It’s been rumored, pondered, feared, denounced, and now it’s here: The long-awaited massive "doc dump" from Wikileaks related to Iraq. Reporting has started, with The Guardian relating shocking numbers on civilian deaths (fifteen thousand more than ever reported) and Al-Jazeera covering torture, with The New York Times covering all that and more.
The Times put up its lengthy reports about 5 pm Friday. Its report includes many actual documents. On the Iraqi death toll issue, it relates: "The documents…reveal many previously unreported instances in which American soldiers killed civilians—at checkpoints, from helicopters, in operations. Such killings are a central reason Iraqis turned against the American presence in their country, a situation that is now being repeated in Afghanistan."
On torture: "And while some abuse cases were investigated by the Americans, most noted in the archive seemed to have been ignored, with the equivalent of an institutional shrug: soldiers told their officers and asked the Iraqis to investigate."
The Times‘ overview of the documents is here, along with the Pentagon’s response condemning the release. The paper said it withheld some documents and added that the Pentagon to did not propose "any cuts." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the release of classified documents.
In a CNN interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange charged U.S. "war crimes." The New York Times promises an Assange profile this weekend.
WikiLeaks keeps doing this kind of thing better, so now you can browse all the 400,000 docs yourself (have a nice weekend). And a very valuable site from Great Britain called Iraq War Logs has organized subject matter in easy-to-find articles and chunks, which easily disprove any notion of nothing-new-here.
For the first time, Al-Jazeera was in on it, and already out with a kind of "trailer" video that suggests the biggest bombshell may be related to the US allowing Iraqi torture. They say US soldiers sent 1300 reports to headquarters with graphic accounts, including some beaten to death. The other issue: Why Bush and Obama okayed turning over detainees to torturing Iraqis.