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Allied with murderers

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, April 7th, 2010 - 41 comments
Categories: afghanistan, crime, iraq, war - Tags: ,

Wikileaks has revealed footage shot from a US Apache helicopter in Iraq in 2007. If you can bear to watch it, you’ll see and hear the crews of the two helicopters involved callously murder a dozen Iraqi civilians with all the seriousness and gravity of kids playing a video game. They even laugh when a Humvee runs over one of the bodies.

This incident has only come to light because two Reuters staff were amongst those murdered.

There is no reason to think the incident was in any way exceptional. The military personnel certainly don’t seem to act like they are doing anything that they and their colleagues haven’t done repeatedly throughout their occupation of Iraq. No military personnel received any punishment for their actions that day and their superiors covered for them, lying that insurgents had been killed.

We know, of course, that National desperately wanted us in on this Boy’s Own adventure.

Now, we’ve got to wonder what kind of atrocities are being carried out by the Americans in conjunction with our SAS presence in Afghanistan. Every time you read of some wedding convey being shot up or a houseful of ‘insurgents’ being bombed remember this video and remember that our soldiers are now part of the combat force that is committing these barbaric acts.

41 comments on “Allied with murderers”

  1. sean14 1

    “We know, of course, that National desperately wanted us in on this Boy’s Own adventure.”

    So are you angry at National for continuing a Labour policy, or do you think that barbaric acts were only committed after National was elected?

    • Bright Red 1.1

      um. National wanted into Iraq. Labour didn’t.

      And Labour stopped sending SAS to Afghanistan years ago because they didn’t think their deployment was justified. Do you support having them there now?

      • The Baron 1.1.1

        Oh come now – both parties have supported some form of deployment in both theatres.

        If there is blood on NZ hands, then that blood is shared by both Nats and Labour. It is pretty bloody rich to try pretend that Labour’s original deployments are significantly different from National’s decisions to stand by those commitments.

        And for the record, yes – I do want our SAS in Afghanistan. Our guys are the best; this is what they do. And propping up a crappy regime is better off than letting the place turn back to the far worse barbarism that it was previously. It’s not as if we leave then all the Afghanis will start holding hands and singing kumbaya is it.

        • Rich 1.1.1.1

          That’s one of the reasons I’d never do any work for Labour, or vote for them unless they were the only option in an FPP election.

          • Armchair Critic 1.1.1.1.1

            The choice of one party would suck, but not quite as much as having your chance to voted legislated away, in the face of a whole swag of less anti-democratic alternatives. Which is what National just did, and that’s another reason why I won’t be voting for them in 2011. How about you?
            And on the subject of the post, I support reconstruction deployments and peace keeping deployments, irrespective of whichever political party is in government. The slaughter of civilians turns my guts.

      • sean14 1.1.2

        Labour sent troops into Iraq in 2003. If the National party are allied with murderers, then so are the Labour party.

    • I see the divert and confuse crowd are out early. Next thing we will have an Iraqi magically appear and criticise the left for not understanding the “real” situation in Iraq.

      The film is appalling. Iraq used to be a highly civilised country with an excellent education and health system.

      Then the US destablisied it by supporting Saddam Hussein into power for geopolitical reasons, then it ignored him while he gassed the kurds amongst other atrocities, and then finally took him out after he threatened to upset the world oil markets.

      Greg Palast has an interesting take. The US had a plan “A”, which involved sending in a squad, assassinating Hussein, and having a friendly puppet then put into power. Total cost, small, time taken, a few days.

      They went with plan B which involved military occupation, rewriting the constitution, privatisation and sale to their mates of pretty well all of Iraq’s business and infrastructure. The occupation would cost trillions and take years and the locals would have to be terrified. This incident should be seen in that context.

      • Gus 1.2.1

        Mick. Sometimes its just better to be thought a fool than to speak out and have it confirmed.

  2. felix 2

    I hope nobody is pretending that this video comes as any sort of surprise.

    • Jenny 2.1

      felix

      “I hope nobody is pretending that this video comes as any sort of surprise.”

      The surprise is, that it was leaked.

      The MSM know instinctively what not to cover, the habits of self censorship have become so ingrained, that even now the MSM are doing their damnedest to ignore this story or play it down.

      As this story broke, compare the headlines from the Mainstream Media website Stuff, with that of the Alternative Media website Scoop

      When it comes to the differences, the headlines say it all.

      Editors’ picks, stuff.co.nz, April 7, 2010

      Editors’ Picks
      Tiger on the green, cell phone in hand
      Woosh Wireless plunges to record loss of $38m
      Relatives tried to smuggle dead man on plane
      Crash diplomat fell with Pinochet
      Key ‘on his own’ at nuclear summit
      Marineland may end up being used as a bus centre
      Carter hails ‘debunking’ of food miles argument
      Crusaders still hunting for top gear
      ‘Love motel’ opposed on North Shore

      Editors’ picks, scoop.co.nz, April 7, 2010

      EDITORS PICKS
      1. Wikileaks: US Soldiers Gun Down Reuters News-Crew
      2. Michael Colins: Wikileaks Press Conference Coverage
      3. Wellington.Scoop: council tries to hide its 5.5% rates increase
      4. 3News: Suicide Bombers Target Embassies In Iraq, Kill 42
      5. Francis A. Boyle – Harvard’s Gitmo Kangaroo Law School
      6. Pacific Scoop: Profile – Chatting With Albert Wendt
      7. Out Now: Werewolf X

  3. Pascal's bookie 4

    I’m not all that fussed by this one. Much play is made of the ‘language’. Christ. These guys are called in to engage an enemy force. That’s the schemata they’ve got in their heads, and their training and human nature pretty much dictate how their reactions are going to play out.

    What blame exists falls higher up the chain than the trigger pullers IMHO.

    On the other hand, in another case which has recieved far less attention because there is no war porn tape…

    Glen Greenwald covers it pretty well here

    This ISAF release describes those damn Afghan honour killing bastards what our brave lads are fighting.

    This rejects reoprts of a coverup, smearing a journo while admitting their original story was bs.

    This one admits that yeah, those dead women were killed by us.

    This Times piece by the reporter that busted the coverup, wraps it up with reporting about what else the investigation had to say, re special forces cutting the bullets out of the victims. (and remember who was initially blamed for these deaths – the family)

    COIN is real hard.

    These sorts of coverups are aimed at us, not Afghans. The locals sure as shit won’t be buying any of it. That’s strategic failure.

    When the way the war is actually being fought, run directly counter to the stated strategy, and that fact is being hidden from us by hamfisted propaganda; it’s time to leave.

    • Bright Red 4.2

      “I’m not all that fussed by this one. Much play is made of the ‘language’.”

      I’m more concerned about the way they murdered 12 people with no cause than the words they said.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      As much as the troops are there to engage in war there is also the fact of misidentification. When the troops identified the cameras as AK47s there was no way they could make that call – all they could see was the straps. The fact that the people killed were walking openly down the street with a helicopter obviously circling above them should have told the pilot and gunner that they weren’t “insurgents”.

      Same when they called that one had an RPG. There was no way that that could possibly be positively identified as it was only the shadow of an item. An RPG would have stood out if it was being carried previously.

      Is misidentification a hazard of war? Of course it is – while under fire and having to take cover. These guys weren’t in that situation. They were in a relaxed position with the people under observation and all they had to do for positive identification was circle around a bit more.

      But the big issue is actually the cover up. That should never happen and the MSM should be holding the Pentagon to account rather than mindlessly reporting the press release.

    • Bill 4.4

      I don’t think wikileaks is expecting the likes of you or I to be too fussed by the video, PB.

      But the majority of people do not read through the the likes of the articles you linked to…and wouldn’t, even if you put it down in front of them… and have unrealistic ideas of war alongside a deep trust in the basic worthiness of the information given them by ‘official’ or conventional sources.

      These same people tend to believe our society and the people who occupy its higher echelons embody a basic goodness ( bar a few bad apples)…that wars are engaged in for ‘good’ reasons…ie morally good reasons and that they themselves belong on the ‘good’ side of a world divided into good and bad.

      The video is intended for them. And that was why I was heartened to see it carried by TV3 last night.

      • Pascal's bookie 4.4.1

        I agree completely.

        All I meant is that the focus on service men who believe themselves to be engaging an enemy, and ‘acting like they are in a video game’ is off putting and distracting.

        Wikileaks did that. They acknowledge that there were armed people in the broader group. If they wanted to editorialise, which is again fine, I thnk it would have better to focus less on the guys asking for permission to shoot, and more on the guy that gave permission, and the rules of engagement that were driving that decision. Then, if there’s time, relate that to how it fits with the ‘hearts and minds’ COIN strategy that we are supposed to be using.

        “Soldiers in combat dehumanise enemy in gunsights” should not be news to anyone. And trying to make it news, or highlight it as a reason to be opposed to any particular war just seems ‘off’ to me.

        I’m not sure why my reaction is this, but I guess it’s something to do with the idea that as citizens we shouldn’t criticise (wrong word), service personel for doing what we sent them to do, in the way we trained them to do it. I think it’s a cop-out that only feeds the unrealistic myths that you talk about.

        Other’s mileage varies of course, which is fine.

        It just pisses me off that so much more attention had gone on this, tragic and awfull, incident, than on others. This incident gets coverage because journo’s were involved and there is video.

  4. nzfp 5

    Willie Apiata,
    I thought he was a “Tangata Whenua” of Aotearoa whose tupuna fought a war of resistance against an expansionist colonial power (Britiain). Apiata is in Afghanistan killing the “Tangata Whenua” of Afghanistan who – according to the UN – have a legitimate right to resistance to illegal occupying colonial expansionist forces. Apiata is a hippocrite.

