There is no shortage of activists, journalists, academics, and people of conscience who have some story to share about the impact of the “Collateral Murder” video.
The U.S. military footage of an Apache helicopter crew shooting indiscriminately at a dozen Iraqi civilians — including Reuters journalists Namir Noor Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh, and two young children — is widely recognized for exposing the true nature of the United States war in Iraq and for making WikiLeaks and Julian Assange household names.
Three years before WikiLeaks made it possible for the public to watch this video, Dean Yates, Reuters bureau chief in Iraq, learned of its existence. Yates testified about the impact of the video at the Belmarsh Tribunal in Sydney, Australia on March 4, 2023.
Later in the Tribunal, another delegate, Australian lawyer Bernard Collaery, called Yates’ testimony “admissible evidence,” which could serve as witness testimony in defense of Assange. (In fact, a statement from Yates was submitted to a British court during Assange’s extradition trial.)
It has now been nearly 13 years since WikiLeaks published the video, and nearly 16 years since the attack took place. No one responsible for the attack or the invasion of Iraq has faced even a modicum of accountability.
In contrast, Assange is languishing in Belmarsh Prison under torturous conditions. He sits in legal limbo while the United States continues to pursue his extradition under Espionage Act charges, in a case which poses an unprecedented threat to press freedom.
While WikiLeaks’ publication of military documents from Iraq and Afghanistan are at the heart of the case, the “Collateral Murder” video is absent from the 18-count indictment that spans 37 pages.
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