Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Media The Military United States Politics

WikiLeaks Releases Cache of 400,000 Iraq War Documents 676

Posted by timothy
from the freedom-of-the-press dept.
Caelesto writes "Today around 21:00 GMT, WikiLeaks declared an end to their media embargo of over 400,000 Iraq War documents after Al Jazeera released their story 30 minutes ahead of schedule. These documents, which have been kept under wraps by WikiLeaks for months, may reveal tortures and murders ignored by coalition forces during the fighting and occupation in Iraq. The Pentagon maintained that releasing these documents represented a danger to US troops, but already dozens of news outlets are scrambling to report on what could be a devastating blow to the US Armed Forces' already tattered image." Reader Entropy98 points to the BBC's coverage, as well. If you care to download the collection of files, it's available as a torrent.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

WikiLeaks Releases Cache of 400,000 Iraq War Documents

Comments Filter:
  • The irony... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Loopy (41728) on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:23PM (#33993308) Journal

    ...of people like this complaining about "collateral damage" is so thick you could drive a truck across it.

    • Re:The irony... (Score:5, Informative)

      by insufflate10mg (1711356) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:28AM (#33994268)
      Supposedly the documents show that the actual deathtoll for the Iraq War is over 105,000. Nearly 70,000 of these casualties were civilians. The documents reportedly also tell about incidents of torture by coalition forces, and of civilians being killed at checkpoints (for speeding to get their wife to the hospital). There is an incident described where a single terrorist on the roof of a building caused the military to obliterate the entire building and everyone in it (civilians). It also reports 15,000 bodies being buried without being identified.

      Source: WikiLeaks & ABC News (Al Jazeera claims to have found far more embarrassing records but I went with ABC for obvious reasons.)
      • by rainmouse (1784278) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:43AM (#33994918)

        The documents reportedly also tell about incidents of torture by coalition forces, and of civilians being killed at checkpoints (for speeding to get their wife to the hospital). There is an incident described where a single terrorist on the roof of a building caused the military to obliterate the entire building and everyone in it (civilians).

        Time to queue up the politicians whining about how evil it is releasing secrets about the torture and murder or civilians and at no time admitting the real evil was in the acts themselves.

    • Irony indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:36AM (#33994896) Homepage Journal

      I liked this one:

      Mr Morrell, of the Pentagon, told the BBC that the leak was a "travesty" which provided enemies of the West with an "extraordinary database to figure out how we operate".

      I think the whole world already knows how we operate. This only proves the point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:24PM (#33993310)

    But I just donated 50 EUR to WikiLeaks.

    • by toastar (573882) on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:42PM (#33993446)

      But I just donated 50 EUR to WikiLeaks.

      Just letting you know you might be on the no fly list now

      -Uncle Sam

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:51PM (#33993496)

        Having worked in the U.S. before and having an SSN and all that, I actually got worried about this (I'm not American). Regardless, I went ahead and used Paypal.

        I figured that if I actually get in trouble with TSA and all that, then they would be doing me a favor, and I would be better off not entering the U.S.

  • by acehole (174372) on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:31PM (#33993364) Homepage

    Posting these may be wrong but it does bring to like some abuses by all the groups involved which have either never been discussed or their existence never known before. Personally bringing abuses to light which were previously hidden makes this partially right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by firewrought (36952)

      Posting these may be wrong...

      I realize you are trying to justify WikiLeaks, but they aren't the ones shooting guns and launching bombs. Our starting supposition should be that humanity has an intrinsic right to enforce transparency upon power wielders, particularly governments and militaries, so that the may be held to account for the efficacy and morality of their actions. Here, WikiLeaks serves the public good, and--excepting gross violation of journalistic ethics--we must credit with them doing somethi

  • by devleopard (317515) on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:36PM (#33993398) Homepage

    Is that you can just categorize based on Slashdot's summary, and just vaguely use it to go on a soapbox about what you want to make a bunch of noise about.

