‘Collateral Murder’

‘COLLATERAL MURDER’…. Yesterday saw the release of a horrifying new video, documenting a 2007 attack in which a U.S. military helicopter killed a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in a Baghdad suburb. WikiLeaks, which originally published the video, is calling the incident “Collateral Murder,” and after watching the clip, it’s not hard to understand why.

WikiLeaks said that it had “obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers” and verified its authenticity in conversations with “witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.”

In the 17-minute black-and-white video, U.S. forces can be overheard targeting a group of men who were thought to be armed insurgents, then attacking a van as it attempted to load a wounded individual who had crawled away from the scene. Eldeen and Chmagh, part of the first group, are identified in the video.

WikiLeaks also released a transcript of conversations between the U.S. forces firing on the site. At one point, soldiers can be heard complimenting each other on their “good shoot.”

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, military officials said the helicopter had been dispatched to assist U.S. troops who’d come under small-arms fire.”There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,” Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad, said at the time.

According to the NYT, the authenticity of the video has been confirmed by a senior American military official. It shows no hostile action among those who were killed.

I can only assume, and hope, that the release of the classified video will prompt a more thorough investigation into exactly what transpired, and the extent to which there was a cover-up to keep information about the attack hidden from public scrutiny.

Here is the video, but please note, it includes graphic images and should almost certainly be considered not safe for work.