WikiLeaks.org has released a formerly classified U.S. military video that shows the view from an Apache helicopter gunship as U.S. forces fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians, killing 12, including a Reuters news agency photographer and his driver, in Baghdad in July 2007. The footage shows civilians who are clearly unarmed, yet the pilots assert “we have five to six individuals with AK-47s. Request permission to engage.” Later in the video the U.S. forces fire on a van that has stopped to pick up the one wounded survivor of the assault (the Reuters driver, Saeed Chmagh). Two children are visible in the front seat of the van when U.S. pilots request, and receive, permission to fire on the van. “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” one pilot says.
The release of the video was announced by WikiLeaks at a news conference on Monday at the National Press Club in Washington. Reuters had pressed for release of the video, which it obtained from whistle-blowers in the military, because the film showed the killing of two of its employees, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and the driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.
“Look at those dead bastards,” one pilot says. “Nice,” the other responds.
One hundred thirty-nine journalists have been killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.
Click here for Elisabeth Bumiller’s report for the New York Times.