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Breaking News
posted by FatPhil on Thursday April 11 2019, @01:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the shoulda-taken-the-tea-chest-option-years-back dept.

Breaking: Met police confirm that Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy.

Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.

The Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court.

Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno said it withdrew Mr Assange's asylum after his repeated violations to international conventions.

But WikiLeaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Mr Assange's political asylum "in violation of international law".

[...] Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum.

After his arrest for failing to surrender to the court, police said he had been further arrested on behalf of US authorities under an extradition warrant.

He doesn't look happy, to say the least.

Update: As this is a breaking story, more information is coming out regularly - one source that updates their reports frequently is Zero Hedge - thanks boru!

Previously: New Analysis of Swedish Police Report Confirms Julian Assange's Version in Sweden's Case
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities
UK Said Assange Would Not be Extradited If He Leaves Embassy Refuge
Inadvertent Court Filing Suggests that the U.S. DoJ is Preparing to Indict Julian Assange
U.S. Ramping Up Probe Against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Says
Ecuador Denies That Julian Assange Will be Evicted From Embassy in London

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  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @02:44PM (24 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @02:44PM (#827962)

    What really ticked me off was the "Collateral Murder" video he released. There were two versions, the short popular one with his narrative and the full uncut original. The short version claimed to show American military recklessly and gleefully slaughtering children and a news reporter, seemingly for the fun of murder. The long version makes the truth clear if you are not an idiot and you imagine yourself there in the battle. There were people running around with rocket launchers, cut from the short video, and the reporter had a ridiculously long camera lens that looked like one. He kept peeking out from around the corner of a building, looking like he was about the fire a rocket at the American military. The children were brought to the battlefield concealed in a minivan that was being used to pick up a fighter. Yes, the minivan was shot at, just as any military would shoot at the equivalent of a JEEP or HMMWV being used to ferry the enemy around the battlefield. Eh, don't bring your kids to a war if you love them. Assange cut and narrated the video to make the American military appear to be enjoying the sport of killing civilians. This of course caused outrage as Assange had planned, and most likely generated more terrorists.

    Given that Assange was totally non-US at the time (not really our jurisdiction) and has self-imprisoned for 7 years, maybe I'd let him off if he'd do one thing: testify that Seth Rich was indeed the DNC leaker. It breaks a promise to leakers, but Assange and his mother have both already hinted that Seth Rich was the leaker. Also, Seth Rich is long dead anyway, suspiciously killed in DC. He was shot for no normal reason; nothing was stolen and he was just walking home. Over 90% of the people with his type of gunshot survive if they make it to the hospital breathing, as he did, but he didn't survive. Normal hospital procedure for DC shootings wasn't followed, with cops keeping the normal nurses out of the room. (something they shouldn't witness?) The one doctor there had ties to the Podestas, one of whom mentioned in a leaked email that the DNC should make examples out of leakers. It's pretty damn ominous.

    As for Snowden, that is a really different situation. He was 100% American, a US citizen on US soil, having signed the secrecy agreements. He didn't just leak the one questionable thing that was later found unconstitutional. That was but a tiny part of the huge pile of secrets he leaked, and he'd like to hide behind it as some sort of shield against prosecution for everything else he leaked. Car analogy: an accountant at Ford disagrees about the legality of a tax strategy and happens to be right. (most of the office thinks it is legal, and others don't want to rock the boat) He leaks this along with all market strategy, union negotiation strategy, payroll data, CAD drawings, studies of combustion, product plans, contracts with vendors, sealed legal settlements, executive security plans, unfilled patents, and more. He dumps everything, claiming that he did the right thing because he was a whistleblower about that tax violation.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 11 2019, @02:57PM (5 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 11 2019, @02:57PM (#827981) Journal

    All true. Yet, Assange only moderately angered me with that narrative thing on the video. Yeah, he was wrong, and he dumped on a lot of good men and women. That was dirty. But - freedom of the press. He doesn't HAVE to print stuff that you and I agree with, to enjoy "freedom" of the press. We have hundreds of "reporters" right here in the US who anger me far more than Snowden did. Treasonous sons of bitches, whose obvious intent is to undermine the US and it's government. At least Assange, not being a US citizen, didn't commit treason in the making of that video and the false narrative.

