Wikileaks publishes huge trove of Iraq war files

10:04, October 23, 2010      

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The whistleblower site Wikileaks on Friday night published a huge trove of secret field reports from the battlegrounds of Iraq, detailing civilian deaths, torture of detainees and summary executions.

The trove, 391,832 files from an electronic archive, is made available in advance to The New York Times, British broadsheet The Guardian, French newspaper Le Monde and the German magazine Der Spiegel.

According to the papers, the files detail the deaths of Iraqi civilians, which appear to be greater than the numbers made public by the United States during the Bush administration. U.S. and British officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record a total of more than 109,000 violent deaths from all causes between 2004 and the end of 2009.

This includes 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed as "enemy" and 15,196 members of the Iraqi security forces, as well as 3,771 dead U.S. and allied soldiers.

No fewer than 31,780 of these deaths are attributed to roadside bombs (IEDs) planted by insurgents. The other major recorded tally is of 34,814 victims of sectarian killings, recorded as murders in the logs.

The papers' analysis of the 391,832 documents reveal that detainees were abused by America's Iraqi allies, while 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.

The war logs showed the war in Iraq spawned a reliance on private contractors on a scale not well recognized at the time and previously unknown in American wars.

The New York Times also said its analysis showed Iran's military, more than has been generally understood, intervened aggressively in support of Shiite combatants, offering weapons, training and sanctuary and in a few instances directly engaging American troops.

The files are believed to emanate from the same dissident U.S. army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked 90,000 logs of the Afghanistan war, which was also made public by Wikileaks, according to the Guardian.

The New York Times said the leak, although massive in quantity, provide "no earthshaking revelations, but they offer insight, texture and context from the people actually fighting the war."

The Pentagon condemned the leak, saying the files are "initial, raw observations by tactical units" that "do not tell the whole story."

Source: Xinhua


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