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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

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