Wikileaks ‘Iraq War Logs’: US ‘Crazy Horse’ Helicopter Troop Involved in String of Fatal Attacks

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A US Apache helicopter troop involved in the killing of two journalists in Iraq has been implicated in a string of other fatal attacks, according to the war documents released by Wikileaks.


The video footage from a US Apache helicopter in 2007 posted by Wikileaks

The new releases, examined by the German magazine Der Spiegel and Al-Jazeera, outline a string of fatal attacks by Crazy Horse 18, along with Crazy Horse 20 and 21.

It is not clear whether the call-sign ‘Crazy Horse’ relates to a particular crew or just a particular helicopter.

Crazy Horse 18 was the call-sign which, after taking legal advice, refused to accept the surrender of two insurgents it cornered while they were firing mortars from a flatbed truck. It killed both men as they sought shelter in a nearby shack during the attack in February 2007.

In June that year, Crazy Horse 18 fired a string of missiles at two more flatbed trucks it thought were carrying missiles, despite recording that it had seen four women in a nearby house waving a white sheet. Six “enemy” died.

In another incident the same month, Crazy Horse 18 fired at a suspect van from which material is being unloaded into a car, and stayed on location “due to possible colatural [sic] damage” – a euphemism for civilian casualties, though the report does not record any.

Later in July, Crazy Horse 20 and 21 were called in to attack a group of insurgents gathering at or near a mosque. The “unconfirmed” casualty list gave a total of 12 dead insurgents and 14 dead civilians. Photographs taken by a drone of the survivors leaving the mosque showed no weapons.

Crazy Horse 18 was featured in a video released earlier this year showing the killing of a number of civilians, including children and two journalists from the Reuters news agency, in Baghdad in 2007.

The Crazy Horses were from the 227th Aviation Regiment, normally based in Fort Hood, Texas, but stationed in 2006-8 in Camp Taji, north of Baghdad.

Although most of the deaths recorded in the logs came at the hands of Sunni and Shia insurgents, and most incidents of torture and brutality blamed on Iraqi security forces, US troops particularly are described as complicit in some of the crimes.

At one stage they are recorded as threatening to turn over suspects being interrogated to the Wolf Brigade, a feared police commando group trained by the Americans and widely accused of torturing and even killing detainees.

At other times detainees were physically handed over and, according to a New York Times journalist, US troops stood by as they were tortured. An interview by the journalist Peter Maass with the Wolf Brigade’s American military adviser, Col James Steele, was interrupted by screams, he reported.

Col. Steele was earlier in his career implicated in the Iran-Contra affair and was also a military adviser in El Salvador at a time when the government was accused of running paramilitary death squads.

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent
Published: 12:31AM BST 26 Oct 2010

Source: The Telegraph

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