BREAKING: Assange pits US government and Oxford against the Union by playing ‘Collateral Murder’ footage
Julian Assange was clearly hoping he would be questioned about the backdrop to his videolink, musing “I think members of this Union are going to both love and hate the answer”
Julian Assange has just played the infamous gun camera footage of a US Apache helicopter opening fire on Iraqis to Union members.
The footage, released by Chelsea Manning, he says, is of the moment when the helicopter “mowed down eighteen people in New Baghdad in 2007, including two Reuters journalists.”
WikiLeaks released the classified US military video back in 2010. After demands by Reuters – who tried to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success – the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own “Rules of Engagement”.
Assange used the same background when he spoke to the Oxford Union in 2013, “with very, very interesting results.”
The Oxford Union cut off the live feed and, “astoundingly”, the YouTube video of his talk had the background edited out because, they claimed, the copyright belonged with the United States government. “It’s just astounding the Oxford Union would try and do that”, he repeated.
He then mocked the Oxford Union, who he claims, said: “‘It’s not because we’re afraid of the US military; it’s not because Richard Dearlove, the former intelligence chief, is closely linked connected to the Oxford Union; it’s because it’s copyrighted.'”
“But actually the US government does not assert copyright.”
Assange continued: “I would like to play this video because I want to see [if] Cambridge can beat Oxford in this respect.”
To considerable applause, Assange played the first part of the footage.
He then, after explaining the context, played the second part, which appears to record US soldiers laughing after hitting the target and saying: “Look at that. Right through the windshield! Ha ha!”
After the clip had finished, he announced: “Let’s see what the Cambridge Union does with that.”
Oliver Mosley, the President of the Union, in an attempt to make light of the situation, quipped: “a phone call to the lawyers, perhaps.”
The Tab has released a full report of the Assange visit to the Union, including an interview with Assange himself, which can be read here.