Wikileaks releases nearly 400,000 new secret Iraq docs, with help from news orgs

IMAGE: Each death noted in the Iraq war logs released today by Wikileaks is mapped with Google Maps, by the Guardian.

Wikileaks has just published The Iraq War Logs, described as "the largest classified military leak in history."

The 391,832 reports document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a 'SIGACT' or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout. The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 'civilians'; 23,984 'enemy' (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 'host nation' (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 'friendly' (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period.

The Guardian is among the first news orgs to publish analysis, and leads with the statement that the files show how the US turned a blind eye to torture in Iraq, and "expose serial abuse of detainees, 15,000 previously unknown deaths, and a full toll of Iraq's five years of carnage."

The archive is alleged to have been sourced from Pfc. Bradley Manning, the same US army intelligence analyst who is believed to have also leaked a smaller cache of 90,000 logs chronicling incidents in the Afghan war. According to the Guardian's early analysis, the new logs detail how:

• 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.

• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.

• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. 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.

Guardian's full coverage here, with an infographic mapping every death here.

As of 1:46pm PT, Al Jazeera's coverage is live online and on-air. Here is their inforgraphic/data-mapping effort. A statement regarding redactions ends with an indication of which other news orgs were granted early access by Assange: "But working alongside the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and the UK's Channel 4 TV, Al Jazeera is clear that releasing the Iraq files - despite their secret nature - is vital to the public interest."

In a tweet posted around 145pm PT today, @wikileaks (presumably Julian Assange) wrote, "Al Jazeera have broken our embargo by 30 minutes. We release everyone from their Iraq War Logs embargoes."

So, which other news organizations had embargoed access to the documents? Again, from @wikileaks: "TBIJ, IBC, Guardian, Spiegel, NYT, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, Chan4, SVT, CNN, BBC and more in the next few hours. We maximise impact."

Update, 2:05pm PT: The New York Times coverage is now live in multiple parts. An A-1 placement story is due in Saturday's paper edition, and a profile of Assange is due out over the weekend as well. From the NYT overview:

A close analysis of the 391,832 documents helps illuminate several important aspects of this war:

¶ The deaths of Iraqi civilians -- at the hands mainly of other Iraqis, but also of the American military -- appear to be greater than the numbers made public by the United States during the Bush administration.

¶ While the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans, particularly at the Abu Ghraib prison, shocked the American public and much of the world, the documents paint an even more lurid picture of abuse by America's Iraqi allies -- a brutality from which the Americans at times averted their eyes.

¶ Iran's military, more than has been generally understood, intervened aggressively in support of Shiite combatants, offering weapons, training and sanctuary and in a few instances directly engaging American troops.

¶ The war in Iraq spawned a reliance on private contractors on a scale not well recognized at the time and previously unknown in American wars. The documents describe an outsourcing of combat and other duties once performed by soldiers that grew and spread to Afghanistan to the point that there are more contractors there than soldiers. [An article on this topic is scheduled to appear in The New York Times on Sunday.]

Update, 2:08pm PT: Le Monde's infographic and full coverage is now live.

Update, 215pm PT: Swedish television network SVT's data visualization effort goes live.

Update, 220pm PT: The "Bureau of Investigative Journalism", aka, goes live with their treatment. Is this just an alternate url maintained by Wikileaks? Unclear.

Update, 230pm PT: BBC items are going up now. Blog coverage at the BBC about Pentagon reaction here. And Der Spiegel's infographic package is now up, here. Notably, nothing of substance is up yet at CNN, Fox News, Washington Post, or Wired; all were presumably left out of early access by Wikileaks.

Update, 3:10pm PT: In a press release pre-dated for tomorrow, Amnesty International demands that the US investigate how much military commanders knew of torture documented in the leaked secret documents.

Update, 3:17pm PT: CNN publishes an "exclusive interview" with Assange, in which the Wikileaks founder says the leaks contain "compelling evidence of war crimes" committed by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi government forces.

Update, 414pm PT: Wired News analysis is here.


  1. I guess now it’ll be time to ignore all the exposed scandals and just focus on demonizing wikileaks for being an evil-whistleblower.

    1. Well, Cow, now you’ve got your sign to carry in Colbert’s “March to Restore Fear” this weekend.

      1. Well, Cow, now you’ve got your sign to carry in Colbert’s “March to Restore Fear” this weekend.

        My sign will say simply:

        “Go With
        The Flow”

    2. Does that sarcasm preclude calling Julian Assange an attention-whoring douchebag?

      Because Julian Assange is an attention-whoring douchebag.

      Manning got a raw deal, though.

      1. Assange may be “an attention-whoring douchebag,” but he’s provided a great service to the world, and I am very grateful to him.

        1. Manning provided a service, be grateful to him. It takes real balls to blow the whistle on your employer, esp. when your employer has guns, and the documents you’re leaking demonstrate his willingness to use them on whistleblowers.

          All Assange did was crow about it and drive off the other members of his team with abrasive paranoia.

      2. “Julian Assange is an attention-whoring douchebag.”

        Because he does his stuff publicly? I think you’ll find secret whistleblowing is almost exactly like keeping secrets and not much like blowing a whistle at all.

        As for the ‘douchebag’ part, we’ll let that go since that word seems to mean, ‘I’m not sure I agree with you 100% and have several frustrations I’ll get to when the internet ends.’

  2. Nothing quoted seems to be shocking at all. Really. Didn’t you already know this stuff, just by paying attention to the Iraq Body Count, and other non-mainstream media sites? And we already knew about Iran’s intervention in Iraq.

    But the death markers on Google Maps could have been useful for Iraqis, if that was available in real-time and broadcast regularly on local media channels.

  3. What is up with the number of deaths recorded in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran? Mis-keyed GPS coordinates?

  4. Wow that death map is quite something, just imagine what a map like that based on the Great War or World War 2 would look like.

  5. Wars and conflicts happen. Always will.
    Bad things happen during wars and conflicts.
    The USA has become expert at fighting the least damaging, most civilized wars possible ever. Tearing down the most benevolent, peace making nation in history isn’t going to help anything. It is quite possible that in the long run more lives will be lost by the weakening of the US power base.

    1. “civilized wars” ?!?!? There’s an oxymoron for you.

      “the most benevolent, peace making nation in history”
      Wow, you really have drank the American Exceptionalism Kool-Aid, haven’t you?

    2. Mikey youve started… what? Four, Five wars the last 50 or so years? One known for the great horrors you guys set loose on civilians. Im not saying your evil or anything. Your just another nation. Your the biggest, most well armed and wealthiest nation for the moment (China will probably be passing you by soon but until then). The mistakes made by any army, in any war – will be twice as horrible when you guys do it.

      There are no civilised wars, no good wars or benevolent wars. There are no soldiers who aren’t also either murderers, witnesses or murdered. I’m not meaning this in a sort of good/evil scale, people are people armed or not. Its just the way wars are, allot of people, armed or not, in uniform or without, young and old – getting killed because someone who rules one side, didn’t like the boss on the other side.

      War is just genocide with a better PR-department.

    3. Oh, definitely. You can tell the US was fighting the most civilized war properly because it felt the need to misrepresent how much harm it was doing. Folks like the Mongols never had the courtesy to lie about stuff like that.

    4. “…the most benevolent, peace making nation in history…”

      You on the pentagon pr payroll, friend?

      So…exposing torture and murder on the part of this “benevolent, peace making nation: is “tearing [it] down?”

      Assange has a fucking pair. He has my respect in that regard, for sure. And props/gratz to Xeni for the coverage.

      3/1 civilian/insurgent casualties, and that’s using their definition of insurgent. (As they said if Vietnam, “If they’re dead, they must have been VC.”) This should, nay will, change things.

      Daniel Ellsberg is a feeling vindicated and less alone today.

      1. “Assange has a fucking pair. He has my respect in that regard, for sure. And props/gratz to Xeni for the coverage.”


        And the same goes for those working at and with Wikileaks. And whoever liberated the documents is a hero.

    5. wow. this isn’t the typical comment I expect to see in this little safe-heaven of the netz. ***CoughmustbedrudgereportreaderCoughCough***

      just to clarify things: Assange’s publication of this leaked data can not imperil US soldiers. War is not Peace. Murder is not Protection. Torture is not Acceptable…and, finally, these needless crimes in Iraq are not about protecting anything other than US military industrial profits via oil & mineral rights & the increased spending & budgeting which comes out of using costly kinetic weapons.

