I just came across this today while browsing an indymedia web site:
this is text from the indymedia site:
This video has caused a great deal of controversy. Originally shown on ABC TV, it was first shown as an object lesson as to what happens to Iraqi Insurgents who dare show weapons before US forces. However, as time goes on, doubt has begun to surface as to whether the people shown blown to pieces with the 30mm cannon on the Apache were really insurgents, or just harmless farmers.
This is what is known about the tape. It is from the thermographic camera system of an Apache attack helicopter. The image is of heat, not of light. The time of day appears to be midmorning, based on the time display seen on the heads-up display. Military time uses a 24 hour system, there is no "PM" in military clocks.
The vehicle at the far left of the video is a farm tractor, facing away. The engine is running as is evidenced by the hot vertical exhaust tupe and the glowing undercarriage seen in the thermal image. Attached to the rear of the tractor is a plough, and the dirt in the foreground shows clear furrows.
There is a longer version of the tape (which may not play on everyone's computers) that does show one individual taking a long object or objects from his car and taking it over to the vehicle at the far right. It is assumed by those who want to justify the shooting that this object is a missile launcher assembly being discarded. However, one cannot explain why someone who had just fired off an RPG at US troops would bother to put the used launcher into his car, only to them drive someplace else and then discard it. Nor does it make sense that the man would place a weapon over there it is likely to be run over by the tractor and plough, damaging both the weapon and the plough assembly as well. And, given that the man does not in any way point the object at the approaching helicopter, it is clear that at least he does not think it is a working weapon. Given that the object is actually longer than an RPG launcher assembly, three alternative explanations suggest themselves.
1. That the object is a bundle of long handled farm tools being taken over to where the farmers are working with the tractor.
2. That the object is a bundle of thin poles to be driven into the ground ahead of the tractor to give the tractor driver a visible guide to keep the furrows straight.
3. As suggested by a reader, that the object may be part of the plastic pipe irrigation system used in dry climate agriculture.
We can deduce several facts from the video.
From the perspective seen in the video, it is clear that the Apache helicopter is not being threatened. It is hovering, moving slowly forward, and not engaging in any evasive maneuvers which would suggest that the individuals on the ground have threatened the apache in any way.
From the body language of the individuals on the ground, it is clear that they themselves do not feel they are doing anything which should be of concern to a US helicopter hovering nearby. In other words, they do not act like the object thrown into the field near the tractor is anything the US helicopter would object to. No sooner has the man delivered the object to the tractor than he turns and walks back to the car. At no time does he (or anyone else) act like they are trying to escape the area until the Apache opens fire.
From The Geneva Convention 3-1: 1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria
The very FIRST person gunned down was the person who had been driving the tractor. This video records a war crime.