The release of 400,000 documents by Wikileaks on the Iraq War has caused lots of commotion about their sensitivity and purpose, to the extent that some argue they should not have been released at all; they reveal details of 122,000 civilian deaths and many cases of prisoner abuse, a lot of which break International laws, which the US is suggested to have ignored. Despite the startling revelations, few articles are actually giving any direct quotes to what the documents say exactly; this article picks out some of the more complete (as many documents are mostly blanked out for security purposes) and interesting ones that I have found.
The Americans and Iraqi Police are far from the only people implicated in the documents, but as a sign of Western freedom and democracy, the revelations are much more shocking and will therefore be the focus of this article. The below documents clearly show Iraqi Police beating up detainees to an illegal extent – torturing them.
May 3 2009: A detainee claimed that his interrogators kicked, punched, slapped him on the face, stomach, legs, and also electrocuted his hands, left ear, and genital area for approximately 15-30 minutes. … [the]detainee said that his mouth was covered … because the Americans might hear his screams. Detainee was then taken back to his cell … he fainted and was carried to his bed.
June 17 2007: Extensive scars resulted from the chemical/acid burns, which were diagnosed as 3rd degree chemical burns along with skin decay … [the Iraqi army lieutenant colonel]tortured him by pouring chemicals on his hands, cut his fingers off, and hid him when Coalition Forces visited. The Deputy of Police Affairs was informed of this case. The report states: “Warrants [for arrest]were issued on 11 Sep 07 … however no arrests were made. Victim received extensive medical care at the Mosul General Hospital resulting in amputation of his right leg below the knee, several toes on his left foot, as well as amputation of several fingers on both hands.
October 23 2006: There was what appeared to be a battery with open ended wires, the end of a cot with yellow rope on both ends and what appeared to be plastic tubing. Before entering the office [the officers]heard what sounded like an individual being hit, and moaning. The detainee was sitting in the centre of the room sobbing.
These give the strong sense of covering up illegal protocol by not punishing the perpetrators and by “supporting” the victim to try and maintain their silence. If this is the extent to which the Iraqi Police operate, under the guidance of the American Military, these documents had an undeniable right to be published, regardless of whatever qualms the Wikileaks-critics have. However it gets worse – here are some examples of actual American torture on detainees:
November 12 2006: Two marines (Corporal and Lance Corporal) allegedly videotaped themselves … holding a knife to a detainee’s throat and a [gun]to the detainees head.
July 11 2006: The detainee stated that after he was flex-cuffed, one person sat on his chest and another on his legs … the person punched him in the back of the head, picked up his head and slapped him, and put a plastic pipe in his mouth … The persons conducting the questioning also kicked him on the sides of his body … after this the persons put a bag over his head… The medic concluded that the detainee did have injuries to his back that were consistent with abuse. A statement was taken from the detainee. Pictures were taken to document the abuse.
January 22 2007: Marines grabbed [detainee]by the neck, took him to a suspected IED, threw him to the ground, and kicked him hard in the stomach. The detainee further alleged Marines made him start digging up the suspected IED and pointed a rifle at his neck while an unknown Marine counted 1&2&3. As Coalition Forces were alleged to have been involved, further investigation is required.
However, it’s perhaps the attacks on surrendering people that causes the greatest shock. As the document below shows, the Americans seem to take the definition of surrender into their own hands.
February 22 2007: CRAZYHORSE reports AIF [Anti-Iraqi Forces] got into a dumptruck headed north, engaged and then they came out wanting to surrender… CRAZYHORSE cleared to engage dumptruck. 1/227 Lawyer states they cannot surrender to aircraft and are still valid targets.
The most disturbing thing I found was a video of an American plane blowing up a man, shown clearly to be getting out of his car with his hands up.
There are many more instances that underline why the documents needed to come out; just reading a handful of the hundreds of thousands to be released shows just how different a picture of the war was created by the Iraqi Police and US military. Former US Senator Johnson said in 1918, “the first casualty when war comes is truth”. There are now 400,000 reasons why we can never let the truth be hidden in such a fictitious way again.