Shame on WikiLeaks: Framing Lawful Engagement as Anti-American Propaganda (Part Two)
WikiLeaks, which prides itself on obtaining classified information, ignored a publicly available unclassified report that clearly refutes a dark assertion they went out of their way to make.
We've already established that the critics at WikiLeaks would have us question whether or not pilots in a combat zone should fire upon identified enemy forces based upon their body language and posture. WIkiLeaks also seems not at all concerned about the verified presence of weapons among those killed, and they also ignore the fact that militants use camera equipment as part of their propaganda war. Even more troubling, they go out of their way to erroneously suggest that American forces treated children wounded in the engagement with callousness. This suggests that the WikiLeaks release, "Collateral Murder," was not intended to shed light upon the incident, but instead was carefully constructed to elicit outrage and fury.
The organization happens to be attempting to raise funds now. Claiming the need for an operating budget of $600,000, the group states they have only been able to raise $370,000. The implication seems both sad and obvious. Desperate for both attention and funding, WikiLeaks carefully constructed a propaganda video designed to raise their profile and increase donations.
They carefully framed the video footage with nearly three minutes of exposition, instead of merely allowing the video to stand on its own, relaying the actual context of this incident as it occurred during a larger battle to diminish the power of militants and restore order during the surge. (Which effectively ended militia control and greatly reduced sectarian violence in this area.) For reasons known only to WikiLeaks, they refuse in the shorter video to show or even mention the third engagement of the helicopter crew that morning, just blocks away, where a larger group of insurgents was destroyed with missiles.
WikiLeaks whitewashed the presence of weapons clearly shown by gun camera footage and ignored the confirmation in military investigations of the incident that the militant's weapons displayed in the footage were recovered at the scene. WikiLeaks attempted to create obtuse new standards and rules of engagement, implying that "relaxed" terrorists should not be fired upon. They carefully omit the rules of engagement and refuse to note that evacuating combatants are still enemy targets and recognized as such by almost every military in the world.
The WikiLeaks video and "Collateral Murder" website seem calibrated for the express purpose of accusing soldiers of murder for the purposes of fundraising.
If they would like to continue to be though of as a non-partisan whistleblower organization, WikiLeaks must retract the inflammatory "Collateral Murder" short video, shut down the identically titled website, and provide critical and historical context -- not partisan framing -- around the events depicted.
The WikiLeaks fundraising effort "Collateral Murder" is not an accurate reflection of what occurred that morning in 2007 and manages only to slaughter the truth.