The US Army as judge, jury and executioner.
Welcome to the New Democratic Iraq.
This is what is known about the tape. It is from the thermographic camera system of an Apache attack helicopter. The image is of heat, not of light. The time of day appears to be midmorning, based on the time display seen on the heads-up display. Military time uses a 24 hour system, there is no "PM" in military clocks.
The vehicle at the far left of the video is a farm tractor, facing away. The engine is running as is evidenced by the hot vertical exhaust tupe and the glowing undercarriage seen in the thermal image. Attached to the rear of the tractor is a plough, and the dirt in the foreground shows clear furrows.
There is a longer version of the tape (which may not play on everyone's computers) that does show one individual taking a long object or objects from his car and taking it over to the vehicle at the far right. It is assumed by those who want to justify the shooting that this object is a missile launcher assembly being discarded. However, one cannot explain why someone who had just fired off an RPG at US troops would bother to put the used launcher into his car, only to them drive someplace else and then discard it. Nor does it make sense that the man would place a weapon over there it is likely to be run over by the tractor and plough, damaging both the weapon and the plough assembly as well. And, given that the man does not in any way point the object at the approaching helicopter, it is clear that at least he does not think it is a working weapon. Given that the object is actually longer than an RPG launcher assembly, three alternative explanations suggest themselves.
1. That the object is a bundle of long handled farm tools being taken over to where the farmers are working with the tractor.
2. That the object is a bundle of thin poles to be driven into the ground ahead of the tractor to give the tractor driver a visible guide to keep the furrows straight.
3. As suggested by a reader, that the object may be part of the plastic pipe irrigation system used in dry climate agriculture.
We can deduce several facts from the video.
From the perspective seen in the video, it is clear that the Apache helicopter is not being threatened. It is hovering, moving slowly forward, and not engaging in any evasive maneuvers which would suggest that the individuals on the ground have threatened the apache in any way.
From the body language of the individuals on the ground, it is clear that they themselves do not feel they are doing anything which should be of concern to a US helicopter hovering nearby. In other words, they do not act like the object thrown into the field near the tractor is anything the US helicopter would object to. No sooner has the man delivered the object to the tractor than he turns and walks back to the car. At no time does he (or anyone else) act like they are trying to escape the area until the Apache opens fire.
From The Geneva Convention 3-1: 1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria
The very FIRST person gunned down was the person who had been driving the tractor. This video records a war crime.
Wrong. The Geneva Convention says that civilians and the wounded can't be fired on. The tractor driver was probably a civilian, and the wounded guy on the ground was no threat to anyone. Incidents like this prove that the US only cares about honouring its commitments under international law when it stands to gain something from it right away.
This is just one more reason why the word of the White House is now considered to be worth shit by all their former allies. It will come back to bite the US, and probably soon.
Now these strutting little bullies are coming crying to the UN for help, since they see that there's no way in hell they can survive if the Shia majority join the fight, when they've only been fighting the Sunni minority up 'til now.
The Shia have some major scores to settle with the US, after they helped Saddam destroy the Shia uprising after the first Gulf war, since they figured keeping Saddam in power but weak was better than a Shia-controlled Iraq.
Yeah, the UN's not so "irrelevant" anymore now, is it. Fuck 'em. They're so fucking tough, let them sort it out themselves. Bailing out the US isn't worth the life of a single British soldier.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to the comments on the Indymedia website regarding the Apache helicopter atrocity (I say atrocity as I’m sure that is how the families of the victims would refer to the deaths of their loved ones).
I do feel that my comments, in no way, can be attributed to a sweeping attack on the American people. They are in fact meant to be calming and reasonable, and I do not agree with some of the more hostile views expressed on the site. I do believe that the average citizen of the world is manipulated by the powers that be, and I’m sure that has been the case throughout history. I am trying to express the sense of hopelessness that is prevalent amongst most people with regard to international relationships between peoples and politics in general. The only answer that I can see is that human beings learn to accommodate each other’s differences, to share the wealth of the world more fairly, and that we each take responsibility for our own actions. This does not involve indiscriminate killing. It would be nice to think that terrorism is a monster that will disappear once slain – unfortunately the truth is that every death spawns a multitude of hate leading to a never ending cycle of suffering.
I do not pretend to be an expert on international affairs. I have been to Afghanistan, Israel, India and Nepal as an independent traveller. I have stayed amongst the people there, and I have felt a little of their suffering. I have also lived in Lockerbie, and understand some of the suffering caused to the people involved in the Pan Am disaster. I shared a house in Cornwall with a victim of the Bali bombings. I honestly don’t feel any hate towards those who carried out the attacks, only sorrow for the suffering they have caused. Sorrow that our leaders do not have the imagination to see that responding with yet more violence does not solve anything. Promoting the base human emotion of greed through violence will never lead to peace – it just can’t, and we have to work towards finding another way for the sake of future generations.
