Reuters reporter murder leak

Headline should read: Heroic soldier held for whistleblowing regarding murder of journalists by the American military. If it were anyone other than Reuters, it probably would.

The gunsight video shows an attack by a U.S. Apache helicopter on a group of men in a square in a Baghdad neighborhood. The group included Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant and driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.~source

In other areas of industry (and war is an industry, remember), there is protection for whistleblowers. Whether or not Bradley Manning (or whomever actually leaked the video) will be recognized for his bravery in releasing this act of violence against the press remains to be seen.

It should be further established that proof exists of insurgents already hacking the cameras on our drone aircraft. The compromise to national security and the DOD is debatable.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley maintains that the compromise is dangerous:

“It has particular impact in terms of potentially revealing what we call ‘sources and methods,’ you know, compromising our ability to … provide government leaders with the kind of analysis that they need to make informed decisions,”

That sounds a lot like military mushmouthing around the word “basic surveillance”. The compromise of video feeds in drone aircraft is well known, as established by WSJ. It’s Russian hacking software…

Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet.~source

True that this is a gunship, but as far as tactical compromises to video feeds, it seems like a known issue. Normally I’d give the military a great deal of latitude on plugging up leaks and securing the information that protects military men in the field. However, it’s clear that if this a leak, it’s one of many and it’s being weighed against a matter of public rights, criminality and conscience.

The army’s excuse continues:

“A military spokesman said the helicopter crew mistook a camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.”~ibid

You know what, Fuck you. This was a Reuters photographer and his assistant. Their deaths were reported to someone. So when Reuters asked what the hell happened to their employees, what did you say? Friendly fire? Insurgents? You sure as hell didn’t say “An American gunship blew them away because he was carrying a camera”. Otherwise, Reuters would have raised holy hell about this a long time ago.

This is the sort of leak that is dangerous to the military, but not in the way they mention. It’s the simple question that grows. How many more people are like this? How common was this sort of incident? How reliable is our information on Iraq and Afghanistan when this is what happens to  correspondents? Not just the death, but the death and the cover-up, and the final insult, justifying the shooting with the presence of a camera.

It’s not a precisely the same situation, and he wasn’t shot in a combat zone, but it does remind me of a quick, violent death of a civilian apologized for with a shrug.


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