      1. < these needless crimes in Iraq are not about protecting anything other than US military industrial profits via oil & mineral rights >

        that’s one opinion, & since there’s no verified fact statement, its only an opinion. i dont like when people try to put an opinion as fact because its what they believe to be true & dont seem to be open to other possibilities. this style of reasoning has gotten us in trouble many times in history.

        so the fact is, US profits may or may not have been a consideration in this war, but Hussein committed acts against his very own people that many people across the world find atrocious, and he violated UN agreements, and Bush had the unpopular position of having to try to figure out whats right for an entire nation of people & more. there is no way to make everyone happy or have everyone understand you if they dont agree w/you.

        now, another fact, is that we’ve seen some changes in Iraq culture since Hussein has been removed [whether or not we like them] & as a woman, i find it particularly compelling that women in that nation were allowed to vote in the very first election they had, especially in a country where women arent typically thought of as having much rights outside of their fathers or husbands. as a voter, i find it pretty compelling that people were standing around waiting to vote in the first election despite death threats, attacks, etc. in america, alot of people dont even find it worth it to vote, so thats a lesson to americans.

        i dont like war, but i am in support of the things that are good that have come out of it. there’s no use in focusing on our opinions of why it happened, or hating bush. better to use your time in looking at positive change & how we can do something toward it. i likely wont be back here to look at any of these comments. i’m off to research whether or not these leaks are true or accurate so i can make up my own mind. [& somehow i doubt there is an accurate civilian body count, but i could be wrong] so attack me or support me if you please, i really dont care. i just wanted to point out a fallacy & something positive

        1. Besides the destruction of the utility system and the middle class, several million refugees have been created by this war, and, according to The Lancet, something like a million premature deaths. The right to vote for different death squad leaders and torturers does not make up for that.

        2. So you manage to see the glass half-full in Iraq? Probably you don’t like facts after all. While it is a fact that Saddam was a half mad dictator, it is also true that the Baathist party was nationalistic and secular while the new culture that emerged is of religious civil war and constant killing. Also the war has destroyed much of the infrastructure and killed more people than it saved from Saddam’s death squads.

          As for freedom it is nice to think that the American liberators continued torturing and imprisoning at will directly as in Abu Ghraib or indirectly by supporting Iraqi torturers. As it happens the Americans lied also about the amount of civil casualties as they lied about pretty much everything in this war (WMD anyone remembers those anymore?). So much for the morality of the war as a liberation from a dictator.

          After so many years Bagdhad still has intermittent electricity and water, infant mortality is amongst the highest in the world, and the country has sold its resources in contracts with western companies that will repair what western armies destroyed.

          There’s no use in focusing on our opinions of why it happened, or hating Bush? Au contraire there is much use in hating war criminals and it is extremely useful to know WHY wars happen. This war was sold as a hunt for WMD and imminent danger of Saddam using them. We know now that this was a sad, pathetic excuse.

          But don’t let facts get in your way. Cheer for the toppled statues and the blue fingers.

          1. There’s no use in focusing on our opinions of why it happened, or hating Bush? Au contraire there is much use in hating war criminals and it is extremely useful to know WHY wars happen. This war was sold as a hunt for WMD and imminent danger of Saddam using them. We know now that this was a sad, pathetic excuse.

            you’ve really won me over w/your sarcasm. i think wat happened in Abu Ghraib is crap, they were wrong & never shouldve done that–there is no excuse to do that to people…that old addage of ‘two wrongs dont make a right’ & just plain simple treating humans as humans even if the other humans did bad things. i like to remember that those were some people & not all people that committed those horrible acts. just like in vietnam plenty of american soldiers did horrible things to civilians & plenty of soldiers did alot to help. there are always a$$es & even other soldiers will hate those a$$es, so dont lump me into a category with them just because i can actually see the positive that comes out of a situation. i agree that the situation isnt ideal. that sucks. i think people are working on making things better, but there are alot of obstacles so it’ll take time.

            dont attack me for having an opinion ive actually researched & thought out just bc its different from yours. be open minded & seek to learn & understand. dont hate me bc we disagree on some things, bc even i can tell you some of the points we agree on. instead, its probably more beneficial to listen & learn from each other, whether we change our opinion or not. you know, ive never heard of a time that someone has been successful in changing someone’s opinion by attacking them for how wrong they are. [duh?]

            p.s. america isnt the only country occupying iraq. did all of those other countries say anything different regarding WMD or civialian casualties or anything else?

