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 WikiLeaks proves worth again in revealing Iraq "collateral murder" video

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PostSubyek: WikiLeaks proves worth again in revealing Iraq "collateral murder" video   Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:01 pm

Whistleblower site WikiLeaks has again proven its worth. The site, which earlier temporarily suspended operations over a lack of funds, has again scooped mainstream media with a video (below) taken during the Bush Administration's "Surge." The classified video shows what the site calls "collateral murder," the killing of unarmed civilians.

The incident, from July 12, 2007, killed twelve in all, including two Reuters journalists, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, as well. At one point, a van picking up wounded was fired on by the helicopter crew. That van apparently had at least two children inside.

NPR noted that the Obama Administration has confirmed the validity of the video. It this case, however, it's also of interest that in order to upload the video, WikiLeaks had to decrypt it as well. WikiLeaks said during a press conference that it broke the encryption itself.

As the video plays, two of the men, identified by WikiLeaks as the Reuters news staff, were wrongly identified by the helicopter crew as having an an AK-47 rifle and a grenade launcher. According to the site, those were, in fact, the men's cameras.

Watching the video, the helicopter crew can be heard to ask for permission to "engage," and one of the crew later says "Light 'em up!" (meaning open fire). Later, as the van with children arrives to assist the wounded, the crew becomes concerned that the van contains insurgents attempting to salvage weapons and help the wounded "militants."

After asking for, and being granted, permission to shoot, the pilots open fire. Two children inside the van were wounded, after which the pilots say, "Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle."

David Schlesinger, Reuters’ editor-in-chief, said "The video released today via WikiLeaks is graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result."

Meanwhile, Wikileaks, which The National says has "probably produced more scoops in its short life than the Washington Post has in the past 30 years," is undertaking a fund drive. According to the site, the site has raised $370,000 so far for 2010. WikiLeaks says their yearly budget is around $600,000.

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