The "Wikileaks" video of a 2007 airstrike in Iraq
was widely claimed to show a war crime.
Wikileaks spun this incident as if it was an attack on civilians.
But then it emerged that there were RPG and AK armed insurgents present,
who were tracking a US patrol and taking recon photos.
The Wikileaks version of events is false.
The US military version is true.
Wikileaks has no credibility because of their spin and distortion of
Summary: Journalists unfortunately get killed alongside armed insurgents.
Someone then drives an unmarked van into the kill zone
with (it turned out later) children in it.
The US forces fire on the van and the children are injured.
US ground forces come in, discover the children, and rush them to hospital.
and Bill Roggio
explain why this looks like just normal war.
Tragic, but normal war.
Blame the jihad for fighting this war.
There is no justification for any Iraqi to be fighting America in 2007.
This makes it clear that this was a group of armed insurgents.
This is not confusion with the journalists' cameras.
There are visible weapons being carried by other men.
There was nothing illegal about the attack.
The US forces did not know there were journalists there.
Even if they identified the cameras, the report notes that insurgents often film their attacks.
Nor would it be illegal to fire on military-age males
trying to help a wounded insurgent escape.
(Even if this turned out to be an error.)
Ground troops also came under fire while investigating the scene.
The raw unedited video.
shows the evidence that there were armed men in the group.
in the long video,
In the above screenshots,
the two journalists
(as marked by Wikileaks)
have gone off screen,
and the group left behind is carrying two long items that look like weapons.
They sure look like weapons to me.
The Wikileaks video makes no attempt to explain what these items are.
No arrow points to them explaining them.
Look at the video again,
in the long video,
and this time
ignore the journalists when looking at the build-up.
Separate to them is a
group of armed insurgents,
armed with an AK-style rifle and at least one RPG launcher,
clearly about to launch an attack on nearby US ground forces.
It is obvious why US forces attacked this group.
There is nothing illegal about this attack.
is about the only media outlet displaying any scepticism
about Wikileaks' spin:
"questions linger about just how much of the story WikiLeaks decided to tell.
U.S. Central Command [said that]
"Our forces were engaged in combat all that day with individuals that fit the description of the men in that video. Their age, their weapons, and the fact that they were within the distance of the forces that had been engaged made it apparent these guys were potentially a threat." ...
Military officials have also pointed out that the men in the video are the only people visible on those streets. That indicated something was going on and that these individuals still felt they could walk freely, one official told Fox News.
The military has said Army units on the ground were experiencing RPG fire before calling in close air support."
Why were the insurgents so relaxed about the helicopters? Could they not see them?
Bob Owens, 7 Apr 2010,
says probably not:
"the helicopters circle the group from 800 meters away, well within the range of their weapons, but outside the range where the group might easily notice them."
Here, in the reconnaissance phase,
the helicopters are 1.3 km away
(see range figure of 1340),
which is why the insurgents do not notice them.
The helicopters move in closer to shoot.
with AK-style rifle and RPG launcher,
clearly about to launch an attack on US ground forces.
It looks like an RPG to me.
If it's not an RPG, then what is it?
From The Jawa Report.
AK-style rifle recovered by
US ground troops at the scene.
They also found
two RPG launchers, which fits with what we see in the video.
Originally from the official US military report above.
The above AK-style rifle filmed earlier, from the helicopter, after the shooting
but before ground forces arrive.
in the long video.
Just to show you that it has not been "planted".
The journalists were not easily identifiable:
Given the serious weaponry held by the group,
and given that terrorists often film their own attacks,
seeing cameras there
would not necessarily make the US forces think they were dealing with journalists.
As Bob Owens says, 8 Apr 2010:
"even if the presence of cameras had been detected earlier, it in no way suggested that the armed men were anything other than terrorists."
Why are the journalists hanging out with terrorists as they prepare an attack?
Maybe they were sympathetic to the insurgents' cause.
The dead photographer's brother
"What Namir was doing was a patriotic work. He was trying to cover the violations of the Americans against the Iraqi people."
Maybe they were even doing reconnaissance for the insurgents.
Or maybe they just wanted some good pictures.
Journalist takes sneak photo around the corner
of nearby US forces.
He then shares this photo with the terrorists
so they can better plan their attack.
See the terrorists huddled round the camera looking at the photo.
This is at
in the long video.
It sure looks like the journalists were
working for the terrorists.
The photo the journalist shared with the terrorists.
It sure looks like
this comment from a soldier who was there
"the two reporters and armed men supported by a van
and cars were shadowing a Coalition patrol. These reporters accompanied the armed men who were tracking a Coalition patrol about a city block away. The camera man would peek around corners to shoot a few digital frames of the patrol and then show the pictures to the armed men. If you have all the video footage, you will see this activity happened repeatedly. The operational suspicion was that this was enemy TTP (tactic, technic, or procedure) to help prepare for an attack; the digital photos would be used to quickly evaluate the target -- to judge what it looked like, its shape, distance, terrain in between, where to aim, etc. This way, the RPG operator would select the right warhead, he'd preset the mechanical sights (elevation), and fix in his mind a visual picture of the target so he would limit his exposure time when stepping out in the street to fire. The recovered camera showed how the camera man was aiding the enemy."
Was the van driver also an insurgent, or just incredibly unlucky?
I can't decide.
If he was innocent, you can see why the US forces thought otherwise.
The van driver (who was killed) has been named as
Tomal or Toman.