    Wikileaks has done enough other good work, that I can forgive them for being fuckwits now and then. No one can be right all of the time.

    We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @06:09PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @06:09PM (#828152)

      Yet, Assange only moderately angered me

      Its hilarious how you always have to make things about YOU. Nobody GAF how "angered" you were. But that's what you bring up first because in your disordered mind your feels are the most important factor of any analysis.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 11 2019, @06:14PM (2 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 11 2019, @06:14PM (#828153) Journal

        Your point? Is there someone in the room with you, holding a gun to your head, forcing you to read my posts? You can tune in, tune out, change the channel, turn the volume down, do whatever you want to do. Or, you can whine about Runaway.

        We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @10:16PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @10:16PM (#828314)

          Lollards! Here you are whining about what I wrote and your big argument is that I don't have to read your posts. The hypocrisy of the egotist, its fucking awesome! You degenerate clown.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @12:56AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @12:56AM (#828411)

            Lollards! Here you are whining about what I wrote and your big argument is that I don't have to read your posts. The hypocrisy of the egotist, its fucking awesome! You degenerate clown.

            Don't hold back, friend. Tell us how you *really* feel.

      • (Score: 2) by Bot on Thursday April 11 2019, @09:40PM

        by Bot (3902) on Thursday April 11 2019, @09:40PM (#828290) Journal

        Frankly between the opinion of $randomGuyOnTheNet and the infused truth coming from above, wikipedia style, I'd rather have the first. (u c what I did here)

        Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Thursday April 11 2019, @04:12PM (3 children)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday April 11 2019, @04:12PM (#828070) Journal

    testify that Seth Rich was indeed the DNC leaker.

    The guys who started that lie have already admitted it was a lie.

    Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi Pushed Seth Rich Lie After Privately Admitting Hackers Stole DNC Emails []

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @05:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @05:24PM (#828130)

      She lost. Get over it.
      She is an evil witch and if she runs again she'll lose, again, and Trump will win, again.

    • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @05:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @05:27PM (#828131)

      They wouldn't know one way or the other. Assange is one of very few people who would know.

      Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi are allowed to change their mind, switching from "hackers" to "Seth Rich". At this point the circumstantial evidence is very strong, and we're just waiting for Assange to confirm it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @06:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @06:43PM (#828165)

      As usual, fake news. I explained it here: []

      All that email proves is the Trump campaign had no inside info, they learned about Seth Rich from Assange's interview just like everyone else.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @05:47PM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @05:47PM (#828140)

    Except that when you strip away all your characterizations what you get is:

    A group of people were walking down a street the way anybody would in a combat zone (don't clump up). We now know at least two of them had things slung which were not weapons. Could others have had weapons? At 3:01, right before the Apache opens up, you see one person on a cell phone and one person with his camera, and all other hands you can see are clearly empty. But let's say for the sake of argument they did - as they were walking up before the photographer peers around the corner a couple of the frames look that way and the military wants to say that they were.

    A civilian journalist was acting with the same caution anyone does who has half a brain, peer around corners before moving. He had the misfortune to be the only person with an object that could be mistaken as a weapon, but now it's pretty clear that it wasn't a weapon. So the aircrew fucked up on that call. Only the photographer had anything that one could judge as a weapon in the same way cops manage to shoot people with cell phones. They were perceived as a threat wrongly. They get shot up. Well, that's the breaks and maybe I can acknowledge that.

    Then, an individual crawling with no demonstrated intent of hositlity and they open up again for no defined reason. Please tell me why that second series of shots is justified?

    Then a van was making pickup on the area.

    The aircrew previously acknowledged the civilian did not have a weapon when he was crawling. "All you gotta do is pick up a weapon." Combatant or not, there was no indications that the van was engaging in combat. There was no picking up of weapons in the video, even though the aircrew says they are picking up weapons when they request engagement and receive it. They shot up people rendering aid and that is the beginning and ending one can make of that. That there were children in the vehicle at most makes it more heinous, it does not absolve the aircraft crew from having fired on an unarmed rescue mission. If the enemy had done that the U.S. would have been swinging it's dick around condemning that full force. Except now we've proven that we cannot be trusted to not fire on unarmed rescue people, so they have no reason to give ours any quarter either, do they?

    The first bit is arguable. The last two are murder, plain and simple.

    Finally, it's just another use where the U.S. position would be all anyone ever knew, except for Wikileaks. Why were all the other requests under FOIA denied? Oh, because that would have embarassed the shit out of the government.

    • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @06:58PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11 2019, @06:58PM (#828176)

      How was the helicopter pilot to know that there were "people rendering aid"? (not that I agree that it matters; aiding the enemy makes you an enemy IMHO) For that matter, how is it that you know that there were "people rendering aid"? There was no giant red cross on the roof of the vehicle, or even a goddamn crescent. For context: similar vehicles had been used to move active combatants around the battlefield. It's no different from a JEEP or HMMWV moving our soldiers from point A to point B.

      The "individual crawling with no demonstrated intent of hositlity" had in fact demonstrated hostility. He did that, hid, and then went for the vehicle. He's trying to continue the fight. He isn't waving a white flag. He isn't carried off in a stretcher.

      Now that I think about it, I suspect the kids were brought there to die. People there do some pretty fucked up disgusting things, and they damn well know how to manipulate the American public.

      In any case, both the minivan and the crawling combatant were fully legitimate targets. Had they not been, there is still a lot of room for "oops" between "legit" and "murder".

      • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Thursday April 11 2019, @10:58PM

        by MostCynical (2589) on Thursday April 11 2019, @10:58PM (#828354) Journal

        This post, with the post-hoc justifications and "narrative-fitting" interpretation, is demonstrative.. Not that other "interpretations" are necessarily correct, either..

        There are two sides.. Those who have pre-conceived opinions, and those with open minds.
        This is true aross the political spectrum; there is no left/right, red/blue, there is just.. interpretation.

        Alas, "truth" is now irrelevant.

        "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @03:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @03:13PM (#829859)

        Well, let's see. What were they doing in that van that classified them as hostile? Oh, they were picking up people who were shot. If they were picking up weaponry the full video does not show it - that was an assertion of the radio chatter but there is no proof offered of that which I've seen. If you saw that please do let me know, as that would make them a legit target.

        Now, what HOSTILE INTENT was that vehicle displaying? None. It was not a military target.

        Providing medical care to anyone is not aiding that side by long held convention. Oh, wait, I see. You think the prisoners should have been shot by our side. Oh, our side patched up the kids? How is that not aiding the enemy, then? It's OK. Should we ever meet I'll just let you die.

        The "individual crawling" was no longer a hostile. The Apache crew are on tape just begging for him to pick up a weapon so they could take him out. He crawled away and then was being carried by two people to the van. Don't know what video you were watching. In case you've never been educated on the subject one may use force against an enemy only to the extent necessary to stop them from being hostile. Once they cease hostility they are not a target anymore. Shoot someone and if they drop their gun you're not allowed to put a round in their head "just to be sure."

        In any case, the minivan was never a legitimate target. The hostile was not a legitimate target. Targeting them was murder, however you want to try and rationalize it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @04:32PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @04:32PM (#829918)

        And one more thing while I'm on a roll. How do I know they were "people rendering aid." Well, they stopped. They picked up the wounded man in an extremity carry. They were attempting to load the person and did nothing else until the Apaches opened fire on them. What would you call it, people hunting for dinner?

        If you think the wounded guy (who was the driver for the reporter if you hadn't connected the dots) was still trying to fight by crawling away, well, I'm glad you're not in uniform, dude.

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Thursday April 11 2019, @11:30PM (1 child)

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 11 2019, @11:30PM (#828373)

      Did you watch the full video? Tell us what happened when the ground troops secured the van?

      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @04:14PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @04:14PM (#829907)

        After making multiple radio calls about it they got the two kids out of the van and over to a Humvee. (There's much more that can be said if you Google Ethan McCord for starters...)

        Now you tell me: What actions precipitated the order to shoot up the van with the kids in it?

