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April 08 2010

16:06

Leaked US military video boosts donations to Wikileaks

Whistleblowing website Wikileaks has received more than £150,000 in donations since Monday, when it published a leaked US military video of the killing of 12 civilians – including two Reuters staff – in Iraq in 2007. According to the Wikileaks site, the project requires $600,000 a year to run.

The video has been hailed as a turning point for the controversial site (see this Wired article from 2009), which uses a network of volunteers to release information and promises full confidentiality for its sources.

As the Editors Weblog summarises:

Many news outlets might find themselves in a love-hate relationship with the news outlet. Wikileaks is situated at an important spot within the news industry as the only place willing to publish stories others can’t or wont. The website can function as a voice capable of breaking high profile scandals news outlets don’t want to break.

While Wikileaks acts as an important watchdog against corruption, the sometimes-paranoid tone of the site might undermine the website’s value while making it a target for criticism. To an extent, Wikileaks has every right to indulge in their paranoia. Several democratic governments around the world, all of whom have laws protecting free speech, have passed or discussed creating new laws which block the public’s access to the website. Just last night, the UK passed the digital economy bill, which contains a clause that could be used to justify blocking Wikileaks. The site is also blacklisted in Denmark and Australia.

Democracy Now is claiming videos it has obtained feature eyewitness accounts of the 2007 attack from the day after event; while international media organisations have called for a fresh investigation of the incident by the US military.

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08:44

CNN: Wikileaks editor on why it posted video of Reuters journalists’ deaths

Julian Assange explains the process involved in receiving and breaking the encryption on the US military video published by the site earlier this week, which shows the slaying of 12 people including two Reuters journalists in an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq in 2007.

Any assertion that Wikileaks selectively edited the video is “an outrageous straw man”, says Assange.

“We have a mission to promote political reforms by releasing suppressed information,” he explains, when asked about Wikileak’s mission.

This is a special circumstance for us, because this is not what we normally report. This is an attack on our own, this is an attack on journalists in a difficult situation trying to report the truth and we have a responsibility to our sources who give us this sort of material to get it out there. In fact, our promise to them is that if they give us this type of material that is of significance and has been suppressed we will release it and try to get the maximum political impact for it.

Video available at this link…

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April 05 2010

17:30

Wikileaks releases video showing Apache shooting of Reuters news staff

Wikileaks today released a video depicting the slaying of more than 12 people – including two Reuters news staff – by two Apache helicopters using 30mm cannon fire.

The attack took place on the morning of 12 July 2007 in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad. Two children were also wounded.

Among the dead, were two Reuters news employees, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. Chmagh was a 40-year-old Reuters driver and assistant; Noor-Eldeen was a 22-year-old war photographer.

An investigation by the US military concluded that the soldiers acted in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own rules of engagement.

Reuters has been unsuccessfully trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act since the time of the attack.

More information can be found on the Collateral Murder website.

Warning: the following video contains highly disturbing imagery.

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March 10 2010

12:34
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