Saturday, October 23, 2010

Iraq war logs: secret files show how US ignored torture.

Wikileaks has released a further 400,000 secret US army field reports detailing that the US turned it's back on evidence of torture carried out by the Iraqi forces.

It's yet another grim indictment of the Bush regime's callous attitude to the subject of war crimes and the blasé manner in which it ignored evidence of wrongdoing.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.

The report named at least one perpetrator and was passed to coalition forces. But the logs reveal that the coalition has a formal policy of ignoring such allegations. They record "no investigation is necessary" and simply pass reports to the same Iraqi units implicated in the violence. By contrast all allegations involving coalition forces are subject to formal inquiries. Some cases of alleged abuse by UK and US troops are also detailed in the logs.

And, as is to be expected, Hillary Clinton has expressed her horror, not at what is contained in the reports, but at the fact that Wikileaks have had the temerity to release them.

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, condemned the release of almost 400,000 secret US army field reports by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks claiming the disclosure could put lives at risk.

Speaking to reporters in Washington before the documents had been posted on the website, Clinton said she condemned "in the most clear terms the disclosure of any information by individuals and or organisations which puts the lives of United States and its partners' service members and civilians at risk".

One would hope that the Obama regime would react with immediate condemnation, not at the release of such documents, but at the horror stories contained within them.

In two Iraqi cases postmortems revealed evidence of death by torture. On 27 August 2009 a US medical officer found "bruises and burns as well as visible injuries to the head, arm, torso, legs and neck" on the body of one man claimed by police to have killed himself. On 3 December 2008 another detainee, said by police to have died of "bad kidneys", was found to have "evidence of some type of unknown surgical procedure on [his] abdomen".

But even now, even as we are reading of such horrors, Hillary condemns the fact that this information is available to us, rather than choosing to condemn the acts of brutality which we are reading about.

And the logs also appear to show that the US claim that it does not count the Iraqi dead - a callous claim which was always breathtaking - is actually false.

Although US generals have claimed their army does not carry out body counts and British ministers still say no official statistics exist, the war logs show these claims are untrue. The field reports purport to identify all civilian and insurgent casualties, as well as numbers of coalition forces wounded and killed in action. They give a total of more than 109,000 violent deaths from all causes between 2004 and the end of 2009.

This includes 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed as "enemy" and 15,196 members of the Iraqi security forces. Another 3,771 dead US and allied soldiers complete the body count.

No fewer than 31,780 of these deaths are attributed to improvised roadside bombs (IEDs) planted by insurgents. The other major recorded tally is of 34,814 victims of sectarian killings, recorded as murders in the logs.

It says everything about how much the truth has been a major casualty of this war that we now have a US Secretary of State expecting us to share her horror that the truth has emerged, rather than disgust at what these logs contain.

The Obama administration have decided that no member of the Bush administration shall face charges for war crimes, no matter what evidence of US torture emerges. They have decided to "look forward, not backwards".

I suppose, in those circumstances, it would be hypocritical in the extreme for Hillary to express horror at the news that Iraqis were torturing Iraqis. But it says a lot about the moral decrepitudes of the US position, that we can read of such events and feel sure that nothing will ever be done about it. We have lost our moral compass.

Click here for full article.


boinky said...

If you want to condemn them, condemn all sides,because if you only see evil on one side, you are an ideologue.

Kel said...

You think that I should condemn the innocent people who are tortured as much as I condemn the torturer?

In what moral vacuum do you live?