Skip to main content

10th black anniversary from the US 'Collateral Murder' video exposed by WikiLeaks

Firsthand testimony from a soldier who refused to kill civilians in Iraq


Today, it is the 10th black anniversary of the July 12, 2007 US Apache helicopter attack upon individuals in a Baghdad suburb. Amongst the over twelve people killed by the 30mm cannon-fire were two Reuters staff. The video was part of the huge cache of material leaked to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning.

The “Collateral Murder” video which showed a US air crew falsely claiming to have encountered a firefight in Baghdad and then laughing at the dead after launching an air strike that killed a dozen people, including two Iraqis working for Reuters news agency, was revealed by Wikileaks in 2010.

As CommonDreams reported in 2010, the Pentagon blocked an attempt by Reuters to obtain the video through a freedom of information request. Wikileaks director Julian Assange said his organisation had to break through encryption by the military to view it.

In 2010, Josh Stieber talked to Paul Jay and The Real News about the Wikileaks video and army training that makes killing civilians acceptable.

Stieber was a member of the army company that was in that famous WikiLeaks video in 2007 showing Iraqis murdered by the US helicopter crew. He wasn't there that day, but his comrades were. As he explains, he was excluded from that mission because he refused to follow orders to kill civilians in a previous incident.

Some of the most interesting parts of the interview:

Another big moment in training that really started making me ask questions and again I found a good excuse not to ask too many, but what initially disturbed me was our leaders would take us into a room one at a time, take the new soldiers, and they would ask us a series of questions leading up to this big question, that if somebody were to pull a weapon in a marketplace full of completely unarmed civilians and there's only one person with a weapon, would you return fire towards that person? And not only did you have to say yes, but in this exercise if you even hesitated in your answer, then you get yelled at for not being a good soldier and not prepared to do what it took to keep your fellow soldiers safe.

It was probably a couple of months before we saw action. And kind of the process of how I remember things in Iraq is that one of the first big milestones is that we moved from the larger base that we were living in, first to one building in the middle of a district, and then into an even more remote area in the poor industrial part of town. And as we were moving in to the poor industrial part of town, into this factory, the whole district came out and held a large peaceful protest and were actually waving signs and flags and banners and telling us peacefully but very explicitly that they don't want us in their neighborhood.

One thing that really troubled me that I was thinking about, on a practical level and a moral level, was this policy that we started practicing that when a roadside bomb would go off since that started happening pretty frequently, some of our leaders, from a somewhat high level, started saying that every time a bomb went off, anybody standing in that area was open game to fire upon, with the logic that if we can essentially out-terrorize the locals and make them more afraid of us than of the people planting the bombs, then they're not going to plant the bombs, even if they weren't directly involved in the process.

And there was one night when that happened and a bomb went off, and our truck pulled ahead a few feet, and the trucks in front of us kicked up a lot of dust, and the last thing I had seen before the dust went up were children running in the street. And my leaders were yelling at me to fire my weapon, and I said, "No. The last thing I saw were children running around. I'm not going to do that." And that didn't go over so well. And that was not long before this video happened. And that's the reason why I wasn't on the mission that day is because when I started refusing orders like that and saying, look, not only is it morally wrong to just open fire for the reasons that were being given, it practically doesn't make sense that, yeah, you might scare a few people, but it's probably going to do a lot more to motivate people who might have had neutral feelings towards us to now be justified in becoming our enemies, and I wouldn't blame them if they did.

I was seeing these things go on. I made that decision that I wasn't going to fire my weapon. My leader got really upset at me, and I firmly defended myself.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trump's "brigades" are ready to start a civil war in case he loses November's election

globinfo freexchange
Signs show an extremely explosive situation now in the America of Donald Trump. 
Starting with the murder of George Floyd, we witness almost in daily basis some very disturbing incidents, which unveil a deeply divided society that was hiding for decades behind the "American dream" facade. As the facade now rapidly collapses, due to a major financial crisis and a pandemic, in less than fifteen years, the reality looks terrifying.
In a latest incident, Common Dreamsreported that members of a far right militia group were arrested Monday evening in Albuquerque after a standoff at a statue of a notoriously brutal conquistador in the New Mexico city turned violent with a demonstrator advocating for the removal of the monument shot and sent to the hospital.
As dusk fell, demonstrators began attempting to pull the monument down from its pedestal on the Albuquerque Museum grounds. At that point, members of the New Mexico Civil Guard militia group moved in, attack…

