Author Topic: The Garani airstrike, Afghanistan"Collateral Murder",reported in the cables  (Read 6694 times)

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These days during the Bradley Manning's trial, Manning has been judged NOT guilty of the "aiding the enemy charge" and the interrogations focused also on a specifical footage Manning would have leaked to WikiLeaks, but the organization has never published: the so called Garani airstrike footage.

What happened in Granai (Garani or Gerani)?

Wikipedia reports:

The Granai airstrike, sometimes called the Granai massacre, refers to the killing of approximately 86 to 147 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, by an airstrike by a B-1 Bomber on May 4, 2009, in the village of Granai (sometimes spelled Garani or Gerani) in Farah Province, south of Herat, Afghanistan.[1][2][3][4][5]

The United States admitted significant errors were made in carrying out the airstrike, stating "the inability to discern the presence of civilians and avoid and/or minimize accompanying collateral damage resulted in the unintended consequence of civilian casualties".[6][7][8]

The Afghan government has said that around 140 civilians were killed, of which 93 were children and only 22 were adult males.[2][3] Afghanistan's top rights body has said 97 civilians were killed, most of them children.[2] Other estimates range from 86 to 147 civilians killed.[6][9] An earlier probe by the US military had said that 20–30 civilians were killed along with 60–65 insurgents.[2] A partially released American inquiry stated "no one will ever be able conclusively to determine the number of civilian casualties that occurred".[6] The Australian has said that the airstrike resulted in "one of the highest civilian death tolls from Western military action since foreign forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001".[10]


The recent press reports also say:

The Garani airstrike allegedly killed as many as 147 villagers, making it the worst civilian casualty incident up to that time.

The US military never acknowledged the full scale of the tragedy, insisting that 20 to 30 civilians had died, along with 60 to 65 militants. They did, however, issue a report documenting procedural errors that could have led to the deaths.

The substance of the video was not at issue in the trial. Instead, the prosecution focused on timing. The charge sheet alleged that Manning had leaked the video shortly after his arrival in Iraq in October 2009. Manning pleaded guilty to transferring the file in the spring of 2010.

The prosecution apparently failed to connect the dots, and the military judge acquitted Manning of leaking the video. That was one of just two counts — of the total 22 counts lodged against him — for which he was found not guilty. The other was the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

The Garani video was never actually released. According to Assange, a disgruntled ex-employee of WikiLeaks destroyed it.

Source: - Original:

So the video exists but has never been released.

But are there documents that can proove and explain what acxtually happened there?

Well the answear is YES.
The WikiLeaks cablegate archive contains at least a document mentioning exactly the Garani (in the cable spelled Gerani) issue and what happened after the terrible incident where, according to the cable Icrc Report On Farah Civcas Incident States 89 Civilians Were Killed in the Garani area.

Here's the very clear WikiLeaks document (even an "edited version" of a footage of the events is mentioned).


Subject   Icrc Report On Farah Civcas Incident States 89 Civilians Were Killed
Origin   Embassy Kabul (Afghanistan)
Cable time   Wed, 24 Jun 2009 12:23 UTC
Classification   CONFIDENTIAL

