Monday, April 05, 2010

Wikileaks: clueless or evil?

Baghdad, 2007. Go over to icasualities.org to see how many American men and women were being killed each day.

In one incident, two journalists from Reuters put themselves in a position where they got themselves killed.

Wikileaks has decided to try to make this a war crime. Watch the video below and then check what Ed and
Rusty have to say.



Anyone who has been in a position such as the Apache helicopter pilots would have done the same thing. Any professional that Wikileaks made an effort to talk to that did not have an agenda would have told them the same thing.

So, what we have is Wikileaks trying to make a political point by smearing Americans by accusing them of murder when they clearly did not commit murder, which is evil - or they had a idea encouraged by their own anti-American bias that was too good to check out, which is clueless.

Hmmmm. Let's see - they started a website called "
Collateral Murder." I'll let you make the call.

I would also recommend Blackfive for your reading time.
UPDATE: I will be on BBC Radio's World Have Your Say today at 1-2pm EST to discuss this video.
UPDATE II: Electric Boogaloo: By tomorrow AM, you should be able to get the podcast here. Oh, and thanks to Bill over at Instapinch for the backup.

54 comments:

AW1 Tim said...

 Any journalist who throws in with front-line troops should be willing to accept the risk. If he or she doesn't understand that, then they can set aside their Pulitzer aspirations and go straight for the Darwin awardd.

 There is definately an agenda in play, and it's purpose is to support this nation's enemies, who arte currently getting a world-class ass whooping and need to drum up some sort of support.

AssClown said...

When did the Geneva Convention get changed about shooting wounded combatants?

AW1 Tim said...

 Right when POTUS decided to treat them as criminals and Marandize them. Besides, if you actually READ the geneva Accords, these ass clowns don't count. They meet none of the standards for protection or treatment under the Laws of War, and, in fact, could be executed upon capture.

 You will note that leftists keep insisting on trying these ass clowns as if they are criminals, further muddying up the waters and costing us extra lives and treasure. It's much simpler to NOT take any prisoners in the first place. Marandize all you want, but the bastard's are dead, and that saves everyone a ton of money.

  It's a win-win in my book.

Anonymous said...

Looked pretty clean.  They could have maintained a more sterile environment for the tapes, but there's only so much that one can ask for.  Some of the guys on the ground clearly had weapons, if that was the ROE, that was the ROE.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Well, AssClown,

Just what DOES the Geneva Convention state about engaging enemy wounded? 

Iraqi "journalists" hanging out with non-military men armed with RPG-7 and AK-47s get themselves shot?  What a shame.  A lesson here for journalists "embedding" with the bad guys.

Southern Air Pirate said...

Cdr,

Why does this suprise you. Remember seven years ago the lawyers and reporters were up in arms when an A-10 and M1A1 fired rounds into a hotel that a couple of AP or Reuters reporters were haning out in that just happened to die. The claim was that the DoD was purposely targeting reporters, it wasn't until the investigation a few weeks later that film was released that showed RepGuard units firing RPG's and other things from the hotel at the troopers that the media changed thier tune.
Remember we in the military are knuckle dragging morons who don't know how to hold a real job are satisfying our animal lust for killing people through being in the military. If some people had it, after being discharged or retired, they would lock us away as mentally unstable people.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any problem with what happened to the journalists - it's an unfortunate result, but the right call given what the pilots knew at the time.  I have a harder time with what happened to the van.  It's easy to say "well, it wasn't a marked rescue vehicle" or "it's his own fault for driving into a war zone", but at the end of the day this was apparently a guy driving his kids to school.  It's not like we don't know that there are civilians in the battlespace, and their presence there doesn't relieve us of our obligation to distinguish combatants from noncombatants.  Can someone help me understand why it was lawful to target the van based on what we see in the video?  I've always been taught that you don't directly target the wounded, and other than the presence of the wounded in the van, I don't see any other reason to strike the van.  Something about it just doesn't sit right with me.

Theodore said...

The wounded and sick soldiers who are out of the battle should be humanely treated, and in particular should not be killed, injured, tortured, or subjected to biological experimentation.
This is the way Wikipedia summarizes the core of the ConventionS... The details are a bit harder to learn:


http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/Geneva_conventions-1949.html


It can be argued quite well that whosoever himself or herself is not observing the Conventions in war is not protected by it either...

