… needs to watch a video entitled Collateral Murder published by WikiLeaks yesterday, showing an attack on a group of civilians in Iraq back in 2007. Two of those civilians worked for Reuters.
It is essential viewing, especially for those who believe attacks on civilians are simply an unfortunate byproduct of bringing democracy to the world. This video shows 11 civilians murdered. Since the war in Iraq started, an estimated 600,000 civilians have been killed.
From the Collateral Murder website:
Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. 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.
The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.
After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own “Rules of Engagement”.
The US military refused to release the video and made sure it was encrypted. WikiLeaks obtained a copy and managed to decode it – here in Iceland. The full video, plus a shorter version, may be seen here.
Julian Assange from WikiLeaks has spent a great deal of time in Iceland over the past while and recently said that he believed US secret service agents were trailing him. After watching the video, it’s easy to believe him. Clearly this is something US authorities would have liked to keep firmly under wraps. That said, the US military has now confirmed that the video is authentic.
Iceland, through NATO, is a participant in the Iraq war. The decision to be among the “coalition of the willing” back in 2003 was made unilaterally by two men, Davíð Oddsson and Halldór Ásgrímsson, who were leaders of the two coalition parties in the Icelandic government at the time — the Independence and Progressive parties. They did not consult with anyone else before they added Iceland to that list – not parliament, not their own parties – no one. A few months later they switched places – Halldór becoming Prime Minister, Davíð Minister for Foreign Affairs. A few months after that, Davíð Oddsson was appointed Director of the Central Bank by the Independence Party.
Davíð Oddsson was forcibly removed from the Central Bank after the economic collapse and is now the editor of Morgunblaðið. Halldór Ásgrímsson is now the General Secretary of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
UPDATE: Lára Hanna has a very good compilation of links on her blog, of responses to the video in the foreign press. Scroll down to the bottom of the post, before the comments.