Αντίο δημόσια, δωρεάν παιδεία ...

globinfo freexchange
Μετά τα σχέδια για ιδιωτικοποίηση του νερού, το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς ετοιμάζεται να ισοπεδώσει με το νεοφιλελεύθερο "οδοστρωτήρα" και τη δημόσια παιδεία.
Από τη χθεσινή ομιλία Κεραμέως στη βουλή, το μόνο που χρειάζεται να κρατήσετε είναι η εξής φράση:
                        Εμείς, λοιπόν, κάνουμε πράξη τη δέσμευσή μας, για πανεπιστήμια πιο ελεύθερα και αυτόνομα. Για πανεπιστήμια, τα οποία μπορούν να ρυθμίζουν τα του οίκου τους.

Όταν ακούτε έννοιες όπως "ελευθερία", "αυτονομία" και "αυτορρύθμιση", να βγαίνουν από στόματα φανατικών νεοφιλελεύθερων, όπως των στελεχών της κυβέρνησης Μητσοτάκη, να ετοιμάζεστε για ιδιωτικοποιήσεις, ξεπουλήματα και όλες τις επακόλουθες συμφορές. 
Πίσω από τα ωραία λόγια της Κεραμέως, κρύβονται οι αληθινές προθέσεις του καθεστώτος και για τον τομέα της παιδείας. Δηλαδή, σταδιακή ιδιωτικοποίηση των δημόσιων πανεπιστημίων και τελειωτικό χτύπημα στη δημόσια, δωρεάν παιδεία.
Απ'ότι φαίνεται και μ…

Protests against police violence expand in Europe

RT America
It began in Minneapolis but has since spread across the US, and now the world. The death of George Floyd has sparked protests against police brutality and chants of Black Lives Matter. Former UK MP George Galloway and Pulitzer prize-winning  journalist and host of On Contact Chris Hedges join In Question to discuss.

Exclusive images from inside British court expose Assange’s un-democratic treatment, physical deterioration

Photographs surreptitiously taken inside a British courtroom and provided to The Grayzone show a visibly disoriented Julian Assange confined to a glass cage and unable to communicate with his lawyers.
by Max Blumenthal
Part 4 - Assange’s hearing postponed, his isolation extended
The Belmarsh supermax prison where Assange has been held is regarded as the UK’s version of the US facility at Guantanamo. Aside from Assange, the jail is home to mafia henchmen, al-Qaeda members, and neo-fascist enforcers like Tommy Robinson. Around 20 percent of prisoners in Belmarsh are murderers, and two-thirds have committed a violent crime.
117 licensed medical professionals from around the world have written to the British and Australian governments to condemn “the torture of Assange,” “the denial of his fundamental right to appropriate health care,the climate of fear surrounding the provision of health care to him” and “the violations of his right to doctor–patient confidentiality.
Since the doctors’ …

Η κυβέρνηση Μητσοτάκη ετοιμάζει το μεγάλο ξεπούλημα του νερού

globinfo freexchange
Ήταν θέμα χρόνου. Η ιδιωτικοποίηση του νερού δεν θα μπορούσε να ξεφύγει από τα νύχια των νεοφιλελεύθερων αρπακτικών της κυβέρνησης Μητσοτάκη, η οποία φαίνεται να έχει ξεκινήσει τις υπόγειες διαδικασίες για ακόμα ένα μεγάλο ξεπούλημα στους ιδιώτες. Και μάλιστα, το ξεπούλημα του πολυτιμότερου αγαθού που θα έπρεπε να είναι ελεύθερο και δημόσιο.
Όπως αναφέρεται σε ρεπορτάζ του tvxs.gr:

Την ιδιωτικοποίηση μέσω σύμπραξης δημοσίου και ιδιωτικού δικαίου (ΣΔΙΤ) όλου του εξωτερικού υδροδοτικού συστήματος της Αττικής φαίνεται πως μεθοδευει η κυβέρνηση, προκαλώντας έντονες αντιδράσεις εκ μέρους των εργαζομένων της ΕΥΔΑΠ κι όχι μόνο. 
[...]
«Στην ουσία απομειώνεται την περιουσία της ΕΥΔΑΠ, καθώς της παίρνουν από τα χέρια όλα αυτά τα υδάτινα αποθέματα. Δεν είναι εύκολο να έρθει μια εταιρεία μικρή και να τα διαχειριστεί όλα αυτά. Δεν ξέρω κατά πόσο, παίρνοντας από την ΕΥΔΑΠ, θα διασφαλιστεί η αδιάλειπτη παροχή νερού στην Αττική» σημειώνει μιλώντας στο tvxs ο εκπρόσωπος…

New court files expose Sheldon Adelson’s security team in US spy operation against Julian Assange

An exclusive investigation by The Grayzone reveals new details on the critical role Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands played in an apparent CIA spying operation targeting Julian Assange, and exposes the Sands security staff who helped coordinate the malicious campaign.
by Max Blumenthal
I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole.

