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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora