Rushing to the defense of the Baghdad Sniper
'If you were smart you would keep your mouth shut'
Letters Our story on the Google Video footage celebrating Juba, the Baghdad Sniper may or may not have been the cause of the clip having been removed. What we can say for sure is it ruffled the feather of many a reader. The award for most most outraged blowhard goes to Jürgen, whose 1151-word diatribe is included in its entirety at the end.
Just a few comments about your choice of words:
1. "Islamic militants may not approve of the West's way of life..." - Islamic "militants' don't approve of other countries INVADING their country, has nothing to do with way of life ...
2. "...Anti-Western violence..." - this video clip depicts Anti-OCCUPATION violence.
3. "...masked thug..." - Why is someone a thug for resisting occupation ? Aren't the thugs the ones that invade ?
Suppose the Iraqis had invaded your country - killing many of your citizens - would you call a US sniper trying to defend your country a "Thug" - particularly if he wrote verses of scripture before his actions?
I demonstrated in London against this war, and I hate killing on either side, but US television has shown many scenes - if not in close-up - that must have involved the loss of Iraqi lives. Until you see this for what it is - a war of occupation - you will not see the need for a negotiated peace and maybe an apology.
presume you have written articles condemning CNN, the BBC etc for broadcasting footage that shows Iraqi deaths. I presume you condemn the broadcast of footage of crosshairs on missiles blowing up people in Afghanistan. Or do you only regard Americans as human? I quickly skimmed the list of articles you've written for The Register. I did not see a single critcism of pro-American/British propaganda.
This is the sort of blinkered nonsense that gives Americans a bad name.
As the paraphrase goes, one man's thug is another man's freedom fighter. Do you have the same objections to the comparably infinite volume of U.S. propaganda meted out both by our government and by its press lapdogs (which may - usually - be somewhat less graphic but which beyond doubt equally celebrates the carnage we have wrought)? It is regrettable that outlets like Google are some of the few means the Iraqis have to get their message out. I applaud them for using what tools they have to good advantage.
Other than sheer unethical bloody-mindedness, what possible purpose does The Register have for publishing this sick, twisted crap? I mean, I'd understand if the victims were Microsoft salespeople (or even B.T. executives), but not this.
Interesting article, though I think you overplayed the "OMG how could they" angle.
I'm sure if todays technology had existed 60 years ago, the French (and Norwegian, Czech et al) resistance would have posted video of themselves assassinating members of the Wehrmacht, blowing up bridges, etc. without qualms. Half the world would be condemming the terrorists, the other praising the freedom fighters (much like now). War is bloody and has no sense of decency and both sides are just as guilty of this.(e.g. in this instance the Pentagon releasing video footage of "precision" bombs being dropped).
Oh, the west may have perfected the technology (as you wrote), but we wouldn't have got this far with it if we were still using roman numerals for maths, instead of having adopted the arabic number system after the crusades...
It's not cultural, it's political, despite certain vested interests trying to persuade us otherwise.
That people are using contempory technology for spreading propoganda isn't really news in itself - it would be more news worthy if people weren't.
Watching this video brings me closer to the opinion that maybe we should just nuke the bastards. But rationally, I know that won't do any good.
But I certainly have no problem with the thought of hanging captured insurgents by their intestines in public squares.
Alas, what good would that do over all when fighting against a pre-dark-aged enemy sworn to bring the world back to the days of total ignorance.
"Islamic militants may not approve of the West's way of life, but they seem to have no qualms about using the information technology it perfected to spread propaganda."
That in itself is a rather partisan comment. You might as well say that, hundreds of years ago, European Christians had no qualms about using Islam's intellectual breakthroughs such as the modern numbering system, although they did not approve of Muslims' way of life either.
Thoughts and technology are independent of religion, unless some religion is so obscurantist that it forbids any scientific statements that it does not approve of - as medieval (and later) Christianity did.
It seems to me you are opposed to this because it depicts the "wrong" side. If it was US snipers killing "terrorists", would you call the sniper a "thug", refer to the "anguish" of the compatriots of the fallen, and consider the material "inappropriate"? I doubt it - it would just be "news", and the US has most of the television media on its side for its propaganda.
And is it the Western way of life they oppose, or perhaps the presence of foreign soldiers in their streets? If China or Belgium invaded the US and the US resistance released videos of the sniping of Belgian and Chinese infantry, would you react in a similarly horrified way?
Dear Mr Goodin
Whilst the content of this film is undoubtedly shocking and extremely unpleasant for the families of soldiers currently based in Iraq I fail to see why we should not be allowed to see this material. Hundreds of Iraqi men, women and children die every day while Bush and Blair tell the world that the situation is under control, improving every day and a great triumph of "western democracy".
Whether or not one deems the invasion of Iraq illegal or even worthwhile the plain fact is that a relativley modern secular society has been fractured: physically, economically, politically and religiously. The result is massive violence (from every side), corruption, poverty and sectarianism. The risk in sanitising the situation by blocking this kind of unpleasant propaganda is that we will allow our politicians to dupe us into supporting new wars in the future: "Everything is under control, nothing to see here".
Ian McNee Wolverhampton
The video has since been deleted by Google. You now get "Error!" when trying to access it. Hindsight: should've downloaded it. :-(
"We were unable to reach Google representatives. The site provides a means for users to flag inappropriate material, and we think there is a reasonable chance the footage will be taken down once it comes to the attention of officials. The likelihood of new video with similarly appalling footage being uploaded is even better."
If there is a subtle difference between this 'inappropriate / appalling' footage and aerial shots of laser-guided 'surgical' strikes on Iraqi targets introduced by a puffed-up US military bigwigs on western news TV, I would certainly like to know what that difference is. Soldiers killing soldiers - I'm not sure what sort of images Dan was expecting to come out of a war zone - cute bunnies, perhaps?
This stuff should be compulsory viewing for anyone contemplating embarking on resource-grabbing wars and the families of those who are very likely to be involved. War, though sometimes (almost never) necessary, is a nasty business and if these images make the odd politician stop and weigh up the realities of what happens on the ground vs the actual real benefit to ALL parties involved, they would have done their job.
Dan had better work on his journalistic credentials. These glimpses of what is really going on in the Middle East is a breath of fresh air compared with the sanitised reportage brought to us by the gutless 'news' corporations and their embedded reporters.
I pay tax to a government that currently maintains a troop presence in this theatre. The very least I expect for my money is objective reporting of the facts. Dan should not be looking for 'a means for users to flag inappropriate material'. He should welcome, as I do, an alternative view of the conflict.
So it's ok for google video or even youtube to show videos of Americans killing middle eastern men, but when it's the other way around it's suddenly a problem?
I understand that google is an American company, but as they are a search engine and a company that stands for (or at least pretends to) freedom of information don't you think that it is only right of them to show more than just an American point of view? After all, the majority of the world is not America, or at least not yet.
The reality of war is that both sides take casualties and the media have a responsibility to show both sides of the story.
Regarding the "Juba" stuff - you might want to note the following part from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juba_%28Scharfsch%C3%BCtze%29 (it refers to the google video from your article and describes some points in time in the video where the likely direction of the shot is different to the point of view of the video recording person, which in some cases is more likely to film the scene on a cellphone. at 9:55 the exit plume from the victim is visible to the left, likely shot from right. the victim looks into the cam for a while, as if trying to understand what the guy with the cam is doing... around 21:00 minutes the exhaust plume is very good viewable - a small plume to left, a large one to the right. which according to the laws of target ballistics makes it extremely likely that the shot came from left of the camera. the so interpreted rocking of the rifle cam is different when the sequence is viewed the second time, this time obstructing the view of the plumes - it is clearly edited into the sequence ! the third noteable part is around 23:00 minutes, the shot is coming most likely from 90 degrees to the left side, at minute 23:02 you still see the soldiers face in the helmet, at 23:06 you see a helmet, a body and where the face should have been... nothing. this is almost only happening when the shot hits the helmet from the rear, the two usual vectors of destruction are "small hole in front, large in back" - or in case the target soft material cannot blast out in one direction, it will do so in the other direction with increased force. you can definitely see that at 23:06 happening, with a large blob of grey or other matter exiting to the screens right side. the video is a good propaganda example, full of lies, but some excellent shots, technically speaking. but what is more disturbing than the fact that soldiers get picked off one by one is the fact that it is coordinated in a way to allow a cameraman film the individual from nearby to get so detailed pictures of the victim. the chance that iraqui snipers have that good cams on their rifle or come in soooo close to shoot a seeing victim in the head at the picture quality is highly unlikely. it is most likely a team of hitman and camera in 80% of the situations. also, the mentioning of an american marine`s`book on sniping is - IMHO - a extremely good move against the morale of the soldiers. yet it is highly unlikely they are trained on an american book like that. it`s more likely they downloaded some old USMC books on psycho-warfare and sniping. kind regards, steve
and another note:
the wikipedia-site on Juba mentions the homepage of John Plaster, the author of the book mentioned in the movie ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juba_(sniper) ) on http://www.ultimatesniper.com/ there is also a very interesting post in this topic:
"FREE to Warriors in the War on Terror -- download Maj. Plaster's latest info about counter-sniping in Iraq, the entire Chapter 20 from his newest edition of "Ultimate Sniper." You have his permission to reproduce and distribute so this information can assist our soldiers, marines and specops personnel. We support you and your efforts, 100%" you just might want to note that, too. propaganda may go both ways. to demolish and to support morale.
