The one-minute file, filmed from a US Apache helicopter, shows three suspected Iraqi insurgents being shot with 30mm cannon fire. The clip was cut from a longer video obtained by ABC News last week and verified by a senior US army official.
The MPEG format file has been posted to several right-wing US forums, where the effectiveness of the Apache's firepower has been celebrated.
So far though, in spite of its graphic nature, the film does not seem to have attracted much attention from the anti-war movement.
Tony Sleep, a freelance photographer in the UK, was one recipient of the file. He was emailed a link to a US academic site that temporarily hosted the MPEG file.
"It's very uncomfortable to watch because it's so calculated," he told dotJournalism. "It's quite pornographic actually."
Watch the Apache MPEG:
Warning: some viewers may find the content distressing. (4.7mb download)
Files can also be found using P2P file sharing programmes such as KaZAa.
Free daily newsletter
- US nonprofit The 19th wants to report on women and policies from a gender viewpoint
- Save Journalism Project launches fundraiser to pay laid-off US reporters $2-a-word to write about media job cuts
- Tip: How to script a journalism video
- Live-streaming app Happs is set to innovate breaking news
- Al Jazeera uses 360-video to show the scale of destruction in Yemeni civil war