THERE was a ‘bloodbath on every corner’ in Iraq, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told a press conference in London on Saturday.
Website Wikileaks has revealed 391,831 secret US military logs, known as Significant Actions (‘Sigacts’) on the war in Iraq.
The documents confirm that, despite the worldwide outrage caused by the images from Abu Ghraib in 2004, systematic torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees has carried on under the puppet Iraqi government established under the US-UK occupation.
In fact, the leaked documents identify puppet soldiers, police, prisoner guards and border patrols in attacks and many were witnessed by US forces or their allies.
Detainees were tortured and mutilated with pliers, electric drills, boiling water, acid and in many other gruesome ways.
But many of the leaked reports stated that no further action or investigation is needed or reports are passed back to the commanders of the puppet forces.
Detainees were summarily rounded up, beaten and killed.
In one instance, from as recently as December 2009, there is a report of US forces receiving video footage of a prisoner executed by soldiers of the puppet Iraqi Army in Tall’afar.
The British government and its armed forces are also implicated by the leaked US military documents.
The logs reveal many previously unreported instances in which US forces killed hundreds of civilians at checkpoints and during operations.
In one incident, in July 2007, 26 Iraqis were killed by a helicopter gunship, about half of them civilians.
The documents demonstrate that the US military did keep records of civilian deaths in Iraq.
The logs record more than 109,000 violent deaths between 2004 and the end of 2009, including 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed as ‘enemy’, 15,196 members of the puppet Iraqi security forces, and 3,771 US and allied troops occupying Iraq.
In June 2004, a ‘Frago 242’ (fragmentary order) was issued which ordered occupation forces in Iraq not to investigate any breach of the laws of armed conflict, unless it directly involved members of the US occupation and their allies, such as Britain.
This meant no abuses by Iraqi puppets would be investigated ‘unless directed by HQ’.
Reports were sent on to the commanders of the Iraqi puppets themselves.
(One log says that ‘suspected tools of torture’ had been found in a police chief’s office).
He responded ‘that he was aware of the beatings and supported it as a method of conducting investigations’, the leaked document reveals.
Wikileaks said it was publishing the documents to expose the truth about the Iraq war.
Julian Assange said there was evidence of war crimes.
‘We hope to correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war and which has continued on since the war officially concluded,’ he told reporters.
‘These documents are of immense importance,’ said Assange.
US spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the US military had no plans to reinvestigate, and said US policy was consistent with the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
Lapan said that when the allegations involved the abuse of Iraqis by Iraqis, the role of American troops was to ‘observe and report’ what they had seen to their superiors – who would then pass on the evidence to the Iraqi authorities.
Lapan said this was ‘customary international practice’, adding that the field reports published by Wikileaks had been viewed by senior officers at the time, and the ‘necessary actions’ taken.
But many of the leaked documents were marked no further action.
One document said that there was video footage of ‘approximately 12’ Iraqi Army soldiers executing a detainee.
‘The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him, and shooting him. The detainee has not been identified. . . more information will be rendered when it becomes available,’ says the document.
Another document said: ‘Detainee found dead with extensive injuries – Iraqi captors say it was suicide’.
These documents came from December 2009.
A ‘suspicious’ incident report of possible detainee abuse in Ramadi in August 2009 said: ‘On 26 Aug 09, a PGC TT (which included a USN Corpsman) conducted a post mortem visual examination of JASIM MOHAMMED AHMED AL-SHIHAWI, an individual arrested in conjunction with a VBIED interdicted NE of Camp Taqaddum (SIGACT Entry DTG: 241130CAug09).
‘The detainee was transferred from the IHP in Saqlawiah to the Iraqi CTU in Ramadi for questioning and while in custody, reportedly committed suicide.
‘The PGC TT personnel conducting the post mortem examination found bruises and burns on the detainee’s body as well as visible injuries to the head, arm, torso, legs, and neck.
‘The PGC TT report the injuries are consistent with abuse.’
In 2008, a detainee was ‘found dead with wounds from “unknown surgery’’.’
Reports said that ‘Sheik Bashir had died of bad kidneys while in custody of the MCU’.
A further assessment showed that ‘There was evidence of some type of unknown surgical procedure on Bashir’s abdomen.
‘The incision was closed by 3-4 stitches. There was also evidence of bruises on the face, chest, ankle, and back of the body.’
Leaked reports of US forces opening fire and killing Iraqis were also published by Wikileaks.
In just one instance, seven civilians, including two children, were killed after US forces opened fire on a vehicle.
John Sloboda of Iraq Body Count, which worked with Wikileaks, said the documents showed the range and frequency of the ‘relentless tragedies of this war’.
Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, said it would be wrong to assume the leaking of US documents had ‘nothing to do with the UK’.
Shiner said he was dealing with 142 outstanding cases of alleged mistreatment linked to British forces.
He said that some Iraqis were ‘killed by indiscriminate attacks on civilians or the unjustified use of lethal force’, while ‘others have been killed in custody by UK forces and no-one knows how many Iraqis lost their lives while held in British detention facilities’.
Arguing that there is a growing body of evidence about the killing, ill treatment and torture of Iraqis whilst in UK custody, Shiner said there appeared to be ‘many cases’ in which Iraqis died in UK custody and were then certified as dying from natural causes.
‘None of these deaths have been investigated, many of these Iraqis were hooded and abused and my law firm does not accept the Ministry of Defence’s explanation that each and every one of these deaths has an innocent explanation,’ he said.
Shiner said some of the deaths documented in the leaked Iraq logs could have involved British forces and would be pursued through the UK courts.
And he accused the Ministry of Defence of covering up details of mistreatment and demanded ‘a judicial inquiry to fully investigate UK responsibility for civilian deaths in Iraq’.
Two reports published by Wikileaks, dated June 23, 2008, recorded cases of abuse by unidentified British troops against Iraqi detainees.
Speaking to reporters in Washington last Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned Wikileaks’ decision to publish the military documents.
The United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, said: ‘There is an obligation to investigate whenever there are credible allegations that torture has happened – and these allegations are more than credible.’
Wikileaks announced that it intends publishing 15,000 additional secret Afghan war documents in the near future.
All of the documents published and the previous documents published prove that the Iraq war was a war crime from its very first day, and that the politicians and generals who organised it should stand trial for war crimes.
However, this will only happen after socialist revolutions in the major imperialist states behind the war, the US and the UK.