Eric Palmer said...

Yet again, the Apache is a wonderful COIN aircraft. And it can routinely do that stuff at night. 

Sad about the journos but that is the risk they take for being around armed combatants. 

I would have cut the van crew some slack. However I have not been trained in ROE.

ActusRhesus said...

Lot of things going on here.  Let's talk first about Geneva Convention.  Contrary to myth, it applies. Iraq and the US are both signatory nations (though they are both not signatories to all new Geneva protocols.)  So while this is not a declared war, nor is it a conflict between the US and Iraq since the fall of the Saddam government, it is still an armed conflict within the confines of a signatory nation, involving another signatory nation.  IF you are saying Geneva doesn't apply, you are wrong.  Now, there is the issue of insurgents failing to abide by Geneva requirements (e.g. uniforms, clearly marked medical symbols etc.) This makes threat analysis more difficult, but it does NOT excuse the US ignoring Geneva or LOAC. 

So let's make sure we are clear on that distinction.  We MUST follow Geneva, and we MUST follow the International Laws of Armed Conflict.  We also follow our own internal ROEs which are self imposed rules to ensure we don't violate the international treaties and laws.  Without getting into potentially classified theater specific ROE, basic standing ROE is based on inherent right of self defense.  If you see a hostile act, or hostile intent, you may respond with proportionate deadly force.  That's it.

So where does geneva etc. come in? When an enemy is not playing by the rules, it is harder to make that analysis, and most will not fault a soldier for erring on the side of self preservation.  It doesn't mean we get to ignore geneva, but it means we have other factors to take into account in our hostility analysis.

The initial firing on the group was entirely justified.  Dude had what clearly appeared to be an RPG.

As to the firing on the van, as I do not like to armchair quarterback troops on the ground, I would need to know more information before weighing in on whether it was appropriate or not.

SWOINATOR said...

Personally speaking, there was damn fine shooting here.  Nice scoping, ID, good C2 for engage order, comms clear, little fuzz of war.  Text book op - check one for the Apache guys.  As for the journalists, sucks to be them! 

I saw a recent film on a reported who imbedded himself with the Talaban in AFG.  Saw the preps for a road side bomb, its failure to kill anything (thanks goodness) and never said a word to anyone prior.  I wonder what would have happened if the bomb took out one of our forces - would the guy have shown the cheering, the celebration, etc?  How would this WIKI portray that?  Hard to tell.  Remember, Sweden is a strange country that has not signed on to NATO and plays by different rules.

I think there should be new ROE on engaging all embedded journalist with the enemy - batteries released!   There would have been no questions in WWII on this - that is for sure.

Spade said...

"It can be argued quite well that whosoever himself or herself is not observing the Conventions in war is not protected by it either..."

I don't think that in this war our current enemies have really worried about the protections afforded our people by the Geneva Convention. Whether we are protected by it our not has been made kinda moot by the fact that they execute our captured and wounded.

Spade said...

Ewww, it's the BBC.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>Actus, 
 
I don't think anyone is considering not following the provisions of the Geneva Conventions.  However, many who invoke those documents likely would be very surprised at what they say.  
 
Ferinstance, into what category do you put the follwing person? 
 
Not indigenous population 
No uniform or identifying clothing, armband, etc. 
No recognizable chain of command 
Not following accepted rules of war 
 
The Geneva Convention of 1949 clearly categorizes them. 
</span>

ewok40k said...

journalists going into war zone must be prepared for such things... occupational hazard.

Theodore said...

Could be a bunch of tourists, spontaneously taking up arms to defend the country they had been staying against the invading forces, (indigenous is a somewhat problematic word, it is the inhabiting which allows you to be protected as an unorganized militia, (no uniform or excuse for it) and I would say that it does not say you have to be a long term inhabitant) but only as long as they are observing the laws and customs of war, you state they don't, that is observed and thus they engaged in war and are thus not neutral or noncombatant.

Your case is clear: Not Protected.

ActusRhesus said...

the initial engagement was fine.  I'm more concerned about the van.
the guy was clearly wounded, whether he was wearing a uniform or not.

but again, I want more info before I monday morning quarterback the troops.

ActusRhesus said...

see below.  I have no issue at all with the initial firing.  PErfectly legit engagement.

