WikiLeaks show U.S. failed to probe Iraqi abuse cases: reports

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – The United States knew but failed to investigate cases of prisoner abuse by Iraqi police and soldiers, according to reports on Friday about a release of some 400,000 secret U.S. files by the WikiLeaks website.

Amnesty International condemned the revelations in the documents and questioned whether U.S. authorities had broken international law by handing over detainees to Iraqi forces known to be committing abuses “on a truly shocking scale.”

The Iraq war files also touched on other themes, including well-known U.S. concerns about Iranian training and support for Iraqi militias. They also offered new details on civilian deaths in the Iraqi conflict.

For WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing website that critics say is driven by an anti-war agenda, it was the second major dissemination of classified U.S. military documents since July, when it published more than 70,000 files on the Afghan war.

The two incidents represent the largest security breaches of their kind in U.S. military history, and have drawn a sharp rebuke from the Pentagon.

“We deplore WikiLeaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world,” Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary, said.

Still, the Pentagon has played down any major revelations in the documents themselves, saying the real danger is that militants will target Iraqi collaborators or gain intelligence from the files about U.S. operations.

Although the Iraq conflict has faded from U.S. public debate in recent years, the document dump threatens to revive memories of some of the most trying times in the war, including the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.

WikiLeaks gave some media outlets advance access to the massive database, and Britain’s Guardian newspaper and Al Jazeera television said the documents showed U.S. forces effectively turned a blind eye to Iraqi rights violations.

CRACKED RIBS

The Guardian wrote about a case where police shot a prisoner in the leg after which the detainee suffered abuse that caused cracked ribs, multiple lacerations and welts from being whipped with a large rod and hose across his back.

“The outcome: ‘No further investigation,'” the Guardian wrote.

The New York Times said that “while some abuse cases were investigated by the Americans, most noted in the archive seemed to have been ignored.” It said soldiers had told their officers about the abuses and then asked Iraqis to investigate.

Amnesty noted that thousands of Iraqis who had been detained by U.S. forces were transferred from U.S. to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010 under an agreement that contained no provisions for ensuring human rights.

“These documents apparently provide further evidence that the U.S. authorities have been aware of this systematic abuse for years,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The document release could also renew debate about foreign and domestic players influencing Iraq, which has been in a political vacuum since an inconclusive election in March.

Military intelligence reports released by WikiLeaks detail U.S. concerns that Iranian agents had trained, armed and directed death squads in Iraq, the Guardian reported.

It cited an October 31, 2005, report stating that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “directs Iranian-sponsored assassinations in Basra.”

The U.S. envoy in Iraq said in August he believed groups backed by Iran were responsible for a quarter of U.S. casualties in the Iraq war. More than 4,400 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the start of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

All U.S. forces are set to withdraw from Iraq by the end of next year.

(Additional reporting by Adrian Croft in London; Editing by Eric Walsh)

WikiLeaks show U.S. failed to probe Iraqi abuse cases: reports