Fact Check: 'Julian Assange's Organization' Did NOT Release Series Of Clips Exposing 'Brutal WAR CRIMES' Of US, UK After Assange Extradition Order

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: 'Julian Assange's Organization' Did NOT Release Series Of Clips Exposing 'Brutal WAR CRIMES' Of US, UK After Assange Extradition Order Old Video

Did "Julian Assange's Organization" release a series of clips exposing "brutal WAR CRIMES" of the U.S. and British militaries after WikiLeaks founder Assange was ordered to be extradited to the United States? No, that's not true: When the British government on June 17, 2022, formally ordered Assange to be extradited, the videos cited had already been publicly available for more than a decade.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post on June 21, 2022, under the title "WARNING JULIAN ASSANGE'S ORGANIZATION RELEASES FOOTAGE OF AMERICAN & BRITISH SOLDIERS ENGAGING IN BRUTAL WAR CRMES." It opened:

Since JULIAN ASSANGE's extradition to the UNITED STATES, his organization has been posting a series of clips where they EXPOSE the brutal WAR CRIMES war crimes of the US MILITARY (and its Allie's) in during the IRAQ WAR which commenced in the early 2000s.

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

Assange.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Jun 22 16:55:33 2022 UTC)

As of June 22, 2022, Assange had not been extradited to the United States. He had two weeks to appeal the original June 17, 2022, order from the U.K.'s Home Office. His attorney said the decision would be appealed.

The videos incorporated into the Instagram post were not newly released following the extradition order. The first video was published by WikiLeaks on April 5, 2010, more than a dozen years before the British government said Assange could be extradited. This is how the website described it:

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

A longer version of the video is available on YouTube:

A screenshot from the video:

Screen Shot 2022-06-22 at 5.05.32 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Wed Jun 22 21:05:34 2022 UTC)

The second clip included in the post purportedly shows British soldiers beating Iraqi youths. It was reported by The New York Times and The Guardian in 2006. The original video was obtained by the London newspaper News of the World, which ceased operations in 2011. A version of the video is available on YouTube:

A screenshot from the video:

Screen Shot 2022-06-22 at 5.04.08 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Wed Jun 22 21:04:08 2022 UTC)

Updates:

  • 2022-06-22T22:17:15Z 2022-06-22T22:17:15Z
    Updated headline and first paragraph to more directly reflect wording in posted claim.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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