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23 Aug

Permission to Engage


Permission to Engage

Witness

23 Aug 2012 10:56 GMT
Victims’ families and an ex-US soldier unpick the Wikileaks film that showed US forces killing Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Filmmaker: Shuchen Tan

On July 12, 2007, the US military shot several Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, an event that shocked the world when footage of the attack was later released by Wikileaks.

“The attack took place on a Thursday, when residents of the area had gone to a local market,” explains filmmaker Shuchen Tan. “When they saw helicopters hovering over, they ran to their houses, thinking they’d be safe in there but it was those very houses that were blown up.”

Permission to Engage traces the people involved in that fateful day and hears their versions of what happened.

Those killed included a young Iraqi photojournalist and his assistant, a father out with his children and some neighbours who were caught in the attack while trying to help the wounded.

“It was quite challenging to track down the victims and their families. We didn’t have names, didn’t have addresses, we didn’t have anything,” explains Tan.

“And when we found them, most of them didn’t want to share their stories. They felt they had been left by the West and not treated well.”

The families of the victims and a disillusioned former US soldier who was serving in Iraq around that time unpick the footage in forensic detail and relate their accounts of what happened.

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