Collateral murder

So there’s this wiki site called WikiLeaks. It’s a good way for people to anonymously leak documents which some people might not want you to see. A typical example would be a former Scientologist keeping some weird doctrine or incriminating document and putting it online. And like Wikipedia, it’s best not to always take everything you read there as 100% true. But it is a good starting point for people trying to find information about topics.

With Wikipedia, you’d want to find the cited source. With WikiLeaks, you’d want to see if whatever organization had their info made public has acknowledged that the document really did come from them. It’s basically a good starting point for new data to the extent that it’s peer-reviewed and fact-checked.

A couple of weeks ago, they started tweeting about being followed, intimidated, and detained by the governments of Iceland (???) and the United States. And they claimed that it was because they were scheduled to release a film on April 5.

What seemed kind of weird about this is that the whole nature of a wiki site like this where people can immediately release whatever information they happened to have obtained is to avoid this kind of intimidation when a release (like the release of this film) is pending.

If you go around telling people that you’re about to print the Pentagon Papers in the NY Times, then chances are good the Pentagon is going to try to exercise prior restraint against the Times. The WikiLeaks format of just releasing whatever and whenever is a great antidote to that problem. If you just release info in real time, the spin from corporate media necessarily has to be after the release of the information, and so the public is influenced by it in its rawest form. That”s how the truth can out. But in this case that purer method really wasn’t being used.

As it turns out, this was a case of hyping their release because they are now backing off on some of their earlier claims. And it’s difficult to be very upset about that since the video they released showed US troops killing civilians in Baghdad back in July of 2007 when they mistook a Reuters reporter’s camera for an RPG. Here is the video (people get killed and children are injured in it, so consider yourself warned).

It’s easy to be angry at the kids in this video with their weird mixture of video game playing stoner enthusiasm for shooting people from a helicopter and unnecessary military/corporatespeak. But as Glenn Greenwald pointed out, this isn’t some strange anomaly in the midst of a normally benevolent military occupation. Killings like this are the inevitable consequence of war on a day to day basis. And we’ve had 2,576 of those days since the beginning of this war. It’s really more surprising that we’re shocked by a killing like this than the fact that it happened at all.

Some more background information the killings, including interviews with the surviving widow and her two children (pictured above) were also released by WikiLeaks on their Collateral Murder website. If you didn’t watch the video, they were trying to take the wounded reporters and civilians to a hospital after they were attacked, only to be shot at themselves.

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4 Responses to “Collateral murder”

  1. Carl Paladino’s ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to his newsletter « Atheist Hobos Says:

    […] actually kind of a WikiLeaks-ish story about his e-mail. Someone’s private e-mail usually should stay that way, but it’s a different […]

  2. WikiLeaks v. Pentagon « Atheist Hobos Says:

    […] you’ve been following the ongoing saga of WikiLeaks, you might remember the ‘Collateral Murder’ video they released a few months ago of the US military shooting at a group of people from a helicopter […]

  3. It’s the “End” of the Iraq War « Atheist Hobos Says:

    […] mean that troops aren’t actively seeking out insurgents and so the chances of something like this happening are greatly reduced. That would be a fair point, but the whole nature of this war from […]

  4. WikiLeaks v. State Department « Atheist Hobos Says:

    […] dump. The previous ones which made the news here in America focused on the wars inAfghanistan and Iraq. But this one shifts focus from the Pentagon to the State Department, releasing around 250,000 […]

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