If you don't get hundreds of complaints and e-mails asking you take this article down; I'd be very surprised. I have to admit, I don't quite see its relevance to the information technology industry other than your one-liner "but they seem to have no qualms about using the information technology it perfected to spread propaganda." -- However, I think it's easy to see this is just a shock-story to bring in the visitors, and it's a shame.
Why is the footage "appalling"? We've seen far worse from the US military itself. This is a war. The US started it, and have killed a great many more Iraqis than these snipers have killed in retaliation. What is certain is that when a sniper shoots an American soldier in the head, there is no collateral damage.
Americans make commercial MOVIES about snipers - seen Jarhead? There is absolutely no moral superiority on the American side. If the soldiers weren't there (and they are not conscripts, let's not forget) they would not be attacked. One thing the 'Juba' video shows clearly is that American soldiers are exactly the same kind of frail human beings as the Iraqis they dominate. What did you expect would happen?
I had already seen the video you complain of (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1378993923046290139) and enjoyed it greatly, then I read your article "Google Video serves up anti-American propaganda" on www.theregister.co.uk today and provide you following feedback:
1. Where is this 'West' you speak of? Is it a nice place or full of stupid people like you? 2. If you think IT is 'perfected' you must be 7-years old or you work for Microsoft Sales, or both, which is it? 3. If spreading propaganda over the internet is bad, why do you publish this crap online, hypocrite? 4. 'sad observation' - Why are you sad Goodin, don't you enjoy the evidence that your 'Crusading Military MasterRace' is having its hyperinflated ego punctured daily with 1000 pinpoint pricks of hot lead? 5. Videos do not 'circulate' on Google, Axshole, get a clue please! 6. 'appears to provide/show' - Are you disputing the authenticity of this footage - if so, that makes you lonely as well as an idiot! Please try to interact with more humans. 7. 'US-led service men' - What are you trying to insinuate with this laboured euphemism? Do you have some brain-defect that makes it difficult to write 'GameBoy skYanki Invaders', because that is the only species of freak getting sniped in this video? 8. JUBA - yes, that name is respected, not like GOODIN, which has soiled itself. 9. 'grainy images' - Hahaha, they looked piercingly sharp to me, pun intended ;) Anyway, Google is just a taster, HQ VCD versions are also available by torrent, if you are a collector of such memorabilia. 10. 'mundane activities' - Ah yes, the tedious chores of committing genocide, eh? What a bore it must be having to rape, murder and oppress the resisting populations of countries you invade? Did any thought ever occur inside your head, Goodin, which was *NOT* dictated by some Pentagon fuckwit? Do you have *ANY* imagination? 11. 'in what appears to be in the city of Baghdad' - Did a Pentagon Spambot write this for you? If not, you are a pathetic wordsmith, even for cheap propaganda-shots like this piece! I recomend you go to Baghdad a.s.a.p to enjoy the views and maybe take in a remedial writing course at the University of Heat-Seekers. 12. 'often to the great anguish of their compatriots' - How often, oh Great Oracle? And what percentage of 'compatriots' cheer for the Resistance? I'll bet you a beer it's better than 30/70 in USA today! And in the rest of the World, just 99.99% vote 'Resistance!' when shown the ugly face of US imperialism. 13. 'the scene that shows the falling soldier when hit has more impact on the enemy than any other weapon' - Well, this sure worked on you, eh Goodin, setting off involuntary spchinter relaxation by the smell of it? Welcome to the world of PsyOPS, where you will discover a fiercely competitive field. 