Video captures slaughter of Iraqis,
including two Reuters employees, in Baghdad.
09 April 2010
Guild calls on Obama to investigate
by U.S. forces in Iraq
WASHINGTON — After the release of
a government-suppressed video of the shooting deaths of more
than a dozen Iraqis, including a Reuters photographer and
his assistant, the executive council of The Newspaper Guild-CWA
calls on U.S. President Barack Obama to order an independent
investigation of the circumstances surrounding such killings.
The Guild represents more than 400 journalists and other
employees at Reuters.
The 17-minute clip, posted by WikiLeaks.org
on April 5, includes footage of Apache helicopters opening
fire on several people as they stand and walk along a Baghdad
street, along with audio of the pilots' conversation.
Among those killed in the 2007 incident were photographer
Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant, Saeed Chmagh, 40.
Other casualties included two children, plainly visible in
a window of a van that was shot after it stopped to assist
the wounded. A military investigation, however, concluded
that U.S. forces had acted properly and no disciplinary action
"The video is shocking in its display of a callous
disregard for human life," said Guild President Bernie
Lunzer. "The 17-minute video shows no Iraqi provocation
or evidence that U.S. forces came under fire. The Pentagon
has claimed otherwise. The American people deserve to know
the truth, and the U.S. military’s role should be fully
The International Federation of Journalists, whose affiliates
include the Guild and journalists' groups in 150 countries,
echoes TNG's call for a proper inquiry, noting that the government's
investigations to date appear to have placed a primary emphasis
on exonerating military personnel.
The IFJ said it has catalogued 19
cases since March 2003 in which journalists and media staff
have died at the hands of U.S. soldiers. "In all of these cases, families and
friends of the killed journalists continue to wait for credible
investigations and honest reports about how and why their
loved ones died," the IFJ noted.
The Guild's Executive Council cited the Obama administration's
promise of greater transparency and its avowed commitment
to human rights as reasons to hope that a full accounting
finally may be at hand.