Not Crazy Horse 18’s Best Work

Friend to RW370 WikiLeaks has released a video of a 2007 murder of two Reuters journalists and ten other civilians in Iraq by an US Army aircrew in an Apache helicopter overhead.  The clip is major evidence of a cover-up of what can only be called (toward the end of the encounter) legitimized murder and maiming of civilians including children.

The justification for firing on the targets in this encounter is flimsy/arguable at the beginning (camera equipment carried by the men on the ground is visually mistaken for illegal heavy weapons) and nonexistent at the end (a van arrives to help a wounded victim, only to be blown apart by the enthusiastic gunner while two children sit in the van).  The institutional culpability in the massacre is shown twice: first by the audio of the gunner and aircrew asking for and receiving permission to fire, and second by the cover-up in the years following.

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is interviewed below about the clip and the role of WikiLeaks in the release of the video. In a world that seems willing to do away with journalism – sometimes by 30mm cannon – Assange’s stance is especially poignant and heroic.

This Reddit thread contains a thoughtful discussion started and maintained by an active-duty US military officer (by the sound of it) on the specifics. It is impossible to read that thread and not come away with a clearer understanding of where the lines are drawn and were crossed – starting, but not ending with March, 2003.

9 Responses to “Not Crazy Horse 18’s Best Work”

  1. 1 JimK
    April 11, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Happily, the whole video, including the parts edited-out here, is now available on the web. Anyone who bothers to watch the whole thing will come to a very different conclusion from that promoted here. (bet this comment disappears…!)

    • April 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

      That’s one bet you lose.

      Since you didn’t leave a link to this “unedited” version, I assume you’re referring to footage related to the infantry support role the helo crew was fulfilling, and that the supported unit on the ground had taken fire from the ground.

      None of that matters. The gunner opened up on a vehicle containing unarmed men and children, and the commander let him do it. Additional footage changes exactly none of that, and the conclusion “promoted” here is the evident one.

      Note also that additional footage does not change the years-long cover-up, nor the suggestion that cover-up gives to any reasonable person that this is far from the only such massacre and cover-up.

      Happily, we have eyes.

      • 3 JimK
        April 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

        I’m happy to lose that bet! The 47 minute version shows the nearby ground active battle, and the helo’s support role there. (Link was not saved, but I found it; I’m sure you can too.) With respect to the engagement in question, which resulted in the deaths of the reporters, note there was an active battle a few blocks and a several minutes away. This group was assembling with at least 5 AK’s and one RPG. (Actually the RPG is quite clear in the short version too.) In one very clear scene, the combatant with the RPG set it up and aimed at the helo, but did not get off the shot before the helo rounded the building. If it hits it, an RPG will easily take down a helo. The news guys were moving with and part of an active enemy combatant group in order to get great pictures, and while it’s perhaps brave and admirable to do this, it would be naive of them not to realize the danger into which they placed themselves. But they were professionals, and I’m sure they made the decision with their eyes open. This is real war. I’ve seen it – it’s always REALLY ugly; don’t look for glory in war.

        Whether armed or unarmed – we don’t know – I find the van more ambiguous, but without knowing the local situation, I will not simply condemn the action. I was not there, and by “there” I mean that I was not in the situation. In general it’s been my experience that considered decisions made dynamically at moments like this are, almost by definition, reasonable at the time. They are based on a lot more than the limited instantaneous perception we have here. Subsequent relaxed criticism from comfortable quarters with perhaps 1/10 intel available (e.g. a fuzzy edited vid) borders on sophistry. It was a hot zone, a running battle was under way. Cars are frequent weapons. Purposfully driving a car into a battle zone volunteers oneself as a combatant. That’s why medics are marked. It really looks to me like a serious case of fatally bad judgment, driver error. That’s giving him the benefit of the doubt. But I’d need more information before leaping to emotional conclusions, beyond “war is hell” – which it certainly is.

      • April 14, 2010 at 6:16 pm

        1) Your accusation of sophistry is laughable and refuted with a simple re-reading of what I wrote. As I wrote in the original post, I (and millions with functioning eyes, including many servicemen) find the second engagement unquestionably a criminal move on the army’s part, starting with the bloodthirsty enthusiasm of the 30mm gunner to his pilot to his commander to the higher-ups who buried the event and hoped its evidence would go away.

        To reiterate: I find the justification for the first engagement at the corner flimsy but possibly valid on the basis of visual evidence and rules of engagement. That might have been an RPG and I do know what they can do to a helo. I am also aware that the photojournos who lost their lives had a history of being in close contact with combatants. I am even going to generously grant that an infantry unit on the ground has taken fire from the ground, even though there is zero evidence that this group is responsible, nor any that the time frame between events favors that interpretation. As I’m about to show you, that makes me a good deal more fair-minded than you at this point. I can afford the greater burden of proof, because I have the video supporting my view.

        2) The second encounter is not “war” by any meaningful definition, and your caution to not “look for glory” in it is incredibly condescending and disingenuous. The second engagement (and arguably the first) plus the cover-up that followed taken together adds up unambiguously to a war crime: an example of an overwhelmingly powerful institution obliterating unarmed people with sanction from command.

