‘Compelling evidence of war crimes’ in leaked Iraq documentsOctober 23rd, 2010 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Oct 23 (IANS) Celebrated whistle-blower website WikiLeaks has published some 400,000 classified military documents from the war in Iraq indicating what it calls “compelling evidence of war crimes”, a charge denied by the Pentagon.
The leaked documents Friday provide a new picture of how many Iraqi civilians have been killed, a new window on the role that Iran has played in supporting Iraqi militants and many accounts of abuse by Iraqi’s army and police, according to The New York Times.
The Times was one of a handful of news organizations that was provided early access to the papers.
The vast majority of slain civilians were killed by other Iraqis, according to new documents.
The documents detail Iran’s role in supplying Iraqi militia fighters with weapons, including the most lethal type of roadside bomb.
Field reports released Friday assert that Iraqi militants travelled to Iran for training as snipers and in using explosives, according to the Times. Iran’s Quds Force urged Iraqi extremists it was working with to kill Iraqi officials, the Times reported.
The Times said that hundreds of reports of beatings, burnings and lashings suggested that “such treatment was not an exception.”
Most abuse cases contained in the new batch of leaks appear to have been ultimately ignored, the paper said.
WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange told CNN Friday that the new round of field reports shows “compelling evidence of war crimes” committed by forces of the US-led coalition and the Iraqi government.
Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell rebutted the charge. “We vetted every single one of the documents, word by word, page by page,” he told CNN, saying the vetting began in July. “There is nothing in here which would indicate war crimes. If there were, we would have investigated it a long time ago.”
Assange said the documents contained more than 1,000 reports on the torture or abuse of detainees by Iraqi government forces and that he expects that 40 wrongful death lawsuits will be filed as a result of the new leaks.
He dismissed concerns that the publication of the documents could endanger US troops and Iraqi civilians, asserting that the Pentagon “cannot find a single person that has been harmed” due to WikiLeaks’ previous release of 76,000 pages of documents related to the US-led war in Afghanistan.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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