    The “Collateral Murder” video upset me. It made me disappointed with the US for voting for Bush and Obama and for not doing enough to stop their nations insanity. As the Nuremburg trials taught us, everyone from the trigger puller to Bush bears responsibility for this. That means Apiata to Key bear responsibility for Apiata’s actions, and we all collectively bear the guilt until we stop our SAS engaging in big boys adventures on someone elses land.

    • pollywog 5.1

      Some Maori have always been mercenary in their support of whoever can give them the best deal and a good stoush…

    • Pete 5.2

      “It made me disappointed with the US for voting for Bush and Obama and for not doing enough to stop their nations insanity.”

      While I don’t disagree with either, it might help to put into context what happened on the ground in Iraq when the war began, and when the ‘reconstruction’ forces were put into place. At its heart it was Bush and his father’s buddies who were giving jobs to their mates, with no experience in war or reconstruction, and who wanted to be seen to be making decisions (regardless of the cost) – e.g. disbanding the Iraqi army, despite what creating a huge population of trained and armed people unemployed would do, and that it meant that ammunition dumps were open for plunder by so-called insurgents – that is just one example off the top of my head. Same goes for the decision not to declare marshal law, and the bone-headedness of so-called de-Ba-athification – even though most public servants called themselves Ba’ath simply so they could support themselves and their familes during Saddam’s reign.

      I strongly recommend “No End In Sight” for a bit more information on why the American forces are in the quagmire they are, despite having good personnel involved (albeit not enough) and having sound intelligence (that was actively over-ridden by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their cronies), and the poor decisions that were the result of arrogance from those put in charge (and the arrogance of the people who put them in charge).

      That said Obama really has his work cut out for him thanks to the Republican idiots involved and the spineless Democrats that were complicit in the war beginning in the first place.

  5. Jim Nald 6

    This is damning news. We don’t care which party did whatever, or didn’t.
    Just stop NZ’s involvement now.

  6. todd 7

    Anybody interested should read The Forever War,its written by a NY times journalist who spent 7 years in Afganistan and Irag.Compelling reading about the real life way war is fought.

  7. Harold 8

    Check this contrast regarding the video: Al Jazeera vs CNN http://i.imgur.com/NVih0.jpg

  8. There is something sickening about watching this video, and I believe it should be compulsory viewing. This is not because it shows war crimes or murder, but for me this is what the reality of war is about. This is War. We may prefer soldiers to fight in an ethical and fail proof manner when they are identifying targets, but this sense of disproportionate force is surely just the reality when the the sides are so unevenly weighted.

    Surely this is the sort of behavior that happens in any war zone. The US Army is covering this up not to sace the arses of a few of its soldiers, they are happy enough to spit them out when needed as with the Abu Ghraib tortures. The Army doesn’t want to let this out because it is the mundane normality of war, and if the public sees too much of this kind of stuff, they will start to turn against the very idea of it.

  9. It makes me feel sick when Key now parades news about the SAS – provided of course it’s good, heroic news that he thinks somehow reflects his own magnificence.
    He’ll be a lot quieter when the news involves dead NZ troopers or local civilians, not because he’d give a fuck about dead NZ troopers or local civilians, but because that might not make for quite such good PR.

    • Murray 10.1

      What a stupid pathetic statement. (The Sprout) Wasnt it HC and Labour that used to parade VC winner Apiata any chance they got.

      • Nope. You’ve got a lock on the stupid and the pathetic, Murray. I can only find two occasions where Apiata and Clark met at all and he went back to work PDQ after getting his gong. The closest they’ve been since then is at number 1 and 2 on a ‘greatest living kiwi’ poll.

        • Murray 10.1.1.1

          The stupid and pathetic is more about the comment (not because he’d give a fuck about dead NZ troopers or local civilians). That,s just childish stuff.

          • the sprout 10.1.1.1.1

            God you’re a drongo Murray.

            i don’t recall Clark making a song and dance in the media about our SAS every opportunity she could. indeed i seem to recall her making a point of not talking about them.

            unlike Key who desperately needs to surround himself with any heroes he can in the pathetic and stupid hope that some of the public admiration might rub off on him. that, Murray, is sickening.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.2

        Another RWNJ trying to reinvent reality.

  10. Peter Johns 11

    Oh cry me a river, [one more like that PJ and I will take great pleasure in banning you — r0b]
    We should be more concerned about Maori child violence in NZ instead of bleating on about Iraq.

    • Wow! Just up thread I mentioned that Helen Clark and Willie Apiata were 1 and 2 in a ‘greatest living kiwi’ poll and up pops the bloke who came last. Spooky or what?

  11. big bruv 12

    “and remember that our soldiers are now part of the combat force ”

    More than happy to remember it and more than happy that they are there doing our small part.

    We should have done more, but that is another argument altogether.

    • nzfp 12.1

      Well golly gee big bruv, don’t let us stop you. According to war correspondent “Dahr Jamail” the US military is experiencing it’s highest rates of suicide ever. I’m sure a guy like you would be readily welcomed into the US army, you could increase the IQ of both the US and NZ at the sme time.

    • IrishBill 12.2

      Have you ever been in the army Bruv? Or are you just another chickenhawk?

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