The van is more tricky.  The guy was clearly wounded.  But I won't monday morning quarterback without more facts.  Where did the van come from? Did they have intel on the van or the people in it?  What was the hostile act/hostile intent analysis? 

Again, not going to monday morning QB without hearing the troops' side.

ActusRhesus said...

Tim,

careful on that.  the standards for treatment of POWs (which clearly don't apply to insurgent illegal combatants) are different than the standards for treatment of wounded and incapacitated which are bound by both GC and international law.  But I'm not going to second guess the soldiers without more facts.  The fact an apache was there in the first place means SOMETHING was going on before this engagement.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Hey how did it go on Bolshevik Broadcasting Company?

Anonymous said...

Theo,
Those weren't soldiers....they were unlawful combatants.  Just a point.

Theodore said...

But a rather irrelevant one in case of the van shooting, every wounded person is covered by the Geneva conventions (not all by the same part though), unless he would continue the fight in spite of his wounds. The van shooting LOOKS like a violation of the spirit of the Conventions, and thus a war crime, but the tape was edited and before I trust anything from Iceland again...

cdrsalamander said...

I had a horrible connection, but besides that I thought it went well.  The host was a real pro.  Not a bad experience at all.

Chris said...

you people are disgusting, defending the killing of innocents and pretending it is not due to the crew being terrible soldiers

Desert Sailor said...

Chris,
You might like to trade places with a few folks here before you leap off into claims such as that. If a journo wants "the inside scoop" of Mahdi militia (at that time), then they have to accept the risks that go with consorting with the enemy.

If that concept is hard to grasp...you might want to wander away.

Byron said...

And what exactly do you have experience in to base your judgement upon? Or is this just a clueless whinning from the clueless part of the population that these hard men give their lives for so that they may keep on whining?

DeltaBravo said...

Oh, Chris.  Where do I begin?  If you pay close attention to the video and actually do a little research (someone correct me on the details, please) you can gather this military action occurred in July 2007 in Baghdad.  Since Rustamiyah is close by, that indicates this is probably in the southeast region of Baghdad near the Sadr City slum area.  Ever looked into what was going on there in 2007?

Here's a description from Rustamiyah a year later: 

"A massive garbage dump lies just outside Camp Rustamiyah in eastern Baghdad. If that wasn't enough, the base is plagued with pesky flies in warm weather and it sits next to a sewage treatment plant.
Camp Rustamiyah, Iraq — This is possibly the most miserable place for soldiers to serve in Iraq. Maybe even the world.
Consider how this U.S. military base has an awful-smelling landfill just outside its gate. A sewage treatment plant stinks up the area on another side.
Throw in thousands of pesky insects. Add scores of dead bodies floating down nearby canals. And you get Rustamiyah.
"It's got it all," joked Col. Rod Barham, of Columbus, commander of the Fairfield, Calif.-based 49th Military Police Brigade.
Often, the base smells like rotten eggs, probably from the sewage plant. Since July, 290 bodies have floated into the plant. Many of the victims were found bound, semi-nude, tortured, mutilated and shot in the head.
Soldiers speculate people are dumping the bodies in a canal north of their location in the slum of Sadr City."

Did you get that, Chris?  Bound..semi-nude, tortured, mutilated.. shot in the head?  Do you KNOW what was going on in Baghdad and Sadr City in 2007???  The thugs were preying on their own.  Not a whole lot of innocence going on.  And who was paying for those RPGs?  Iran? 

DeltaBravo said...

That black van that showed up (everyone has issues with shooting the people removing dead bodies and weapons...) Well, is that the militia recycling program at work?  Why was their worry picking up dead bodies and weapons?  How did they know to get there so quickly?  Seen the whole video, all 39 minutes, where a bunch of guys ran into a nearby shell of a building that got hell-fired to oblivion?  These were not "innocents."  The only innocents involved were the kids in the van. 

Now, I don't know about you, but I have children.  And no way in hell would I have driven through a firefight (what WAS going on that there was nary a soul in that video on a rooftop, at a window or walking in the street?  Where WERE all the people???) with KIDS in the car and stopped and picked up dead bodies and put them in the car with my kids.  Small kids.  Small enough to be carried in the arms.  WTF?  WHO does that?  How traumatic!  What do you say?  "Here, habiba, hold the RPG for daddy.  And here's the grenades.  Let's put them here."  Methinks they REALLY were using the kids as cover so they could get through checkpoints and look innocent.  Bastards.  It's one step above the terrorist thugs who strapped kids in carbombs and drove them through checkpoints and detonated the cars with the kids inside. 

