Washington, D.C.–Tyler Bass reports from the 13th floor of the National Press Club as Wikileaks releases a video that allegedly proves a cover-up effort on behalf of the Pentagon, which says the actions of the soldiers involved were in accordance with the rules of engagement. The engagement occurred in 2007.
“The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.”
“Come on, let us shoot!” “Sweet!” “Patoosh!” “Nice missile.”
Click here for a transcript of the video
Moments ago, during the State Department’s daily briefing, State Department Spokesperson P.J. Crowley declined to comment on the video, saying that he had yet to see it.
Julian Assange, wikileaks editor spoke.
Here’s what happened:
The video footage is from a guy floating around in a helicopter, Crazyhorse One-Eight.
A Reuter’s cameraman, Namir Noor-Eldeen, lay dying in the street, he was 22. A van approaches to help him.
The Reuters cameraman is clearly unarmed.
He looks at the helicopter and sees it right as it begins firing. He tries to run away but when he darts away the gunner follows him, circling the building.
Innocents were in this crowded neighborhood that Crazyhorse One-Eight was firing down into, without regard for the possibility of chipping off pieces of this building and harming innocents who were walking all around it. The 30mm cannon levels a building with its gunfire, so this is a very real possibility. He sees the Reuter’s cameraman who is clearly not holding a weapon and has been pierced already by 30mm cannon-fire. Crazy Horse One-Eight can be heard begging him to pick up a weapon.
It’s really obvious it wasn’t a gun. He’s begging him to get a weapon for an excuse to shoot him – rules of engagement.
“That’s just one dude,” Crazy Horse One-Eight, “He’s fucking nuts,” according to our correspondent.
One guy in the video did have an RPG but he’s not pointing it at the helicopter and isn’t the main focus of the leaked footage, although his presence creates tension.
The military said the cameraman wandered into crossfire, a claim refuted by this leaked video evidence.
Tyler Bass said, “When the helicopter started firing, nobody was shooting anybody. So did Amir, the photographer, duck into the crossfire? No.”
The military originally reported six murders, which did not include the photographer. The real number is “over a dozen,” according to Assange. Over twice the official figure.
The story continues:
The second incident follows the cameraman. Essentially they chase some guys into the building and collapse it with gunfire, with bystanders walking around outside of it. “They want permission to engage, obviously not paying attention to what is going on – they don’t know who they are, they don’t give a shit,” Bass reported.
A van, driven by a 40-year-old Saeed Chmagh, was under surveillance in a nearby neighborhood, and came to the injured photographer’s aid. Two children were in the van. One man with an AK-47 was associated with the van although the Pentagon originally reported five guns, not one [it should be noted that many non-militant individuals carry AK-47s through hostile territory for personal protection]. Two men try to help the photographer into the van, but the gunner can be heard begging for permission to shoot them.
Crazy Horse One-Eight is the offender here. Two series of shootings were discussed.
“In total what’s surprising about this is people who fire that way don’t face immediate consequences unless something like this comes out,” Tyler Bass said in a cell phone report.
They haven’t been brought out of a combat situation; this gunner’s intentions were clearly malicious; he treated it like a videogame, begging to kill.
Assange said there are good people in the military who need to speak up more on these issues.
This whole exposé was possible thanks to Baghdad Reuters confirming details they have. Wikileaks got those kids’ medical records. There was footage of soldiers running with these children; later our military handed them over to the Iraqi hospital, where they received inferior medical treatment, even though the military did this to them. “The guy in the van was just trying to help somebody, loading up the cameraman,” Bass reported as the video rolled before his eyes.
“It was really hard to watch, just really awful,” our correspondent said.
Assange produces a quote wherein one of the soldiers said they couldn’t approach in humvees because of all the bodies. But one of the guys in the helicopter actually laughs when he sees that the younger employee’s body has been run over.
“It’s really shocking, the man’s disregard for basic human dignity,” said Bass, our correspondent. “It’s not surprising at all that the Pentagon has waited this long to release the footage.”
In the video that they show, the guys in the chopper say that he shouldn’t have brought his kid into a battle. Crazyhorse One-Eight knew he shot a kid.
The children were turned over to Iraqi officials, a shirking of responsibility for what the military did to them.
The photojournalist’s death was not reported until Reuters demanded an investigation.
The number of dead originally reported was false and did not include the photographer.
Crazyhorse One-Eight was not punished, even though he violated rules of engagement.
The most important thing about Apache pilot “Crazy Horse” is that preferring insurgent kills not captures violates stated policy.
“He fucking laughed. Why is the guy who laughs at bodies being run over operating the machine gun? There is just a basic existential question there obviously some people involved in this didn’t want you to ask about the idea of this guy laughing at all of this. Frankly, the hiding of this for this amount of time is an expression of sympathy with this very sadistic individual.”