“Trophy” Video: Contractors Shooting Civilians

Iraq trophy video stillThe Sunday Telegraph reports that “a ‘trophy’ video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet.” The video, which was originally posted on an adjunct employee website of UK private security contractor Aegis Defence Ltd, is set to the music of Elvis:

In one of the videoed attacks, a Mercedes is fired on at a distance of several hundred yards before it crashes in to a civilian taxi. In the last clip, a white civilian car is raked with machine gun fire as it approaches an unidentified security company vehicle. Bullets can be seen hitting the vehicle before it comes to a slow stop.

There are no clues as to the shooter but either a Scottish or Irish accent can be heard in at least one of the clips above Elvis Presley’s Mystery Train, the music which accompanies the video.

The wanton disregard for human life displayed in the video has led some to question the role and accountability of private security contractors in Iraq (at one point a Humvee is seen driving on a parallel road with no intervention).

You can see the video for yourself here and here. (via Political Wire)

Update by Stephen Gordon: I just FTPed the video in Windows Media and Quicktime to save bandwidth for the sites linked above.

  1. Absolutely disgusting. If this video is a true representation of what is happening in Iraq, we are in deep shit. Our president says that we are fighting terror on their soil but it appears that these contractors are inciting terror.

  2. Despite everything I’ve seen from this war so far, I am still in shock. This is truly sickening.

    Either the video is real, and “we” are the terrorists, or the video has been faked somehow, and “we” are extreme sickos.

  3. Thanks Stephen V. I was looking at posting this as well, but most people think I’m some conspiracy nut or something ;)

    This is fucking disgusting. This is not a “price of war”, this is just killing people for sport. Was their any law broken? Any threat there? NO. None at all. But it’s an “acceptable” casuality right?

    I can’t wait to hear the apologists claiming how this is a war and we should accept such behavior. If this shit was happening in america, you might see another LA riot.

  4. Hang on a moment folks.

    Shocking is Islamists cutting of Nick Berg’s head. Shocking is Insurgent freedom fighters incinerating children getting sweets from soldiers, shocking is killing 1000 pilgrims in a single incident.

    This is just a video and a rumour.

    It looks to me like a deliberate anti-coalition propaganda effort designed precisely to shock sensitive souls like Rick (who appears to have missed the genuine horrors we have witness from the noble Iraqi resistance).

    You can conclude virtually nothing from that video except that people fired on persuing cars. We do not know if they were fired on FROM those cars or if they were attemting fight off a VBIED or otherwise knew that they carried enemy combatants. We don’t even see who they are.

    It could be insurgents for all we can tell from the video.

    If you want REAL shocking material Rick do the sums on who is killing civilians in Iraq these days. That’s right, those massive car bombs and seemingly daily discovery of massacred civilians are the work of the Freedom Fighters.

    Knowing that Route Irish is the most dangerous road in Iraq, and that contractors are heavily targeted, I will definitely reserve judgement until someone offers evidence that what we are witnessing in the video is attacks on civilians or fighting off attacks by insurgents.

  5. Jonathan,

    Did you miss the article showing where “undercover” British soldiers dressed up as muslims and shot at the Iraqi police? In case you didn’t


    and yes, the beheadings also sucked. But guess what. We can actually LEAVE the country. They apparently do not have a choice of us being there.

    Open your eyes man.

  6. The only reason that I could see for these shootings would be that the main attacks on the contractors were from vbieds coming up behind them. I don’t condone the murders. I’m trying to understand. The only alternative is that it was for fun.

  7. Why is this shocking? I don’t see much difference between this and when police kill “suspects” here in the US.

  8. Jonathan,

    Shocking are the atrocities which happen from either side in a war. However, if we weren’t over there, it wouldn’t be us engaging (and oftentimes being the victims) in needless brutalities.

    From the video, it appears like a joyride – with no provocation.

    I don’t know if the video is accurate or not – but either way, it is sick.

  9. The only surprising thing here is that anybody should be surprised by it. If you follow the middle-east and far-east news sites, these incidents are reported daily, and I mean daily. Not only contractors but also US forces fire randomly when a bomb goes off, for instance and kill anybody lucky enough to survive the terrorist IED but unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. They are quite open about it and unashamedly refer to it as ‘suppressive fire’ whatever that hogwash is supposed to mean. The video, which looks entirely authentic to me, is just another notch in the ratchet of US-inspired terror and brutality to add to the tribulations of ordinary Iraqis at the hands of the wild men. For every time you hear cant about freedom and democracy listen for the backgound noise of white phosphorus, ‘unique’ interrogation techniques and ‘suppressive fire’

  10. The only surprising thing I saw watching the clip is that the shooter was such a bad shot. I reviewed the footage over and over. I slowed it down, stopped it and replayed it. I never saw anyone actually shot. Shame on the shooter for being such a bad shot.

