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Wikileaks Iraq War Logs Reveal Torture, Human Rights Abuses

Mary Slosson |
October 22, 2010 | 10:15 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Helicopter in Iraq (Photo Creative Commons)
Helicopter in Iraq (Photo Creative Commons)
The online whistleblowing site Wikileaks today released 400,000 classified documents on the Iraq War, in which unreported instances of civilian death, detainee abuse and torture, and foreign involvement in the counterinsurgency are detailed.

The document dump includes damning reports of prisoner abuse that extend beyond the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib.  In one instance, a leaked document describes instances of Iraqi soldiers urinating, jumping on, and spitting upon a detainee.  The report illustrates that United States forces condoned such behavior; it is written that, "due to no allegation or evidence of US involvement, a US investigation is not being initiated."

Other instances of prisoner abuse, including electric shock, sodomy, threat of death, and excessive bodily and emotional harm are revealed in the documents.

The war logs also include details of 15,000 more civilian deaths than had previously been reported, often going into graphic detail.  Many of the civilian deaths were condoned or ignored by United States military authorities.  Excessive use of violence -- resulting in increased civilian death -- occurred at checkpoints, during military operations, and sometimes even from air support

One leaked document reveals that two insugents who were waving to a US helicopter, indicating their desire to surrender, were killed when the helicopter pilots were advised by military lawyers that "they cannot surrender to aircraft, and are still valid targets."

Still further documents indicate that private military contractor Blackwater may have been responsible for friendly fire incidents, mentally handicapped children were recruited for suicide bombing missions, and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps funded Iraqi militants.

The documents were released under embargo to a variety of international news outlets, including the New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, Le Monde, and the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  The database of all 400,000 documents are available to read on the Wikileaks website.

Reach Executive Producer Mary Slosson here.  Follow her on Twitter here.



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