Leaked video shows US air crew shooting down two Reuters' Iraqi staffers

Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2010, 13:08 [IST]
 

Washington, Apr 6(ANI): Wikileaks has shown a secret video in which a US Apache helicopter crew is shooting and killing a Reuters photographer and driver in a July 2007 attack in Baghdad. In all, 12 people were killed.

Reuters has long pressed for the release of the black-and-white aerial video, and conversations between the pilots in two Apache helicopters as they open fire on people on a street in Baghdad. Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and the driver Saeed Chmagh were among those killed.

WikiLeaks said it had acquired the video from whistleblowers in the military and viewed it after breaking the encryption code.

In the recording, the helicopter crew can be heard discussing the scene on the street below, where one American claims to have spotted six people with AK-47s and one with a rocket-propelled grenade. It is unclear if some of the men are armed, but Noor-Eldeen can be seen with a camera and Chmagh, talking on his mobile phone.

One of the helicopter crew is then heard saying that one of the group is shooting, but the video shows there is no shooting or even a pointing of weapons.

The pilots believe them to be insurgents, and mistake Noor-Eldeen's camera for a weapon.

"Look at those dead bastards," The New York Times quoted one pilot, as saying.

"Nice," the other responds. wounded man can be seen crawling on the street. Couple of minutes later, the pilots open fire at a van, which had came to pick up the injured, wounding two children inside.

"Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle," one pilot said.

David Schlesinger, the editor in chief of Reuters, said in a statement that the video was "graphic evidence of the dangers involved in wartime journalism and the tragedies that can result."

The footage will further anger the Pentagon, which has drawn up a report identifying the whistleblower website as a threat to national security. (ANI)


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