April 5th, 2010
07:06 PM ET

Video shows journalists' deaths in Iraq

One of two photojournalists killed in a 2007 attack by a U.S. helicopter gunship in Iraq was being rescued when the gunship's crew fired on the van to which he was being carried, according to footage posted online Monday.

Reuters photographer Saeed Cmagh survived an initial strafing by the Apache gunship's 30 mm machine gun, but apparently died when the gunship opened fire on people attempting to get him off the sidewalk where he lay, according to the video. The aerial footage was posted by the Web site WikiLeaks, which said the video remains classified and "clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers."

WikiLeaks is a site that publishes anonymously submitted documents, video and other sensitive materials.

Read the full CNN.com story

- CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Military • U.S.
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. thomas

    Is there any news on the children? did they make it, where are they today.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DavidL

    Sad, but they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. There where clearly men carrying weapons, including someone with an RPG sticking his head aroung the corner. Which makes one wonder which side thee 'journalist' where on. Just because someone is employed as a 'journalist' does'nt mean they're on the right side of the battle.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rusty shackelford

    glad to know our tax money is still funding the murder of innocent people!

    April 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lance

    Pause/slow mo @ 3:45-3:46 = RPG, guy second from the left. Some say telephoto lens. I say maybe, but it's 3 feet long. Also, when they identify the an "RPG" the crosshairs are on THAT guy. The arrows by the website identify the photogs already at this point and it ISN'T the RPG guy. They lose sight of all of them shortly after and assume they are all together when they open fire once they clear the wall.
    Look, I am opposed to this war, but I can understand this mistake. That said, it makes it no less horrifying.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Benjamin Stone

    This is an extremely big story as when it was reported on in 2007 the military was making claims that the people attacked clearly had AK-47's and an individual had an RPG. From viewing the video it is clear that the individuals did not have an RPG and it may have been a camera on a tripod that was mistaken.

    Regardless, the fact that this accident occurred is not what is so pressing. The matter that is so urgent is that the military lied and covered this up for over three years. This puts EVERY SINGLE CAUSALITY REPORT in question and also questions the legitimacy of news organizations.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John Doe

    David Finkel talks about this exact incidence in his book The Good Soldiers. It follows the brigade that served in that area of operation.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kevin Naber

    This is exactly whats wrong with america...the video is disturbing but people need to see it to understand whats actually going on rather than watching "news" about ipads and tiger woods.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Owen

    It's pretty cowardly to blow people up from a mile away just because they're carrying something that might be a gun. I thought we were supposed to bring freedom to Iraq. What about freedom of assembly? And since when do we shoot ambulances that come to carry away the injured? When did that become acceptable wartime behavior? I hope these pilots are dishonorably discharged and put in jail.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matthew Konrad

    Okay, so what really went wrong? From my point of view, trigger happy 20-year old US soldiers are at the base of the problem. This reminded me of that movie "Avatar" where the "sky people" massacre the helpless natives and their children.

    Mistakes can be forgiven, but massacres "for the sport" cannot.

    On a side note, although the event was investigated, this classified video was covered up until WikiLeaks cracked the encoding.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Elle

    Murder is murder I watched the whole unedited version of this video. The guys in the helicopter were having a really good time, safe and sound while they slaughtered. I'm an army brat with a strong tie to the military but this is just so damn wrong, I can't even express my anger. SInce when aren't Americans held to a higher standards. I hate feeling like this but we've beome animals, worse than animals, bullies of the worse sort. We kill children then blame them for making us do it... WAR IS HELL.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eric Bowen

    As a photojournalist who has made multiple trips to Iraq I understand how this happened, but it is still quite disturbing. This is a great example of the dangers of counter insurgency "war as a video game" using drones and aircraft. A group of experienced infantry soldiers on the ground wouldn't have make this mistake...

    April 5, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jibran Smith

    This was a terribly tragic situation. However, the soldiers are not to blame, nor are the people on the ground. This was just a horrible, horrible misunderstanding that occurs in the chaotic climate of war. This is why war is bad and must be used only as the absolute last resort–invariably mistakes like this occur. There is very little that can done to correct mistakes like these. The pilots understandably thought the men on the ground had weapons, including an RPG, and fired on them with that state of mind. At no time did their actions seem out of line based on the premise they operated under. In other words, they did not fire thinking or knowing these were civilians. For example, they did not shoot the wounded guy on the ground when they could because he was not reaching for a weapon. This shows tremendous self-control. Additionally, the pilots followed the chain of command for engaging hostile forces and demonstrated the morality of the US forces in what is a very difficult job.

    The men on the ground should not have been shot and killed. They had a right to assemble, and were doing nothing wrong, so they are not at fault either and did not in any way deserve to die. They were just going about their business, and it's not fair that a camera was mistaken for weapon. It is especially unfortunate because the U.S. is an occupying force in Iraq, so these men were killed by foreigners on their own soil.

    The lesson here is not that the US military is bad, or that Iraqis deserve to die; the lesson is that war is terrible, and must only be used as a last resort.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. garamasala

    how can you simply shoot at people walking down a street? Those people were not abit alrmed over the appearance of he helicopter. They would have strated firing of they were insurgents. If you want to kill just for the hell of it, join the US army

    April 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paul Espinoza

    These military personnel are starting to sound like city police officers' mantra "we feared for our lives".

    April 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. M

    This was a disgusting video to watch. They acted like it was a video game when they were shooting the civilians. They laughed as well. What was even more disgusting was when they were hoping that the reporter would go grab his "gun" (his camera) so that they could shoot him some more. They were actually EXCITED for that.

    Then when a family comes by to help, they open fire on them. No wonder the government covered it up. These particular guys are idiots and should have been charged with something, but I assume they didn't even suspend them.

    Good job, American military. Once again you have opened fire on civilians, including small children. Can't you learn to differentiate between a camera and a gun? I would have thought these guys would know what a gun looks like. I guess not.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
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