Monday, 5 April 2010

Wikileaks exposes attrocity and lie in Iraq

Hat tip to Mask of Anarchy

Wikileaks have today released footage from a classified US military video which shows "the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff."

According to the site;
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.
The extra resources on the site are well worth exploring in order to gain a fuller picture of this attrocity in the context of the negligent attitude towards death and "collateral damage" by the US military. And, of course, there is the video itself;

Extremely disturbing viewing, but nonetheless essential.

What this video shows is the callous and cavalier attitude to human life of the US military in Iraq. Not least the point when those in the chopper practically beg for permission to gun down the van collecting the bodies and the wounded. After the brutal war crimes of Fallujah, and other highly questionable incidents, this is yet further evidence that, as in Vietnam, the hostility and futility of the illegal invasion of Iraq led to a situation which normalised attrocity and brutality.

The Pentagon has tried to suppress this and, as BBC News reports, the organisers of Wikileaks "complained recently of coming under surveillance by the US government, and of harassment by other governments, ostensibly for their role in posting leaked documents on sensitive subjects."

We cannot let them get away with it. Sites such as Wikileaks have proven invaluable in the fight for the truth. In the face of censorship and suppression, it is those outside of the mainstream media - corrupted to its core by state and private power - that have pushed forward in revealing the lies and abuses.

That tradition needs to continue. We need to ensure that this issue does not die quietly as much as we do that those who report it are not hit by official censure. Share it on your blogs, Twitter, Facebook, across the internet, and by word of mouth. Innocent people have died and will continue to die as our governments pursue control of strategic resources under the cover of "democracy promotion."

They need to know that we will not accept the lies. More importantly, they need to know that we will resist.