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  • Writer's pictureThe Fact Hunter

Julian Assange Is Free: The Cost Of Exposing The Truth

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will appear in court Wednesday to plead guilty to a felony for publishing U.S. military secrets under a deal that will set him free to return home to Australia after years holed up and imprisoned while fighting extradition to America.


The hearing, which will take place in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific, is the stunning culmination of the U.S. government’s yearslong pursuit of the publisher who has been painted both as a hero and a reckless criminal for exposing hundreds of thousands of sensitive military documents.


A private jet carrying Assange is expected to land in Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands, ahead of the hearing, where Assange is expected to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defense information.


“Collateral Murder” is the title given by WikiLeaks to a classified U.S. military video they released on April 5, 2010. The video, recorded from the gunsight of an Apache helicopter, shows an incident that occurred on July 12, 2007, in the New Baghdad area of Baghdad, Iraq. It captures U.S. military personnel attacking a group of individuals on the ground, resulting in the deaths of over a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. You can see a clip of the video below: WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT




WikiLeaks released this video to raise awareness of what they saw as the indiscriminate killing of civilians by U.S. forces. The footage also includes radio transmissions and shows the military personnel opening fire on a van that attempted to rescue the wounded. The van contained two children who were seriously injured.

The video sparked widespread debate and criticism, particularly over the rules of engagement and the classification of the attack as justified by the military investigation. The controversy highlighted concerns about the conduct of U.S. forces during the Iraq War and the treatment of journalists in conflict zones.


On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video that showed an Apache helicopter gunship indiscriminately killing over a dozen people in New Baghdad, an Iraqi suburb. Among the victims were two Reuters journalists. Reuters had sought this footage via the Freedom of Information Act since the incident occurred but was unsuccessful. The video depicts the unprovoked killing of a wounded Reuters journalist and his rescuers, as well as the serious wounding of two children involved in the rescue.


After Reuters demanded information, the U.S. military investigated and concluded that the soldiers’ actions complied with the law of armed conflict and their “Rules of Engagement.” WikiLeaks released the military’s Rules of Engagement from 2006, 2007, and 2008, revealing guidelines before, during, and after the killings.


The video, available in both a 38-minute full version and a shorter edited version with initial analysis, contains added subtitles from radio transmissions to clarify the context. It was leaked to WikiLeaks by military whistleblowers, and the organization verified its authenticity through cross-checking multiple sources and consulting witnesses and journalists directly involved.


On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old U.S. Army intelligence analyst stationed in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing the footage after allegedly speaking to a journalist. Daniel Ellsberg, famous for releasing the Pentagon Papers, called Manning a “hero.” Manning was imprisoned in Kuwait, while none of the Apache crew or those involved in the cover-up faced charges.


According to their website, WikiLeaks aims to ensure that all leaked information receives the attention it deserves. The video serves as a reminder that journalists often risk their lives to report on conflicts, especially in dangerous areas like Iraq, where 139 journalists were killed between 2003 and 2009.


Transcript of events: all times are presented in Zulu time (UTC), which is used by the military and can be seen on the top left corner of the video. Baghdad local time at the time of the incident was UTC+4. Military documents state that events start at 09:50, which is approximately 28 minutes before the video starts.



06:50:00

1/8 CAV moves in to assist 2/6 after a report of Small Arms Fire (SAF) in the area. They fail to positively identify (PID) the attacker.

06:18:40

Crazyhorse [lead helicopter] notices a group of people on an open plaza.

06:20:05

Crazyhorse: “Have five to six individuals with AK47s. Request permission to engage.”

06:21:09

First shots fired at the group.

06:21:41

Helicopters cease fire.

06:22:02

Helicopters notice that Saeed is injured and is crawling.

06:24:54

Crazyhorse: “Come on, buddy. All you gotta do is pick up a weapon.”

06:25:26

Helicopters notice a mini-van arriving, attempting to help Saeed.

06:25:58

Crazyhorse: “Roger. Break. Uh Crazyhorse One-Eight request permission to uh engage.”

06:26:29

Bushmaster gives permission to engage. Proceed to open fire on the mini-van.

06:27:27

Helicopters cease fire.

06:31:53

Bradley armored vehicle arrives on the scene, followed by ground personnel.

06:33:12

They discover two wounded children in the van.

06:35:14

Ground unit reports: “I’ve got uh eleven Iraqi KIAs [Killed In Action]. One small child wounded. Over.” – “Roger. Ah damn. Oh well.”

06:36:05

“Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

06:36:45

Humvee drives over Namir’s body.

06:43:06

Bradley armored vehicle drives over a second body.

06:49:09

Video cuts.

07:20:42

Helicopter reports that 6 individuals have entered a building. It appears to be either under construction or an abandoned construction site.

07:21:40

“This is Bushmaster Six Romeo. Crazyhorse One Eight is going to be engaging north to south with Hellfire missiles over.”

07:23:39

Hellfire missile is fired. “Target hit.”

07:25:27

“There it goes! Look at that bitch go!”

07:26:42

“Roger, building destroyed. Engaged with three hellfire missiles.”


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2 Comments


Ryan Risselman
Ryan Risselman
Jun 26

What's the over/under on how long it takes for him to be suicided? They only freed him so they could get to him easier, and his guard is down.

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The Fact Hunter
The Fact Hunter
Jun 26
Replying to

Part of the plea deal was for him to take down much of the content from his webaite, which he has already. there's always a catch.

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