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 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.
Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, said on Saturday that 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.
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’.
Speaking about the documents published by Wikileaks, Deputy-Prime Minister Nick Clegg said yesterday that they contained ‘extraordinarily serious allegations’.
But when it was put to him that British troops were also involved, Clegg said anything suggesting that ‘the basic rules’ of war and conflict and military engagement had been flouted, or that torture was condoned, was ‘extremely serious’ and would need to be ‘looked at’.