His children (who were injured)
say they were on their way to school
when their father stopped to help the wounded.
However, the streets were empty,
there were fire fights going on all morning in that area,
and anyone stopping in an unmarked vehicle to apparently help a wounded insurgent escape
should know they might be mistaken for an insurgent themselves.
The van arrived very quick, as if it had been waiting.
He hooked up with two other men who appeared on the scene.
He did not stop and stare in horror and shock and confusion, as a normal person might.
Rather he got straight to work.
If the van driver was innocent, you can see why the US forces thought otherwise.
The alternative is that the van driver was a local insurgent or
Bringing his children into the fight zone to help
would not be that unusual.
Jihadis use children as human shields
all the time.
Hamas does it
all the time.
You would think that
an innocent Iraqi with vulnerable children on board
would flee the scene, not drive right into it.
But maybe he was just terribly unlucky.
Report from a soldier who was there
says there was a similar van earlier helping the insurgents:
"The van, or another like it, was suspected of providing weapon support to the fighters in earlier footage.
There is earlier footage showing armed men going to and from a van and some cars. That conduct produced the suspicion."
Now they don't talk about going to school.
Instead the van driver was apparently just driving from his brother's house to their home.
With 6 unidentified "people" in his van.
In the middle of a firefight on deserted streets.
And arriving at high speed to rescue wounded fighters immediately after they were shot.
If the Guardian had an ounce of scepticism about the stories they are told by America-haters abroad,
they would question this story.
But they don't. The Guardian even now is trying to write history as if it is a simple fact
that the van driver was innocent.
The leftie Guardian article sneers at the idea that the war was
"a black and white clash between liberators and insurgents."
But if taking children into battle deliberately as human shields,
to ensure that your enemy (who has decency)
will not fire on you,
is not a clear cut case of a black and white clash between good and evil, then what is?
Not long earlier, in the sporadic fire fight that morning,
in the long video,
a van drives through the deserted streets.
It pulls up to a mosque and stops.
notes that mosques are
"a favored location to hide weapons and militants because of policies that forbid U.S. troops from raiding them".
Is this an insurgent support vehicle?
The US forces suspect so, which is why they track it.
Is this then
the same van seen shortly afterwards trying to recover wounded insurgents
and maybe recover weapons?
This sure looks like evidence that the van driver was an insurgent.
Almost everything in this article is false, starting with the title.
He claims there was no firefight,
despite the fact US forces were taking fire all morning,
and then came across these armed men planning an RPG attack.
"It is unclear if some of the men are armed"
despite it being as clear as day.
He says the men are just "standing around",
despite them clearly engaging in recon against a nearby US ground patrol
in preparation for an RPG attack.
Nor does he spot that the journalists are helping the terrorists with this recon.
"Initially the US military said that all the dead were insurgents. Then it claimed the helicopters reacted to an active firefight."
He says both of these claims are false.
But they both seem to be probably true.
She does not discuss the clear evidence of an AK and RPG.
She implies that the only weapon seen turned out to be a camera.
She says the video
"did not record any shooting from the ground"
but does not mention US forces had been under fire all morning
and then found these armed men.
Are they to wait until these men fire again?
She does not mention that sporadic shooting in this locality
is discussed constantly in the video.
She does not label the men as insurgents planning an attack,
but says they are just
"relaxed and wandering about".
She does not point out the streets were deserted because of the firefight,
yet these guys were wandering about.
She names the journalists,
but does not point out they were sharing a recon photo of nearby US ground forces
with the terrorists.
She does not discuss the fact that the "rescuers"
are in a van similar to one seen earlier
driving through the deserted streets,
helping the insurgents.
Despite the obvious evidence of a group of
Jaish al Mahdi
Shia Islamic terrorists
planning an attack on nearby US ground forces,
she produces a complete alternative theory:
"The Reuters correspondents went to the scene to investigate reports of a raid on homes in the area. Some of the slain men may have been showing the journalists the way, others may have decided to tag along, a common occurrence when cameras are present."
I wrote an article
correcting the Irish Times' errors, and offered it to them on 21 Apr 2010.
They declined it.
They prefer to leave those errors uncorrected.
This refers to
"a helicopter gunship attack on a group of men ambling along with what might have been weapons slung casually over their shoulders, but which were in fact cameras and other reporting equipment".
No mention of the clearly visible AK and RPG.
Nor any of the other damning evidence.
If you get your news from the Irish media,
all you would get is the Wikileaks narrative.
Conclusion - Wikileaks loses credibility
have lost a lot of credibility over this.
Their clumsy, biased, deceptive editing of the video
to fit their political view
makes them look like government or opposition spin-doctors,
not free speech leakers.
In 2013, Wikileaks activist
continues to spread the lie that this was a war crime:
"none of the people responsible for the war crimes in the video have been held accountable."
The Guardian, Feb 2013,
also continues to spread this false story:
"a US Apache helicopter attack on civilians in Iraq,
two Reuters correspondents whose cameras were mistaken for weapons."
This is all untrue, and proven untrue.
The lie gets half-way round the world:
The trailer for
The Fifth Estate (2013)
presents the 2007 airstrike as if it was a war crime.
Who I block:
I will debate almost anyone.
I love ideas.
I will not debate (and will block) people who do the following:
(a) Make threats.
(b) Accuse me of crimes.
(c) Comment on my appearance.
(d) Drag in stuff about me not related to the topic. (My professional career, my personal life.)
(e) Complain to my employer.
Yes, people do all these things.