The guys in the chopper were going to leave the guy on the ground alone till his militia friends came by and started picking him up and gathering up weapons.  The Reuters guys who were watching and documenting the planned ambush of our soldiers got their story.  Too bad they didn't get to file it.  No Pulitzer for them.  Boo frickin' hoo!

DeltaBravo said...

Phib, to your original question, there has to be a third choice beyond cluelessness or evil.  I think Wikileaks falls into that third category.  Clueless would imply innocence of the facts... but Wiki is willfully ignorant of the facts.  By 2010 there is more than enough information out there to put that firefight into context.  Wiki ignored any fact that didn't agree with its preconceived notions.  Long ago, Lenin referred to these type of people as "Useful Idiots."  Indeed they are.   WikiLeaks has an agenda.  A sanctimonious self-serving world view where up is down and good is bad and wrong is right.  Facts that disagree with that view are dismissed.  "Willfully ignorant" is my call.  Being true believers that everyone is "good" (except American soldiers), killing terrorists is horrible and subjecting small children to battle conditions is not an abomination, they are incredibly useful propagandists for the kind of people who would turn Sweden into Sadr City2.0 if they had a chance.  

Byron said...

Welcome to Salamanders Swamp, where the snappin' turtles are fat, and the gators hungry.

Theodore said...

As a listener I can agree, you presented your side quite well.

ActusRhesus said...

I was in Sadr City November 2007-August 2008.  I've been to Rustimiyah to collect evidence on a murder case.  Your description is accurate. In addition, the most direct route from any major US FOB to Rusti was occasionally referred to by my convoy teams as IED alley.  A ground engagement in that area is HIGHLY likely.

ActusRhesus said...

and let me clarify...when I say murder case, I mean murder of Iraqis, by Iraqis.  Not this "collateral murder" garbage.

DeltaBravo said...

So you're saying that gaggle of thugs wasn't an Iraqi boy scout troop congregating to complete the Eagle Scout project of building a bench for the local mosque park?

Many of the IEDs used during that time were EFPs sent over the border from Iran.   Devastating to our troops. 

Chris is a magician if he can detect innocence from an Apache scope.  We should hire him to point out all the "good guys."  The only innocents on the ground there were the children.  And they were brought to a firefight by the men in the van.  That seems to be a cultural norm there. 

Note also.. if our guys truly were thugs, a woman and small boy were caught on the film walking up the street and away from the firefight before the trucks got there.  If our guys were truly horrible like Chris says, they would have mowed those two people down as well.

DeltaBravo said...

Oh, and Chris, where is your and Wiki's outrage at this?  Seems there was NO doubt these men were journalists.  This event occurred about two months before the Apache event. 

Byron said...

Mizz DB, you wield a wicked cluebat, and I say that with the highest respect!

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Chris,

You've never seen the killing of innocents.  Let alone the deliberate killing of innocents.  If you did, you wouldn't make such imbecile comments.

DeltaBravo said...

Well, thank you.  I look upon it as my charitable obligation.  So many needing a clue... I believe in giving to the needy, you know.

Bulldog said...

Those US soldiers acts like they play a videogame. They could've taken other actions, but they did'nt want to. There you have the evil part of this story. And I'm really proud we have this law in Sweden, that protects the source. Are Sweden and Belgium the only ones left, really defending the free speach? Read Orwell's 1984, and you'll understand. I love America, but not the dirty parts. Therefor should those be exposed.

cdrsalamander said...

Where to start .... well, I think we have established that you know nothing about combat.

I think we have also established that you know nothing about the USA and the First Amendment to the Constitution. 

-2.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Bulldog?  You should be poodle.  You don't like the "dirty parts" of America and malign our soldiers for fighting the enemy? 

THIS from a person who claims Sweden as the defender of free speech?  Was that the same Sweden that had such a thriving iron ore and nickel trade with Nazi Germany?  Who gave the Germans (but not the Allies) military transit rights?  Who denied asylum to refugees from Hitler's persecution and death camps?  Are you kidding me?

