The Americans later discovered two children in the van had been injured. Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, was also killed. The Reuters men were hit because their cameras were mistakenly identified as guns.
David Schlesinger, Reuters’ editor in chief, said the deaths were ‘tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that exist in covering war zones’.
Reuters has pressed the U.S. military for a full investigation.