By Erica Laster Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
WASHINGTON, United States – Nearly 400,000 classified military documents have been leaked via the whistleblower website Wikileaks on Friday, the largest security breach in U.S. military history. Despite the Geneva conventions protocols, the reports indicate that unwarranted attacks on unarmed Iraqi civilians have taken place over the last several years and that Iraqi military and police forces abuse of power is the main contributor to the mass killing of civilians, torture and prison abuse.
An additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of international armed conflicts states that a person who ‘clearly expresses an intention to surrender’ is ‘hors de combat’ and therefore ‘shall not be made the object of attack,” notes German paper Der Spiegel.
Many of the documents also implicate Iran, detailing their role in supporting the war by supplying Iraqi militia with deadly roadside bombs and other lethal weapons. According to the Times, Iran voluntarily trained Iraqi militia as snipers and the use of explosives. The Times further reported that the Quds Forces of Iran urged extremists to kill Iraqi officials.
The International community is considering the imposition of war crimes against the perpetrators with the surfacing of the reports. Soldiers and marines who have testified over the past several years regarding atrocities and war crimes in Iraq have largely been ignored. By the media which refuses to tell their stories and politicians who use “troops” to gain support from voters and to cynically promote their ‘patriotism’ despite ignoring veterans upon their return. Despite the fact that the public remains largely ignorant and misinformed, soldiers, civilians and those courageous enough to speak now have 400,000 leaked, classified military documents to support their stories.
Disturbing recounts from veterans, current serviceman and the leaked report confirm that Iraqi citizens have been killed at an alarming rate. One event involved an older couple speeding past a poorly marked checkpoint. One soldier notes that “the guys got spooked and decided it was a possible threat, so they shot up the car. And they literally sat in the car for the next three days while we drove by them day after day.” The couple was eventually buried by the townspeople and troops admitted to journalist Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian that these were common events.
In December of 2006 alone, over 3,800 civilians were reported killed by Iraqis and sometimes, by U.S. forces at various checkpoints, from helicopters and during operations in the country. One instance in which a U.S. Apache helicopter sustained fire from Iraqi forces is most revealing. Upon their surrender, the U.S. pilots made a phone call to an attorney who informed them that enemies could not surrender to air units and the pilots opened fire, killing the Iraqis despite their surrender.
The Pentagon denied all charges of abuse. “We vetted every single one of the documents, word by word, page by page,’ U.S. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told CNN, indicating that if there were any indication of war crimes “we would have investigated it a long time ago.’
The reports go onto indicate that orders were given to U.S. soldiers prohibiting the investigations of the torture of Iraqis. The publication of the reports is the largest security breach in U.S. military history and the Pentagon widely criticized their release. The release comes at a time when the Iraqi government is at its most vulnerable. Under a 2009 bilateral contract, the U.S. lost the right to detain Iraqis in 2009, leaving Iraqi forces in charge.
Iraq Body Count, a group based in Britain tracking civilian deaths found 15,000 previously unreported deaths, raising the count to over 122,000 civilian deaths since the start of the war.
Photo Courtesy of the Huffington Post – For More Information Please Visit:
Raw Story – Spiegel: WikiLeaks Logs May Reveal War Crimes – 22 October 2010
Huffington Post – Before Wikileaks, Iraq War Vets Revealed War Crimes – 22 October 2010
India Talkies – Compelling Evidence of War Crimes In Leaked Iraq Documents – 23 October 2010
PushPi Live News – Compelling Evidence of War Crimes In Iraq: Wikileaks – 23 October 2010