News / USA

WikiLeaks Defends Release of US Iraqi War Documents

Founder of the Wikileaks website Julian Assange speaks to the media on  during a press conference at the Park Plaza hotel in central London, 23 Oct  2010
Founder of the Wikileaks website Julian Assange speaks to the media on during a press conference at the Park Plaza hotel in central London, 23 Oct 2010

The international whistle blowing organization Wikileaks has released some 400,000 secret U.S. documents on the Iraq war out into the public domain. At a London news conference Saturday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange defended that huge release saying it was in the public's right to know.

Justifying the massive release, Wikileaks' Julian Assange said that "truth" is often the first casualty of war and therefore the public, in the U.S. and in the wider international context, had a right to know.

"In our release of our 400,000 documents about the Iraq war, the intimate detail of that war from the U.S. perspective, 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," he said.

One headline coming out of this huge release concerns Iraqi casualties. According to Assange, the documents show in great detail, the extent of civilian deaths as compiled by the U.S. Army.

"The deaths of some 109,000 people are documented, internally declared, 66,000 civilians. Working with the Iraq Body Count [Project] we have seen that there are approximately 15,000 never previously documented or known cases of civilians who have been killed by violence in Iraq," he said.

Another important aspect of the release concerns allegations that U.S. and other coalition soldiers on occasion chose not to intervene in some cases when prisoners were tortured or abused at the hand of Iraqi forces.

British lawyer Phil Shiner says this U.S. documentation has direct legal relevance in places like Britain where he says legal action will be launched and pursued.

"U.S. and U.K. forces cannot turn a blind eye on the basis it was not their soldiers doing the torturing and that is what has happened as revealed in these logs," he said. "Both states have the clearest of international obligations to take definite and effective action to stop the torture by the Iraqis. That they did not makes them complicit."

Wikileaks has strongly defended its decision to go public with this disclosure and it has rebuffed claims from Washington that such leaks can endanger U.S. forces and others.

The whistle blower says that did not happen in its recent release of similar material concerning the war in Afghanistan.

Wikileaks says its censorship process is very thorough and ultimately it is U.S. taxpayers who have a right to know what it is being done in their name by their democratically-elected government.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid