April 06, 2010

Case Closed: Weapons Clearly Seen on Video of Reuters Reporters Killed in Iraq (UPDATED & Bumped Yet Again)

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If the vidcaps showing weapons at the scene of the alleged "murder" of "civilians" in Iraq weren't enough to convince you, here's an animated image created by Ryno.

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(Feel free to circulate this image, but please don't hotlink and please attribute to Ryno, a commenter at The Jawa Report)

The NY Times, in their story about the incident, spends paragraph after paragraph fretting that we killed a bunch of innocent men standing around doing nothing more than contemplating whether Grotius' notion of jus ad bellum conflicted with that of Aquinas. Then they hit you with this seemingly important piece of information buried near the end:

Late Monday, the United States Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released the redacted report on the case, which provided some more detail.

The report showed pictures of what it said were machine guns and grenades found near the bodies of those killed. It also stated that the Reuters employees “made no effort to visibly display their status as press or media representatives and their familiar behavior with, and close proximity to, the armed insurgents and their furtive attempts to photograph the coalition ground forces made them appear as hostile combatants to the Apaches that engaged them.”

I'd also direct you to Bill Roggio's post on the subject if my own thoughts didn't convince you that this was one of the worst smear jobs against our military based on zero evidence in the last decade.

Case closed.

UPDATE by RUSTY: The New York Times reporters are such idiots. Usually the distinction between "grenades" being found at a battle scene and "RPG rounds" makes no difference. In this case, it's all the difference. See below.

Update by Howie: I have all the files from the Centcom release mentioned in the NYT's article. And why should they be the only ones who see that?

Image showing armed AIF along with the Reuters cameras.

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Here is the DOD's finding on how the group was determined to be hostile.

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It reads (transcribed by Rusty and emphasis in the original):

The AWT accurately assessed that the criteria to find and terminate the threat to friendly forces were met in accordance with the law of armed conflict and rules of engagement. Fundamental to all engagements is the principle of military necessity. This was clearly established and supported by the friendly forces inherent right to self defense and the ground commander's obligation to ensure all necessary means were employed to defend or protect his Soldiers from hostile acts. In this case, the AWT was employed to destroy insurgents attempting to kill friendly forces. The attack weapons team:

(1). Positively Identified the Threat: The AWT, with reasonable certainty, identified military aged males both in a location and with weapons consistent with reports of hostile acts conducted against friendly forces. While observing this group of individuals, the AWT satisfied all requirements to initiate an engagement.

(2). Established hostile intent: Hostile intent was exhibited by armed insurgents peering around the corner of a home to monitor movement or activities of friendly forces and ...

More on that issue including the fact that AIF (anti-Iraqi forces) often recorded attacks for propaganda videos. There is no way to determine if these persons were Reuters stringers or photographers for an insurgent groups such as AQI or Ansar al-Sunnah...... or both.

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It reads (transcribed by Rusty, emphasis in the original):

(4). Received clearance first: Having already identified through voice communications physical markings and ultimately visual recognition of friendly positions, the AWT again requested and received clearance from the ground unit that there were no friendly forces in the engagement area.

c. Only after extensive review of the AWT's gun-camera video and with knowledge of the two missing media personnel, is it reasonable to deduce that two of the individuals intermixed among the insurgents located in the engagement area may have been reporters. There was neither reason nor probability to assume that neutral media personnel were embedded with enemy forces. It is worth noting the fact that insurgent groups often video and photograph friendly activity and insurgent attacks against friendly forces for use in training videos for use as propaganda to exploit or highlight their capabilities. The aircrews erroneously identified the cameras as weapons due to presentation (slung over shoulder with the body of the object resting at the back, rear of torso) and association (personnel colocated with other having RPGs and AK-47s).

In other words: hindsight is 20-20.

Here is what the ground forces found when they arrived on the scene.

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It reads (transcribed by Rusty, emphasis this time is mine):

We remained above the engagement site while Bushmaster sent ground forces to the site. Bushmaster arrived and reported 11 x AIF KIA and found RPGs and RPG rounds at the site. We also witnessed a loaded RPG lying 2-3 blocks south of the engagement site. Bushmaster reported that the first child was wounded and pulled from the van. We were unable to determine that there were children in the vehicle and never saw any children prior to or during the engagement. After viewing the gun tape, were able to determine that both wounded children came from the van. Bushmaster immediately MEDEVAC'd both girls to FOB Loyalty for medical care.
So they found more than one RPG as well as RPG rounds and another loaded RPG close by.

There was no "cover up here". In fact, there was an investigation into the incident. Then there was an investigation of the investigation. Both of which found that the soldiers acted in good faith and were well within the rules of engagement.

Update by Howie: I have all six original PDF sources from DOD. I'm having a bit of trouble hosting them. But if anyone needs them email Howie.

Update by Stable Hand: DOD official investigative results (scribed) is below fold. If you so choose, read the comments at site where I used their embed link for this Lots of idiots there I might add.

UPDATE by Rusty: The DOD report includes pictures of the RPGs found. They even have the photos that the Reuters cameramen were taking. The last photo one of them took? A US Humvee just down the alley and off camera from what the video shows.

UPDATE by Rusty: Since I know some of you won't actually scroll through the entire DOD report, I went ahead and grabbed a couple of screenshots from it.

Here's the picture found in one of the dead journalist's camera.

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Go watch the video. You'll see that an insurgent with an RPG ducks behind a building. Second later the helicopter pilot sees someone laying down on the ground behind that same building pointing something at the Humvee. You then hear him yell, "He's got an RPG."

The redacted photo also shows an RPG. Unfortunately the RPG is redacted right out of two photos because it's lying next to a dead insurgent who's blood you can see splattered everywhere. But I hear that Wiki Leaks has the unredacted photos but chose not to show them as context for the alleged "murders".

Personally I don't feel like giving them any more clicks than they've already generated for themselves with their over-sensationalized non-story. If you have the unredacted post-firefight RPG pics please email them to me.

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Centcom FOIA

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:59 PM | Comments |