–Mike Pompeo, College Station, TX, April 15, 2019
Part 7 - A CIA front in Chinese territory?
By the time of the lawsuit, Adelson’s company appeared to have been working closely with the CIA. A confidential 2010 report by a private investigator contracted by the gambling industry pinpointed Adelson’s casino in Macau as a front for Agency operations against China. 
A reliable source has reported that central Chinese government officials firmly believe that Sands has permitted CIA/FBI agents to operate from within its facilities. These agents apparently ‘monitor mainland government officials’ who gamble in the casinos,” it stated. 
Previously detail…

Pentagon war game includes scenario for military response to domestic Gen Z rebellion

by Nick Turse
In the face of protests composed largely of young people, the presence of America’s military on the streets of major cities has been a controversial development. But this isn’t the first time that Generation Z — those born after 1996 — has popped up on the Pentagon’s radar.
Documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a Pentagon war game, called the 2018 Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program, or JLASS, offered a scenario in which members of Generation Z, driven by malaise and discontent, launch a “Zbellion” in America in the mid-2020s.
The Zbellion plot was a small part of JLASS 2018, which also featured scenarios involving Islamist militants in Africa, anti-capitalist extremists, and ISIS successors. The war game was conducted by students and faculty from the U.S. military’s war colleges, the training grounds for prospective generals and admirals. While it is explicitly not a national intelligence estimate, the war game, …

Independent autopsy concludes George Floyd's death was a homicide

The Real News Network
An independent autopsy released by Floyd's family raises serious questions about the previous findings, which implied underlying health issues were responsible for his death. Forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht says police should never place downward pressure on a person in a prone position.

Σκάνδαλο Novartis: Λοβέρδος, Πατούλης, Στουρνάρας στο μικροσκόπιο του FBI από το 2017

Σε "αυτοχειρία" εξελίσσεται η επιλογή του Ιωάννη Αγγελή να διαβιβάσει στη Βουλή αναφορές του FBI για την υπόθεση Νovartis, από το υλικό που έχει υπεξαιρέσει από το γραφείο της Εισαγγελέως Διαφθοράς Ελένης Τουλουπάκη. 
Τα εγγραφα των αμερικανικών αρχών, που κατατέθηκαν από τον Αντιεισαγγελέα του Αρείου Πάγου την Τετάρτη, διέρρευσαν στο  τύπο και  πιστοποιούν την ουσία του σκανδάλου Novartis, δηλαδή το συστηματικό χρηματισμό γιατρών και πολιτικών προσώπων και τις μεθόδους με τις οποίες η Novartis αναλάμβανε να αυξήσει τις τιμές και τα έσοδα από συγκεκριμένα projects σκευασμάτων όπως το Lucentis, το Exactly ή το Ηarvard Project. 
Τα έγγραφα δείχνουν ακριβώς τη διαδικασία εξαγοράς γιατρών καθώς και τις μεθόδους που χρησιμοποιούσαν με τους κυβερνητικούς αξιωματούχους αλλά περιγράφει με λεπτομέρειες και τον τρόπο με τον οποίο διάφορες εταιρίες επικοινωνίας και ΜΜΕ αναλάμβαναν να "ξεπλένουν" μαύρο χρήμα μέσω εικονικών τιμολογήσεων, όπως το γκρουπ του Μαυρίκου, του Βουλκί…

Rioters clash with police, fires set near White House as protests escalate

The Hill
Protests near the White House escalated on Sunday amid the continued fallout from the killing of George Floyd, with images on social media showing multiple fires and scenes of rowdy crowds even as a citywide curfew had been imposed.
Sunday night saw the third straight day of protests in the nation's capital following the release of a video last week showing a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeling on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd, an unarmed black man. Floyd died in police custody shortly after the video was taken.
His death has sparked increasingly violent protests across the country, from Los Angeles to New York, and has led Minnesota officials to charge the police officer in the video, Derek Chauvin, with third-degree murder manslaughter.