I want to first start by saying that Wikileaks has really misled the public on the details of this video. They made it sound like it was an unprovoked massacre of unarmed civilians, and so it angers me when I wasted my time watching this video to see nothing like that.
I would then like to plead that you not respond or argue with me unless you have watched every second of the 39 minute video. In any engagement, be it in Iraq, or a DUI arrest in Los Angelas, a complete understanding of the event is essential.
Apache helicopters are usually not called out unless ground troops request them. In this case, ground troops were under fire and requested air support. This is clear considering they approached the hot zone at the beginning of the video with intel, either from ground troops, or from the another Apache, that there were armed combatants in the area. You hear, numerous times, reports of armed combatants in the area, before this particular video feed can actually see people. This is all happening near friendly soldiers who requested air support because they were fired upon.
The video opened up with footage of a black van moving left, and the van would later become involved again. What the black van was doing in the area is unknown to us; it’s purpose was not speculated upon anywhere in the video. Considering ground troops arrived from the right, it might be possible that this van was deliberately moving away from the conflict.
After 2 minutes, the footage of the group clearly shows that at least 2 of them have AK-47s. As for the possible observation of an RPG, which some suggest could be a tripod, and the guys who have things slung over their shoulders, which could be the cameras, then it is regrettable if they were, in fact, a tripod and 2 cameras. However, too many people are acting as if the guy who peaked around the corner actually had a camera. It could have legitimately been an RPG as the gunner said, because an RPG was found at the scene after the engagement. We know that the photographer did not die in the initial engagement, his camera was found in the van… Meaning all this speculation about the tripods and cameras in the original scene is bogus, unless there were multiple journalists in the area.
When the black van, which had already been seen lingering in the area, returns to pick up a survivor, the other helicopter had observed the van picking up bodies and weapons. The reality is, an unmarked van, which was already in the area (red flag), reported to be picking up wounded men and weapons, and is in an area of an ongoing operation, is fair game for engagement.
Lastly, the last video footage leading up to the bombardment of a building is revealed to us far too late into the operation. They say there are 6 armed individuals in the building and we had only seen 2 enter at that point, and 1 of them appears to be armed, although this is the first time I actually feel that it might be a camera. For all we know, this is actually where the photographer was killed, and not at the initial site. However, this doesn’t explain the fact that the camera was found in the van.
No reports of a camera being found at the initial engagement have been revealed, and so it’s entirely speculation on our part on whether or not we actually saw a camera anywhere in any of the footage… To the contrary, we saw AK 47s, and an RPG was found at the scene of the initial engagement. Even if the photographer was killed somewhere during this video, we can be certain that he was knowingly in the vicinity of armed men near an area where American soldiers were fired upon. My prediction is that the photographer was one of those killed rescuing the wounded man, and the van was just following the conflict around. I distinctly remember a photo made public that was taken by a soldier from within the van that came from the photographers camera, I cannot recall where I saw this photo though.
Regardless, no one is allowed to be armed except for Iraqi police and Coalition forces. There is no such thing as an armed Iraqi escort for journalists. My only guess is he underestimated how quickly and deadly the situation can become if he were to hang around with armed insurgents.
I really wish Americans would get the fuck out of the Middle East and tend to their own problems… Collateral damage is inevitable during an insurgency in populated cities. You could clearly see an unarmed pedestrian get wasted by the first hellfire missile. But in the end, it is incomprehensibly stupid to be unmarked, carrying a large camera and tripod around with armed individuals, when Apache copters are overhead and are near an area where a gunfight had occurred.