Lies and cover-ups in the name of force protection

When a leaked US Army report recently revealed that the military regards Wikileaks as a potential force protection threat, the leak not only exposed the army’s fears but it also shed light on the breadth of this concept: force protection. From the Pentagon’s perspective, protecting American troops and making sure they stay out of harm’s way includes shielding them from unwelcome media attention and perhaps even concealing evidence of crimes.

Dan Froomkin reports on the latest example of a story the Pentagon has worked hard to supress:

Calling it a case of “collateral murder,” the WikiLeaks Web site today released harrowing until-now secret video of a U.S. Army Apache helicopter in Baghdad in 2007 repeatedly opening fire on a group of men that included a Reuters photographer and his driver — and then on a van that stopped to rescue one of the wounded men.

None of the members of the group were taking hostile action, contrary to the Pentagon’s initial cover story; they were milling about on a street corner. One man was evidently carrying a gun, though that was and is hardly an uncommon occurrence in Baghdad.

Reporters working for WikiLeaks determined that the driver of the van was a good Samaritan on his way to take his small children to a tutoring session. He was killed and his two children were badly injured.

In the video, which Reuters has been asking to see since 2007, crew members can be heard celebrating their kills.

“Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards,” says one crewman after multiple rounds of 30mm cannon fire left nearly a dozen bodies littering the street.

A crewman begs for permission to open fire on the van and its occupants, even though it has done nothing but stop to help the wounded: “Come on, let us shoot!”

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5 thoughts on “Lies and cover-ups in the name of force protection

  1. pabelmont

    As with the Anat Kam censorship case in Israel, this case (there seems to be at least implied censorship, a desire for censorship) is about hiding realities of government misdeeds from its OWN people, not from the world (and not from the people we’re supposed to be helping or from the “enemy” — if that is different).

    These cases use the weighty machinery of government silence(ing) to hide malfeasance.

    These are the sorts of cases in which, in the US if they went to court, the government would be expected to use the words “NATIONAL SECURITY” as a magical incantation to obtain from a usually pliant/complaisant judiciary an order preventing certain documents and testimony from being presented, certain persons from being criss-examined, etc..

    One of the costs of the militarist-imperialist state to its own people is the destruction of civil and human rights, the hiding of information, and the bending out of shape of the judicial system.

    C’est (as they say) la guerre. We asked for it (or failed to prevent it) and we got it.

  2. Christopher Hoare

    This video should be required viewing for every American.
    Interesting that Der Spiegel today has a piece on displaying remnants of SS memorabilia and reporting its crimes at a new exhibition at Castle Wewelsburg — all for the purpose of having Germans face up to the crimes of the Nazi regime and as a way to deal with the social wounds of the past. This video must be preserved for the distant future when the US is ready to deal with its own crimes against humanity.

  3. mr. mike

    This film is but one of hundreds that have been made since the 2003 invasion; I’ve seen (thanks to YouTube) the Marines casually shoot up cars approaching an intersection for no reason at all, a soldier shoot an unarmed wounded insurgent lying in a shattered Fallujah mosque, and so on. Nobody will try the uniformed scum for their crimes so the best we can hope is the Iraqis will blow them up, shoot them down, or they kill themselves – and suicide seems to be winning out.

  4. DICKERSON3870

    I just love the idea of a “white guy” using the moniker “Crazy Horse 18″ flying around Iraq in an “Apache” helicopter “gun ship” and using a machine gun and Hellfire™ missiles to “light up” Iraqi civilians (including children). It just doesn’t get any better than that! Why couldn’t I have been in the ‘Twin Towers’ on 9/11 and thereby been spared being subjected to this ‘freak show’?

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