        3) You accuse criticism of being “relaxed” from “comfortable quarters”. Yet, somehow you have missed the fact that the comfort and relaxation is all yours – you give aid and comfort to the institution in the precise time of its evidently criminal acts. You are relaxed and without a single word of rebuke for the DOD’s official lies on the subject of this encounter. Based on your input here, I would bet $100 you would never once publicize this or any other war crimes you have awareness of. That ethical obligation you are so comfortable in derogating you leave to those far less relaxed than yourself – to the journalists at Wikileaks and around the world who are not satisfied with your unjustified support of institutional murder and coverup.

        4) Democracy only works on the basis of the people within it understanding things. Your own position here is absolutely lacks the good faith required to contribute to understanding. There are three ways this is shown:

        i) In one sentence, you claim an RPG is perfectly visible, yet a half-dozen sentences later, you characterize the video as “fuzzy”.

        ii) The gunner asks for and receives the green light to engage the targets before the word RPG is even uttered – yet you hang your justification of the encounter upon the presence of an RPG.

        iii) The three years of cover up of the encounter passes without any comment from you.

        In these three ways, you are shown to be a mouthpiece for the institutional power that has the overwhelming advantage in this encounter, as well as in our society. You stand for obfuscation, evasion, denial. You presume that my post is not in good faith (“I bet this comment will be deleted”), yet you display far less good faith than I have.

        You stand against journalism. You almost certainly would squelch the publication of a video such as this. You might not realize it, but you therefore stand absolutely in opposition to democracy. Seriously.

        I get the sense you are a serviceman. I would like you to know that you do not act in my service when you aid and protect your institution’s murder and its conspiracy to bury evidence of murder.

  2. 5 scott ramsay
    October 23, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    i realy dont see this as cold blodied murder. first the gunner clearly identifies at least 5 ak’s and clearly identifies a rpg. he then uses standard procedure reporting the threat to command who listen and decide wether to give permission to engage or not. only after permission is given to the captain he orders the gunners to open fire on a totaly legitimate threat
    after the first engagement when you see the person crawling on the ground he could easily be consealing a fire arm or a insinthiery device. the helo is still at that moment under orders to secure the area for ground troops to enter. just because some of these men are reporters dose not mean they are not insurgents.and just because the gunners keep wanting to fire dose not make them murdurous dogs. they wanted to do their job right so as none of the ground troops would be entering a even more deadly situation as injured people are the most likley if armed to have nothing to lose and then try to become marters.
    on the third engagement with the van the men who tried to retreive wepons and one of their injured commrads made no sign to the helo that they were trying to help i belive that if they made a signal to the helo and not atemted to retreve wepons their presence would not have been viewed as threatning however that van was a threat at the time. the helo crew had no way of knowing what was inside especialy in a contry were cars and vans are regularly packed full of explosivs designed to cause as much murder and suffering that you can imagane
    so the crew asked for permission to engage again and the van was stopped.i kno for a fact if those gunners had known their were children in the van they would never have opened fire but in a situation like that their actions were justified.
    on the info which was relayed back to hq their decision to engage was correct numerous people with ak47s and one with a rocket launcher who even aimed it at the helo then a suspicious van trying to retreve wepons and armed insurgents both correct
    you have to look at this as beeing in that situation with all that is going on around you being under threat of multable attacs round every corner every day losing some of your best mates in action its easy to condem but i would like to see how your actions would be after your first or second tour of duty this helo was only doing its job trying to protect itself our ground troops and bring law to these totaly lawless streets

  3. 6 Conservative Mark
    November 4, 2010 at 7:05 am

    God bless these guys! Awesome! I have a relative over in Afghanistan in the war now. He complains that these bastards shoot at them from behind weeds and in houses and then lay down their weapons and come out the other side unarmed and cannot be shot. They are playing the Geneva Accords and should be shot! In the first place they do not wear uniforms to blend in with the citizenry. In the last place they lay down empty weapons when they run out of bullets and want to live to kill more of us another day. I SAY OFF THEM!

    • November 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      Herr Mark,

      I was wondering: when you watched this video and got to the part where the two children in a van had holes blown in them, did you get an erection? Be honest.



  4. 8 P.P.
    November 10, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Just a “footnote” ..

    This indeed might not been the best work of Crazy horse 18 since the call sign is apparently also behind killing surrendering insurgents on the premises that one cannot surrender to a helicopter and shooting at a truck nearby women who were waiving a white sheet, killing six “enemies”.

    (Google: “Wikileaks: US ‘Crazy Horse’ helicopter troop involved in string of fatal attacks in Iraq”)

  5. 9 Becker
    December 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

    It’s interesting how both scott and JimK say that the gunner “clearly identifies” illegal heavy weapons (AK-47’s and an RPG) amongst the group, but as you can see from the footage, none of the men except the two journalists are carrying anything that could be mistaken as a heavy weapon, the gunner is simply lying.
    And come on, you can’t tell me that a camera lens looks like an RPG or an AK-47, not even from a distance like that. Also he said that they were shooting at them, which just isn’t true.
    As already pointed out in several comments and videos on the Internet, there was absolutely no reason for him to engage the van. Note how he first correctly identifies the vehicle as a van, but then immediately says it’s a Bongo-Truck, just to get clearance.

    So tell me, do you guys really believe a word of what you are saying? Crazy Horse 18 was just trying to get permission to kill these civilians, seemingly out of pure blood lust.
    If you don’t believe me, go watch the statement by Ethan McCord, the soldier that retrieved the two wounded children from the van, it’s on YouTube. If that won’t open your eyes, probably nothing will.

    Have a nice day

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