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wikileaks' post of a video showing the murder of a journalist in iraq

Discussion in 'Serious' started by barndoor101, 5 Apr 2010.

  1. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    And when you're up against that sort of enemy, it becomes that much more important to NOT antagonize the civilian population.
     
    Last edited: 7 Apr 2010
  2. barndoor101

    barndoor101 Bring back the demote thread!

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    so what you are saying is that: the americans have already screwed up so badly in terms of 'winning of hearts and minds' that its fine to continue to blow up innocent people?

    great way to go about 'winning' a war. i guess all those future soldiers need some bad guys to shoot at, so why not radicalise iraq now and create them.
     
  3. wst

    wst Minimodder

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    What I'm saying is, it's unwinnable. And that the people on the ground with AK's are more likely to want your body flayed to pieces by bullets than they want to kiss you. So, if you see them with AKs, the odds are it's a good idea to shoot them.

    The best idea is just to gtfo, we have no business being there, let them just fight it out among themselves.
     
  4. thehippoz

    thehippoz What's a Dremel?

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    yep couldn't agree more.. we shouldn't have been there in the first place :sigh:
     
  5. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    It's so weird to see this argument. Here in Texas I see a lot of rhetoric about open carry laws. Generally the argument is that if everyone walked around visibly armed, there would be no crime because all the criminals would be too afraid of getting shot (or something along those lines).

    Here we have a group of people, who may or may not be armed, walking around in a public area. The ones who are armed have every right to carry a weapon because the country in which they live has a long cultural history of a gun ownership. But now we're being told that these people should not be armed, because the occupying forces (i.e. a bunch of foreigners) might mistake them for insurgents (or freedom fighters, depending upon your point of view).

    If we don't want the likes of Al Qaeda using events like these as propaganda, then we should think twice before we go around shooting up the place.
     
  6. barndoor101

    barndoor101 Bring back the demote thread!

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    exactly. hearing americans spout off about iraqis having and carrying guns is so ironic its got to be fattening.
     
    cjmUK likes this.
  7. wst

    wst Minimodder

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    Oh snap, I'm not American, and I'm a tidy shot. I just think sometimes, you know, you have to exercise the grey matter and make yourself look either... lessee... not threatening, or not visible... when there's a ****ing /gun/ battle going on, Occam's Razor is kinda going to make someone go 'Whoa, a guy with a gun. Might he want to join in with the /gun battle/ and shoot my colleagues?' and turn up the answer 'Yes', rather than 'No, he's just going to stand around with some photographers and look a bit hunky, for a fashion shoot.' (Haha, no pun intended.)

    Of course, the other alternative, when there's a gun battle going on, and you want to defend your home... is to wait in your home, with the gun concealed-yet-easily-grabbable. Just wait there. If a guy you don't like comes in, shoot 7-shades of **** ouf of him. But no, for some reason home defence = run around with a gun towards a gun battle.... what ****ed up neighbourhoods do you guys come from anyway?
     
  8. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Having watched this thread for a while (not the video - blocked at work), I can see how pretty much most pilots would've pulled that trigger.
    I mean - If you have permission to fire, are you REALLY going to stop and go "wait... could that be a camera and NOT an RPG?" - I wouldn't. I wouldn't want to be the guy that cost MY PEOPLE lives because i "thought I saw something else". If you see something that looks like an RPG, you pull the trigger. Rather explain civilian casualties on the other side than explain why your friends/allies are dead because you stopped to think. Nevermind the fact that for a Helo, an RPG is a very real threat.
    As for the continuous shooting - again - i can see where that comes from. The joking on the Pilot/gunner's side is a dealing mechanism.

    There was a video a while (i.e. some years) ago of a gunship intercepting a trade of sorts. It also featured rather graphic (albeit distant) violence, taking advantage of the confusion cause by the unexpected gunfire (one target trying to hide from the "shooter" behind a truck and hiding on the wrong side of it, thus being fully exposed to the helo). And it also features Joking from the gunner.

    The Joking is as common as humanity. I know a guy that served in Afghanistan, as well as several people that served in several warzones across Africa, and all of them have a side to them where compassion goes right out the window, crude jokes are order of the day, and violence is the only answer. Don't like it, blame the system.
    The words "don't hate the player - hate the game" do spring to mind as fitting here.
     
  9. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Or the law of parsimony... The simplest solution is the most likely...

    There are some Iraqi guys walking and talking together in a street. They are not running, not hiding and are looking fairly relaxed. One or more of them appear to be carrying something that may or may not be weapons. They are aware of two US Apache gunships circling...

    Which is the simplest and most likely explanation for their behaviour?

    • They are peaceful locals, unthreatened by any skirmishes elsewhere in the city, just milling around and talking (to two journalists as it happens)
    • They are all militants that have been engaged in combat with US forces in that part of the city. Their casual demeanour is because they were distracted by one guy's new iPad and completely forgot about the encircling US forces
    • Some are militants mingling amongst innocent locals, safe in the knowledge that (until ground troops arrive) there will be no threat that will penetrate their 'human shield'

    Even if there was some means of ID'ing one or more of the guys as being an enemy combatant, why would you open fire on the whole group? Collateral damage is an undesirable consequence that you avoid as much as you can. Troops on the ground can attempt to pick off the militants and leave the innocents unharmed; a 30mm cannon, fired from 1.5 miles away can't.

    Firstly, you have got it the wrong way around. They had the permission to fire because they reported that there were enemies on the ground with AKs and RPGs and were firing at them. Permission was granted because they were mistaken and/or lied.

    You're second line gets to the point though... the US would rather murder a whole group of civilians rather than wait 15 mins and risk ground troops.

    They are more scared of US public opinion than they are of Iraqi public opinion. The US public are fearful that this will be the latest 'Vietnam'; the irony being that the disregard and contempt that the US forces demonstrate towards the Iraqis may well be the factor that guarantees that this conflict becomes another Vietnam.

    40 years later and we have the same attitude, and we're heading for the same result.
     
  10. wst

    wst Minimodder

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    I see you didn't mention the massive gunfight going on about 2 blocks away, that the guys with weapons are walking towards. They're combatants, as far as I'd call, and I'd shoot the crap out of them before they shoot my friends on the ground.

    If they're just walking along and it's a chilled out day, no firefights happening, yada yada, I'd just fly on by, and report the incident in accordance with whatever regulations there are.

    But yeah, walking along with a weapon, towards a gunfight, you shouldn't be surprised if you're getting some massive lumps of lead or DU flying your way.

    So, care to answer this question in the same manner for me?

    There are some Iraqi guys walking towards a gunfight. They are not running, not hiding and are looking fairly relaxed. One or more of them appear to be carrying something that may or may not be weapons. They are aware of two US Apache gunships circling...

    Which is the simplest and most likely explanation for their behaviour?

    • They are just locals, walking towards a gunfight, holding weapons
    • They are militants, walking toward a gunfight, holding weapons
     
  11. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I'd also like to point out that, if you watch the full unedited video (Which does a great job of pointing out the reporters and **** all else) then you'd see that van quite a bit sooner, and those chaps didn't appear from nowhere. If you read reports of the firefight, you'd know a similar van was seen there, too.

    Chances are that these Reuters fellows were taking pictures of live combat, but from the other side. They were known, after all, for putting their all into their work, and not just taking the "standard" approach. Probably goes some way to explain why they claimed they were going to be somewhere else when leaving the green zone. Which would suggest, to me, that these people were not civilians at all.

    Yes, there was collateral, there's no denying that. However, I think some people are far too invested in the whole "US = Shock and Awe, gung-ho asshats" to even try and imagine that the people killed were not just your average gun-toting civilians.
     
  12. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    The short version of the video was designed to be sensationalist, and was deliberately misleading.

    The parts that most people didn't watch showed that one of the men had an RPG on him (not quite the weapon that Iraqis would fire into the air at birthdays), and that the area where the photographers were walking around was just a few hours earlier the setting for a firefight.

    If there are Apaches flying around an area that the US Military just got finished blowing up, why would a group of Iraqi men holding large vaguely gun-shaped objects decide to take a walk through? Worst choice of their life, for sure. Nexxo's argument about how the defense of finding RPG shells in the area could be likened to finding bullets on a street and opening fire on people on the sidewalk doesn't make sense to me. A warzoe is infinitely different than settings more normal to us.

    It isn't a great defense to just say that this was just an unfortunate accident, both parties were at fault, but that's what I believe.

    Is it strange that I have a problem with the fact that Wikileaks stole this video and cracked the US Military's encryption? They should be in prison for that, regardless of what they uncovered.
     
  13. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    The US Army say their was a gunfight nearby - not '2 blocks away'.

    The local population and the iraqi police categorically state that there was no skirmishes in that neighbourhood at all. That any conflict was sufficiently far away as to be irrelevant.

    If there was a gunfight, and if they were potentially combatants, do you not think there would be some sort of urgency?

    You are lapping up up the unsubstantiated propaganda from the US army. If conflict was so nearby, why did it take ground troops so long to get there? If the conflict was 2 blocks away, why weren't the Apache's also 2 blocks away, shooting the crap out of real combatants?

    The reality of the 'nearby' combat would more likely be that someone took a pop at a US patrol a mile or two away (a more-than-daily event in Iraq) and the US troops are looking for payback.

    I think Nexxo would suggest the troops were guilty of Confirmation Bias - they are looking for militants who attacked US troops, they see some people nearby who appear to be carrying one or more weapons. Nearby in Apache terms could be quite far away in terms of pedestrians. The troops suspend their critical thinking - they are are expecting to find some militants thus these guys must be the militants... lets shoot them all.

    The people arriving in the van are trying to save the dying victims, QED - they must also be militants - lets shoot them too.

    People have quite rightly said that we don't know all the details - this is true. Clearly the Apaches teams didn't either.

    At this juncture, I'd have advised finding out more, so that we can be sure we hit the right people. The army decided to just kill them all.


    @Docodine - the reports of an RPG being seen and then found at the scene are contested - the US only claimed this under pressure from Reuters. As for taking a walk with 'gun-shaped objects', why not. It's their neighbourhood. Besides, if they scurried around with 'gun-shaped objects', wouldn't it be more suspicious? If you were the photographer, how would you propose to move around the city with your camera, sorry, 'gun-shaped object'?
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2010
  14. smc8788

    smc8788 Multimodder

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    Wikileaks didn't steal anything, it was provided to them by an anonymous source.
     
  15. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Strange that the actual pictures that the US found in the camera were of an old lady. Do you not think that the US would have used these pictures of combat as justification if they existed?

    As for leaving the Green Zone, you are mistaken. These guys would need passes to into the Green Zone. As Iraqi citizens, they would live and work elsewhere in the city, just like all the other normal people.

    As for not taking the 'standard approach', you are trying to portray these two as unusual risk-takers which they were not. Their approach was in line with all other new agencies and Reuters were perfectly happy with their approach and their attitude to safety. You are just trying to malign them to suggest that their murder was of their own making - it wasn't.

    As for Wikileaks, I was glad that they have put this issue into the public domain. But when I found out about the US army & intelligence services investigation into discrediting wikileaks or taking it down, I was compelled to offer a donation. I'm £25 down, but it will be worth it if it helps to keep the US Army honest.
     
  16. barndoor101

    barndoor101 Bring back the demote thread!

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    they were honest to begin with?
     
  17. wst

    wst Minimodder

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    (Mentally number the paragraphs, increment number by 1, first paragraph is #1. I will address each one in order)

    1 and 2) Conflicting reports. You can't trust either source entirely. The US Military version of nearby, is, as you said in 6, probably different to the local's definition of nearby. (Also, I said 'about 2 blocks away', not 'exactly 2 blocks away', I was giving a sense of scale.)

    3) There was urgency, but instead of just going 'omg guns, bang bang bang', you see the helicopter crew liasing with their commanding officers and giving detailed information and pressing their officers to hurry up and make the call.

    4) I haven't read anything from the US Military in the last few years. I am looking solely at this video, the loaded words being used by the site (using the word 'murder', please, this site is as guilty of propaganda as the US Military, if not moreso). As for troops taking so long to get there... remember the Battle of Mogadishu, so faithfully recorded and retold accurately in Black Hawk Down? Yeah, that took... over 24 hours to do a mission less than 2 kilometres away from the base. While the circumstances were less extreme, bear in mind that when you're in someone else's territory, you aren't exactly able to just amble along...

    5) Could be true, could be completely unsubstantiated guesswork.

    6) Again, I ask you cast your mind back to the Battle of Mogadishu. The locals are far safer to walk and run freely. A mile is... not far for a pedestrian who has nothing to fear from the locals. Which, judging by the guys holding AKs, and indeed the Reuters-brand of audacious reporting, is the position those guys were in. They're legitimate threats, from the limited view available from a helicopter that's circling at @150 mph.

    7) Again, the view from the helicopter is limited. They could be retrieving the weapons at the same time as the bodies. And they're certainly in cahoots with whoever they've just shot, no-one else would be so stupid as to run right into the (demonstrably targetable) area that has just had 7 shades of **** blasted out of it. Again, a legitimate target, and again, they went through their official procedures before engaging.
     