          2. I don’t attack your opinion per se and of course i don’t hate you. I attack your optimism which is not reality or fact based and what i saw as a “shit happens let’s forget about it attitude”.

            True as it is that not all soldiers are criminals, fact remains that the US (and coalition – mainly British) armed forces started a war, destroyed a country in your name and for blatantly false reasons. Moreover they continue to this day to lie about the real situation over there. And nobody has paid for the sea of destruction, abuse, death and corruption.

            Those crimes are US and British administrations’ faults as they presented false evidence to the UN in order to gain approval for the war. The French did not buy it. Others where practically arm wrestled by US diplomacy to follow (Spain and Germany) but they left a long time ago. The lies are entirely US made and backed by that other warmonger Blair.

          3. you mistook my attitude. i have mixed feelings on war & whats happening over there, and i keep an open mind because there are alot of things going on that we do & dont know about; so i continue to try to find as much out about the truth as possible before making up an opinion. however, no matter what my opinion is, there is nothing i can do about the war, other than avoid joining the american british or iraqi militaries, but it wouldnt have much impact anyway. they definitately didnt destroy a nation in -my- name, tho, i have nothing to do with the situation, and regardless, i find nothing wrong with appreciating something i find positive that came out of these changes. just because i can appreciate something doesnt mean i ignore all the other problems & reasons for them. but we can never build on stregnths if we dont recognize what they are. & building anything doesnt happen overnight

        3. Oh, hai.

          isn’t it fallacious to endeavor to negate one fallacy with another?

          in any case, I didn’t make a single fallacious comment. Though, alas, I have had to resort to inference. And as far as Hussein (trained at the School of Americas, worked for the CIA, pictured shaking hands with neocon leaders), well. You think he was the worst dictator at the time? Wonder if you’ve heard of Africa and a country called Rwanda? Looks like the US’s world-saving, championist politics missed protecting those innocents. Oh, wait. Ahem, that’s right. the US was too busy instigating mass genocide in that country also in order to (ahem) once again claim epic mineral rights.

          speaking of, lesse’, a report states $1,000,000,000,000 worth of minerals in Afghanistan – a country difficult to conquer thanks the the CIA trained Red Army…you know, the mujahideen who nicely beat Russia back in teh day? Oh, but Iraq (pretty sure it’s a close neighbor of Afghanistan) as a forward base makes….

          wait, why am I replying to you? lulz and goodnight. this is not the right wing corner of teh netz you are looking for.

          1. dont argue philosophy/logic w/me. i’m assuming youre inferring i believe that hussein was the worst dictator [at a time, at the time, i’m not sure]. i may be wrong, but i’m trying my best to understand you. i dont beleive that husseing was the worst anything at any time. stalin, hitler, mussolini…i mean, come on, america has had some stupid presidents, france has had some crazy kings, & britain…well, america did decide to dissolve from britain for a reason. i do believe, tho, that hussein did commit many atrocious acts against his own people, and many other people would agree [albeit not everyone].

            i’m not justifying war or america’s position on it [my opinions are my own], i was stating that your opinions are not fact. & i’d venture to guess the reason youre replying is because you welcome argument [maybe thru aggression or thru curiosity], youre looking for me to submit, or you feel as tho you need to justify your position by taking what you feel is a superior stance by trying to tear down what you assume my beleifs are. if you truly didnt care what i think or about trying to change my opinion then you wouldnt have replied. however, as i mentioned in a previous reply, ive never heard of someone submitting or changing their beliefs from someone else attacking or sarcasming them.

            i am responding because i think in this case i am welcoming the argument. i’m trying to humble myself but finding it hard because you seem to be full of assumptions against me. according to Definition of FALLACY
            1a obsolete : guile, trickery
            b : deceptive appearance : deception
            2a : a false or mistaken idea b : erroneous character : erroneousness
            3: an often plausible argument using false or invalid inference

            so it seems your making an assumption that i have right-wing values and am looking for some right wing cult to support my values. that [according to merriam-webster] is also a fallacious [& presumptive] statement. just because i dont agree w/a statement you made by stating that its not fact doesnt mean that i’m some right-wing big bad anti boingboing vigilante coming around to troll the site & tell everyone how humanitarian killing huge groups of people are, so please stop assuming you know me.

            the problem w/y’all is that you too frequently seem to forget that america is not the only country occupying iraq. there were like 30 or 40 something countries that initially supported occupying iraq & there’s several countries actually there. america just happens to be one of the biggest w/a higher population & money than others. but i dont hear anyone talking about how britain or spain are just trying to secure their oil profits or are hiding how many civilian deaths occured [which probably arent all a result of americans, considering the militaries of other countries & iraq itself involved in these deaths]

            death sucks. lets not be dicks about it, or be dicks to each other about it, especially if neither of us are responsible for it. i’m sorry i’m so verbose & less concise.

        4. a country where women arent typically thought of as having much rights outside of their fathers or husbands.

          Sorry, this is backwards. During the Baathist regime Iraq was a secular, modern country where women could be professionals and life was pretty normal as long as you didn’t make trouble for the regime. Now human rights for women are going to hell.

          Maybe you’re getting Iraq mixed up with Afghanistan.

          Or Iran, or something.

          Maybe you just don’t know what the hell you’re talking about?

    6. “most benevolent, peace making nation in history isn’t going to help anything.”

      As an American, I’m trying to figure out why you are bringing up Canada…or do you mean Norway? Finland?

      1. While it pains me to type it, Norway has its own dirty hands related to the events of recent years.

    7. Mike, your “bad things happen, fuck it” attitude is just part of the problem. You’re part of the problem.

      I bet you throw a massive hissy fit if your TV breaks though, huh?

    8. Your entire comment makes no sense from beginning to end.

      The US is no better than anyone else at fighting a clean war, weapons technicians will tell you that our smart weapons are deeply imperfect and that misplaced faith in them raises civilian casualties, and for more than half a century the CIA and military have willfully and knowingly engaged in activities they know will cause hundreds of thousands, sometimes even tens of millions, of people to suffer for an indefinite number of decades, under US-created and -backed regimes which torture, rape, murder, and imprison political enemies.

      US foreign policy is uncaring and imperialist, and this is the bottom line. That your military and elected representatives have public relations that have convinced you otherwise is completely irrelevant, except perhaps as an indictment of the willful deception involved.

  6. “Iran’s military, more than has been generally understood, intervened aggressively in support of Shiite combatants, offering weapons, training and sanctuary and in a few instances directly engaging American troops.”

    *puts on tinfoil hat* So this entire thing was orchestrated from the beginning to appear scandalous for the US military but actually “leak” information about Iran that might garner public support for action?

  7. It would be nice if some action were actually taken on this, in the form of prosecuting the individuals who condoned or covered up these activities, instead of a week of “well golly gee that’s interesting” followed by the news fading from public memory.

    No one ever asked me as an American if I was in the mood to murder 100,000 civilians, and I’d sure like someone to be held accountable.

  8. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But didn’t Assange molest someone with a piece of cheese? I think I read something about that…

    1. It was here in Sweden. Assange seeked political asylum here since our journalistic laws means he can’t be forced by anyone to either give up leaks or take down information since the right to free speach laws are made up in some special way here (don’t ask me what makes them different) so no one, military or otherwise can stop you from doing a journalistic duty or something.

      He was accused of rape and appearently the case is probably that he mistook attention for interest and didn’t take no for an answer. So he may be a douchebag (I dont know this is to my mind the most probable) but wikileaks is a good thing.

      If the US army didn’t like having civilian deaths reported on, don’t kill civilians. If they did it, its to them moraly defendable (which it MUST be if your going to war, if you canät even defend your own actions then why go to war and against whom?) and they should be open about it.

      I heard some politicos here talking about giving Manning asylum – but then again I doubt someone will spring the poor guy from jail.

  9. that’s right let’s all focus on Assange and not the 109,000 dead civilians, because who cares about them. Assange is the problem not the senseless murdering.