    Even the summary uses phrase "Iraq war documents". Good reason - the Wikileaks release dealt with documents that often referred to what the Iraqi police/forces were doing, and what the US forces knew about. Not that the US forces were doing those actions themselves (though you could argue that allowing such actions were as bad as doing the actions themselves...) Nevertheless, we can't on one hand say we should withdraw and then say that we should keep the Iraqis from doing things we think are bad - good or bad, Iraqis hurting Iraqis is a possible outcome of self-government.

    • by dlt074 (548126) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:31AM (#33994038)

      after the 2009 SOFA, i was told that i was to "advise" IP and IF that torture was counter productive and then promptly leave the area so as not to be involved with anything the did. it's their rules, once we give them self government. sure makes the bad guys pine for the days when the "evil" americans were in charge.

  • Tattered Image (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:38PM (#33993412)

    "scrambling to report on what could be a devastating blow to the US Armed Forces' already tattered image."

    Am I the only who didn't think the first release left the US Armed Forces with a tattered image? These are huge volumes of reports from the US Armed forces about the actions of the US Armed Forces (good, bad, etc) the fact that all actions of the armed forces are so carefully logged leads me to believe that despite issues and anecdotes the US Armed Forces are actually pretty damn professional... Top level officials not wanting these documents publicly released is unfortunate but the fact that these documents even exist is a testament to professionalism on the part of the Armed Forces.

    • Re:Tattered Image (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4meNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:43PM (#33993450) Homepage Journal

      After seeing the gunship video they presented... and then later the way it was torn apart by others examining the film I no longer get too worked up over anything Wikileaks has to say. It's sad really but they will do just about anything they can to skew what they present :-(

      • Re:Tattered Image (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fredmosby (545378) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:01AM (#33994800)
        I'm not sure what you're talking about. There were no misrepresentations in those videos. An AP reporter really was shot and killed by US armed forces. The van the helicopter shot up really did have children in it (which is a strong indication that they didn't realize they were involved in combat). The video doesn't attempt to claim that they deliberately killed innocent people. The video shows that the army has very low standard of proof in deciding whether someone might be a combatant, and that innocent people die because of it.

        Some people might say that these things inevitably happen in war. That's exactly the reason things like this should be made public. People need to know that things like this happen. Right now I get the impression that most Americans believe war is like a hollywood movie where the good guys never kill innocent people.
        • Re:Tattered Image (Score:5, Insightful)

          by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @05:49AM (#33995122)

          The video shows that the army has very low standard of proof in deciding whether someone might be a combatant, and that innocent people die because of it.
           
          Spoken like someone who doesn't know anything about war. What kind of standard of proof would you expect? Land the helicopter and ask each person to show their terrorist ID card before they can be engaged? The US soldiers see a group of men on the street. They confirm that they are not US or friendly Iraqi personnel. They confirm that some of them are armed (lookup blown up stills from that video. AK47 and an RPG are clearly visible). They suspect hostile intent as some of the men are peering around the corner in the direction of US ground forces. They ask higher ups for the permission to engage and get it. The film and document every detail of the operation (though not necessarily release to the media). No other army does anything remotely close to that. Russians would have carpet bombed the entire city block like they did in Chechnya and nobody would have ever known anything about it. Same with Chinese. The most tragic part of it was the van but even that was not strictly speaking a violation of the rules of war. Anybody helping the enemy (while not clearly marked as a medic) is a fair target.

          • Re:Tattered Image (Score:4, Insightful)

            by DavidTC (10147) <[slas45dxsvadiv. ... ] [neverbox.com]> on Saturday October 23, 2010 @09:55AM (#33996032) Homepage

            You know, you're an ass.

            It doesn't matter what the fucking standard is, if it results in destroying innocent children in vans driving by, the AMERICAN PEOPLE THINK IT IS TOO LOW.

            If you can't fight a war without following that standard, perhaps the American people should be apprised of this fact so they can, before the war, debate 'Hey, should we kill some innocent children or not?'. And if they aren't willing to accept that, perhaps they should, I dunno, decide against said war.

            This democratic concept, that American people should decide if the horrors of war are 'worth it', only fucking works if the American people know what war looks like.

            You don't get to whine and bitch that they were actually, finally, shown that and think it's outrageous. Please direct your whining and bitching to the media and government that sanitized the war for almost a decade.

        • Re:Tattered Image (Score:5, Insightful)

          by victorhooi (830021) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @10:02AM (#33996096)

          heya,

          If you're referring to that stupid incident involving the embedded AP reporter, then I'm sorry, that myths already being debunked.

          AP has a reputation of embedding its reporters within insurgent groups. The AP reporter in question here was a Iraqi local who decided to hang with an insurgent group...gee...whodee damn doo, I wonder what happens when you decided to embed yourself inside an insurgent group, trying to kill Americans, in order to be "on the ground", and get the other side of the story. Seriously guys, blaming the US for killing an embedded reporter in enemy forces is just plain stupid.

          And the van issue, with kids? Right, so the US just had a firefight with some insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPGs...so what do you do? Gee, drive an unmarked van, with kids *inside* the van, to go take a closer look? *sigh*. Even if you were allegedly picking up wounded insurgents (gosh, I wonder what side that makes me look at), has anybody considered that it's frigging retarded, if not bad parenting, to drive a van with your kids into the aftermath of a US versus insurgents aftermath?

          I mean, if you yourself want to basically commit suicide, and paint a big target on your head saying, please, please, shoot me, then at least leave your damn kids out of it.

          Urgh, seriously guys. Take off your ANTI-US DOWN WITH THE IMPERIALIST blinkers, and actually apply the logic. I dislike the US for other reasons, but at least I can apply some common basic sense here.

          I bet if it was any other two forces, we'd be like...yeah...that is a pretty retarded thing to do. Vote them for a Darwin award...

          Cheers,
          Victor

          • Re:Tattered Image (Score:4, Insightful)

            by lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @05:00AM (#34002422) Homepage

            And the van issue, with kids? Right, so the US just had a firefight with some insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPGs...so what do you do? Gee, drive an unmarked van, with kids *inside* the van, to go take a closer look? *sigh*. Even if you were allegedly picking up wounded insurgents (gosh, I wonder what side that makes me look at), has anybody considered that it's frigging retarded, if not bad parenting, to drive a van with your kids into the aftermath of a US versus insurgents aftermath?

            The driver in all probability didn't know any of that. The helicopter was at least a kilometre away and the wounded man he stopped by was unarmed. (Had he been armed the helicopter would have fired, as is demonstrated by the comments by the crew; they goad the wounded man crawling along the street to pick up a weapon so they can open fire).

            Also, you are conducting a war in someone's neighbourhood. (Compare the British squaddie joke of renaming FIUBA, "FISH" - "Fighting in somebody else's house.") Of course there are going to be civilians with children around. Civilians that might want to aid what they perceive as their countrymen laying wounded in the street. Civilians who weren't there when the fight actually happened, and may not even be aware of one taking place (esp. with the prevalence of IEDs targeting the civilian population). Don't you think people came running/driving/ when the Oklahoma city bomb went off? It wasn't as if a Bradley was parked in the middle of the street just as he came around the corner.

            A helicopter crew should and did knew all of this. As is witnessed by their lying to their chain of command in describing the situation, one can only assume to knowingly and illegally secure permission to fire.

    • Re:Tattered Image (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moortak (1273582) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:17AM (#33993978)
      That would be a reassuring thought if other clearly misbehaving military units hadn't been just as good at documenting their deeds. Regrettably it is entirely possible to commit horrific acts in a professional manner.
      • Re:Tattered Image (Score:5, Insightful)

        by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday October 23, 2010 @03:32AM (#33994724)

        Why in hell is this classified as 'Troll'? Didn't the Germans keep exceptional records during World War II, for instance? How about the Japanese? How about the United States during the Vietnam War... was its campaign with agent orange meticulously planned, implemented, and documented? I'm betting all the above is true.

        "Professionalism" has NOTHING to do with social ethics; they are not synonymous, and that was precisely the point of the parent post by moortak. Professionalism merely implies a certain degree of diligence and attention to detail.

