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British troops kill Iraqi girl

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    Did British troops kill 8-year-old Iraqi girl? WikiLeaks release of 400,000 reports leads to accusations of human rights abuses By Ian Gallagher and Andy
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 23 10:58 PM
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      Did British troops kill 8-year-old Iraqi girl?

      WikiLeaks release of 400,000 reports leads to accusations of human rights abuses
      By Ian Gallagher and Andy Whelan
      24th October 2010

      'War logs' on website cover 109,000 Iraq deaths - including 66,000 civilians

      A British soldier shot dead an eight-year-old Iraqi girl as she played with her friends in a street, it was claimed yesterday.

      The allegation was made by human rights lawyer Phil Shiner as the founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks defended the release of almost 400,000 classified US ­documents about the war in Iraq.

      Offering only sketchy details, Mr Shiner, of Birmingham-based Public Interest Lawyers, claimed the girl was inexplicably targeted while playing in a district of Basra where British troops had routinely handed out sweets in an effort to win `hearts and minds'.

      Devastating: The WikiLeaks disclosures suggest the US military has much greater knowledge of and involvement in deaths in Iraq than previously thought. In this picture two men cry after an explosion kills two of their relatives in Baghdad in 2007

      Sitting alongside WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange at a news conference in London, Mr Shiner said: `For some reason the tank stopped at the end of the street, she's there in her yellow dress, a rifleman pops up and blows her away.'

      Despite persistent inquiries, he said he had yet to be given an explanation by the MoD, which declined yesterday to confirm or deny whether it was aware of the alleged incident.

      It is thought Mr Shiner was referring to the case of eight-year-old Hanan Saleh Matrud, who was shot dead by a British ­soldier outside her home in Qarmat Ali on August 21, 2003.

      Two months later a letter from the British military admitted a soldier from B Company, 1st Battalion the King's Regiment had fired a `warning shot into the air' near the child's home that day.

      The letter refused to apologise for the killing and said it was only `a possibility' that a British bullet had killed the child.

      Although officers privately apologised to the family and promised an investigation, the Ministry of Defence has not publicly acknowledged taking any action in the case.

      Mr Assange said the `intimate details' of the conflict were made public in an effort to reveal the truth about the conflict.

      The `war logs' suggest evidence of torture was ignored, and document 109,000 deaths – including 66,000 civilians, of which 15,000 were ­previously unreported. Mr Shiner said some of the recorded deaths could have involved British forces and demanded a public inquiry.

      He added: `Some have been killed by indiscriminate attacks on civilians or the unjustified use of lethal force. Others have been killed in custody by UK forces and no one knows how many Iraqis lost their lives while held in British detention facilities.

      `If unjustified or unlawful force has been used, prosecutions for those responsible must follow, so we are bringing forward a new case seeking accountability for all unlawful deaths and we argue that there must be a judicial inquiry to fully investigate UK responsibility for civilian deaths in Iraq.'

      The documents, which comprise the largest leak in US history, contain little about British forces. Two reports from June 2008 record two Shia men describing being punched and kicked by UK troops.

      Another entry dated September 2, 2008, says that a civilian interrogator claimed British soldiers had dragged him through his house, dunked his head in a bowl of water and threatened him with a pistol.The log claims his story was undermined by inconsistencies and an absence of injuries.

      But Mr Shiner warned that some of the deaths might leave British troops open to legal action.


      Police in Sweden are understood to want to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in connection with sexual assault allegations.
      Rape and sexual molestation accusations were made against Mr Assange, 39, at the end of August by two Swedish women.

      The case was dismissed by Eva Finne, chief prosecutor in Stockholm, but one of the women appealed.

      Director of public prosecution Marianne Ny reopened the case last month, saying new information had come to light.

      A second accusation of `sexual coercion and sexual molestation' should be investigated, she said.
      Mr Assange's legal team said at the time that he was `extremely surprised, angry and upset' by the development.

      He has admitted meeting the women but has denied the allegations.

      He said the claims were part of an effort, possibly led by the Pentagon, to smear him and damage the credibility of WikiLeaks.

      The complaints were made just days after he had applied for a residence permit in Sweden, where he hoped to establish a base because of its laws protecting whistle-blowers.

      However, on Monday he was denied the permit as he failed to fulfil the requirements.

      According to police sources in Sweden, Mr Assange, an Australian, is wanted for further questioning relating to the alleged incidents.

      A source said: `Before he turned up in London officers were actively seeking him here. They plan to arrest him.'

      He said: `Some of these deaths will be in circumstances where the UK has a very clear legal responsibility. This may be because the Iraqis died while under the effective control of UK forces – under arrest, in ­vehicles, helicopters or detention facilities.'

      An MoD spokesman said: `We are not commenting on specific incidents at the moment. There are investigations ongoing.

      'The Iraq Historic Allegations Team has been set up to establish the truth or otherwise of allegations. There is an independent review of all such claims.'

      The leaks, which were put online yesterday, describe the abuse by the Iraqi police and soldiers of detainees and suggest that the US often turned a blind eye.

      Channel 4 Dispatches was leaked the information in advance to research a programme which is screened tomorrow at 8pm.

      According to the TV show and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Americans handed over suspects to the Iraqi Security Service knowing that torture was endemic.

      Prisoners were shackled, blindfolded and hung by their wrists or ankles and then whipped, punched, kicked and given electric shocks.

      And many of the victims were children, according to the files.

      A log entry says: `The child was about six years old . . . several small holes originally thought to be gunshot wounds were holes caused by a drill.'
      Another records: `Twelve-year-old male . . . cinder block smashed into his face and tied to his head.'

      The documents also suggest that a US gunship crew killed two insurgents on the ground even though the pilots had reported that the men were trying to surrender; the US kept records of civilian deaths, despite previously denying it; British soldiers repeatedly came under attack from US forces in a series of `friendly fire' incidents; and Iran supplied chemical weapons to Iraqi militias for attacks against civilians and US targets.

      Elsewhere, they reveal that under secret military order Frago 242, soldiers were told only abuse by coalition forces would be investigated.

      A memo reads: `Where the alleged abuse is Iraqi on Iraqi, only an initial report will be made. No further investigation will be required unless directed by headquarters.'

      However, a Pentagon spokesman said this week that when reports of Iraqi abuse are received the US ­military `notifies the responsible government of Iraq agency or ­ministry for investigation and ­follow-up'.

      The MoD said: `We condemn any unauthorised release of classified material. This can put the lives of UK service personnel and those of our allies at risk.'

      Mr Assange claims the documents show `compelling evidence' of war crimes' by the US-led coalition and the Iraq government. He said: `This disclosure is about the truth. We hope to correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war, and which has continued on since the war ­officially concluded.'

      Manfred Nowak, the United Nations special rapporteur on ­torture, said the US administration now had a duty to investigate.

      The children whose parents were shot dead in front of them

      In the fading light of dusk on January 18, 2005, a group of US soldiers on routine foot patrol spotted an Opel saloon approaching them along a boulevard in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

      According to the military documents, the soldiers from Apache Company tried to stop the car using `visual signals'.

      Their warnings were either ignored, misunder-stood or went unseen. In any case, the soldiers panicked.

      Orphaned: US soldiers with two of Hussein and Kamila Hassan's
      children after the shooting

      By the time the car was around 50 yards away `the patrol engaged the vehicle' – killing an innocent couple, Hussein and Kamila Hassan.

      Crammed into the back, were the couple's five children and their cousin, who, according to the US log of the incident, `were all unharmed'.

      That, however, was not the case. As Channel 4's Dispatches programme discovered, the Hassans' 11-year-old son Rakan had been shot in the stomach, the bullet exiting through his spine.

      He was paralysed. A philanthropist later paid for him to be treated in the US, but he was killed in a bombing when he returned home.

      The shooting at Tal Afar was captured by photographer Chris Hondros, who heard the Hassans' 14-year-old daughter cry: `Why did they shoot us? We have no weapons. We were just going home.'

      Mr Hondros said that warning shots were quickly followed by a `cacophony of fire, shots rattling off in a chaotic overlapping din'.

      He added: `The sound of children crying came from the car.'

      Dispatches found that the orphans were given a £4,782 `condolence package' by the US military: £1,594 for each parent and £1,594 for the car.

      The soldiers were cleared of wrongdoing by an investigation.

      Helicopter crew were told it was legal to shoot surrendered men

      The leaked war logs reveal how a US helicopter crew was told to attack two Iraqi insurgents, despite its pilots reporting that the men were trying to surrender.

      On February 22, 2007, an Apache fired a series of 30mm rounds at insurgents on the ground, who had been involved in a mortar attack on Coalition forces near Baghdad.

      The documents claim the helicopter crew – call sign Crazyhorse 18 – radioed that the insurgents `came out wanting to surrender', then got back into their vehicle.

      Fatal error: Reuters employees Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were mistakenly killed

      But an unnamed lawyer at the nearby Taji airbase gave them clearance to kill.

      The log entry says: `Crazy­horse cleared to engage dumptruck. Lawyer states they cannot surrender to aircraft.'

      After receiving the lawyer's advice, the pilots launched a Hellfire missile at the truck in Khadamiyah, north of Baghdad. The crew signalled: `Individuals have run into another shack.'

      The crew were then told to attack again. This time, the gunner killed both men.

      At 1.03pm, 24 minutes after receiving legal clearance, the crew filed a log entry that said: `Battle damage assessment is shack/dump truck destroyed.'

      Crazyhorse 18 was part of the US Army's 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, normally based at Fort Hood, Texas.

      The aircraft is thought to be the same helicopter that mistakenly killed two Reuters employees, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40, on July 12, the same year.

      The leaked documents reveal four other cases where insurgents were able to surrender to Apaches.

      One of these incidents occurred on January 10, 2007, when a helicopter – call sign Lightning Horse 5 – opened fire on a white truck.

      Two Iraqi men got out and surrendered. Ground forces were then called to pick them up.



      Iraq war logs: An introduction
      David Leigh
      Friday 22 October 2010

      The leaking of more than 390,000 previously secret US military reports details the hidden realities of the war in Iraq

      • Datablog: data journalism maps every death

      US marines approach the city of Ubaydi on foot at dawn during Operation Steel Curtain. Photograph: Jehad Nga/Corbis The invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq has been one of the most bloodily divisive international conflicts of the past decade. The reputations of George W Bush and Tony Blair, are stained, perhaps indelibly, by it.

      Today's gigantic leak from that long-running battleground, of 391,832 previously secret US military field reports, details the unvarnished and often unknown realities of the war in Iraq. It is history in the raw. The story these documents tell is ugly and often shocking.

      Between 2004 and 2009, a sectarian civil war merged with a war of "resistance" by nationalist Iraqis, and with a ruthless jihadist campaign by foreign al-Qaida supporters, to plunge Iraq into a three-way bloodbath of roadside bombs, assassinations and high-explosive shelling of villages and towns.

      The Iraq logs detail how soldiers, civilians, insurgents, foreign aid workers, private contractors, old men and young girls, Americans, Britons, foreign Arabs and above all, the Iraqi people themselves, fell victim to a new dynamic of "asymmetric warfare", in which guerrillas armed mainly with improvised landmines, competed with the awesome weaponry of hi-tech US air power.

      More than 100,000 people died and whole towns such as Falluja were reduced to near-rubble, amid allegations of brutal abuse by some US and UK soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere.

      The raw material in these Iraq war logs, like databanks of previous classified files the Guardian has published on the Afghan war, comes from US military archives. A dissident US intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, formerly based in Baghdad, is currently facing a court martial charged with leaking similar material to WikiLeaks, the online whistleblowing activists.

      WikiLeaks has defied the Pentagon to pass this data on to a wide range of media organisations, including the Guardian. WikiLeaks intends to post much of it on its own website.

      The Guardian is publishing extracts from original documents where to do so will not endanger identifiable individuals.


      US Must Investigate Detainee Abuse Claims in Wikileaks Files
      Statement from Wikileaks.org

      " At 5pm EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports ('The Iraq War Logs'), document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a 'SIGACT' or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout.

      The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 'civilians'; 23,984 'enemy' (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 'host nation' (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 'friendly' (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period. For comparison, the 'Afghan War Diaries', previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, detail the deaths of some 20,000 people. Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivallent population size. "

      From Amnesty International
      The US government must investigate how much US officials knew about the torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held by Iraqi security forces after new evidence emerged in files released today by Wikileaks.

      We have not yet had an opportunity to study the leaked files in detail but they add to our concern that the US authorities committed a serious breach of international law when they summarily handed over thousands of detainees to Iraqi security forces who, they knew, were continuing to torture and abuse detainees on a truly shocking scale.

      The new disclosures appear to closely match the findings of New Order, Same Abuses: Unlawful Detentions and Torture in Iraq, a report we published last month detailing the widespread torture and other ill-treatment of detainees by Iraqi forces, committed with impunity.

      Thousands of Iraqis who had been detained by US forces were transferred from US to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010 under an agreement between the USA and Iraq that contains no provisions for ensuring protection of the detainees' human rights.
      These documents apparently provide further evidence that the US authorities have been aware of this systematic abuse for years, yet they went ahead and handed over thousands of Iraqis they had detained to the Iraqi security forces.

      The United States is a party to the UN Convention against Torture, the main international treaty prohibiting torture, which requires all states to prohibit torture and to refrain from transferring detainees to the authorities of another state at whose hands they face torture.
      Amnesty International continues to campaign for full accountability for those detainees tortured and ill-treated by USA military personnel in Iraq, such as those in Abu Ghraib prison.

      The US authorities, like all governments, have an obligation under international law not only to ensure that their own forces do not use torture, but also that people who were detained and are being held by US forces are not handed over to other authorities who are likely to torture them.

      The USA failed to respect this obligation in Iraq, despite the great volume of evidence, available from many different quarters, showing that the Iraqi security forces use torture widely and are allowed to do so with impunity.

      The information said to be in these documents also underscores the urgent need for the Iraqi government to take concrete measures to end torture, ensure the safety of all detainees, and root out and bring to justice those responsible for torture and other serious human rights abuses, however senior their position.

      Join Amnesty International in calling on President Obama and Congress to respect human rights and counter terror with justice.


      The Secret Iraq Files: The Politics

      Iran's 'involvement'
      Gregg Carlstrom
      22 Oct 2010

      US soldiers report Iranian intelligence officers manning checkpoints, building bombs and smuggling weapons.

      On October 2005, US troops warned that Adnan al-Dulaymi, an Iraqi Sunni politician, would be the target of an assassination attempt. The hit would reportedly be carried out by "an Iranian trained insurgent cell" - led by a member of Iran's intelligence services.

      The cell will be led by an Iranian intelligence officer named Dhia ((LNU),NFI. Dhia will travel into Iraq (IZ) with an Iraqi passport with the notation that he is mute. (Source comment: the reason for this notation is that Dhia speaks broken Arabic and would easily be detected as an Iranian.)

      Iran's role in Iraq, like Syria's, is the subject of hundreds of reports, many of which suggest Tehran was heavily involved in equipping and aiding Shia groups. These reports only tell one side of the story, of course, and a limited one at that; they lack higher-level analysis, and many of them are based on interviews with informants of often-questionable credibility.

      Reading the Documents

      Editor's note: About the documents

      That being said, the reports allege extensive links between Iran and the militant groups. The militants often targeted Sunni politicians, like al-Dulaymi, but other attacks were apparently intended to undermine confidence in the government.

      A March 2007 report blames "Iranian intelligence agents" within Jaysh Al-Mahdi (JAM) and the Badr Corps of "influencing attacks on ministry officials in Iraq"; their next target was to be the minister of industry, who survived an earlier assassination attempt in Baghdad in 2006. "[This] is a media campaign designed by Iranian intelligence officers, to show the world, and especially the Arab world, that the Baghdad security plan has failed to bring security to Baghdad," the US military concluded.

      What is striking about the Iranian reports – separating them from the reports about Syria – is the apparent degree of integration between Iran's security services and various militia groups operating in Iraq, particularly the Badr Corps and the JAM. In February 2007, a US army unit got word of a checkpoint manned jointly by JAM members and Iranian intelligence.

      There are four UI JAM members with AK-47 assault rifles controlling the checkpoint. Along with the four JAM members, are two UI Iranian intelligence officers, members of Badr Corp. NFI. These two Badr Corp members are in charge of the checkpoint.

      Two years later, a US cavalry unit received reports that an Iranian intelligence agent was taking more aggressive action – staging rocket attacks against the international zone in Baghdad, again acting as a member of the Badr Corps.

      On the evening of 04MAY09, C/5-73 CAV received reports from 3 different informatns [sic] that [REDACTED] was an Iranian intelligence agent and was responsible for the three 107MM rocket attacks from the Palestine street into the IX in the last 11 days... during initial questioning the detainee admitted to being a member of Badr Corp.

      One report recounted the arrest of Hajji Juwad, an alleged Shia militia leader, who targeted Sunni volunteers patrolling neighbourhoods as part of the "Concerned Local Citizens" (CLC) programme.

      Hajji Juwad is a historic Shia extremist militia leader associated with multiple attacks on coalition forces, including two catastrophic attacks on COP Callahan. Reporting indicates that religious edicts are being issued by Shia extremists residing in Iran to continue to attempt to dismantle the CLC organisation.

      An equally serious set of allegations deals with Iran's alleged role in funneling weapons to armed Shia groups in Iraq.

      Soldiers of Heaven

      Iran's role in transporting conventional weapons across the border is made to seem serious, as literally hundreds of reports describe JAM, the Badr Corps, and other groups receiving arms from Iranian agents. In October 2005, for example, US forces receive what they assess to be a "credible" report that "Iranian intelligence operatives" are distributing machine guns, rocket launchers and other arms to groups near the southern city of Basra.

      The US has also long blamed Iran for some of the deadliest unconventional attacks in Iraq, particularly the growth in popularity of explosively formed penetrators (EFP), an especially lethal form of IED.

      It is difficult to determine from these documents whether those allegations are true – though in a few cases, they offer reason to doubt the official US line. In February 2007, for example, the US claimed that a weapons cache uncovered in Hillah in Babil province showed evidence of Iranian involvement. "The new evidence includes infrared sensors, electronic triggering devices and information about plastic explosives used in bombs that the Americans say lead back in Iran."

      But the actual report from that incident suggests a more complicated picture:

      Warrior 42 reports they have found books, some of which are "Soldiers of Heaven" books who were individuals involved in Najaf.

      […] The first area identified contained 10x 107MM Iranian Haseb rockets and 10X J-1 PD rocket fuzes in a false compartment under the bed of a red Chevy 1988 pickup truck. The second area contained 1X fully assembled 3-array EFP; 1X PIR and telmetry device; 2X military style compases; 1X Garmin GPS; 1X sextant; and 1X 1-gallon oil jug filled with unknown explo [sic]

      The rockets were indeed Iranian-made, but the "Soldiers of Heaven" literature was never publicly reported before. That was a Shia group which fought a number of pitched battles with US forces in 2006 and 2007; a staunchly nationalist group with no known ties to Iran.

      On the other hand, a raid the next week in Diyala uncovered a sizable cache of Iranian-made weapons, including EFP-making materials.

      Notably, though, there appear to be no reports of US forces detaining Iranians with a direct involvement in building EFPs. There is a great deal of guilt by association – caches of Iranian weapons often show up at "EFP-making sites" - but no reports of direct involvement.


      Iraqis fear reprisals after latest 'torture' leak
      Nizar Latif
      Oct 24, 2010

      Tropical storm Megi had weakened by the time it made landfall in south-east China yesterday but its might was still impressive as its waves crashed into the waterfront of Zhangpu in Fujian province. In Taiwan, rescuers were searching for two dozen people missing in mudslides that had killed at least 12. A report from our foreign correspondent Daniel Bardsley in Beijing appears on page a18.

      Baghdad // Fears grew yesterday of renewed sectarian violence in Iraq after leaked US military files revealed that Iraqi forces have been heavily involved in torture and murder.

      Ifan al Issawi, head of the provincial security and defence commission in the Sunni area of Anbar, west of Baghdad, said he expected anti-government violence in the wake of the revelations.
      "It will affect the security situation here, in Fallujah, in Anbar and in other parts of the country," he said. "It will raise the feeling of malice against Americans and against the Iraqi forces as well.

      "People will want to take revenge; that will make the security situation even hotter."

      In Washington, the US military denounced the leak as "shameful". A Pentagon spokesman said it would endanger American troops in Iraq.
      The Iraqi authorities have promised to investigate the allegations of abuse in the thousands of classified US documents published by WikiLeaks on Friday. They show that American soldiers documented the systematic mistreatment of prisoners, including women and children, by Iraq's security forces.

      Some of the alleged abuse took place while Nouri al Maliki was prime minister, and the revelations increase pressure on him as he fights to remain in office for another term.

      Mr al Maliki's office accused WikiLeaks of creating a national uproar by releasing documents that it said were being used "against national parties and leaders, especially against the prime minister". It expressed confidence in "our people's awareness regarding such games or media bubbles that are motivated by known political goals".

      It said the documents presented no proof of detainees being improperly treated while Mr al Maliki headed Iraq's Shiite-led government, and praised him as courageous for taking a tough stance against terrorists.

      But those comments have done little to deflect the criticism by Mr al Maliki's opponents, particularly those among Iraq's Sunni Arab minority.

      Many Iraqis have long complained about government forces, accusing the post-2003 invasion authorities of being as abusive and corrupt as the regime of the deposed president Saddam Hussein. The documents released by WikiLeaks not only appear to confirm the continued widespread use of torture, but also point to complicity by US forces, who failed to prevent it.

      That has only added to the sense of outrage among some Iraqis against both US and Iraqi troops. Even some of those who have been supportive of the US presence say they are now disillusioned because they had believed the Americans restrained Iraqi troops. The WikiLeaks documents show that reports of Iraqi torture made by rank-and-file US soldiers were not investigated by the US military.

      Manfred Nowak, the UN's special rapporteur on torture, said the US president, Barack Obama, should examine the claims against American troops.

      "There is an obligation to investigate whenever there are credible allegations torture has happened - and these allegations are more than credible - and then it is up to the courts," he said.

      Mohammad Qassim, a resident of Zafarinyah, south of Baghdad, said the WikiLeaks revelations make him want to seek revenge. He said two of his adult sons were killed in the kitchen of his home during a night raid by Iraqi and US forces last year. Mr Qassim has always maintained the deaths were murder, despite official denials.

      Although his case does not appear to be mentioned in the leaked files, he said the documents proved Iraq's forces were out of control.
      "People didn't believe me when I told them what had happened, but now maybe they will," he said.

      Other families who lost loved ones said the US military files had confirmed their worst fears. Khalid Ferhan, from Taji, has not been able to find his brother since he was arrested by a joint Iraqi-US force in 2008.

      "I still don't know if he is alive or dead," he said.

      In Baghdad, Rasim al Marwani, a senior member of the anti-US Sadrist movement, said the American military files confirmed that "a river of blood" had been flowing in Iraq.

      "We have been saying this for the past seven years," he said.


      US forces 'ignored Iraq torture'

      The biggest leak of military records in US history, released by Wikileaks, shows commanders did not investigate torture by the Iraqi authorities.

      US turned blind eye to torture

      Leaked documents on Iraq war contain thousands of allegations of abuse, but a Pentagon order told troops to ignore them.

      23 Oct 2010

      US condemns Iraq war leaks

      WikiLeaks releases secret Iraq file

      Al Jazeera accesses 400,000 secret US military documents, which reveal the inside story of the Iraq war.

      22 Oct 2010

      Civilians in the crossfire

      680 civilians, including pregnant women and the mentally ill, killed for coming too close to checkpoints and patrols.

      'Crazy Horse' and collateral damage

      Helicopter squadron that killed two Reuters journalists in 2007 was involved in other attacks that hurt civilians.


      The Human Cost
      Left to die in jail

      How a secret order given by the Pentagon could have led to the death of a detainee who the US knew was being tortured.

      22 Oct 2010

      Death at a checkpoint

      The tragic story of Nabiha Jassim, a pregnant woman who was killed by US troops as she rushed to hospital to give birth.


      Has Al-Jazeera outleaked WikiLeaks?
      By staff writers and AFP
      October 23, 2010

      AL-JAZEERA has released what it described as "startling new information" from US military documents obtained by whistleblower site WikiLeaks, alleging state-sanctioned Iraqi torture and the killing of "hundreds" of civilians at US military checkpoints.

      It said that the major findings included an alleged US military cover-up of Iraqi state-sanctioned torture and "hundreds" of civilians deaths at manned American checkpoints after the US-led invasion of 2003 that ousted Saddam Hussein. The Qatar-based satellite broadcaster also said the leaked papers, dating from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2009, show the US kept a death count throughout the war, despite US denials.

      WikiLeaks, in the meantime, released a statement on its Twitter feed claiming that it was "informed that rumors of Al-Jazeera releasing WikiLeaks files are incorrect".

      An hour later, it told the online world to keep watching WikiLeaks - which has been down since news broke it was preparing the release of some 400,000 files on the Iraq War - for the big announcement, and included Al-Jazeera in its list of sources.

      "See TBIJ, IBC, Guardian, Spiegel, NYT, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, Chan4, SVT, CNN, BBC and more in the next few hours," it said just after 7am AEDT.

      "We maximise impact."

      Al-Jazeera's English channel was to broadcast a series of programs, it said in a statement sent to AFP, "that reveal startling new information about the operations of U.S. forces during the Iraq War".
      It said the programs are based on files from WikiLeaks "who gained access to over 400,000 documents regarding the War in Iraq making it the largest document leak in U.S. history".

      "The secret materials are more than four times larger then Wikileak's Afghanistan files," the broadcaster said in a statement issued in English.

      On Tuesday, WIkiLeaks founder Julian Assange took a swipe at Wired magazine for pre-empting the release, asking: "What is journalism coming to?"

      "Over 700 articles, newspapers all over the world, and newswires fooled by a tabloid blog - and each other," he wrote.

      Al-Jazeera said the leaked documents also provide new information on the killing of civilians by US private security firm Blackwater.
      "The secret US files reveal new cases of Blackwater (a company now known as XE) opening fire on civilians. No charges were ever brought," the statement said.

      Also included in the papers obtained by WikiLeaks was information on what it called the "secret involvement" of Iran in financing Shiite militias in Iraq".

      "The files detail Iran's secret war in Iraq and discuss Iran's Revolutionary Guard acting as an alleged supplier of arms to Shia insurgents," Al-Jazeera said.

      It said the papers also included US Army reports about Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki "and allegations of his association with death squads" in Iraq.

      The Pentagon yesterday warned that releasing secret military documents could endanger US 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."

      "That said, the period covered by these reports has been well-chronicled in news stories, books and films and the release of these field reports does not bring new understanding to Iraq's past," Mr Morrell added.


      Follows an axcellent compilation by URUKNET, probably the best informational site on the Middle East...

      Iraq war logs: Obama administration handed over detainees despite reports of torture
      Angus Stickler

      October 22, 2010 - President Barack Obama's government handed over thousands of detainees to the Iraqi authorities, despite knowing there were hundreds of reports of alleged torture in Iraqi government facilities. Washington was warned by the United Nations and many human rights organisations that torture was widespread in Iraqi detention centres. But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal the US's own troops informed their commanders of more than 1,300 claims of torture by Iraqi Security forces between 2005 and 2009...


      Iraq war logs: Iraqi civilians used as minesweepers by a US soldier
      The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

      October 22, 2010 - Iraqi civilians were used as minesweepers by a US soldier, according to an allegation recorded in the Iraq war logs. In a written statement, an eyewitness described how the leader of a US mounted cavalry platoon ordered Iraqi civilians to "clear the road of trash and debris" if he suspected a bomb might be hidden on their route. "The witness claimed the incidents occurred during mounted patrols on several occasions in August and/or September 2005," stated the 2006 report. It does not say whether any civilians lost their lives while clearing roads...


      Iraq war logs: Was Blackwater responsible for 10 civilian deaths?
      by Chris Woods and Lucy Keating

      October 22, 2010 - After killing 17 civilians in the centre of Baghdad, Blackwater became the most infamous private security company operating in Iraq. And now the war logs provide further details of Blackwater personnel allegedly firing on, and killing, civilians. The security firm gained notoriety after it opened fire on unarmed civilians on September 16 2007 at Nisour Square in Baghdad. Witnesses said the guards launched an indiscriminate attack. Guns were fired and grenades launched, resulting in the deaths of 17 people and the wounding of 18 others. The youngest victim was a nine-year-old boy. Now, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered 14 other cases in the war logs, where it was reported that Blackwater allegedly opened fire on civilians, killing ten and wounding seven...


      WikiLeaks' Iraq War Logs: US Troops Abused Prisoners Years After Abu Ghraib
      Marcus Baram

      October 22, 2010 - ...The allegations of prisoner abuse by US troops from 2005 to 2009 occurred despite a crackdown on such behavior that was promised in the wake of the 2004 scandal over abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which reports that "303 allegations of abuse by coalition forces were reported in the military files after 2004."...The documents include accounts of Iraqi forces sodomizing and electrocuting prisoners, according to Al-Jazeera News, which has been collaborating along with The Guardian and Le Monde with WikiLeaks on the latest document dump.

      In addition, Al-Jazeera is reporting that the documents include more revelations about prisoner abuse, the first official civilian deathcount, tales of murder at military checkpoints and the role of Blackwater, the controversial contractor. The New York Times reports that the documents describe at least 6 deaths of prisoners in the custody of Iraqi military and police forces...


      The Secret Iraq Files: Death at a checkpoint

      The tragic story of Nabiha Jassim, a pregnant woman who was killed by US troops as she rushed to hospital to give birth.
      Andrew Wander

      October 22, 2010 - This is the US military's record of the death of a pregnant woman shot by its soldiers at checkpoint while on her way to give birth at a maternity hospital. Nabiha Jassim was 35 years old when she was killed in the town of Samarra, 110km north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. She was being rushed to hospital by her brother, Khalid, when their car approached a US military checkpoint and observation post that had recently been set up. It was a journey the family would never complete. The Iraq war files reveal that US troops manning the checkpoint believed that Nabiha's car posed a threat. As the vehicle carrying the family approached the checkpoint, the soldiers opened fire...


      Iraq war logs: WikiLeaks v Washington
      David Leigh

      October 22, 2010 - This weekend's release of a second gigantic trove of leaked US military material raises the stakes for two people. One is Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old dissident American soldier being held in a military prison outside Washington charged with leaking similar material. The other is Julian Assange, 39, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks. He is currently "in hiding" in London, according to his friends. He is planning to surface for a news conference tomorrow. Manning, a junior intelligence analyst formerly based in Baghdad, was arrested in the spring. He was shipped to solitary confinement in a military prison in Kuwait and then to the marine base at Quantico, Virginia...


      Iraq war logs: Apache helicopters kill 14 civilians in hunt for insurgents
      Jonathan Steele

      October 22, 2010 - US Apache helicopters killed at least 14 unarmed civilians in a series of previously unreported "gun runs" in eastern Baghdad only four days after the notorious killing of two journalists and 10 other civilians that was captured on a leaked cockpit video released in April. The footage obtained by the WikiLeaks website led to the arrest of Iraq-based US army analyst Bradley Manning, who is accused of being its source. Posted on YouTube, the 39-minute cockpit video shows three incidents in which people were targeted as they walked along Baghdad streets, sat in a van or went into a building, unaware that gunships were aiming to destroy them. Because the dead included two Iraqi journalists working for Reuters TV the US authorities mounted a rare investigation...


      Video: Iraq files 'not surprising'

      October 22, 2010 - For the past 10 weeks, working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, Al Jazeera has analysed tens of thousands of documents, sourced through WikiLeaks, which cover six years of war - in the biggest leak of US military secrets in history. The secret files reveal extensive abuse at Iraqi police stations, army bases and prisons. According to the files, coalition troops reported the allegations to their superiors on more than 1,300 occasions...


      The Secret Iraq Files: Left to die in jail
      Andrew Wander

      October 22, 2010 - In a single sentence, the US military blocks its officers from investigating torture committed by Iraqi security forces, condemning thousands of prisoners handed by US forces to Iraqi authorities to potential mistreatment and even death. FRAGO 242, issued in June 2004, just two months after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, is smoking gun evidence that the US forces knowingly flouted international law in the way they dealt with the prisoners they took in the country. The UN Convention on Torture blocks states from handing individuals to the authorities of another state where this would place them at serious risk of torture. The decision to turn a blind eye to prisoner abuse, despite more than 1300 individual reports of torture made to senior American officers, is evidence that the US knew exactly what was happening to the prisoners it took in the country..


      The Secret Iraq Files: Iran's 'involvement'
      Gregg Carlstrom, AlJazeera.net

      October 22, 2010 - ...That being said, the reports allege extensive links between Iran and the militant groups. The militants often targeted Sunni politicians, like al-Dulaymi, but other attacks were apparently intended to undermine confidence in the government. A March 2007 report blames "Iranian intelligence agents" within Jaysh Al-Mahdi (JAM) and the Badr Corps of "influencing attacks on ministry officials in Iraq"; their next target was to be the minister of industry, who survived an earlier assassination attempt in Baghdad in 2006. "[This] is a media campaign designed by Iranian intelligence officers, to show the world, and especially the Arab world, that the Baghdad security plan has failed to bring security to Baghdad," the US military concluded. What is striking about the Iranian reports – separating them from the reports about Syria – is the apparent degree of integration between Iran's security services and various militia groups operating in Iraq, particularly the Badr Corps and the JAM...

      Wikileaks Confirms: US Hikers, Detained by Iran, Were Arrested in Iraq
      The Investigative Fund

      October 22, 2010 - Wikileaks today made public a classified American military report that confirms that three American hikers detained by Iran were arrested on the Iraqi side of the border. The Investigative Fund and The Nation magazine first reported the circumstances of their arrest in June of this year, after locating two eye-witnesses who described their seizure by Iranian forces inside Iraqi territory. Iranian authorities have repeatedly charged that the three illegally crossed into Iran, an unsupported assertion that has nevertheless been frequently repeated in the U.S. press....


      Iraq war logs: US Apache guns down surrendering insurgents
      Angus Stickler

      October 22, 2010 - On February 22 2007, a US helicopter engaged a group of insurgents involved in a mortar attack upon coalition forces, near Baghdad. After firing a series of 30mm rounds, the crew of the helicopter – callsign "Crazyhorse" – radioed to their command, stating the insurgents "wanted to surrender". The response was blunt: "CRAZYHORSE cleared to engage … Lawyer stated they cannot surrender to aircraft." The Apache crew killed the men...


      Iraq war logs: Detainees abused by coalition troops
      Nick Davies

      October 22, 2010 - ...In relation to US troops the logs reveal numerous claims of assaults on detainees, particularly by marines. A woman reports being pulled by the hair and kicked in the face and displays injuries that tend to confirm her story; a man who was detained claims a US soldier kicked his legs and punched his chest and arms, and he is found to have multiple contusions and abrasions on his legs, arms, chest and face. On several occasions US soldiers report their colleagues. One reveals that the driver of his Stryker armoured vehicle habitually calls out an English-language warning to soldiers in the rear and then brakes heavily to send detainees flying forward, and that those in the back take it in turns to hit their prisoners. Another describes a fellow soldier choking a detainee before pointing an unloaded shotgun at his belly and pulling the trigger. Some incidents are minor cruelties. A US soldier at Habbaniya is stood down after writing "pussy" on the forehead of a prisoner who was crying..


      Biggest document leak in history exposes real war
      by Rachel Oldroyd

      October 22, 2010 - Twelve weeks ago the Bureau of Investigative Journalism was given access to the biggest leak of military documents in history. These documents formed a database of nearly 400,000 military logs recorded over six years of the Iraq war and covering the years 2004 to 2009. There are over 37 million words used to recount military significant actions that took place across the entire country. This material provides an unrivalled portrait of one of the most controversial wars of the modern age. For the first time the files reveal just how much the American military detailed the escalating violence in Iraq, and how this contrasts markedly to what the politicians said in public. This is the story behind the pronouncements – the uncensored detail Washington did not want us to know. The data reveals how hundreds of civilians were killed by coalition forces in unreported events. There are numerous claims of prison abuse by coalition forces even after the Abu Ghraib scandal. The files also paint a disturbing portrait of widespread torture in Iraqi detention facilities...


      Video: US forces turn a blind eye to torture

      October 22, 2010 - The Iraq war documents from WikiLeaks contain thousands of allegations of abuse and torture committed by Iraqi security forces. And a high-level Pentagon directive told US forces to look the other way...


      Iraq war logs: Civilians gunned down at checkpoints
      Jonathan Steele

      October 22, 2010 - ...The war logs, seen by the Guardian, contain a horrific dossier of cases where US troops killed innocent civilians at checkpoints, on Iraq's roads and during raids on people's homes. The victims include dozens of women and children. The US rarely admitted their deaths publicly. In the secret logs the killings mainly figure as "escalation of force incidents". Commanders send in reports outlining how soldiers faithfully followed the rules of engagement: first signals, then warning shots, and as a last resort direct fire to disable a vehicle or its driver...


      Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands, Logs Say

      October 22, 2010 - The public image of detainees in Iraq was defined by the photographs, now infamous, of American abuse at Abu Ghraib, like the hooded prisoner and the snarling attack dog. While the documents disclosed by WikiLeaks offer few glimpses of what was happening inside American detention facilities, they do contain indelible details of abuse carried out by Iraq's army and police. The six years of reports include references to the deaths of at least six prisoners in Iraqi custody, most of them in recent years. Beatings, burnings and lashings surfaced in hundreds of reports, giving the impression that such treatment was not an exception. In one case, Americans suspected Iraqi Army officers of cutting off a detainee's fingers and burning him with acid. Two other cases produced accounts of the executions of bound detainees...


      Iraq war logs: Secret order that let US ignore abuse
      Mistreatment of helpless prisoners by Iraqi security forces included beatings, burning, electrocution and rape
      Nick Davies

      October 22, 2010 - ...Other logs record not merely assaults but systematic torture. A man who was detained by Iraqi soldiers in an underground bunker reported that he had been subjected to the notoriously painful strappado position: with his hands tied behind his back, he was suspended from the ceiling by his wrists. The soldiers had then whipped him with plastic piping and used electric drills on him. The log records that the man was treated by US medics; the paperwork was sent through the necessary channels; but yet again, no investigation was required...


      Iraq war logs: secret files show how US ignored torture
      Nick Davies, Jonathan Steele and David Leigh

      October 22, 2010 - A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes. Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war. The new logs detail how: • US 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. • A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender. • More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents....



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