News / USA

WikiLeaks Releases 400,000 Classified US Military Files

WikiLeaks Releases 400,000 Classified US Military Files
WikiLeaks Releases 400,000 Classified US Military Files
Al Pessin

The activist website WikiLeaks and several media partners have published a collection of nearly 400,000 secret U.S. military documents from the Iraq War, providing new details of well known issues, including civilian casualties, detainee abuse and meddling by Iran.

The Pentagon has condemned the release, saying it puts Americans and Iraqis in danger, and could hamper military operations.  

The WikiLeaks documents indicate thousands more Iraqi civilians may have died in the war than the U.S. government has acknowledged, but says the vast majority of them died at the hands of fellow-Iraqis in a bloody surge of sectarian violence several years ago.

Still, the New York Times, which was one of four news organizations given access to the documents weeks ago, says they reveal several previously unreported incidents in which U.S. troops unintentionally killed civilians at checkpoints and in helicopter strikes.  

(The other media outlets are Britain's Guardian, France's Le Monde and Germany's Der Spiegel.)

The Times says total figures for civilian casualties are difficult to tabulate because some deaths may be reported more than once, but it says in all the documents appear to detail the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians.

The documents are raw battlefield reports from small units to their commanders and cover the period from late 2003 until earlier this year.

The reports accuse Iraqi soldiers of extensive abuse of Iraqi detainees.  While the material contains claims from detainees of American abuses, they do not indicate whether the claims were valid.  In the case of abuse by Iraqi troops -- including beatings, burnings, whippings and, in at least one case, the cutting off of several fingers -- the documents say American troops informed Iraqi officials of the problems but took no direct action to stop the abuse.

On the subject of Iranian support for Iraq's Shiite insurgents, the documents report specific instances in which detainees spoke of having received Iranian help.  They also detail discoveries of large amounts of Iranian-supplied weapons, including the most powerful roadside bombs called explosively formed penetrators, which can destroy armored vehicles, and rockets that can take down helicopters.  

The documents also report that Iraqi insurgents received training in Iran on marksmanship and explosives technology, and that Iran's elite Quds force worked with Iraqi militants to plan the assassination of Iraqi leaders.  U.S. officials have long claimed such involvement by Iran.

Although the documents appear to generally support contentions U.S. officials have been making for years, and indeed were likely at least in part the basis of such claims, the Pentagon tried to prevent the release.  It called on WikiLeaks to return the secret material and urged news organizations not to cooperate in its publication.

At the same time, a special team at the Pentagon has been preparing to take action to protect Iraqi citizens who are named in the documents.  The 120-member task force has been working in secret for months, reviewing a database believed to be the same documents WikiLeaks has.  

A Pentagon spokesman, Marine Corps Colonel David Lapan, says the team found information that would put people and military operations in danger. "They found names of individuals.  The found, again, things that could give our enemies information about our capabilities and our operations that would be damaging.  So they are prepared, once documents start to appear, to take action based on those documents," he said.

The news organizations and WikiLeaks reportedly made some efforts to remove names and other sensitive information, but it was not immediately known whether any such material remained when the documents were published.

WikiLeaks' owner says there is value in publishing the raw information.  But the Pentagon calls the wholesale release of the secret documents "irresponsible."

In a statement emailed to reporters early Friday, before the documents were published, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell called them "snapshots of events" that "do not tell the whole story."  He said U.S. "enemies will mine this information looking for insights into how we operate, cultivate sources and react in combat situations…"  Morrell says the publication of the material "could very well get our troops and those they are fighting with killed."

WikiLeaks published more than 70,000 similar documents from the Afghanistan War in March, and Pentagon officials issued similar dire warnings.  They acknowledge they can not point to any incident in which people died or operations were compromised by that release, but they say such consequences could still happen.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid