Web site releases video of Baghdad attack that killed 2 journalists
Monday, April 5, 2010; 5:41 PM
The WikiLeaks Web site on Monday released long-sought footage of what it said was a classified aerial video of a 2007 attack in a Baghdad suburb that killed two Reuters employees.
The Reuters new agency has pressed for release of the video since a helicopter strike on July 12, 2007, killed staff photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40, in a contested neighborhood of eastern Baghdad. The attack and its aftermath were detailed in depth in The Washington Post and in "The Good Soldiers," a book by Post reporter David Finkel.
WikiLeaks said that it had "obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers" and verified its authenticity in conversations with "witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident."
In the 17-minute black-and-white video, U.S. forces can be overheard targeting a group of men who were thought to be armed insurgents, then attacking a van as it attempted to load a wounded individual who had crawled away from the scene. Eldeen and Chmagh, part of the first group, are identified in the video.
WikiLeaks also released a transcript of conversations between the U.S. forces firing on the site. At one point, soldiers can be heard complimenting each other on their "good shoot."
"WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves," the site, which publishes classified or otherwise hard-to-find material from whistleblowers, announced in releasing the video. "In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war."
The U.S. Central Command declined to offer immediate comment on the video's release, or to confirm its authenticity, but said it would be issuing a statement.