  10. I just want to point out that this story is actually quite related to another current point, which is the US military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The issues that Pfc. Manning had were compounded by the fact that he wasn’t able to openly speak to anyone in the military, or seek counseling, etc. This release may still have happened, but it certainly would have been less likely.

    So when someone argues removing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” would be detrimental to the armed forces in some way, there is perhaps yet another glaring example of how keeping the policy in place already is.

  11. Wars and conflicts happen. Always will.
    Bad things happen during wars and conflicts.

    Well, that certainly justifies them.

  12. I’m confused about the Amnesty International blurb.

    Since these are military docs, wouldn’t the commanders know everything?

  13. How do you even read through 400k pages of secret docs? Or do you hire Chinese people in a warehouse and chalk it up as scandal number 400,001 and close the book?

  14. So a week ago, Assange was blasting Wired magazine for reporting that he was set to release a bunch of Iraq war documents, saying they had an agenda and were not to be trusted.

    Now he does exactly what they said he was going to do.

    Why, exactly, does WikiLeaks get to disseminate FUD but then act like they’re freedom fighters? Who’s got the agenda after all?

    1. Wired very much have an agenda and it’s publishing war porn. They’re weapon fetish and breathless security theatre unboxing articles single them out as a hotbed of juvenile battle wankage.
      As for Wikileaks, you know what they’re agenda is because they say what it is, out loud, where no-one paying attention can pretend to miss it with any credibility.

  15. “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” – Ernest Hemingway

  16. Lots of people shooting the messenger here. Is it to help you ignore the atrocities your taxes pay for? Or could it be envy?
    Wikileaks is doing the kind of things that hackers have been fantasizing about doing for decades. They are actually taking on the Pentagon AND 1000S OF OTHER CORRUPT BASTARDS (sorry to shout, but some commenters already think its an Anti-American outfit, when its anti-torture -corruption -wanton murder etc).

    But no, the trolls aren’t happy unless wikileaks can find a front man who has no sense of grandiosity or paranoia, as if that’s possible in the circumstances. When I see someone stand up for my beliefs, I respect them, I don’t try to tear them down because they seem to be enjoying the spotlight, but there’s always a crowd that can’t focus on anything but the ego of the speaker.

  17. Aaaannndd….

    Same as the last time they leaked docs about Iraq, nothing but a lot of hand wringing and tsk tsk’ing will come from this latest Wikileaks docu-drop. The left will be incensed, the right will condemn, and not a damn thing will change.

    1. Maybe just retribution will occur, maybe it won’t, but if you know of tens of thousands of unacknowledged killings, don’t you think there is some moral duty to expose them?

      The victims aren’t statistics, let alone statistics that should be suppressed. How many families of “disappeared” can finally at least know what happened? Don’t American relatives of a murder victim deserve that? Why not Arab families, then?

      And just think how this undermines Petraeus and the Iraq Surge, the cure-all that’s being applied in Afghanistan right now. The leaks add weight to the left-wing view (Juan Cole etc) that the only thing that brought down the violence was the successful ethnic cleansing of Baghdad, which the US just let happen.

  18. @Anon#34:

    Is anyone paying you to drop by here and post anonymous smears? Or are you a volunteer troll?

    Do any of these claims invalidate the evidence that the Iraq war was as egregious a mess as its opponents claimed?

  19. I’d like to think that the average Boingboing reader is a bit more intelligent than the norm, but a thread like this makes me second guess that thought. Who cares who runs this organization, did you not notice a 3:1 civilian to insurgent kill ratio and willful ignorance of inhumane treatment?

    How anyone could say that our occupation of Iraq wasn’t a complete and utter failure after seeing information like this is well beyond me. We just rolled up into Iraq and 9/11’d them about 25 times over.

  20. “It is also interesting to note that there may be some validity to the sexual abuse charges due to Assange’s past in the Hamilton-Byrne cult which he refuses to address.”

    Because he was a child at the time? It’s interesting to note you are bad at this. (As for the ‘intel sting’, are you a child?)

  21. Somebody should start an open source project to let next of kin upload photos and stories of their loved ones to each of those dots, both iraqi and american. I’d vote for encouraging mainly pictures of them when they were young and happy. It would put a face on the war. A geo-located tapestry of people and memories. Makes it a bit harder to ignore what really happens in war.