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Ah, beloved Delta, if you were here, I would share some Badgernip with you!

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

This place really is a swamp, populated by critters, the Boss is a Salamander, there is an Eagle here, QM is a Wiener Dawg, there is a Rhesus monkey running around, as well as an Ewok,  and now DB is revealed to be a Snapping Turtle!  I suppose Byron will be revealed to be a grumpy old Possum, next.

DeltaBravo said...

Hahaa.  'Cept I like to think of myself as a gator putting the fix to slow turtles.  Mostly like to bask sleepily in the sun unless something catches my attention and begs to be chomped.

Byron said...

Ah'm de Gator, cher!

Andrewdb said...

AR - Sorry to be late to this dicsussion, I saw "Wikileaks" and jumped to my conclusions, so I haven't been following this closely.

You say "...while this is not a declared war, nor is it a conflict between the US and Iraq since the fall of the Saddam government, it is still an armed conflict within the confines of a signatory nation, involving another signatory nation." 

I thought the Congressional resolution, and the UNSC authorization, made this the equivalent of war?  Is that only for US domestic law purposes?

Second, isn't the GC standard that the war needs to be between signatories, not just within the confines of a signatory?  I understand the Protocols, and perhaps US policy, differ on this.  I also understand the current not-a-SOFA has further changes this since 2007.  But under the GC in 2007, we weren't fighting Iraq but insurgents within Iraq, no?

DeltaBravo said...

Oops.  pardon.  (Disappears into her little shell right quick....)

ActusRhesus said...

correct.  there's a lot of confusion with the GC depending on who's involved and where.  Without muddying the waters too much, in 2007 we and iraq were both signatories to portions of the GC, so even in fighting insurgents, certain provisions apply.  The ones that DON'T apply are the POW provisions.  They are not POWs, the are security detainees.

ActusRhesus said...

oh shut up.

ActusRhesus said...

My trip out to Rusti was an interesting one.  I had a particularly nasty prisoner who I wanted prosecuted for his IED making extra-curriculars.  Unfortunately the "amnesty law" was about to kick in which meant that even though I could prove he was MAKING bombs, because I couldn't link any of his bombs to a casualty, I was going to have to release him.  Until a bunch of locals decided to drop a dime on him for the kidnapping and murder of another Iraqi.  We changed the charges from bomb-making to murder and had him prosecuted.  What people like the moonbats at wikileaks don't get is that areas like Rustimiyah are filled with truly evil people.  They aren't freedom fighters fending off the oppressive US...they are local thugs who terrorize their own people and then fire on us to keep us away so we don't shut down their operation.  I could go on and on about the things I saw there...but that doesn't comport with the US=evil meme that's popular these days.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Perhaps you are to be thought of as an American Crocodile, BD?  Much meaner than a gator.

dirk said...

"<span>I think we have established that you know nothing about combat. 
 
I think we have also established that you know nothing about the USA and the First Amendment to the Constitution."</span>

saying "I think we established" DOES NOT establish anything or do anything to prove your point. Furthermore the First Poster was pointing out Sweden's own protection of sources even in cases such as this. I think we have established that cdrsalamander knows nothing about the world or even the area outside his mom's basement (you see what I did there?)

"<span> Was that the same Sweden that had such a thriving iron ore and nickel trade with Nazi Germany?  Who gave the Germans (but not the Allies) military transit rights?  Who denied asylum to refugees from Hitler's persecution and death camps?  Are you kidding me?"</span>

Since when was nickel trade the same thing as free speech? and don't ignore America's dark history in supporting totalitarian leaders (Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ring a bell? It should).

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span>Since when was nickel trade the same thing as free speech?"</span>

When they knew damned well the Nazis used the strategic metal to help build a war machine to subjugate Europe and exterminate Europe's Jews. 

You are comparing the Shah of Iran to Hitler?  The Shah was a humane moderate compared to the Ayatollah, for cryin' out loud.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Southern Air Pirate,

You know, fifteen weeks later, I read this again:

"<span>Remember we in the military are knuckle dragging morons who don't know how to hold a real job are satisfying our animal lust for killing people through being in the military."</span>

I STILL think it is a better recruiting slogan than "A Global Force for Good".  :-P