On Friday Wikileaks published "nearly 400,000 pages of secret military field reports [from Iraq] spanning five years, the largest military leak in history," AFP reported. -- The documents "appear to show that American troops did nothing to stop state-sanctioned torture." -- In a news release, Wikileaks said that the documents contain "over 300 recorded reports of coalition forces committing torture and abuse of detainees across 284 reports and over 1,000 cases of Iraqi security forces committing similar crimes. There are numerous cases of what appear to be clear war crimes by U.S. forces, such as the deliberate killing of persons trying to surrender." -- Wikileaks gave "a three-hour lock-in preview of the documents just before their publication" to four newspapers: the London Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde (Paris), and Der Spiegel (Germany)....
WIKILEAKS REVEALS IRAQI TORTURE, DEATHS
October 22, 2010
Graphic accounts of torture, civilian killings, and Iran's hand in the Iraq war are detailed in hundreds of thousands of U.S. military documents made public on the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
Across nearly 400,000 pages of secret military field reports spanning five years, the largest military leak in history, a grim picture emerges of years of blood and suffering following the 2003 U.S. invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.
Many of the secret documents, which span from 2004 to 2009, chronicle claims of abuse by Iraqi security forces, while others appear to show that American troops did nothing to stop state-sanctioned torture.
The documents comprise the second such release from the controversial website, which accused the United States of "war crimes" after earlier releasing some 92,000 similar secret military files detailing operations in Afghanistan.
"There are over 300 recorded reports of coalition forces committing torture and abuse of detainees across 284 reports and over 1,000 cases of Iraqi security forces committing similar crimes," WikiLeaks said in a press release.
"There are numerous cases of what appear to be clear war crimes by U.S. forces, such as the deliberate killing of persons trying to surrender," WikiLeaks said.
After WikiLeaks made the files available to the Guardian newspaper, the New York Times, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel weeks ago, the website sent a Twitter message to select journalists in a secretive invite that turned out to be a three-hour lock-in preview of the documents just before their publication.
One Iraqi detainee claimed he was "blindfolded and beaten with a wire by Iraqi police on two consecutive nights," near Ramadi in 2008, according to documents seen by AFP.
Another detainee alleged that after being arrested at his home last year and transferred to a military HQ, "his hands were bound behind his back, (he) was placed in a stress position . . . and the bottoms of his feet were beaten with an object."
TORTURE, RAPE, MURDER
The Guardian newspaper said on its website the leaked documents showed "U.S. authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape, and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished."
It added that "more than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents," going on to say that "U.S. and U.K. officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities."
And the Guardian said the "numerous" reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, "describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded, and hung by wrists or ankles and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking, or electric shocks."
It added: "Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death."
The Guardian said WikiLeaks is thought to have obtained the electronic archive from the "same dissident U.S. army intelligence analyst" who leaked 90,000 logs about the war in Afghanistan this year.
Al-Jazeera concluded that major findings included a U.S. military cover-up of Iraqi state-sanctioned torture and "hundreds" of civilians deaths at manned American checkpoints after the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.
The Qatar-based satellite broadcaster also said the leaked papers, dating from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2009, show the United States kept a death count throughout the war, despite U.S. denials.
On Iran's role in the conflict, the secret U.S. files show Tehran waging a shadow war with U.S. troops in Iraq, with a firefight erupting on the border and Tehran allegedly using militias to kill and kidnap American soldiers.
The documents describe Iran arming and training Iraqi hit squads to carry out attacks on coalition troops and Iraqi government officials, with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps suspected of playing a crucial role, the Times and the Guardian reported, citing the files.
Attacks backed by Iran persisted after U.S. president Barack Obama took office in January 2009, with no sign that the new leader's more conciliatory tone led to any change in Tehran's support for the militias, the New York Times wrote.
The documents describe accounts from detainees, the diary of a captured militant and the discovery of numerous weapons caches as proof of Iran's designs.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned "in the most clear terms" the leaks of any documents putting Americans at risk, while the Pentagon warned that releasing secret military documents could endanger U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.
"By disclosing such sensitive information, WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.
He said the documents were "essentially snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, and do not tell the whole story."