14. How come you don't admit the comments on Google Video that because they were uniformly positive about JUBA's works of art? 15. 'Anti-Western violence' - Please define and counterpose with 'Anti-Eastern Violence', just as some light gymnastics for your flaccid wit. (TIP: Use the Cheney Revised Standard AgitProp Learner's Dictionary, version 911) 16. 'a masked thug' - tsk, tsk, Goodin, control yourself - no premature ejaculations please! Anyway, you are badly mistaken, JUBA is a delightful character, true, free, upstanding, cultured and very brave. A Man. Everything you can never be. I'm sure if you meet he would quickly convince you of this and set your mind to rest (in pieces?). You will see the light (ok, maybe not - Tabruk 7.62mm has muzzle flash-suppressor, and anyhow, you'd probably have your eyes locked on the erect manhood of the skYanki Marine you are blowing in the middle of the street, Mamón). 17. 'scrawling verses from the Koran' - No, he has very tidy handwriting - you white-trash lamebrain are just flaunting your ignorance of arabic script. Typical skYanki Übermensch arrogance. 18. 'We were unable to reach Google' - Who is this 'We' to whom you self-importantly refer? Mossad? Pentagon Office of Special Plans? Or are you just trying to feel big? Maybe you should just stick to blowing Marines, see above (but remember to move your whole upper body, this will reduce whiplash/repetitive strain neck injuries)? 19. 'flag inappropriate material' - Are you trying to suggest this video is 'inappropriate'? If so, for which purpose do you mean? To me, it seems very appropriate for the purpose of waking up dumb skYanki apes to reality. Perhaps you are confused? 20. 'We were unable to reach Google representatives' - You mean they ignored you whining bad-looserdom? 21. 'the footage will be taken down' - Another brilliant example of embedded US Journaille-ism, clamouring for and attempting to impose censorship and mind-control on the masses! Soon you will call for the Internet to be shut down, at your Master's command. Not going to happen, HushPuppy, so just weep as you polish that General's helmet Boy! 22. 'once it comes to the attention of officials' - why do you sound just like a Nazi UnterGruppenFührer, Goodin, can it be you suffer from the same illness? Would you like an 'official' armband and some jackboots, hardly worn since 1945? 23. 'similarly appalling footage' - You are appalled by this film. Why? Is the Liberal surface lightly scratched to allow your closet Neocon to peep out? That's funny, you are funny Goodin, but you will still loose this war you started, and that is why the world outside rejoices, to see sweet juicy just desserts delivered to thieving oil-pirates. But obviously people like you are so stupid that even more painful lessons are going to have to be administered before the message will get through your skull-cap - Crime + Punishment, Goodin, Lies + Consequences - you think about that, while your MonkeyBoy-in-Chief brews up a brainwave to attack Iran.
Overall, I have to say Goodin, that if you were smart you would keep your mouth shut about this - but your major problem (very typical for skYanks) is that you delude yourself into thinking you are smart, while your steroid-pumped jaw-muscle works faster than your feeble brain. You practically even admit this yourself, by ending with the realisation that your calling attention to the film will increase it's replication and transmission rate - hahaha, keep up the stupidity and thanks for supporting the Resistance, Dumbass!
I think 'we' (that is El-Registro readership) can safely conclude that the only thing you, Goodin, know about Resistance is that you, Goodin, cannot resist blowing every skYanki Military Tourist you, Goodin, see and that it seems to be your personal ambition to support their turgid urge to surge by totally wearing out your neck and knee joints, Goodin, while giving them gratification.
As such you, Goodin, stand condemned, and are hereby renamed 'Only Goodin Pentagon Cocksuckling'.
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