Wikileaks video portrays the dangers of reporting the war on terror

By Ewan Palmer

Last night Wikileaks revealed a shocking video of two US military helicopters killing a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad, including two staff members of Reuters.

The footage was shot in 2007 and shows an unprovoked attack filmed from one of two Apache military helicopters. Two children were also wounded as the helicopters shot at a vehicle that was trying to escort the wounded to safety.

An edited version of the video can be seen below.

The two Reuters staff who were killed were Saeed Chmagh, 40, a respected driver and assistant for Reuters and 22-year-old Namir Noor-Eldeen, who was considered by some to be one of the best war photographers in Iraq.

The helicopters opened fire as they believed the group were holding AK47s and rocket propelled grenades.

While it is unclear whether the other men were armed, the video reveals that Noor-Eldeen was in fact carrying a camera on his shoulder.

The conversations held between the two pilots during the attacks has caused outrage: as the helicopter looms over Chmagh as he lies wounded on the floor, one pilot can be heard saying: “All you gotta do is pick up a weapon“, refering to rules of engagement which military personel must be provoked before attacking.

Worse still, as a vehicle arrives to pick up the wounded with children clearly visible inside , the pilots open fire explaining “well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle”.

At the time of the attack, Chmagh and Noor-Eldeen were originally conducting a report about weightlifting and were only in the area after hearing there was a military raid and wanted to find out more.

Since 2003, 140 journalists have been killed in Iraq: 47 killed by acts of war and 14 killed by US forces according to the Brookings Iraq Index, and others.

There will be a discussion about the on-going War on Terror and the recent terrorist attacks on Russia at the Frontline Club on Wednesday April 7 at our First Wednesday event.

Hosted by¬†Paddy O’Connell, the panel will include Irina Demchenko, UK bureau chief of the Russian news agency RIA Novosti and Dr Bobo Lo; senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform; author Asim Qureshi and Rashad Ali, director of Centri and former Head of Curriculum at Quilliam. Book here.