  18. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    So because from the choppers limited view they looked like targets, and because they sought permission first, it's OK to kill them all? Surely, if you have a limited view of the situation, you should seek clarification before unleashing a 30mm cannon upon a group of people.

    For all I know they were militants. I think the indicators point strongly elsewhere, but it is possible. But possible is not good enough. Probable is still not good enough. 'Fairly certain' is better, but 'absolutely certain' is best.

    They weren't issuing on-the-spot fines - they were dismembering them with 30mm high-explosive rounds. Surely it makes sense to be sure??

    The pilots behaviour was legal but immoral. And legal only because there is no higher authority (short of a war crimes tribunal) that can dispute their actions.

    Make all the excuses you want - until there is strong evidence to the contrary, the US murdered 11 non-combatants and wounded two innocent children. They were no 'killed in action' - they were executed.
     
  19. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    wst: you are either deliberately misunderstanding cjmUK's post or you are dissembling. "About" two blocks away is, for practical purposes, still two blocks away. If the men were insurgents walking towardx a gunfight in progress they would be hurrying, not strolling. And they certainly would take note of two Apache gunships circling nearby.

    We now know that they weren't insurgents on their way to a fight, of course, else two Reuters journalists wouldn't be hanging with them (no, they really wouldn't. It would constitute conspiracy with a criminal act, make them a valid military target and Reuters explicitly forbids it. They would not accept the submitted material. No journalist willingly makes themselves a legitimate target to shoot at by hanging out with the bad guys in the act of committing a crime and military hostility. It us really quite stupid to think that). And no insurgent treats their battles as a "bring your daughter to work day". Arabs love their children too. Even the ones who hate us.

    As for not going out in a war zone: one of the biggest problems for the population in war zones like Beirut and Gaza (and, for that matter, Israel) is that life goes on. One day you still have to leave the house and get some food, water (no utilities, remember?), fuel; earn some money, have a life. In Beirut in particular people habituated to constant danger and learned to go to work or go shopping when the bullets and car bomb shrapnel had been flying outside the door a few minutes ago. Read P.J. O'Rourke's (a war journalist) "Holidays in Hell" and you'll get the idea.

    You haven't a clue. More significantly, there are all sorts of sneaky "Them and Us" prejudices in your thinking. You'd do well to ask yourself who you identify with, and why you feel so comfortable with that.
     
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2010
  20. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Where has war ever been morally right? Killing en masse for politics surely doesn't really qualify as morally right.
    Similar scenario for you (from a German Bundeswehr - i.e. Army magazine):
    Roadblock in Afghanistan run by Germans (roadblocks occupied my various military forces are REALLY standard). They get last minute intel that their position is about to be blasted to hell and back by a explosive laden vehicle. They ask for confirmation on the intel, but as time is limited, they also ask for artillery assistance. Artillery comes through, and the approaching vehicle gets destroyed. Minutes later, intelligence comes through confirming the vehicle as hostile.
    There was an entire inquiry into the event, as the Germans didn't wait for confirmation before opening fire. However, had they waited for information, the roadblock would've been blown up.
    Crap situation to be in, for sure. How would I have acted? Shoot first. Things (i would imagine) get pretty simple if the situation turns "You or me" or even "My friend or you".

    Back to the subject at hand, though - Is there anything to suggest that the Apache was there for any reason than because they were called in to assist ground forces in a skirmish?
    In that case, there's reason to assume that they weren't far off from "ground 0" when they saw the scene in the video. This whole thing just screams of sh*t journalism from all sides.
    Reuters got 6 of 8 documents through their inquiries. The other 2 were deemed classified, which, given the military nature of occurrences makes sense. They could be holding info on troop movement, or whatever.
    Of course, a pro-Iraqi journo would say "No fire nearby", which could mean no fire fight in this street.
    Americans would say they were involved in a gunfight. It was nearby. That could mean 10 clicks off the position of where this happened.

    Again - biased reporting. People get burned, dragged behind hummers and hung from bridges in Afghanistan, and the US goes "They were civilians". Afghanistan goes "They were soldiers". They might both be technically correct. Especially since I recall it turning out that the victims were Mercenaries. Working for the US Army, but not US Soldiers, so Civilians. The Afghans don't give a rat's butt where they belong - they're swinging M16's around and don't belong to their side of the war.
    That was sh*t journalism, as no one reporting on the story could be arsed to give ALL the details.
     

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