Tuesday, April 6, 2010

FP morning post 4/6

Leaked video shows killing of journalist in Iraq

Top news: A video released yesterday by the anti-censorship website Wikileaks show a 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad which killed 12 people, including a Reuters photographer and his driver.

The gunsight video shows the helicopters opening fire on a group of people standing on a Baghdad street corner after mistaking photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen's camera for a weapon. When a van arrives to pick up the wounded, the pilots open fire on it, wounding two children. "Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” one of the pilots can be heard saying.

The video was reportedly shown to Reuters editors at an off-the-record briefing in 2007.

The news agency has been trying to obtain copies since then through a Freedom of Information Act request. Wikileaks claims to have decrypted the video after obtaining it from whistleblowers within the U.S. military. Julian Assange, as spokesman for the group, says the attack was clearly not justified and described the pilots as acting "like they are playing a computer game."

A U.S. military official has confirmed the authenticity of the video. The Defense Department says the pilots were unaware of the presence of journalists and thought they were under threat from insurgents. "We regret the loss of innocent life, but this incident was promptly investigated and there was never any attempt to cover up any aspect of this engagement," said CentCom spokesman Shawn Kemp.

Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger described the video as "tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that exist in covering war zones."

Nukes: The Obama Administration is due to release its long-awaited Nuclear Posture Review today.

Middle East
  • Seven explosions killed at least 34 people in Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad.
  • The Israeli military has criticized its own troops for the killing of four Palestinian youths at a demonstration last March.
  • Turkey has arrested more retired military officers in its investigation into an alleged 2003 coup plot.
  • Maoist rebels killed 73 police in a raid in central India.
  • Thousands of red-shirt protesters continue to occupy downtown Bangkok.
  • Human Rights Watch has accused the Pakistani army of hundreds of extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses.
  • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called a general election for May 6.
  • French oil company Total is under investigation for bribery chargers related to Iraq's oil-for-food program.
  • Imprisoned Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Kohdorkovsky will take the stand in his own defense at his trial today.
  • The alleged killers of South African white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche are due to appear in court.
  • Government troops and U.N. peacekeepers have retaken control of an airport in northwest Congo from local rebels.
  • A South Korean navy destroyer has caught up with a supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates.
  • Brazil has delayed imposing import duties on U.S. goods after receiving a proposed deal from Washington.
  • A U.S. federal judge dismissed over 100 lawsuits by former Guantanamo Bay inmates.
  • The Archbishop of Santiago says the Catholic Church is investigating "a few" cases of priest pedophilia there.
-By Joshua Keating

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