    The “Sunday Telegraph” reported the indiscriminate shooting of civilians. How do we know this to be the truth? Warnings are posted on the front and rear of all military and civilian vehicles to maintain a certain distance and if they don’t they will be fired upon.

    Where were the exploding heads, flying bodies, blood and splats? Why did the shooter not shoot at the fleeing people after the collision? That would be a perfect time to pick some of them off. Then we could all see someone shot.

    It is my opinion this is bulls***. I visited the website of the Aegis Defense and could find no further information. I have done a search for additional information from other news sources concerning this incident and found none.

    It certainly is fodder for you antiwar soldier bashing libertarians along with your leftist socialist partners in American soldier bashing, British soldier bashing and contractor bashing to justify running with our USA tails between our legs.

    Everytime I think I may want to be a libertarian, you people raise your ugly propoganda heads. Is there anything you can write that is positive? I have discussed your position with many Iraqi veterans as well as the slant the news puts on the war and everyone to a person tells me that the whole story is not being told and never will.

    I expect to be bashed again for this position and what I am about to write. The whole story was never told about Vietnam. I was an eyewitness and what was written and said about the war there and about me and my brothers in arms was trash. It became revisionist history and that is what most of you learned in high school and college.

    College professors also tried to teach me the lies but could not because I had lived the history.

    Bring on the bashing and bullcrap again. I cannot believe you neanderthals believe everything you read without attempting to verify the truth.

    I will wait to see what the outcome is before passing judgement just as I did when soldiers were accused of desecrating the Koran at Guantanamo Bay which has now been discredited.

    There are those such as some of you that gloat and hope for our utter failure in Iraq. If we do and you and yours are successful in turning the tide and we leave as we tend to over and over, you can be so proud of yourselves for your unrelenting attacks on these policies.

    Why is it you want to criticize and sabotage success but cannot come up with a plan? Is it because you really don’t have one for the future of this country, you just want to rip and tear and criticize and destroy?

  11. Julian,

    You bring up a good point about them being bad shots. I noted that myself as I’ve fired US Army peashooters many many times.

    No matter what one’s stance on the war is, like Abu Ghraib, this appears to be people that have gone way over the edge.

    When I was in the Army, I felt a sense of honor and duty. The only way we can have an honorable military again is to purge people (military and contractors) who unlawfully commit unnecessary violent acts.

    We may not agree about whether we should be in Iraq, but certainly we can agree on this.

  12. Julian,

    I am a Libertarian and I agree with what you wrote in your last post. There are plenty of us (Libertarians) who are for the war and agree that going into Iraq was the right move. There are also obviously plenty of Libertarians who are against the war. There are good arguments for both sides, but like I said, I was for it and I want our country to see it through. What I am against it the bull**** that people on both sides of the argument dish out at each other.

    This video is a perfect example of the anti-war crowd’s attempt to undermine our efforts in Iraq by reporting anything that will tarnish the coalition’s image. I’ll admit that there is plenty of B.S. coming from the pro-war side as well. It is my hope as a Libertarian that we can agree to disagree about this kind of stuff, but agree to stop slinging the B.S.

    Julian, thank you for your service to our country and God bless every one of our troops who risk their lives so I can sit on my chair and write on this Blog.

  13. Adam,

    You make quite the bold assumption that our being in Iraq a) was necessary to make us more secure and b) staying in there also makes us safer.

    For instance… what would have happened to the average american if we didn’t invade Iraq. Answer: Well, we’d have more money for one thing. Our national debt wouldn’t be as severe. We certainly wouldn’t be pissing off the entire rest of the world.

    Osama had absolutely no connection with Saddam. In fact, they were enemies. You’re quick to point out what could be propoganda on one side without ever stopping to consider if it exists on your side as well.

  14. Rick

    Adam said “there is plenty of B.S. coming from the pro-war side as well”.

    You said, “You’re (Adam) quick to point out what could be propoganda on one side without ever stopping to consider if it exists on your side as well”.

    It appears you are reading what you want to read.

    I do not believe you will ever be able to persuade many of us that being in Iraq is incorrect. All you and the antiwar element of the Libertarian Party is going to accomplish is to drive us out of the libertarian movement. Be careful because you need us if libertarians are ever going to have a chance of winning any major elections.

    Maybe you should get off the antiwar drum beating bandwagon soap box and work to embrace all of us.

    You and I have had our fights in this forum. I’m still here but those like Adam may choose to move on when you and the other antiwar libertarians gang up on those that support the troops and their presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as well.

  15. Rick,

    My quote directly above your post: “I’ll admit that there is plenty of B.S. coming from the pro-war side as well.” I fully acknowledge the propaganda from both the left and the right, and it is equally disgusting from both sides.

