Michael Collins Reports from WikiLeaks Press Conference - "Collateral Murder, Baghdad July 12, 2007"

[Ed Note - CM1] originally posted on 2010-04-05 15:55:33 -0400. Bumping because it is a hugely important issue.

Report from the W'ikiLeaks Press Conference

By Michael Collins

(April 5, Washington, DC) Julian Assange and Wikileaks kept their promise of February 20 by releasing a video tape that shows civilians and reporter deaths from an attack by United States forces. The tape was presented at a 9:00 am press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Before the conference began, Assange described this as a "very rich story." He opened with a brief statement and then showed the video tape.

The edited and unedited versions of the tape are available here. WikiLeaks received the tape through unspecified channels. Assange did say that the leak to his organization "sends a message that there are some people in the US military who don't like what's going on."

The video captures an incident on July 12, 2007 in a Baghdad suburb. This event has been a matter of controversy since a Reuter's photo journalist, Namir Noor-Eldeen, and his assistant, Saeed Chmagh, were both killed in the incident.

Reuters described the scene as follows:

"Reuters has asked the US military to conduct a full and objective investigation into the deaths of two employees in Baghdad on 12 July. Photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, a father of four, were killed while working in the eastern area of the Iraqi capital.

"The cause of their deaths is unclear. The US military issued a statement describing the incident as a firefight with insurgents and said the killings were being investigated. Witnesses interviewed by Reuters said they saw no gunmen in the immediate area and that there had been a US helicopter attack, which police described as "random American bombardment". Reuters reported it was doing everything it could to work with the authorities to find out how the men died, and was supporting the families." Reuters, July 13, 2007

The Army never released the video tape from the two Apache helicopters responsible for the attack despite a freedom of information request and pressure by Reuters.

A "random American bombardment"

Today's tape clarified the concerns about the killings and provided no evidence that this was an engagement with insurgents. Adult men are seen gathering on a street in the suburb of Baghdad. Assange pointed out that the two experienced Reuters journalists present seemed relaxed and casual despite the presence of the helicopters. WikiLeaks' analysis showed the possibility of an RPG and possibly an Uzi machine gun. Uzi's are legal weapons in Baghdad. RPG's are a common weapon in the civil strife in Baghdad. As the Apache helicopter circled overhead, communication between the pilots seems bland and matter of fact. There's the assumption that these are hostile forces but there is no indication of a "firefight."

After the attack on the people gathered, the tape went on to show a van stopping to rescue Saeed Chmagh, the photojournalist assistant. People are seen loading Chmagh into the van. Recent investigation in Baghdad by WikiLeaks and their Icelandic media partners confirmed that the van was driven by the father of two taking his children to tutoring. The children were in the front seat and seriously injured. US military personnel arrived in an armed carrier and sent the children to an Iraqi hospital. Photojournalist Noor-Eldeen is seen run over by an armored personnel carrier. He and Chmagh both died in the incident.

Assange showed additional footage from the attack after a 20 minute gap in the tape, present when WikiLeaks acquired the video. In this instance, a building on a busy street is attacked by the same Apache helicopters. The tape showed one man entering the building, while the US military reported more. There was no reaction to the helicopters overhead by those seen on the street. Shortly after the helicopters began circling, they attacked the building with their onboard cannon.

In the question and answer period after the well attended video presentation, Assange pointed out that this was not the video tape from Afghanistan referenced previously by General David Petraeus. Wikileaks has the tape but is still analyzing it. Assange was asked why the tape wasn't released immediately. He pointed out that analysis was a complex matter and WikiLeaks needed some on the ground investigation in Baghdad to make the tape as meaningful as possible.


He said that the tape was "conveyed" to WikiLeaks through the US military but would not say that the leak was provided by a member of the military.

The highly evocative tape will be seen around the nation and world today and, no doubt, form the basis for an ongoing investigation by Reuters which can now view what they requested nearly three years ago.

WikiLeaks has produced more scoops than the Washington Post has in the past thirty years according to a report by The Guardian. The web based service was “founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa” according to their “About” page. WikiLeaks targets oppressive regimes throughout the world, as well as regimes seeking to repress information on illegal and unethical government actions and policies.


This article may be reproduced in part or in whole with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

WikiLeaks web site

Previously: Army Intel ACORNing WikiLeaks? Web Publisher Under Attack by Michael Collins, March 29, 2009

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this horror. Without this organization acting as a propaganda machine, would this have happened? Would Iraq have happened?

