comments_image Comments

Glenn Greenwald on Chilling Iraq Video: "The Only Thing That's Rare About This Is That We Know About It"

Glenn Greenwald and WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange discuss why footage capturing of U.S. troops shooting unarmed civilians is not an "aberration."

AMY GOODMAN: The US military has confirmed the authenticity of newly released video showing US forces indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians. On Monday, the website posted footage taken from a US military helicopter in July 2007 as it killed twelve people and wounded two children.

The voices on the tape appear to believe their targets are carrying weapons, but the footage unmistakably shows some of the victims holding camera equipment. The dead included two employees of the Reuters news agency, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh.

The Pentagon has never publicly released the footage and has previously cleared those involved of wrongdoing. WikiLeaks says it managed to de-encrypt the tape after receiving it from a confidential source inside the military who wanted the story to be known.

In a moment, we're going to hear from WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who oversaw the video's release. But first we turn to the footage itself. For our television audiences, some may find these images disturbing. This clip captures the moments leading up to when US forces first opened fire.

    US SOLDIER 1: See all those people standing down there?

    US SOLDIER 2: Stay firm. And open the courtyard.

    US SOLDIER 1: Yeah, roger. I just estimate there's probably about twenty of them. There's one, yeah.

    US SOLDIER 2: Oh, yeah.

    US SOLDIER 1: I don't know if that's --

    US SOLDIER 3: Hey Bushmaster element, Copperhead one-six.

    US SOLDIER 2: That's a weapon.

    US SOLDIER 1: Yeah. Hotel two-six, Crazy Horse one-eight .

    US SOLDIER 4: Copperhead one-six, Bushmaster six-Romeo. Roger.

    US SOLDIER 1: Have individuals with weapons. Yep, he's got a weapon, too. Hotel two-six, Crazy Horse one-eight. Have five to six individuals with AK-47s. Request permission to engage .

    US SOLDIER 5: Roger that. We have no personnel east of our position. So you are free to engage. Over.

    US SOLDIER 2: All right, we'll be engaging.

    US SOLDIER 1: Roger, go ahead. I'm gonna -- I cant get 'em now, because they're behind that building.

    US SOLDIER 3: Hey Bushmaster element, Copperhead one-six.

    US SOLDIER 1: He's got an RPG!

    US SOLDIER 2: Alright, we got a guy with an RPG.

    US SOLDIER 1: I'm gonna fire. OK.

    US SOLDIER 2: No, hold on. Let's come around.

    US SOLDIER 1: Behind building right now from our point of view.

    US SOLDIER 2: OK, we're going to come around.

    US SOLDIER 1: Hotel two-six, I have eyes on individual with RPG, getting ready to fire. We won't -- yeah, we got a guy shooting, and now he's behind the building. God damn it!

    US SOLDIER 5: Uh, negative. He was right in front of the Brad, about there, one o'clock. Haven't seen anything since then.

    US SOLDIER 2: Just [expletive]. Once you get on, just open up.

    US SOLDIER 1: I am.

    US SOLDIER 4: I see your element, got about four Humvees, out along this -- 

    US SOLDIER 2: You're clear.

    US SOLDIER 1: Alright, firing.

    US SOLDIER 4: Let me know when you've got them.

    US SOLDIER 2: Let’s shoot. Light 'em all up.

    US SOLDIER 1: Come on, fire!

    US SOLDIER 2: Keep shootin'. Keep shootin'. Keep shootin'. Keep shootin'.

    US SOLDIER 6: Hotel, Bushmaster two-six, Bushmaster two-six, we need to move, time now!

    US SOLDIER 2: Alright, we just engaged all eight individuals.

AMY GOODMAN: The video now shows around eight Iraqis lying on the ground, dead or badly wounded. The soldiers again claim the victims have weapons and now laugh about the shooting.