    How exactly did we piss off the whole world? I forget, what happened first, 9/11 or our invasion of Iraq? Al Qaeda doesn’t hate us because we have bases in the Middle East, they hate us because they despise our way of life and consider us infidels. In their perverted interpretation of Islam, anyone who doesn’t believe what they do deserves to die. The only way to destroy that type of fanaticism is to confront it head on and destroy it, and that’s what we’re doing. After we toppled the Taliban, Iraq was next on our list for two reasons:

    1) He made it look like he had WMD’s. (he probably did)
    2) He’s used chemical weapons in the past ON HIS OWN PEOPLE. What makes you think he would hesitate to use them on us?

    Make no mistake, we are safer with Saddam out of power. Before we invaded Iraq, Saddam continued to toy with the UN weapons inspectors. I still think he had WMDs but he just got them out of his country before we got there. If he never had them why not allow unfettered access to his country like was required following the Gulf War Ceasefire. If he simply would have complied and had nothing to hide he would still be in power. The UN being the corrupt bureaucratic monstrosity that it is didn’t want to remove Saddam from power because the people in charge (Kofi Annan’s son for one thing) were profiting directly from keeping him in at the helm in Iraq. France and Germany also had billions invested in that country, yet another reason for the UN’s inaction. If these are the people you are worried about pissing off, then I’d like to know why.

    The war in Iraq has been costly both in dollars and in lives. Every Soldier who dies over there dies to make us safer, it’s just too bad that more of you can’t recognize that.

  16. Lets take a step back here.

    As you know I am neither for nor against this war.

    Why did we fund Saddam in the 80’s? We also funded Bin Laden in the 80’s. It would appear that are funding may have went to the death of our own soldiers and I find that unacceptable. That is not to say I support what Ossama and Hussein did because I am glad Hussein is in jail and wish the same to Bin Laden. I do say that we were wrong to do fund them in the first place and we should take a look at how we are dealing with Pakistan and India today.

    There is no reason for anyone to leave the Libertarian movement because of something a few people say and yes we do need your support. We are not going to agree on every issue because we are not the same and to be honest life would be boring if we were.

  17. Julian and Adam,

    I apologize. I should have read with a more discerning eye and now see that yes, adam did admit propoganda does occur on each side. Thanks for keeping me honest, I’ll take a little more time before shooting from the hip.

  18. Adam,

    But still, whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or not is a moot point. WE have weapons of mass destruction and have been using it on them. Let’s see, Iraq has destroyed 0 of our buildings and we have demolished their city. So when do we allow China to come in and change our government?

    From a libertarian standpoint, I like to address the issue of sovereignty. Currently, Iraq is part of our empire (yeah, we said we left, but things certainly haven’t changed as we still dictate policy there). At what point do we declare victory? Are we ever to leave?

    I certainly don’t feel safer, as our ever encroaching police state will merely imprison us all. Are you ready to give up your guns too for safety?

    Lastly, I don’t care what other countries think about us as a people, but they certainly will retaliate economically if we just go beating the shit out of people in the mideast. I know China could absolutely ruin us if they decided to dump the hundreds of billions of dollars that they hold and save euros instead.

  19. Julian,

    You make some good points now that you’re not merely throwing insults and making threats.

    I still disagree with this war, and it’s not because I have a soft heart, it’s not because I particularly like Iraqis, and it’s not because I’m a tree hugging hippy. It’s that this war was all started on a pack of lies. It was created for the war hawks to give themselves big budgets and lots of new power. The international bankers are certainly raking in big with all the borrowed money on our part. Haliburton’s stock have made some impressive gains and recieves a ton of no bid contracts. And lastly, the only one truly benefiting from this is Israel, as we are kicking the shit out of all of their enemies and footing the entire bill (both in money and lives).

    This whole war is one false pretext after another. If you truly believe this is making us safer, then you must also believe in a police state. After all, the only way we could truly be safe from other countries is to control all of their governments… and the only way to be safe from every american is to take everyone’s gun away and also imprison everyone that even raises their voice.

    I don’t buy it. Not won bit.

    And lasty, I want to make this clear. I do not hate our troops, and do not jump for joy when I see the death toll increasing. It sucks. But can’t we just stop this debacle? Iraq is going to go into civil war if we continue to muck around. How many lives is a puppet government in Iraq worth?

  20. Rick

    Here we go again. I have never said I was in favor of a police state. I have put my ass in gear in the past to back up rights guaranteed under the Constitution even being arrested while demonstrating. What have you done lately? Gone to jail instead of backing down when the First Amendment is at stake? I did not back down.

    You choose to live in a police state, Mass., that has invoked strong gun control. I carry concealed because I can as guaranteed under the Second Amendment. I would still own firearms even if Big Brother decided to confiscate all of them. Would you?

    I do not need a lecture on freedom or trading in freedom for safety. I have told you before that even you and I vehemently disagree on the need for force (our force) in the world, that if our military or even police were to turn against us, you will surely be running to people like me and my comrades begging for protection from tyranny.