During the buildup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, all 175 Murdoch-owned newspapers worldwide editorialized in favor of the war. Murdoch also served on the board of directors of the libertarian Cato Institute

Fox News Channel saw huge growth in its ratings during the early stages of the Iraq conflict. By some reports, at the height of the conflict they enjoyed as much as a 300 percent increase in viewership, averaging 3.3 million viewers daily

Keith Rupert Murdoch was born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1931. On 4 September 1985, Murdoch became a naturalized citizen in order to satisfy the legal requirement that only US citizens were permitted to own American television stations.

When you allow a foreigner to change his nationality to US citizen who then heads up a media organization which is at the lead of destroying one Presidency, appointing another which turns out to be disastrous and making the case for war which results in this, something is wrong with your media oversight system. His anchors on FNC are simply very good paid car salesman.

I doubt we will ever see any demonstration of remorse from this shameful 'Fair and Balanced' organization.

Political Language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to the wind. - George Orwell

Fox News, News corp don't see that as a deterrent, they see it as an operational tip. Why do you think they never criticized 'enhanced torture interrogation techniques', instead commissioned the show '24'.

Murdoch has blood all over him. He's one of the most deliberately vile individuals on the planet. To stoke the flames of war in behalf of an inept president and his enablers is beyond forgiveness. He, along with Cheney, Bush, the NYT, and other key facilitators are in for a lifetime of shame. But justice needs to come quickly for them.

Thanks for the excellent comment.

"Furthest from him is best, whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme above his equals." Milton

I ran out of time this afternoon, but I was going to fold into my version of this post, a story that bridges the tragedy from one of our Bush-era war crimes to another.

Though I've confessed to not being the typical progressive because I harbored the haunting and now guilt-ridden feeling that, when the White House-gang began their global war-crime wave, at least, I was unenthusiastic but allowing of the justification for American involvement in Afghanistan.  

I justified such an allowance by the delusion that we wouldn't end being the thugs that that Administration made us out to be, and that we might just help Afghanistan begin an ascent from the Stone Ages we'd returned them to.

F***  me, I'm an idiot.

The article that would have accompanied my version of the Wikileaks story follows and I was thinking about the title, "Not the change I thought I voted for."

US special forces 'tried to cover-up' botched Khataba raid in Afghanistan

Thanks for your version!


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

was recorded in 2007 and, so, documents actions that cannot be said to accrue to the blacklist tally of this Administration, per se.

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

I look forward to reading it. It's all just a con game at this point. I
had a moment after the election was decided where I thought Obama might
actually be different, a narrow wish, surely to be granted. But on the
big issues, he's just a a few degrees away from Bush. He's a good
spokes model but his act is already getting cold.  What nonsense will
they come up with next?




"Furthest from him is best, whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme above his equals." Milton

so I simply added the link, above, to this comment thread.

FWIW, just so the teabaggers don't have all the fun, this year, I think it's time to start promoting actual progressive candidacy on the left.  

Right after the election of 2008, I heard lots of talk about the lefties reclaiming the meaning of, if not the word 'patriotism'.  At the same time, I was among others in suggesting that the REAL meaning of 'socialism' be taken back from the wild west darwinian capitalists' abuse of it.

There's a Socialist Party candidate running for the Senate in Ohio and our own former Ohio Bureau reporter, John Spinelli, made Dan LaBotz his first candidate interview for the 2010 election.

Even better than the concept are his ideas, check out the issues he's talking about.  What does 'Rebuilding Social Movements' mean ;-) ?

Read the LaBotz interview @ Columbus Government Examiner.

Think we need to begin serious reclaiming of what 'democracy' actually means.


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

at dKos:

The U.S. military said yesterday that it can't locate its copy of the video obtained from a whistleblower and released by WikiLeaks on Monday. In a follow-up interview with Greg Sargent, a Centcom spokesman said the footage "may no longer be retrievable."

As she says, it is important to note that the military is not disputing the veracity of the WikiLeaks video.

Meanwhile in the conspiracy theory side of the blogosphere rumors are running rampant that WikiLeaks is a CIA-Mossad front for false flag stuff. Even Soros is in on it! Some interesting theories and plots but I have not seen anything worth actually linking.