I am not nationalistic so I won’t enter into an argument as to the relative merits of various countries – borders aren’t there to protect us, they are there to contain us. In essence all peoples are the same, with the same needs and aspirations. Belittling people because they do not have the same opinions does not solve the problem. Blaming a collective psyche on the weather is not helpful and rather distasteful considering the gravity of the situation. I am an anti-establishmentarian.
You mention the sources of funding for the terrorists – all of the evidence points towards the various western governments being directly complicit in arming the worst despots in the world. I seem to recall a Col Oliver North (Rtd.) having much to do with both arms and narco dollars. Much of the IRA funding came from the USA. The British establishment trained Idi Amin and created Iraq. The list goes on.
Please, I fail to see any humour in your anecdotal quotation; it doesn’t prove anything, other than that the world is in the state it is in, because of such thinking. I would imagine that should I be placed in the situation you mention, I would attempt to restrain my assailant so that he could not attack me further.
I have caused, and felt, much pain as a result of my own past actions. Fortunately I am able to understand this and, as a result, to react in as positive a way as I am able. Violence is the easy option – standing up, admitting one’s made mistakes, and then taking the path that leads to the least suffering for everyone, is far harder.
Love and compassion to you
From: Carlos J Melendez [mailto: email@example.com]
Sent: 26 January 2004 11:41
Subject: Your comments on the Apache video
Good Morning Bloke.
A Yank here, Vietnam Vet and observer of history of war.
Read your comments and others on Indymedia UK. Inspiring? No. Motivation? This is the rationale of my mail, why your views are one sided?
Can we have a dialog in which your express your views, your life experience, your political beliefs, without ranting? Will you have a willingness to listen to another point of view? Can you react rationally without attacks on the US?
We in the United States, especially my generation, have always looked at the UK as our strongest ally. I have traveled to your country and when the sun was shining was most impressed with how friendly your countrymen are. I do understand the ugly side of your collective personality when you look at your weather which is predominantly overcast. It’s easy to understand not having a sunny viewpoint. So you can appreciate my wonderment when I read in the newspapers and watch TV reports of the UK anti-war dissidents.
What I will never understand is why the “anti-war” voice doesn’t speak to the leaders of international terrorism and ask them politely to stop the killing. For example, if you are a staunch believer in your anti-US beliefs, why not ask the Leaders of International Terrorism whey they resort to killing unarmed civilians to the same degree you do regarding this Apache crew? Why isn’t there dissent on terrorists in North Korea, Indonesian, Philippines, Syria, Iran, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa, Italy, France, Greece, South America and you pick the place. Why isn’t there objection to the narco dollars used to support international terrorism? Why isn’t there outrage on the sources of funding and munitions to the terrorists? Why are you not protesting against the international terrorists who would like nothing better than to blow a dirty bomb in London and kill innocent civilians?
I just don’t understand why you don’t have a balanced and equally disgusted attitude against the terrorists? Your site seems to be anti-establishment?
With my comments above as a premise, I ask you are you tolerant of international terrorism and believe you should not go after them before they get you? Do you really believe that it is wise and prudent to not find them out and destroy them before they destroy you? Do you really believe that the time for outrage will be when suicide bombers start killing innocent UK civilians in Savile Row, Carnaby Street, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street, or wherever?
Here’s an anecdote that is intended to have a humorous effect with the reader. I look forward to your response.
Carlos J Melendez
Major U.S. Army (retired)
Paradise (aka sunny south Florida)
Subject: How to deal with idiots....
What to do if you happen upon a peace rally by stupid naive hemp-shirt-wearing college idiots, to teach them why force is sometimes needed:
1) Approach dumb rich ignorant student talking about "peace" and saying there should be, "no retaliation."
2) Engage in brief conversation, ask if military force is appropriate.
3) When he says "No," ask, "Why not?"
4) Wait until he says something to the effect of, "Because that would just cause more innocent deaths, which would be awful and we should not cause more violence."
5) When he's in mid sentence, punch him in the face as hard as you can.
6) When he gets back up to up to punch you, point out that it would be a mistake and contrary to his values to strike you, because that would, "be awful and he should not cause more violence."
7) Wait until he agrees that he has pledged not to commit additional violence.
8) Punch him in the face again, harder this time. Repeat steps 5 through 8 until they understand that sometimes it is necessary to retaliate.
As for the US being the bad guy, you are living in a dream world. In the fight for freedom people die.
The US troops are dying for people they are trying to free. People they don’t even know. Imagine giving your life for someone you don’t know. And there the bad guys?
I would love to see what would happen to the rest of the world if the US said fuck you too the world. I would give it 10 years. Indonesia would invade Australia. China would take over Asia and Europe would be invaded by Russia. India and Pakistan would nuke the whole Middle East. South America would be the best place to run.
America keeps this world together, sheds it children’s bloods for the world and all you people do is shit on them.
I know America is not the best and they do fuck up but given the options I will take the US any day of the week.