    • Re:Tattered Image (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:00AM (#33994154) Journal
      Exactly. I support Wikileaks, and like what they do, but the last release didn't show anything we didn't already know. The kind of stuff in the article is just fearmongering:

      These documents, which have been kept under wraps by WikiLeaks for months, may reveal tortures and murders ignored by coalition forces during the fighting and occupation in Iraq

      *May* reveal? What, didn't you read it? They *may* reveal that Elmer Fudd is God, too, you never know. Or that aliens landed and the government is covering it up. Stop the sensationalism (although I understand why they are sensationalistic, and it's a fairly normal human failing so I don't begrudge them that).

    • Re:Tattered Image (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Angst Badger (8636) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:04AM (#33994170)

      Top level officials not wanting these documents publicly released is unfortunate but the fact that these documents even exist is a testament to professionalism on the part of the Armed Forces.

      At the risk of invoking Godwin, it's worth pointing out that the Nazis maintained meticulous records on the operation of their extermination camps that make these documents look like scribbling on the back of a napkin. Professionalism is value-neutral. You can be perfectly professional about both good and evil, and it has no effect on the moral value of what you're being professional about.

      In short, if what you're doing is torturing people and murdering civilians, professionalism is really neither here nor there. Whether our forces a) stop doing these things, and b) hold accountable the people who did them (and their superiors) is the issue at hand.

      I'm not holding my breath about either one. My guess is that instead, we'll be treated to a bunch of bloviation about WikiLeaks' danger to our national security, what an exception to the professionalism of the armed forces these thousands of anomalous incidents are, and, if all else fails, a tour of historic military atrocities aimed at arguing that everyone else does it, too, only with more words and no awareness of the consequences of letting our morality be determined by the lowest common denominator.

      Oh, and that word you're using, "unfortunate"? It's not actually a synonym for "criminal coverup".

  • by tumbaumba (547886) on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:40PM (#33993428)
    As some one said "all are guilty, but all are responsible". I am ashamed and feel complicit in that which enables our fellow human beens do great evil to each other and yet find some solace that they are those who are willing to risk their lives to expose lies fed to us all by the US government. Kudos to WikiLeaks for doing what they do.
  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:45PM (#33993458) Homepage

    > The Pentagon maintained that releasing these documents represented a danger to US troops

    Yeh, but the last time they said that, they lied:

    http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=10/10/17/170227 [slashdot.org]

    • by arth1 (260657) on Friday October 22, 2010 @11:15PM (#33993644) Homepage Journal

      And this time, all names (except for well-known and obviously non-secret names like names of commanders) have been removed.

      It's still going to be a game of blaming the messenger, and very little focus on the atrocities that the mercenaries have wrought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      Go back and read that article. They didn't counter the statement that there is a risk. What they did state was that no intelligence sources or methods were uncovered. And an un-named NATO official noted that there are no cases of an Afghan needing protection or relocation.

      That does take some of the fire out of the made-for-Fox-News bite "they have blood on their hands." But it doesn't eliminate the issue of providing enemy forces with intelligence.

  • by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Friday October 22, 2010 @10:51PM (#33993498) Journal

    Wikileaks released 400,000 more dox that will shake the very foundations upon which the Middle East War rests upon and the news organizations will just sit around masturbating over "Was this ethical? Are people really endangered? What does this mean in regards to bloggers vs. journalists" but never looking at a single document or citing it for the sake of delivering news instead of the storyline which has been perpetuated for the last ten years.

  • by skinlayers (621258) on Friday October 22, 2010 @11:10PM (#33993626)

    I just tried to post the link to the torrent on my facebook, and got this:

    This message contains blocked content that has previously been flagged as abusive or spammy. Let us know if you think this is an error.

    Hmmmm... the link hasn't even been up that long, has it? Me thinks Zuckerberg and company are staying on Uncle Sam's friendly side...