    You know my son. Ask him. He will tell you that his father is the biggest nightmare a tyrranical government has if they ever even dream of attacking the people.

    Again, you will never persuade me or many others that being in Iraq or anywhere else in the world that presents even a remote threat to us is wrong. I say go where we have to go. Better that they die in their own country defending their way of life than us dying on our soil fighting them off to defend our way of life.

  21. Rick,

    I appreciate your levelheadedness when it comes to this debate. I think that rational people can disagree about this issue. I just don’t like it when one side tries to embellish or understate various stories just to further their cause like the video at the beginning of this thread. This is a complicated issue and it only gets further complicated when people on different sides of the argument start slinging around crap like this video. We should focus on facts, logic, and what’s actually going on over there. But instead, people on both sides grab on to whatever they can to support their case no matter how absurd it is.

    As a Libertarian, it is my hope that our party could focus on truth, facts, and logic and not succumb to the level of the republicrats by reporting about such ridiculous stories merely to support one side of this tough argument.

    The general public is sick of lies from both the left and the right. If Libertarians could just recognize this and argue their points without using the same truth-bending tactics as the republicrats, we might actually get somewhere.

  22. Adam,

    Agreed. I do not speak out against this war simply because of this video and the “can’t we all get along” rhetoric. If Iraq posed, in my mind, a legitimate threat to us I would have no problem agreeing with you and Julian (and all others supporting the war). But I feel like the only ones saying that Iraq is a threat is our administration.

    I can agree to disagree on this matter, but I will still speak out, and will try to stay away from the emotional pleas…


  23. Rick,

    Iraq did pose a legitimate threat and I’ll tell you why. I draw an analogy between Hitler and Saddam. At the end of WWI the Treaty of Versailles set very strict limits on what Germany could do, and rightfully so. At the end of the Gulf War, we set some rules for Saddam to follow, and rightfully so. When Hitler came to power in 1933 he blatantly disregarded the treaty and began to build up the German military. Throughout the 1990’s Saddam defied the Gulf War Ceasefire by toying with and throwing out UN weapons inspectors regularly. In the 1930’s, the League of Nations along with the U.S. buried their heads in the sand because they didn’t see an “imminent threat” from Hitler’s Germany even though he was obviously breaking the rules of the treaty. This is the same thing that was happening with the bureaucrats at the U.N. in the 1990’s regarding Iraq. We all know what happened when we ignored the gathering threat from Germany in the 30s. This time we were smart and took out the threat before it could gather strength and cause some real damage.

    And lets not forget that in the nuclear world, you don’t need a strong Air Force, a Navy, or a million man army. You just need a bomb that can fit in a van to park in Times Square. Saddam had WMDs, otherwise he wouldn’t have been toying with the weapons inspectors. He’s also demonstrated that he will use them. Iraq was a legitimate threat and the entire planet is better off with Saddam gone.

    People like Hitler and Saddam are cancers on the Earth. And like cancer, dictators like these need to be identified and destroyed early before they can get strong. We let Hitler grow and look what you got. We got Saddam before he could get us.

    That’s why I support this war and that’s why Iraq was a threat.

  24. Rick

    The spoils of war allowed the harsh restrictions. The winners, not the losers in a war get to dictate the terms of surrender. As far as I am concerned, we have been much too lenient on the Iraqis, particularly the Sunnis that were members of the Baathist Party. Oh, by the way, the Baathists are the ones that have totalitarian control of Syria. As far as I am concerned, they should be next.

  25. Rick,

    I enjoy your nitpicking. A good honest debate like this benefits both of us.

    The restrictions put on Germany after WWI were too harsh. While I do believe that Germany should have been held accountable for what they had done, the Treaty of Versailles so crippled the German economy that it created a fertile breeding ground for the Nazi party to take root in 1933.

    As Julian points out, the victors are the ones that dictate the terms of surrender. The Germans should have had to pay for at least some of the damage they caused during the First World War, but not to the point where the general public plunged into poverty.

  26. The real analogy with post – 1918 Germany is that the German people were so demoralized and humiliated by the brutal and stupidly applied ‘reparations'(ring a bell with revenge for 9-11?)that the result was that they were amenable and ready for the first extremist offer of a solution to their predicament viz. Natonal Socialism. The extremist option is easily available to Sunni Iraqis who are brutalised and humiliated daily by the US Military and the various mercenary groups defiling their country and their people. They will naturally gravitate to the organisations who can offer a defence/response to this and that process will continue to expand the resistance. America has lost the war in Iraq already. The question is how bad and costly a defeat is Bush prepared to let America suffer.

  27. this video is obviously not the coalitions fault.its a couple of dickhead civvies making trouble. im sure intelligence are doing everything they can to find out who did it.stop blaming them.