        And again, I'll reiterate: The only reason you or I saw that full video was... Wikileaks.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday April 12 2019, @02:58PM (6 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 12 2019, @02:58PM (#828623) Journal

      You need to look at the full video again, and actually count weapons. There are rifles in the video. They look remarkably like AK-47's. There aren't enough of them to go around, but most of the people in that video do indeed have weapons. Don't look at the "collateral murder" version, but the full version, with all the helicopter chatter going back and forth. Listen closely, watch closely. If you don't see any rifles (dare I say "assault rifles"?) then either A: you have very bad eyes, or B: you don't WANT TO SEE those weapons. I'll grant that the quality of the video makes it a bit difficult to pick out weapons, but they are there if you look.

      Furthermore, the Apache was called in BECAUSE our ground troops in the area had been fired on by these guys. These guys, not some other random bunch of local yokels. There were no other local yokels to be found in the area. That is in fact what the reporter was there to report on. He was EMBEDDED in an insurgent "unit" for the purpose of recording the war from the insurgent's perspective.

      You have plenty of clues now - let's see what you can do with them.

      We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @04:24PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @04:24PM (#829912)

        No, you're seeing a bunch of things that look like weapons. Watch in the second half of the video when the Apache crew says the Humvee ran over one of the dead bodies and even the crew couldn't be sure or if that was just an image artifact. So, I'll readily acknowledge that three of the eleven people shown are carrying things that could be interpreted as weapons. And it's more than just AK's: The US asserts there was an RPG plus someone carrying an RPG round. Plus the radio chatter makes clear when the security element reaches the scene one person looks like he's on top of an RPG round.

        Now let's deal with the conclusions you are jumping to:

        "....had been fired on by these guys." No proof it was "these guys" who had fired on them. (And especially if you broaden that just a smidge - I doubt the reporter or his driver were firing on them). Next, please differentiate for me the difference between a "local yokel" and an insurgent. Then for dessert you can suggest how you tell a Viet Cong from a Vietnamese civilian (and for the cherry you can linguistically trace how and why Vietnamese civilians were called gooks by the troops).

        But you need to go back and read my first post. As I said, that the reporter and his driver were hit aren't terribly relevant. What I'm focusing on was that black minivan and why firing on it was justified. (No, "because it was in the area," is not acceptable - see above.) I await your reply.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday April 15 2019, @04:53PM (4 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 15 2019, @04:53PM (#829928) Journal

          I can't really "justify" firing on the van. All that I can offer you is, we are just Monday morning quarterbacks. I can sit here and tell myself that I probably wouldn't have fired on the van. But, we don't second-guess the man at the trigger. He answers to his superiors, and he was told to fire. I think it was wrong to shoot the van up, but even if we all agree that it WAS wrong - there was no war crime committed. The people in the van were rendering aid to a known enemy unit. It's justifiable under the rules of law. It's part of that "fog of war" you read about. That doesn't exactly make it justified in my opinion.

          Now, I ask one thing of you. Put yourself in the gunner's seat. You've just shot up a bunch of known bad guys. Some unknown people show up, attempting to rescue your bad guys. You report it, your superiors order you to fire. No matter at this point, yet, that you do, or do not, want to shoot the van up. You follow orders, unless you can clearly argue that those orders are unlawful. After you've shot the van, ground troops arrive, and inform you that you've shot up a bunch of unarmed dummies, AND THEIR KIDS.

          I can damned near guarantee that gunner lost nights of sleep, and probably had to visit a shrink. He may now be one of those homeless PTSD veterans we read about. It probably had an effect on the rest of the crew, but none so much as that gunner.

          And, it all boils down to "War is hell" and "shit happens" and fucking Murphy.

          THAT is why I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq. I put every bit of responsibility in Bush's and Cheney's laps. The sons of bitches violated a number of laws before, during, and after that war. Worse, they mutilated common sense.

          It would have been an outrage if the Pentagon told Bush they would not comply with his order to invade Iraq. It would have been the biggest scandal in US history. But, I think that would have been better than destroying a country, just to get the top 50 or so leaders.

          We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @05:32PM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @05:32PM (#829941)

            True. We are criticizing after the fact. And you're correct, we're not there. I'll say that it was both indicative they had a problem with it and also a sign of trying to justify or grow emotional callouses about it when they say on the video, "Ah damn. Oh well." and later, "Well they shouldn't have brought kids into a war zone." They're already beginning the process of living with what they did, and to some degree making excuses for it.

            Now, I will do as you ask and place myself in their shoes - I did while watching it originally. (And yes, I've worn the uniform and carried a rifle).

            First, if unknown people show up rescuing the bad guys, if they are making pickups on wounded the big question is: What's the threat?

            Yes, they're amped up, they just took out what looked like --- and you're right, likely was --- a squad of armed insurgents and they're still thinking in that mindset. Even properly marked and badged medics have been killed in combat "by accident" and as someone else pointed out these people weren't marked as medics.

            But a couple of distinguishing things - these guys are in helicopters. There are no indicators they were ever in any danger at all, at any point.... Now they're up there protecting the ground troops and that's an important and high-adrenaline thing to be doing. In fact, it can be even more nerve wracking than being on the ground. But it was the chopper crew who told the superiors that they were picking up bodies and weapons. If you're the superior officer back at base and you're told people are collecting weapons, that's not a hard call to make to clear the engagement. I'm sure that I would do that and so would you.

            But the reality is that they helicopter crew was given permission to engage, not orders to engage, and that permission came because of the way they described the situation. Which, as far as the video shows, is false. If they had radioed in, "Looks like this black van has two people who are making pickup on one of the wounded down there," does that change how you as the commander would clear them? Me, I'd ask, "What else are they doing that makes them a target?" I'd realize from my protected position back at base that U.S. position has always been that wounded individuals who aren't fighting are always afforded Rule 110 [] protection, and that many nations recognize that just because they're not afforded enemy combatant status or the pickups aren't properly credentialed is not an exception to that. What would you do if you were the clearing authority and were given a different picture of what happened?

            I've read some things that did say, though, that the black van did come from a compound that was suspected of being an insurgent stronghold. (And who knows, maybe the van was seen picking up weapons earlier by those crews). But neither of those carries weight to automatically qualify the van as a belligerent force.

            And yes, were I the gunner it would cause me a lot of lost sleep and probably some counseling. (Then we can look at how those who want to get that kind of help in bang-bang units are often pressured into not doing so). But I don't assume that everyone else feels that way (guilt or remorse) because there are a lot of amoral SOB's in the world, too. Some of them wear uniforms. And it doesn't cut them a free pass that it's OK because war, any more than a commander who says, "Yep, if an IED goes off waste everyone you can see." They are paid way too little and have way too much responsibility, but as soldiers it is their job to make the right calls about whom they kill. (Which doesn't mean they should be locked up, either. But discharged without prejudice, or ensured that they'll never be promoted and they're removed from combat duty and will never advance - that I can live with. Maybe the next crew will think, then, before firing.)

            I can empathize with them. But I won't sympathize or say "well, that was OK, then."

            • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday April 15 2019, @05:50PM (2 children)

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 15 2019, @05:50PM (#829946) Journal

              Dayum. I've argued what happened in that video many times. You're the first person who makes me want to go back and check what I saw and heard. Yeah, I think you're right - the chopper crew reported that they were picking up weapons. I want to look, see if they actually picked up anything that looked like a weapon.

              Thanks for the perspective.

              Let me ask one more question before I go looking for the video again, maybe you'll answer before I get back:

              How convinced are you that those erroneous reports that you allude to might constitute a war crime? Like, 1%, or 20%, or 50%?


              We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
              • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday April 15 2019, @06:51PM (1 child)

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 15 2019, @06:51PM (#829975) Journal


                Ethan McCord testimony on the incident. He specifically states that when he arrived on scene, he saw an RPG and an AK-47. He does describe pretty graphically how bad it was. As he testifies, the Wikileaks video is played. That report to superiors seems to be accurately transcribed at the bottom of the video:

                Yeah, Bushmaster, we have a van that's approaching, and picking up the bodies. . . . . Where's that van at? . . . Right down there by the bodies. . . . Okay, yeah. . . . Bushmaster, Crazyhorse. We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly uh picking up bodies and weapons . . . Let me engage . . . Can I shoot? . . . Roger. break.

                It is not clear whether Ethan actually saw an RPG, or he mistook the camera for an RPG. I have absolutely zero doubt that he properly identified an AK lying on the ground among the dead.

                The unedited version of the collateral murder video. I see no evidence that any of the four men in the van, or the reporter reached for anything that looked like a weapon. As I've already said, I, personally, cannot justify firing on the van. There were both dismounted and mounted troops very close by to apprehend the people in the van. But, as we've already agreed, neither of us were there. In my mind, still no war crime.

                And, I will note that "war crime" is a kind of emotional thing. If the chopper crew were put on trial, in Iraq, with a jury consisting of Iraqis, they would probably be found guilty. A trial in Europe, it would depend on the jurists. We could stack the jury with SJW's and convict them, or we could stack the jury with veterans, and they would walk. A trial in the US, very much the same as Europe.

                I've watched this video too many times now. Bottom line, I'm not 100% in agreement with that final call, but I stand with the troops who were there. I see no wrongdoing, and certainly not a war crime.

                You may ask, could I, or would I, condemn the troops, if things had been just a little different? Well, yes, I could. Let us speculate that the chopper crew had said something like this: "There are no weapons nearby, all the weapons were dropped at the corner, in the street." "Yeah, well we ought to stop those people trying to rescue our wounded guy." "Yeah, well, screw it, let's light them up."

                In that case, yes, I would condemn the flight crew.

                Yes, there were some callous remarks after the fact. Can't condemn them for that. As you stated yourself, they have to cope somehow.

                I want to thank you for your thoughtful and informed comments. I get so frustrated with people who know nothing, but have all the answers. Salutes, brother.

                We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @07:49PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15 2019, @07:49PM (#829991)

                  Yes, and there are people who doubt McCord's version of the events (I'm saying people disputed it defending the troops who were there). And likewise, I've become much more convinced that the group was carrying weapons which justifies the initial burst. One thing we haven't looked at, at all... The vast majority of journalists are in fact just journalists who do a dangerous job. But there's nothing that doesn't say that they embedded with that group and the photographer was doing recon for the insurgents peering around the corner with his camera. (The camera was examined afterwards and they did find digital images of the Humvee that the Apache was concerned about.... That's why I think it was the reporter aiming his camera around the corner that the Apache thought was an RPG.) And I'm actually most convinced by the image that the DoD says was an RPG round and the radio traffic identified as such. Add all that up, and that initial burst of fire could in fact be justified.

                  Do I think this was a "War Crime," akin to Nuremberg or Yugoslavia? No. It's not a War Crime. I do believe it could be a crime that happened in a combat environment. One for which there certainly are mitigating circumstances, but nevertheless a crime. And one that the United States very conveniently swept under the rug until Chelsea Manning supplied Wikileaks with this evidence. And the sort of thing that if you believe the critics does happen frequently. When you get ground commanders who give orders like "an IED goes off shoot everybody in the area," it reveals something. That things like this video pop up and happen and never become news not only degrades ourselves as a nation but also turns people over to the other side. (i.e. Of course the enemy will pop off an IED when 'innocents' are in the area because every mistaken kill becomes another link by which both our government and the one we back becomes the enemy and loses legitimacy to the people there who don't care about the politics). Sorry for the soapbox. TLDR is no, not a war crime but an ordinary crime.

                  I wouldn't even want the flight crew to get a BCD, nor do I think they should have jail time. But administrative punishment for a lapse in judgment (the hosing of the black van) seems very appropriate and never happened. To truly understand whether it was in fact a crime we'd have to have access and spend time analyzing the Rules of Engagement. Wikileaks has published them IIRC, but I won't go to that length. That it is classified information, in my mind, is questionable at best exactly because of situations like this. Yes, there are some security implications (as in the enemy will find and exploit the flaws in the any such plan) - but why exploits should be in such a plan is a good question. The biggest problem is it puts the military beyond civilian review of their actions - something that should never occur in a democracy where the military are in fact subject to the citizenry. And yes, the reporters should have been wearing Press garb.

                  You're right - horrid things happen in war. That doesn't justify everything that happens in warfare, though. (Nor does it means mistakes happen, either).

                  Thanks for being reasonable, yourself!