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday October 22, 2010 @11:36PM (#33993770)

    many of us think this is a key point in history where freedom is clashing with government invasion of privacy. we see escalating levels of snooping on the part of 'the officials' and the people are forced to endure this treatment under the guise of 'making us safer'. we know its not for that purpose but we are told we have to give up our privacy to the government.

    well, wikileaks is giving them a taste of their own medicine. not for that reason primarily, I don't think, but its in there to some extent.

    its a statement of: if you are going to dish it out, you BETTER be ready to take it.

    the governments (all over the world) are trying to limit free speech (the internet) and seem to have fallen in love with keeping detailed data on all its citizens. they want a one-sided arrangement.

    its not fair but there was nothing the little guy can do, no matter which country you are in. (name one that is really 'free' these days. please.)

    wiki is sort of a dose of 'fuck you right back'. again, even if not fully intended, it kind of comes off that way.

    sort of like a big bully getting a dose of medicine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:02AM (#33993914)

    At least the money would be very welcomed, since it seems no corporation wants fund such organization.

    And, of course, it would be fun to see they winning the same prize Obama won a few years ago.

  • by bjourne (1034822) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:18AM (#33993982) Homepage Journal
    The file in the torrent is a 355mb csv file with 4437707 rows. And neither Open Office or Gnumeric can open it. They just chug away forever and ever taking more and more memory (up to 3.7gb atm). I wonder if anyone using any other spreadsheet application has more luck... It shouldn't be that damn hard loading a 355mb csv file.
  • Odd write up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:40AM (#33994086)

    These documents, which have been kept under wraps by WikiLeaks for months, may reveal tortures and murders ignored by coalition forces during the fighting and occupation in Iraq.

    While there's been some speculation that Wikileaks has an anti-US bias, I don't see that. You're not going to get leaks from non-democracies. Nor are you going to get incriminating leaks from democracies that aren't engaging in significant combat (especially with an insurgency that blends in with the general population). So it'd be natural for them to get such documents from the US.

    Having said that, the Slashdotter who submitted the story had a blatant anti-US bias. Hyping the release as "may reveal" bad things (even worse, "ignoring" bad things which somehow got documented anyway) is irresponsible, not that we had any expectation of responsibility from this guy. It's almost like the Slashdot editors picked the juiciest bit of flamebait they could find to dangle before the slavering hordes.

  • by slapout (93640) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @02:59AM (#33994638)

    400,000 documents? We couldn't get people to read the 1000 page health care bill. Who's going to read these?

  • Disgusting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GeekHang (1926104) <webmaster@geekhang.com> on Saturday October 23, 2010 @03:57AM (#33994786)
    I saw one document on here which really disgusted me. The American troops had someone detained, some soldier walks in, pulls out a browning and fires 7 rounds into the detainee for no apparent reason. That soldier then gets detained for a while then he's let of. WTF, this is bullshit.
    • Re:Disgusting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ThePhilips (752041) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @05:48AM (#33995116) Homepage Journal

      Looting. Rape. Killing. This is normal. This is what war looks like up close.

      Short glance through the articles reminded me of few things my grand-father were telling about WWII (who fought on Russia's side).

      Over time I have developed the opinion that glorification of a war is the sign of corrupt and evil state.

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @05:25AM (#33995052)
    If they lie about how our heroes die, how are we to trust them on how our enemies died or were treated.
  • by PietjeJantje (917584) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @05:57AM (#33995148)
    What are the new international rights for Americans?

    Now let's suppose a group of Canadian terrorists bombs a building a China. You couldn't complain if the Chinese consequently invaded the USA because you are harboring Canadians. The Chinese could march up to Washington, catch Bush, Obama and friends from pits in the ground, and execute them after a fake trial. While hunting the terrorists, they could kill innocent civilians with a ratio 5:1. These events, they could hide them actively from the media and from being ever discovered, because it is the patriotic thing to do and to protect the Chinese freedom fighters. If your family was killed at a checkpoint, you could witness people on Chinese internet forums discussing that it is irresponsible to have information about this incident released, that this would be anti-Chinese and evidence of a strong bias and sensationalism of the person of organisation releasing that secret info. There will be much torture, and those who expose it will be branded traitors, while the torturers walk. Many Americans and Canadians will be shipped to a remote prison. The new Chinese ruler who will keep everything the same will get the Nobel Peace Price.

"How do I love thee? My accumulator overflows."

Working...