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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid