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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Collecting American War Crimes Photographic Evidence

War crimes prosecutors are interested in reviewing photographic evidence of American combat force war crimes committed in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Eastern Europe. Of interest are allegations that US combat forces, after killing Iraqi civilians, have placed weapons beside Iraqi civilians and non-combatants.

This is not a request for you to do anything illegal; only a notification that the war crimes prosecutors are interested in any lawful assistance you may be able to provide documenting evidence of American war crimes in Iraq.

[This information may be updated without notice; future samples of war crimes video evidence may be placed or linked]

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As you make your way through the internet, please consider reminding others than video evidence of war crimes is of interest.

If you have friends in the Middle East, or know of bloggers in Iraq or Iran, remind them the world knows about the American war crimes in Iraq. Sy Hersch indicated the scope of the American war crimes abuses in Iraq is wide. Ref: Accounts of American combat forces placing weapons by Iraqi civilians; and the scope of the unreported American war crimes in Iraq. [S. Hersch article]

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Ref Sample video [ CounterAmbush Operation Charile CO MAP 4 1/24 RCT-5 060428 ] Scene shows civilians apparently firing at the patrol, leaving weapons inside a car, then fleeing.

Good Pionts

Identifies a possible unit inovled, the date, and is well lit.


(a) Fails to show details: Nothing identiifies the unit in the image;

(b) The civilians cannot be seen prior to their being chased, or what they are doing;

(c) The image does not include any information about whether the people were alive or dead, or what happened to them after they disappeared from the camera.

Here's what's needed:

(A) Unit Information on Vehicles and Insignia

Images of troops moving around vehicles. As they turn and face each other, their insignia and vehicle identification marks will be visible. Please encourage videographers to forward video and still images of American forces near their combat vehicles, preferable if the American forces are facing each other; live video streams are best if they show troops turning, changing direction, and proving a full profile of their face, and detailed unit insignia.

Ref Sample images of how even small images of US forces can be traced to their original units, personnel names, and identify their unit commanders.

(B) Approximate Location

The videos should include a map, containing a drawing or line image depicting where the footage was taken; the approximate time of day; direction the video was shot; and the GPS grid coordinates of the images and incident. The details of the images can be reconstructed, and compressed into timelines, which will assist war crimes prosecutors in organizing evidence for war crimes tribunals, judges, and other investigators.

(C) Details of Incident

Please include comments about the details observed in the images. If there are any comments about the incident, such as the number of troops observed, but not seen on camera or in the images; the time of day the incident first started, the duration of the encounter, and details on the number of civilians killed.

Ref Here is a sample affidavit of interest to war crimes prosecutors. Visit here for the affidavit: Click here. Notice the details: Approximate size, location of incident, what the person saw, and any other details related to the person that would help war crimes prosecutors identify the American combat forces involved with the alleged war crimes.

If you have a cell phone camera, and a remote ability to record your voice, if you can record your observations of the incidents such as: I see four troops exiting a vehicle; they are walking toward a group of about 15 Iraqi civilians near a store. The Americans are moving quickly. An Iraqi lady has been hit, and she is falling on her friend. The others have started to move away. The Americans have pulled one to the ground and are yelling. One of the Americans has fired his weapon into the ground and two Iraqi civilians have fallen down.

Include if you can: Numbers, and describe the events as you see them. If you can, practice doing this while watching TV, or when you are around your friends. When the Americans move, they will move quickly; then they will look outward to see if anyone is observing them. Your job will be to be safe.

(D) Close-up images

After the incident is over, and the Americans have left, if you can include details of close up images of the Iraqi civilians killed; details of the sand around their bodies showing that the weapons have been placed; and details on the direction the weapons were dragged across the sand before being placed next to Iraqi civilians.

If you can, attempt to walk at eye level across the sand to trace the path that the Americans dragged the weapons from their vehicles or weapons cache. This will give observes an idea of the distance required to move the weapons; and a clear indication that the weapons were not originally with the Iraqi civilians. This will also show that Iraqis did not happen to fall down with the weapons; or that they were carrying the weapons.

If you can get additional information, images, or details of the source of the weapons, how the Americans acquired the evidence, and what vehicles they used to transport the weapons before placing them next to dead Iraqi civilians.

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Email, Relatives

Also of interest to war crimes prosecutors are emails from troops which may include descriptions of incidents.

Here are some samples. Please encourage your friends to contact family members of American military personnel, and remind them they have to make a choice: Whether they are going to be on the side of the law; or whether they are going to be silent about the illegal activity.

Either way, if the returning American combat forces do not have a chance to discuss what is happening, they may later find that they suffer mental problems. Returning troops may need time to wind down, or not want to talk about what they have seen. This is to be expected.

However, some of them may be willing to share what they have heard or seen. If you can, after asking permission, make notes of what they say, or record their comments, and make sure you get clear information about what they saw; whether there was any adverse action; or how their friends in their unit reacted.

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American forces are known to target videographers. If you are aware of an incident, ensure your physical location is different than where your cameras are located.

It is also illegal, and videographers could be summarily executed by Americans for espionage, if they are caught taking photographs of US military installations, entry points, or taking photographs of personnel engaged in security or maintenance activities. Although these are interesting, you are not being requested to engage in any illegal surveillance; nor are you being asked to conduct any illegal espionage.

Your only job is to remind others that if there exists video evidence of war crimes, the world is prepared to examine the photographic evidence.

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What To Do With Your Information

AlJezeera, Iranian Intelligence, and Syrian undercover forces in Iraq may be in a position to provide assistance. Although you may not know them directly, undercover forces are in Iraq gathering information, and engaged in ongoing monitoring of the Americans. The NSA regularly intercepts their communications; but not all of their equipment and messages can be traced.

Open media is also in a position to alert others in Iraq of the war crimes evidence collection. If you know someone who is an editor, or a publisher of an electronic media, request that they use their broadcast power and public voice to share with others what Sy Hersh has reported; and the ongoing effort to secure evidence of American war crimes in Iraq.

If you can, forward the videos to AlJazeera, or make the location of the information known on the internet. Again, you are not encouraged to do anything illegal, only make public the evidence that may be of interest to war crimes prosecutors.

It is possible to work with other broadcast companies, informing them of the information. Also, there are some personnel in the Iraqi government who may or may not know of people in the media who would support posting the information.

Your Job

Let your friends know that American civilians and war crimes prosecutors are open and receptive to video information and evidence related to illegal war crimes.

Tell your friends that the Americans know about the US combat force war crimes in Iraq. Make it clear that the American government has been suppressing this information; and that the Iraqi civilians are known to have been illegally killed by US combat forces; and that it is a regular policy of the American forces to place weapons by illegally killed Iraqi civilians.

Please do not encourage anyone to provoke any incidents with Americans; rather, if any Iraqis happen to notice anything, or have video images of these activities, make copies, keep the originals safe, and provide the open media with your information.


___ Discuss with your friends letters and other contacts you may be able to make directly to regional governments surrounding Iraq. Their combat forces are on alert, and have personnel inside Iraq who can receive and transmit information.

___ Remind the world of the images of destruction in Germany during WWII. The world will have to see the images before they can digest the stories in Sy Hersh's article

___ See if you can work with your friends and neighbors to contact other people in the Middle East -- those who may know someone who is indirectly reporting or blogging from Iraq -- and pass the word that outsiders know there is a problem with US combat forces committing war crimes, and that we are interested in presenting these videos to the war crimes prosecutors.

___ Perhaps find someone in Iran who can indirectly communicate with the Iranian President, seeking his assistance to organize a war crimes-evidence collection campaign; or requesting the Iranian government make a public statement to the world about the American war crimes being committed in Iraq. Encourage the Iranians to discuss with their colleagues and friends in Iraq to provide them the technical support and assistance to capture images of the American war crimes.

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Intended Use

The images you provide will be used to identify units, troops, and station of assignment of US military personnel.

The information will be collected, and presented to the war crimes prosecutors to investigate specific war crimes allegations; and determine to what extent the Secretary of Defense and combatant commanders have failed to implement the DoD 5100.77 laws of war program, and Geneva requirements.


This information is provided to assist in war crimes evidence gathering. This data collection and evidence request is lawful under the laws of war. Any threat made against anyone who hopes to report evidence of war crimes could be a subsequent war crime punishable under the Geneva Conventions, up to including the death penalty.

American forces who receive this message are encouraged to review your 5100.77 DoD Laws of War program; and understand that you remain lawful targets for war crimes evidence collection. Any effort you make to dissuade others from taking lawful action could be held against you under the UCMJ and laws of war program. DoD Staff Judge Advocate Generals are in a position to assist you if you are aware of war crimes information.

US civilians living in the Continental United States or overseas at support bases for American military personnel, especially in Kuwait, are encouraged to make not of any claims American combat forces make related to abuse or killing of Civilians in Iraq; or other war crimes information.

This is not a solicitation that you do anything illegal, or that you take action that might violate the law. Rather, you are encouraged to pass this information to others who may have direct or indirect knowledge of those who may have heard something about war crimes; or be able to forward this information to Iraqis and others in Iraq who may be in a position to gather evidence of war crimes.

At no time are you requested to do anything immediately; rather, you are encouraged to remember that you could be targeted by the Americans if you choose to gather evidence. Be safe, and do not put yourself at unnecessary risk.

Unless the world sees images of what is going on, it may take longer to lawfully prosecute the Americans for failing to enforce the rule of law. There is no schedule or time limit; rather, the interest is to ensure all who may have direct or indirect contact with regional actors that it would be better to collect and save photographic information now, while the crimes are being committed, rather than rely on witness recollections later.

Good luck.