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001652
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/24/2019
Classified By: Asst. Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli, for reasons 1.4 (a),
(b) and (d)
¶1. (C) Summary.  ICRC Head of Mission Reto Stocker met with
Ambassador Eikenberry on June 13 and delivered a written
report on the events associated with the battle in Bala
Baluk, Farah Province, on May 4
.  The ICRC concluded that the
civilian death total was considerably higher than the number
estimated by ISAF investigators
.  Nevertheless, Stocker
praised the cooperation of ISAF and U.S. military officials
in gathering information for the ICRC report on casualties
that resulted from fighting between insurgents and
ANSF/Coalition forces.  The ICRC interviewed more than 50
villagers and came to the conclusion that 89 civilians were
killed in bombings on the evening of May 4, with an
additional 13 wounded.
  Although Stocker had seen an edited
version of the aerial video from the B-1 bomber
, he still
believes that the last 2 bombs dropped hit civilians and not
enemy fighters
.  The ICRC report was provided to assist
Coalition authorities investigating the incident and will not
be released publicly
.  End summary.
¶2. (U) ICRC Head of Mission Reto Stocker visited Amb.
Eikenberry on June 13 and delivered a copy of his written
report on the May 4 battle in Bala Baluk, Farah that resulted
in an undetermined number of civilian casualties.  Stocker
noted that in the past he had delivered such
&interventions8 to military personnel in Afghanistan, and
this was the first time he was doing so with civilian
leadership (he did not explain why).
¶3. (U) Stocker said that he had always had positive
experiences in working with military officials on such
sensitive issues in the past, and praised ISAF and U.S.
military officials for providing &open doors8 in discussing
the Bala Baluk incident.
¶4. (U) ICRC representatives visited Bala Baluk 3 times after
May 4 to gather information, interview local residents, and
get the lay of the land.  They interviewed more than 50
villagers in Ganjabad and Gerani over a period of 13 days.
They avoided compiling lists of victims, but did provide a
complete list of interviewees in their report.
  They alsdo did
not use graves as evidence since many of the villagers
described finding only body parts that were not suitable for
normal burial
¶5. (C) Stocker made it clear that the ICRC is not an
investigative body, and that the report was prepared to
assist the authorities in their own investigations.  He said
he has a high degree of confidence in its finding that 89
civilians were killed on May 4, with another 13 injured
.  He
said there were clearly a large number of insurgents killed
as well.
  Although he had seen an edited version of the
aerial video
taken by the B-1 bomber, he took issue with
allegations by some that the villagers had all cleared out of
the target area before the conflict began.
¶6. (C) In a detailed discussion with the Ambassador on the
sequence of events, Stocker agreed with U.S. military
officials that the first group of individuals hit with the
first bomb from the B-1 near the mosque were insurgents
.  He
found no villagers who alleged that civilians were killed in
that strike.  However, he did not agree that subsequent lines
of people observed moving rapidly between structures were
He showed photos of narrow paths where the
movements took place, saying they tied in with the aerial
video, and described multiple accounts by witnesses of
families fleeing the battle with parents carrying children in
their arms.  Stocker said that 47 and 42 residents were
killed in the second and third strikes, respectively.  In
support of this claim, he made the case that it would have
been illogical for insurgents not killed in the first bombing
to continue to gather in groups that could be targeted from
above, whereas it would have been logical for civilians to
have sought shelter away from the fighting.
¶7. (C) The Ambassador thanked Stocker for his thorough review
of the events of May 4 and his contribution to developing all
of the facts.  He said he would continue to follow the
official investigations in light of the information provided
in the ICRC report, and raised several questions.  Signal
intelligence that the ICRC was not privy to indicated
insurgent commanders were operating from the same areas where
the bombings took place, and that that information
cross-checked with the aerial video.  The Ambassador
KABUL 00001652  002 OF 002
mentioned that during his visit to Farah with President
Karzai on May 19, he was struck by the low-key and subdued
discussion of the events of May 4 by the villagers who were
most affected by it.  That low-key reaction may indicate that
casualties were lower than reported by other sources.  The
Ambassador noted that NDS Saleh made a similar comment on the
flight back to Kabul.  The attraction of solatia payments for
the deaths of family members could not be ignored as another
incentive for higher alleged civilian casualty figures.
¶8. (C) The Ambassador noted complicating factors, such as the
enthusiasm of ANSF to confront Taliban forces in the area,
despite the plea of U.S. mentors to hold off until proper
plans could be drawn up.  The battle moved from daylight into
nightfall, a more challenging environment to differentiate
between insurgents and civilians.  Errors may have been made
on the Coalition side, but the ICRC report can only help sort
out the truth.
¶9. (C) Comment.  Reto Stocker is one of the most credible
sources for unbiased and objective information in
Afghanistan, and has 4 years of experience as head of the
ICRC mission here.  The ICRC survey of local villagers is
certainly exhaustive, and the report finds significant
consistency in the testimonies provided.  At the same time,
Stocker twice mentioned that they had placed a great deal of
confidence in the statements of one particular source, later
noting that the Red Crescent had an office near where the
evening,s fighting took place.  The list of interviewees
mentions no one associated with the Red Crescent.  A copy of
the report has been sent to SCA/A electronically.  End

Full cable/ Source: