Published on Friday, October 22, 2010 by the Guardian/UK
• Massive leak reveals serial detainee abuse • 15,000 unknown civilian deaths in war
A grim picture of the
Insurgent suspects are led away by US forces. Some of those held in Iraqi custody suffered appalling abuse, the war logs reveal. (Photograph: Sean Smith for the Guardian)
Almost 400,000 secret
The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident
The new logs detail how:
• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.
As recently as December the Americans were passed a video apparently showing Iraqi army officers executing a prisoner  in Tal Afar, northern
The report named at least one perpetrator and was passed to coalition forces. But the logs reveal that the coalition has a formal policy of ignoring such allegations. They record "no investigation is necessary" and simply pass reports to the same Iraqi units implicated in the violence. By contrast all allegations involving coalition forces are subject to formal inquiries. Some cases of alleged abuse by
In two Iraqi cases postmortems revealed evidence of death by torture. On 27 August 2009 a
A Pentagon spokesman told the New York Times this week that under its procedure, when reports of Iraqi abuse were received the
The logs also illustrate the readiness of US forces to unleash lethal force. In one chilling incident they detail how an Apache helicopter gunship gunned down two men  in February 2007.
The suspected insurgents had been trying to surrender but a lawyer back at base told the pilots: "You cannot surrender to an aircraft." The Apache, callsign Crazyhorse 18, was the same unit and helicopter based at
Iraq Body Count, the London-based group that monitors civilian casualties, says it has identified around 15,000 previously unknown civilian deaths from the data contained in the leaked war logs.
Although US generals have claimed their army does not carry out body counts and British ministers still say no official statistics exist, the war logs show these claims are untrue. The field reports purport to identify all civilian and insurgent casualties, as well as numbers of coalition forces wounded and killed in action. They give a total of more than 109,000 violent deaths from all causes between 2004 and the end of 2009.
This includes 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed as "enemy" and 15,196 members of the Iraqi security forces. Another 3,771 dead US and allied soldiers complete the body count.
No fewer than 31,780 of these deaths are attributed to improvised roadside bombs (IEDs) planted by insurgents. The other major recorded tally is of 34,814 victims of sectarian killings, recorded as murders in the logs.
Phil Shiner, human rights specialist at Public Interest Lawyers, plans to use material from the logs in court to try to force the
He also plans to sue the British government over its failure to stop the abuse and torture of detainees by Iraqi forces. The coalition's formal policy of not investigating such allegations is "simply not permissible", he says.
Shiner is already pursuing a series of legal actions for former detainees allegedly killed or tortured by British forces in
WikiLeaks says it is posting online the entire set of 400,000
The whistleblowing activists say they have deleted all names from the documents that might result in reprisals. They were accused by the
Condemning this fresh leak, however, the Pentagon said: "This security breach could very well get our troops and those they are fighting with killed. Our enemies will mine this information looking for insights into how we operate, cultivate sources and react in combat situations, even the capability of our equipment."
© 2010 Guardian/UK
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/10/22-8
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs