wikileaks-2:No surprises seen in WikiLeaks Iraq war data: Pentagon

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ajtr, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    No surprises seen in WikiLeaks Iraq war data: Pentagon

    (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Friday it does not expect big surprises from an imminent release of up to 500,000 Iraq war files by WikiLeaks, but warned that U.S. troops and Iraqis could be endangered by the file dump.

    If confirmed, the leak would be much larger than the group's record-breaking publication of more than 70,000 Afghan war documents in July, which stoked debate about the nine-year-old conflict but did not contain major revelations.

    It was the largest security breach of its kind in U.S. military history.

    Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters that a Pentagon team had reviewed the Iraq war files it believes WikiLeaks has, spanning a time period between 2003 and 2010.

    He described them as largely "ground-level" field reports which could expose the names of Iraqi individuals working with the United States and give insight to Iraqi insurgents about U.S. operations, similar to the Afghan war files.

    "Our concern is mostly with the threat to individuals, the threat to our people and our equipment," Lapan said.

    "But in terms of the types of incidents that are captured in these reports, where innocent Iraqis have been killed, where there are allegations of detainee abuse, all of these things have been very well chronicled over time."

    Although the Iraq conflict has faded from public debate in the United States in recent years, the document dump threatens to revive memories of some of the most trying times in the war, including the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.


    It could also renew debate about foreign and domestic actors influencing Iraq, which has been wrestling with a political vacuum since an inconclusive election in March.

    One source familiar with the Iraq documents said they are likely to contain revelations about civilian casualties.

    Lapan said he did not expect the WikiLeaks dump to include images or video files.

    WikiLeaks says it is a non-profit organization funded by human rights campaigners, journalists and the general public. But the Pentagon has demanded it return classified information and critics have questioned its perceived anti-war agenda.

    At the time of the Afghan war leak, the top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, warned that WikiLeaks may have the blood of U.S. soldiers and Afghan civilians on its hands because it had leaked documents naming U.S. collaborators.

    Still, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an August letter to the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Afghan leak had not revealed any sensitive intelligence sources or methods.

    Gates however said disclosing the names of cooperating Afghans, who could become targets for the Taliban, could cause "significant harm or damage" to U.S. national security interests.

    So far the investigation into the Afghan war leak has focused on Bradley Manning, who worked as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq. Manning is already under arrest and charged with leaking a classified video showing a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Iraq, including two Reuters news staff employees.

    The Pentagon, citing the criminal investigation, has refused to discuss the Manning case.
  3. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

    Apr 7, 2010
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    ‘Over a lakh killed in Iraq war’

    S Rajagopalan | Washington

    In what it called the largest classified military leak in history, WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website, has released about 400,000 documents that reportedly put the death toll in the six-year Iraq war at 109,032, including 66,081 civilians —some 15,000 more civilian deaths than reported so far.

    Website’s founder Julian Assange also talked of a “compelling evidence of war crimes”. The Pentagon promptly refuted the allegation, even as it deplored the release of classified documents, saying “WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us”.

    The death toll figure put out by the US is much smaller. The Pentagon, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request earlier this month, said about 77,000 Iraqis (both civilians and security personnel) had been killed from 2004 to mid-2008.

    The leaked documents “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”, WikiLeaks said in a statement, accompanying the release.

    Commenting on the civilian deaths, WikiLeaks and a group called Iraq Body Count told a news conference in London on Saturday that the civilians died from a range of violent actions, including targeted assassinations, drive-by shootings and checkpoint killings.

    “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%) are civilian deaths. That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six-year period (from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2009),” the website said.

    Making a comparison with the “Afghan War Diaries” that it released in a similar fashion in July and put the death toll in that country at about 20,000, WikiLeaks said: “Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivalent population size.”

    It talks of 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.

    The New York Times, one of a select band of newspapers that got advance access to the documents, reported that “the deaths of Iraqi civilians — at the hands mainly of other Iraqis, but also of the American military — appear to be greater than the numbers made public by the United States during the Bush administration”.

    “While the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans, particularly at the Abu Ghraib prison, shocked the American public and much of the world, the documents paint an even more lurid picture of abuse by America’s Iraqi allies — a brutality from which the Americans at times averted their eyes,” the Times noted.

    It also reported that “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”.

    As with the release of Afghan documents, WikiLeaks refused to disclose its sources. “As to the specific source, obviously we can’t comment. There’s been publicity about Bradley Manning, a military officer, who claims to be a source for WikiLeaks,” it said, asserting: “We have a number of military sources, including ones before Manning joined the army.”

    Responding to the allegation of war crimes, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said: “We vetted every single one of the documents, word by word, page by page. There is nothing in here which would indicate war crimes. If there were, we would have investigated it a long time ago.”‘Over-a-lakh-killed-in-Iraq-war’.html

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