  22. Wow. I got to give them credit – the trumped up rape charges thing actually freaking worked. It goddamned worked like a charm.

    All the comments threads, all of them discussing this, thats every fourth or fifth post, and everyone starts talking about that instead, if only to counter it. Its a straw man, people! Just ignore those that bring it up, and get back to the real point.

    Though, honestly, nothing I’ve heard about these documents has surprised me in the least so far. The civilian death toll is actually a bit LESS than I was expecting (I thought it would be around 80,000).

    Now I just wish I knew what I could do about it that would make a difference.

    1. yes. the BS rape charges did their job perfectly. They prevented Assange from obtaining Swiss citizenship. No Western country will allow anyone to become a citizen if they have sex abuse charges levied against them.

      what you can do that will make a difference? i know what I did (in addition to the other suggestion I’m about to make), I left the U.S. If one can’t leave the U.S., then the easiest (?) thing to do is not spend your money in places that end up fueling the military…join a food cooperative, grow your own organic produce, walk – don’t drive..or get a bike and get rid of your car…don’t watch t.v. – be nice to your neighbors, donate time to charity, tell jokes to strangers, simplify your life, help someone who needs it every now and then, don’t contribute to the FUD, &c, etc.

      there is so much we can do, so many small actions we can take. they all add up.

  23. Yes, obviously Assange is the real villain here. Cheney, Addison, Rove, Bush, all those guys . . . they all get off on the “seemed like a good idea at the time” principle. You know, wars just happen, and if people believe propaganda and spin, that was their fault.

  24. This:

    In another life, Assange might have been a mathematician. He spent four years studying maths, mostly at Melbourne University – with stints at the Australian National University in Canberra – but never graduated, disenchanted, he says, with how many of his fellow students were conducting research for the US defence system.

    ”There are key cases which are just really f—ing obnoxious,” he says. According to Assange, the US Defence Advance Research Project Agency was funding research that involved optimising the efficiency of a military bulldozer called the Grizzly Plough, which was used in the Iraqi desert during Operation Desert Storm during the 1991 Gulf War.

    ”It has a problem in that it gets damaged [from] the sand rolling up in front. The application of this bulldozer is to move at 60 kilometres an hour, sweeping barbed wire and so on before it, and get the sand and put it in the trenches where the [Iraqi] troops are, and bury them all alive and then roll over the top. So that’s what Melbourne University’s applied maths department was doing – studying how to improve the efficiency of the Grizzly Plough. This is beyond the pale.

    ”The final nail in the coffin was that I went to the hundredth anniversary of physics at the ANU. There were some 1500 visitors there – four Nobel prize winners – and every goddamn one of them was carting around, on their backs, a backpack given to them by the Defence Science Technology Organisation. At least it was an Australian defence science organisation.”

    Reminded me of this:

  25. Cryptome has an reader that has looked at the release schedule and reads it as a possible feint for other more damaging releases of diplomatic cables, which by their nature would focus attention on political decisions, and thus give the military an arms tied behind their backs position:

    The backstory seems to have attempted Cryptome and 4chan hacks in order for supposedly Gov’t agents to siderail Wilileaks.
    A tangled web.

  26. Julian Assange has put his safety at risk to expose injustices of arguably the world’s most rich and powerful government.

    Calling the man “an attention-whoring douchebag,” as if he’s only in it for “the fame” is completely illogical, not to mention insulting. He and whistle-blowers everywhere have more collective balls then everyone else in the room put together.

  27. Point of fact: several commenters in this thread so far have incorrectly implied or stated that the noted civilian deaths were at the hands of U.S. military. That is not the case. While some, like the civilians killed at U.S. checkpoints, were the result of direct action, the numbers kept included all known civilian deaths. Could have been collateral damage. Could have been direct enemy action. Recall that the top target (body-count wise) of post-invasion Iraqi militias, criminal orgs, and foreign-influenced actors were… Iraqi civilians.

    You could make an argument that all deaths in theater are attributable to U.S. military presence in general, but to say that U.S. forces basically shot 100,000 civilians is flat out incorrect.

  28. Relevant:

    Assange refuses to play the game where News Corps destroy the message by digging dirt on the messenger’s personal life.

    Why so many people care about Assange’s personal life and character? You only like your news from saints? Also even if he were a narcissistic douchebag, he has done something for the world. What have you done lately?

  29. I’m sure China or some other nation would’ve handled this situation much better. Only the US is at all Machiavellian when it comes to international relations.

    1. Sarcasm: the last refuge of a troll. The US has “soft power” coming from several sources, but the main one is the dated but widespread perception that it embodies liberal democratic values. This power is deployed ruthlessly to attack its rivals and justify invading them.
      The Chinese leaders just don’t act like they should be held to higher standards. Moreover, they don’t invade other countries.
      Given all this, how is it relevant that other countries behave in a Machiavellian fashion?
      The greatest threats to international peace are coming from the imperial democracies. If these leaks erode that soft power, it just might make the next invasion (Yemen? Venezuela? Iran? Lebanon? Somalia?) politically unviable. So don’t try to change the issue.

      1. Yes, very easy to label any dissenting opinion “troll”. Sarcasm is only ok when the “right” opinion is being expressed and the “wrong” opinion is being mocked, correct?

        I’m all in favor of ruthless deployment of power against my rivals and in favor of my side. Sorry of that offends you. A happy day will be when Assange is brought to justice.

        Take all the vowels out of my comment if you like, because it is what I expect anyway.

        1. I’m all in favor of ruthless deployment of power against my rivals and in favor of my side.

          You’re in favor of ruthless deployment of power against innocent civilians?

        2. I will call it refreshing honesty. Sadly your “side” is full of shit and lies about everything, that’s what those leaks are all about. If they thought like you that it is honorable to use indiscriminate overwhelming force the honest thing would be to admit it and face the criticism. Yes sir we killed those people in the heat of battle etc etc.

          Yet they hide like rats and that’s because they did not kill in honest if brutal battle but tortured in jails and killed people for sport from their gunships. Or you support that too?

          Assange has done nothing wrong so he will not be brought to “justice”. The pentagon’s desire of vengeance does not automatically make him a criminal.

  30. These volunteers have provided the best coverage of the war in Iraq bar none, and from pretty well day one, as well:

    I noticed very early in this War – seven or eight YEARS ago now – that the US/UK “mass” media simply did not report the factual news and accounts of this War, but rather “reported” only American/UK views and opinions about the War.

  31. The release of US military documents to the whole world simultaneously is especially interesting because it illuminates the way the balance of power shifts when massive amount of information is stored digitally. The government was able to create a ton of interactive maps of every incident happening in Iraq and because they created this digital database they were susceptible to its release. The Pentagon papers had to be read into the Congressional record to be released whereas one eccentric british guy is able to simply flip a digital switch and have the information become accessible to the whole world. At the same time none of this would of happened if there wasn’t a whistle blower to share the information. But sneaking files onto a flash drive is a million times easier than photocopying a locked filing cabinet of war reports. The surveillance society increases but it’s information can be turned against itself. Now the difference in terms of public reception of this data and what was happening back in Vietnam ?

  32. Common people should focus on how all that was sold to the public: because of 9/11 attacks and _evidence_ of weapons of mass destruction.
    In the end, that war produced 30 times more deaths than the 9/11 attacks and no evidence of WMD’s.

  33. Releasing this many documents with no reason isn’t a service it is just an attempt to get some attention. A release like this actually hurts everyone and confuses things since many will think this is reflective of policy instead of more like reading someone’s diary complete with theories and dreams. There is very little good and meaningful meat to this.
    As for the death rates how much of that is related to actual actions by the allies and how much of it is just what always happens there? Those in the West really have no idea what most Arabic nations are like particularly the rogue nations like Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Think the worst of the gang wars of the ’20’s and ’80’s spread over the entire country with hate and the willingness and capability to kill running rampant! Not everyone in those countries is like that but enough are raised with that willingness to cause things like torture, rape and disappearance to become commonplace. The liberation of these countries have helped reduce these things but not eliminate the problem and we could be there a hundred years and still only have reduced the problem not solved it. We can not be held accountable for all the actions of those who think that this is the normal behaviour for civilization or those who are trying to get revenge on those who have done this to them and their clans for decades. We can not be on guard all the time and we must train them to take over themselves so that we can pull our troops and cease the occupation with the hope that they will be responsible and use the power we have given them to build a healthy and forward thinking nation.

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