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Was Killing of Nine Afghan Boys Deliberate? A Call for the Gun Camera Video

By Ralph Lopez - Posted on 10 March 2011

We know this: the optics of modern helicopter gunships are crystal clear at vast distances. The image below is from the attack on men in Baghdad in 2007 at a range of one mile. This is from the video released by Wikileaks which includes an attack on a wounded man crawling on the ground. The distance can be calculated by the known speed of a .30 cannon round and the clocked time between vibrations indicating the commencement of fire, and the rounds striking the men and the ground. At a mile, the helicopter is not much more than a speck in the sky, which explains why the men seem so unconcerned. They probably didn't even see it.

In the "accidental" killing of nine Afghan boys, ages 9 to 15, collecting firewood last week, the range was close enough for a surviving boy to report:

“We were almost done collecting the wood when suddenly we saw the helicopters come. There were two of them. The helicopters hovered over us, scanned us and we saw a green flash from the helicopters. Then they flew back high up, and in a second round they hovered over us and started shooting.”

He said they “shot the boys one after another.”

Question: How in the world could the helicopter gun crew not be able to distinguish between men carrying rifles and rockets, and boys as young as nine carrying firewood?

Interestingly, none of the reports I have seen indicates which kind of helicopters these were, which would allow identification of the onboard optics. Look at the image below, at one mile, again. Can you distinguish between men and boys, at a distance so close you could probably read writing on a baseball cap?

This comes months after it was revealed that US soldiers in Afghanistan were killing Afghans for sport and taking fingers as trophies.

It also comes after more and more Afghans are coming to believe that killings of civilians are intentional and policy, as a way of waging war on a population.

Mohammed Bismil, the brother of two of the boys killed, did not care for Petraeus’ apology but said, “The only option I have is to pick up a Kalashnikov, RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] or a suicide vest to fight.”

Months earlier in 2010, after initially choosing not to investigate, NATO forces offered an apology for killing a fourteen year old girl. Her father Mohammad Karim simply responded, “Now, what should I do with ‘sorry’?”

Last month was the one year anniversary of the killing of two pregnant mothers, men and a teenage girl by a NATO night raid. In an attempt to cover it up, the US forces dug the bullets out of the victims bodies.

In the finger-cutting episode, the military refuses to release photos that show US soldiers posing with naked, mutilated and charred corpses of their victims. The father of one of the victims killed was quoted as saying, “The Americans really love to kill innocent people.” One soldier, Spc. Adam Winfield, and his father tried relentlessly to blow the whistle. He had said his squad leader “gives high-fives to the guy who kills innocent people and plans more with him.” Instead of honoring Winfield for exposing the truth, he was instead charged with the same crimes.

The commanders set the tone. The new CENTCOM commander who replaced Petraeus, Marine General James Mattis, once drew fire when he said:

“Its fun to kill people…it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot [Afghans]....Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.”

This guy doesn't belong in command of CENTCOM. He belongs in a mental institution.

This is what the world sees. War is not a dirty, regrettable job. It's fun. The man thinking of "putting on a suicide vest" takes all this into account.

This is a call for the release of the gun camera video in the killing of the nine boys in Kunar Province last week. This is not over. I want to see what the gunship crew was seeing. A military whitewash is not enough, a congressional investigation is called for. I want to know what the hell is going on.


Contact Congress here

Resolution of gunship optics at one mile in Apache Longbow helicopter. Can you tell these are men and not boys as young as nine?

CENTCOM commander General James Mattis

Afghan civilian casualties


But Washington has deaf ears.

And that's a big problem. Washington does not govern based on for the people, et cetera, it runs or is governed by Wall Street elites and other affiliated elites. Washington only works for hellbent "interests", certainly not for the average citizen or person.

These so-called elites didn't care during the 1990s and earlier, and they're not going to have deceloped any real care for humanity since. For them, real humanity is to be dealt with violently and dictatorially, but they have to avoid making the latter part obvious; for fooling voters into believing that they or we have any real democracy at all is "strategic".

Speaking Events

Jan 19-22: Washington, D.C.: Non-Violent Protest Anti War/Anti Nuke on Inauguration Day and on Facebook

January 29: David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.

February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.

April 7-9: Huntsville, Alabama: 25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest

May or June: UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va. April 29: possible multi-issue protest in DC.

August 2-6: Democracy Convention in Minneapolis.

Find more events here.


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