October 23, 2010

WikiLeaks Publishes 400,000 New Military Documents

WikiLeaks decided to go ahead and spill out hundreds of thousands of U.S. military documents on Saturday.

Nearly 400,000 pages tell tales of secret military field reports spanning five years, which is the largest military leak in history. 

Some of the classified documents show claims of abuse by Iraqi security forces, while others show that American troops did nothing to stop state-sanctioned torture.

The leaked documents are the second slew of documents the website has released.  WikiLeaks accused the U.S. of "war crimes" and released about 92,000 similar secret military files detailing operations in Afghanistan.

Julian Assange, the site's founder, said the files reveal a "bloodbath" in previously unseen detail.

"These documents reveal six years of the Iraq war at a ground level detail -- the troops on the ground, their reports, what they were seeing, what they were saying and what they were doing," he told CNN.

"We're talking about a five times greater kill rate in Iraq, really a comparative bloodbath compared to Afghanistan."

WikiLeaks made the files available to the Guardian newspaper, the New York Times, Le Monde and Der Spiegel weeks ago. 

One report says the U.S. military personnel describe detainee abuse by Iraqis at a facility in Baghdad that is holding 95 detainees in a single room where they are "sitting cross-legged with blindfolds, all facing the same direction."

It says "many of them bear marks of abuse to include cigarette burns, bruising consistent with beatings and open sores... according to one of the detainees questioned on site, 12 detainees have died of disease in recent weeks."

The Guardian newspaper said the leak showed "U.S. authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished."

It added that "more than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents," and "U.S. and U.K. officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities."

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the leak documents put Americans at risk, while the Pentagon warned that releasing secret military documents could endanger U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.

"By disclosing such sensitive information, WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

He said the documents were "essentially snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, and do not tell the whole story."


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