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Iraq War Logs
The Iraq War Logs is the disclosure, unsanctioned by the US government, of a collection of 391,832 United States Army field reports, also called the Iraq War documents leak, of the Iraq War from 2004 to 2009 to several international media organizations and published on the Internet by WikiLeaks on 22 October, 2010. The files record 66,081 civilian deaths out of 109,000 recorded deaths (as seen in Casualties of the Iraq War). The leak resulted in the Iraq Body Count project adding 15,000 civilian deaths to their count, bringing their total to over 150,000, with roughly 80% of those civilians. It is the biggest leak in the military history of the United States, surpassing the Afghan War Diary leak of 25 July 2010.
The logs contain numerous reports of previously unknown or unconfirmed events that took place during the war.
- According to the Iraq Body Count project, a sample of the deaths found in about 800 logs, extrapolated to the full set of records, shows around 15,000 civilian deaths that had not been previously admitted by the US government. 66,000 civilians were reported dead in the logs, out of 109,000 deaths in total.
- The Guardian stated that the logs show "US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers"; the coalition, according to The Guardian, has "a formal policy of ignoring such allegations", unless the allegations involve coalition forces.
- Sometimes US troops classified civilian deaths as enemy casualties. For example, the 12th July Baghdad airstrike by US helicopter gunships which killed two Reuters journalists along with several armed men suspected to be insurgents. They, including the journalists, were all listed as "enemy killed in action".
- Wired Magazine said that even after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse incident came to light in 2004, abuse of prisoners or detainees by Iraqi security forces continued; in one recorded case, US troops confiscated a "hand cranked generator with wire clamps" from a Baghdad police station, after a detainee claimed to have been brutalized there.
- One report analyzed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism seems to show that "the US military cleared an Apache helicopter gunship to open fire on Iraqi insurgents who were trying to surrender".
- According to Wired Magazine, "WikiLeaks may have just bolstered one of the Bush administrationâ€™s most controversial claims about the Iraq war: that Iran supplied many of the Iraq insurgencyâ€™s deadliest weapons and worked hand-in-glove with some of its most lethal militias. The documents indicate that Iran was a major combatant in the Iraq war, as its elite Quds Force trained Iraqi Shiite insurgents and imported deadly weapons like the shape-charged explosively formed penetrator bombs into Iraq for use against civilians, Sunni militants and U.S. troops."
- It was reported in the Boston Globe that the documents show Iraqi operatives being trained by Hezbollah in precision military-style kidnappings. Reports also include incidents of US surveillance aircraft lost deep in Iranian territory.
- A number of the documents, as defined by Al Jazeera English, describe how US troops killed almost 700 civilians for coming too close to checkpoints, including pregnant women and the mentally ill. At least a half-dozen incidents involved Iraqi men transporting pregnant family members to hospitals.
- The New York Times said the reports contain evidence of many abuses, including civilian deaths, committed by contractors. The New York Times points out some specific reports, such as one which says "after the IED strike a witness reports the Blackwater employees fired indiscriminately at the scene." In another event on 14 May 2005, an American unit "observed a Blackwater PSD shoot up a civ vehicle" killing a father and wounding his wife and daughter.
- A document from December 2006, as defined by The Australian, describes a plan by a Shia militia commander to kidnap US soldiers in Baghdad in late 2006 or early 2007." Also, The Australian reports that "detainee testimony" and "a captured militant's diary" are cited among the documents, in order to demonstrate "how Iran provided Iraqi militias with weapons such as rockets and lethal roadside bombs."
- According to The New York Times, a number of the documents "portrays the long history of tensions between Kurds and Arabs in the north of Iraq and reveals the fears of some American units about what might happen after American troops leave the country by the end of 2011."
- According to Dagbladet Information, which has been looking through the documents for information on the actions of soldiers from Denmark in Iraq, Danish soldiers "passed on responsibility for a much higher number of prisoners to Iraqi police than has previously been made public. The practice continued even though the coalition witnessed, and was continually warned of widespread torture and mistreatment of prisoners in the hands of the Iraqi police."
- An analysis published by The Jerusalem Post argues the leaked documents indicates a double standard in the international community views of human rights towards Israel's military policy:
Following Operation Cast Lead last year, Israel come under such harsh international criticism culminating in the Goldstone Report, while the war in Iraq, which has claimed the lives of over 150,000 people, has yet to lead to the establishment of a similar UN-sanctioned probe
- According to an editorial in The Washington Post, the leak "mainly demonstrates that the truth about Iraq "already has been told", while it "has at least temporarily complicated negotiations to form a new government". The editor also charged that "claims such as those published by the British journal The Lancet that American forces slaughtered hundreds of thousands are the real 'attack on truth.'"
After criticism over the Afghan War documents leak, more material, including certain names and details, were redacted from these documents by WikiLeaks.
- The UN's chief investigator on torture, Manfred Nowak, states that "if the files released through WikiLeaks pointed to clear violations of the United Nations Convention Against Torture the Obama administration had an obligation to investigate them." The Convention, according to Nowak, forbids the US from turning over detainees to the Iraqi government, if doing so meant they might be subjected to torture.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay said that "the US and Iraq should investigate claims of abuse contained in files published on the Wikileaks website". In addition, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak called "for a wider inquiry to include alleged US abuses."
- NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated that the release could cause "a very unfortunate situation", and that "such leaks ... may have a very negative security impact for people involved." US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also condemned the leak, saying that it "puts the lives of United States and its partners' service members and civilians at risk." WikiLeaks dismissed these concerns.
- In preparation for the leak, the Pentagon created an Information Review Task Force, comprising 120 people led by the Defense Intelligence Agency. A spokesperson for the Pentagon said the reports were considered to be simple observations and reports by military personnel and civilian informants, but nevertheless called their release a "tragedy," and the US Department of Defense requested the return of the documents. WikiLeaks founder Assange dismissed the Pentagon's concerns that the publication of the documents could endanger US troops and Iraqi civilians, asserting that the Pentagon "cannot find a single person that has been harmed" due to WikiLeaksâ€™ previous release of documents related to the US-led war in Afghanistan.
- The U.S. military responded to the information in the documents about civilian deaths, saying that "it did not under-report the number of civilian deaths in the Iraq war or ignore prisoner abuse by Iraqi forces". Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan added that "the U.S. military never claimed to have an exact count of the number of civilians killed in Iraq." He also added that both WikiLeaks and the Pentagon had the same database to collate a civilian death toll and was further sceptical WikiLeaks "made any new discovery." General George Casey, the army chief of staff, said US forces went to morgues to collect data and he did not "recall downplaying civilian casualties."
- In response to the allegations of torture by Iraqi soldiers under US oversight, US General George Casey, in command of the Iraq War between 2004 and 2007, said that "[o]ur policy all along was if American soldiers encountered prisoner abuse, to stop it and report it immediately up the US chain of command and up the Iraqi chain of command."
- Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg also expressed his support for an investigation into the "allegations of killings, torture and abuse" in the documents, having stated, "We can bemoan how these leaks occurred, but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious".
- Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki dismissed the records as politically timed smear and as a series of "media games and bubbles" as a defense against the information contained in the documents, which included "allegations [his administration] had permitted the abuse of prisoners and other misuses of power." This was echoed by Hassan al-Sneid, a "leader of Maliki's governing State of Law coalition", who stated, in terms of the images contained in the documents, "These are all just fakes from the Internet and Photoshop". The