British soldier ‘killed playing Iraqi girl’

This video from the USA is called Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Upcoming Iraq War Wikileaks Docs (Part 1 of 2) .

Part 2 is here.

From the (conservative) Daily Mail in Britain:

British soldier ‘killed Iraqi girl, 8, as she played’: Explosive new claim as Wikileaks publish US war files

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:24 PM on 23rd October 2010

* Lawyer: ‘The tank stopped and he blew her away’
* Call for full inquiry into civilian deaths in Iraq
* Largest ever leak of classified documents
* Claims U.S. did not investigate torture by Iraqi police
* Detainees ‘were whipped with metal hoses and chains’ …

A British rifleman shot dead an eight-year-old Iraqi girl as she played in the streets, it was claimed today.

Soldiers were handing out sweets to children in their bid to win ‘hearts and minds’ when she was allegedly killed.

Solicitor Phil Shiner said: ‘The tank stopped at the end of the street, she’s there in her yellow dress, a rifleman pops up and blows her away.’

Mr Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, made the claim after 400,000 U.S. military reports were posted on whistleblowing website Wikileaks. …

The Pentagon files purport to show that commanders failed to investigate torture and killings by Iraqi police and soldiers and sparked calls for a full inquiry.

They also claim that a helicopter gunship involved in the shooting of journalists also shot insurgents after they tried to surrender, and reveal 15,000 previously unknown civilian deaths.

The Daily Telegraph (also conservative) on this: here.

The Netherlands, torture in Iraq, and Wikileaks: here.

Growing Use of Contractors Added to War’s Chaos in Iraq: here.

7 thoughts on “British soldier ‘killed playing Iraqi girl’

  1. WikiLeaks details thousands of unreported Iraqi civilian deaths

    Anne Gearan
    Robert Burns Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — Military documents in the biggest leak of secret information in U.S. history suggest that far more Iraqis died than previously acknowledged during the years of sectarian bloodletting and criminal violence unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

    The accounts of civilian deaths among nearly 400,000 purported Iraq war logs released Friday by the WikiLeaks website include deaths unknown or unreported before now — as many as 15,000 by the count of one independent research group.

    The field reports from U.S. forces and intelligence officers also indicated that U.S. forces often failed to follow up on credible evidence that Iraqi forces mistreated, tortured and killed their captives as they battled a violent insurgency.

    The war logs were made public in defiance of Pentagon insistence that the action puts the lives of U.S. troops and their military partners at risk.

    Although the documents appear to be authentic, their origin could not be independently confirmed, and WikiLeaks declined to offer any details about them.

    The 391,831 documents date from the start of 2004 to Jan. 1, 2010, providing a ground-level view of the war written mostly by low-ranking officers in the field. The dry reports, full of military jargon and acronyms, were meant to catalogue “significant actions” over six years of heavy U.S. and allied military presence in Iraq.

    The Pentagon has previously declined to confirm the authenticity of WikiLeaks-released records, but it has employed more than 100 U.S. analysts to review what was previously released and has never indicated that any past WikiLeaks releases were inaccurate.

    At a news conference in London on Saturday, WikiLeaks said it would soon publish 15,000 additional secret Afghan war documents. The group has already published some 77,000 U.S. intelligence reports about the war in Afghanistan in addition to the almost 400,000 alleged secret U.S. documents about the Iraq war.

    Casualty figures in the U.S.-led war in Iraq have been hotly disputed because of the high political stakes in a conflict opposed by many countries and a large portion of the American public. Critics on each side of the divide accuse the other of manipulating the death toll to sway opinion.

    Iraq Body Count, a private British-based group that has tracked the number of Iraqi civilians killed since the war began, said it had analyzed the information and found 15,000 previously unreported deaths, which would raise its total from as many as 107,369 civilians to more than 122,000 civilians.

    It said most of the newly disclosed casualties included targeted assassinations, drive-by shootings, torture, executions and checkpoint killings.

    A member of the organization, John Sloboda, said at the news conference the war logs revealed an unprecedented level of detail about the day-to-day conflict, including the names of many victims.

    “The new deaths are concentrated in small incidents, killing one or two people at a time, scattered all over Iraq, and occurring almost every day for the whole period,” he said. “These are the small but relentless tragedies of this war that these logs reveal in unprecedented detail.”

    Al Jazeera, one of several news organizations provided advance access to the WikiLeaks trove, reported the documents show 285,000 recorded casualties, including at least 109,000 deaths. Of those who died 66,000, nearly two-thirds of the total, were civilians.

    The Iraqi government has issued a tally claiming at least 85,694 deaths of civilians and security officials killed between January 2004 and Oct. 31, 2008.

    In July of this year, the U.S. military quietly released its most detailed tally to date of the deaths of Iraqi civilians and security forces in the bloodiest years of the war.

    That U.S. body count, reported by The Associated Press this month, tallied deaths of almost 77,000 Iraqis between January 2004 and August 2008 — the darkest chapter of Iraq’s sectarian warfare and the U.S. troop surge to quell it. The new data was posted on the U.S. Central Command website without explanation.

    In August 2008, the Congressional Research Service said the U.S. military was withholding statistics on Iraqi civilian deaths. The Pentagon did publish in June 2008 a chart on civilian death trends by month that showed it peaking at between 3,500 and 4,000 in December 2006. But it did not release the data used to create the chart.

    In 2006 and 2007, the Bush administration and military commanders often played down the extent of civilian killings from revenge killings, blood feuds and mob-style violence in Iraq.

    Administration figures repeatedly denied Iraq was sliding into civil war. The war did not begin to turn around in a lasting way until the 2007 “surge” of U.S. troops and the decision of key Sunni leaders to cut ties with the foreign-led Al Qaeda terror group.

    Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell called the release of the Iraq war material by WikiLeaks “shameful” and said it “could potentially undermine our nation’s security.”

    “The biggest potential damage here, we think, could be to our forces,” he said, “because there are now potentially 400,000 documents in the public domain for our enemies to mine, look for vulnerabilities, patterns of behaviour, things they could exploit to wage attacks against us in the future.”

    He said about 300 Iraqis mentioned in the documents are “particularly vulnerable to reprisal attacks” because of the documents’ release and that U.S. forces in Iraq are trying to protect them.

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied that claim.

    Speaking in London on Saturday, he said the Pentagon allegations were “simply not true” and said he was confident Iraqis weren’t named in the documents.

    “I’m worried that the press credibly report statements like that from the Pentagon,” he said.

    A review of the documents by the AP found no names.

    “We are confident now that the documents in the highly redacted form contain no information that could be harmful to individuals,” said WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.

    WikiLeaks gave the AP a censored version of the files, with some names of people, countries and groups redacted. Fuller versions were offered to other news outlets ahead of time, according to a WikiLeaks member at London’s Frontline Club, where a handful of journalists was given last-minute access before the war logs were released more widely.

    WikiLeaks declined to make the less-redacted files available to the AP, saying journalists wanting such a copy would have to lodge a request with the organization, which would respond within a “couple of days.”

    It was not immediately clear whether WikiLeaks released all the military records in its possession. In some cases, names and other pieces of identifying information appeared to have been redacted but it was unclear to what extent WikiLeaks withheld names in response to Pentagon concerns that people could become targets of retribution.

    Allegations of torture and brutality by Shiite-dominated security forces — mostly against Sunni prisoners — were widely reported during the most violent years of the war, when the rival Islamic sects turned on one another in Baghdad and other cities. The leaked documents provide a ground’s-eye view of abuses as reported by U.S. military personnel to their superiors and appear to corroborate much of the past reporting on such incidents.

    The release of the documents comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. in Iraq as the military prepares to withdraw all 50,000 remaining troops from the country by the end of next year. The U.S. military had as many as 170,000 troops in Iraq in 2007.

    Violence has declined sharply over the past two years, but near-daily bombings and shootings continue, casting doubt on the ability of Iraqi forces to protect the people.

    The situation has been exacerbated by growing frustration among the public over the failure of Iraqi politicians to unite and form a new government. Al-Maliki is struggling to remain in power since his Shiite alliance narrowly lost the March 7 vote to a Sunni-backed bloc led by rival Ayad Allawi.


  2. WikiLeaks files show ‘truth’ on Iraq war: Assange


    WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange said Saturday that 400,000 classified US military documents leaked by the whistleblowing website showed the “truth” on the Iraq war.

    “This disclosure is about the truth,” Assange told a news conference in London. “The attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends.

    “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.”

    The mass of documents released late Friday offer a grim snapshot of the Iraq war, including showing the abuse of Iraqi civilians by Iraqi security forces.

    The heavily redacted logs appear to show that the US military turned a blind eye to evidence of torture by the Iraqi authorities.

    Assange said they showed the war had been “a bloodbath on every corner”.

    The United States warned that the release of the documents could endanger the lives of US troops and Iraqi civilians, while the Iraqi government said the logs “did not contain any surprises”.

    In an announcement which could further concern the US, WikiLeaks’ spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said the website would soon release a further batch of 15,000 secret files on the war in Afghanistan.

    Wikileaks enraged Washington by releasing 92,000 documents on the Afghan war earlier this year.

    The files published Friday contain graphic accounts of torture, civilian killings and Iran’s hand in the Iraq war, giving a grisly picture of years of bloodshed and suffering following the 2003 US invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

    In one document, US military personnel describe abuse by Iraqis at a facility in Baghdad that was holding 95 detainees in a single room where they are “sitting cross-legged with blindfolds, all facing the same direction.”

    It says “many of them bear marks of abuse to include cigarette burns, bruising consistent with beatings and open sores… according to one of the detainees questioned on site, 12 detainees have died of disease in recent weeks.”

    Other reports describe Iraqis beating prisoners and women being killed at US military checkpoints.

    WikiLeaks made the files available several weeks ago to selected newspapers and TV channels and then, just before their publication, invited journalists for a three-hour lock-in preview in London.

    Britain’s Guardian newspaper said the leaks showed “US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.”

    It added that “more than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents,” going on to say that “US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.”

    The Guardian said WikiLeaks is thought to have obtained the material from the “same dissident US army intelligence analyst” who leaked 90,000 logs about the war in Afghanistan this year. WikiLeaks has not revealed its source.

    Al-Jazeera also concluded that the major findings of the leaked papers included a US military cover-up of Iraqi state-sanctioned torture and “hundreds” of civilian deaths at manned American checkpoints.

    On Iran’s role in the conflict, the files show Tehran waging a shadow war with US troops in Iraq and Tehran allegedly using militias to kill and kidnap American soldiers.

    The documents describe Iran arming and training Iraqi hit squads to carry out attacks on coalition troops and Iraqi government officials, with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps suspected of playing a crucial role, the New York Times and the Guardian reported.

    Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers told the London news conference that some of the deaths documented in the reports could have involved British forces and could now be the subject of legal action in British courts.

    “Some of these deaths will be in circumstances where the UK have a very clear legal responsibility,” he said.

    “This may be because the Iraqis died while under the effective control of UK forces — under arrest, in vehicles, helicopters or detention facilities.”

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned “in the most clear terms” the leaks of any documents putting Americans at risk.

    Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the documents were “essentially snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, and do not tell the whole story.”

    A spokesman for the Iraqi rights ministry said: “The report did not contain any surprises, because we had already mentioned many things that happened, including at Abu Ghraib prison, and many cases involving US forces.”


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