Wikileaks and Iraq Body Count News Conference Saturday Morning

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Julian Assange of Wikileaks and Professsor John Sloboda of the Iraq Body Count project spoke Saturday morning in a news conference at the Frontline Club in London, England.

Sloboda gave his early assessment of what the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks add to the known Iraqi death toll, while Assange defended his decision to publish the leaked documents, saying “this disclosure is about the truth” and that his hope is to correct some of the attacks on the “truth” about the Iraq invasion and occupation by the Pentagon and the American government and US mainstream media.

The BBC reported this morning, with their reporter Gordon Corera framing the initial spin UK mainstream media will put on the release of the logs:

Following the release of the documents by Wikileaks, the UK Guardian reported that the United Nations is now calling for a war crimes investigation by the Obama Administration:

The UN has called on Barack Obama to order a full investigation of US forces’ involvement in human rights abuses in Iraq after a massive leak of military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.

The call, by the UN’s chief investigator on torture, Manfred Nowak, came as Phil Shiner, human rights specialist at Public Interest Lawyers in the UK, warned that some of the deaths documented in the Iraq war logs could have involved British forces and would be pursued through the UK courts. He demanded a public inquiry into allegations that British troops were responsible for civilian deaths during the conflict.

The Guardian has analysed the 400,000 documents, the biggest leak in US military history, and found 15,000 previously unreported civilian deaths. The logs show how US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and generally unpunished.

Nowak said that if the files released through WikiLeaks pointed to clear violations of the UN Convention Against Torture the Obama administration had an obligation to investigate them.

[snip]

The documents, which cover the period in Iraq from 2004 onwards, have prompted claims that this principle has not been observed. The files contain evidence that US forces were ordered to turn a blind eye to abuses committed by the Iraqi authorities.

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.

Nowak said the US had an obligation “whenever they expel, extradite or hand over any detainees to the authorities of another state to assess whether or not these individuals are under specific risk of torture. If this assessment is not done, or authorities hand over detainees knowing there is a serious risk of them being subjected to torture, they violate article 3 of the UN convention that precludes torture.”

Nowak said it would be up to the Obama administration to launch an “independent and objective” investigation with a view not only to “bring the perpetrators to justice but also to provide the victims with adequate remedy and reparation”.

[snip]

As recently as December, the Americans were passed a video apparently showing Iraqi army officers executing a prisoner in Tal Afar, northern Iraq. The log states: “The footage shows approximately 12 Iraqi army soldiers. Ten IA soldiers were talking to one another while two soldiers held the detainee. The detainee had his hands bound … The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him and shooting him.”

[snip]

Shiner told a press conference organised by WikiLeaks in London today that he plans to use material from the logs in court to try to force the UK to hold a public inquiry into the unlawful killing of Iraqi civilians.

Shiner warned that it would be wrong to assume the US military files “had nothing to do with the UK”. He said: “Some have been killed by indiscriminate attacks on civilians or the unjustified use of lethal force. Others have been killed in custody by UK forces and no one knows how many Iraqis lost their lives while held in British detention facilities.

“If unjustified or unlawful force has been used, prosecutions for those responsible must follow, so we are bringing forward a new case seeking accountability for all unlawful deaths, and we argue that there must be a judicial inquiry to fully investigate UK responsibility for civilian deaths in Iraq.”

He cited one case in which he claimed a British rifleman had shot dead an eight-year-old girl who was playing in the street in Basra. “For some reason the tank stopped at the end of the street, she’s there in her yellow dress, a rifleman pops up and blows her away,” he said.

19 comments

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    • Edger on October 24, 2010 at 3:24 am
      Author

    must be torture for Obama and the Pentagon…

  1. …. they wanted to change the subject.

    New York Times ran the wikileaks story this am and now this evening this is what they’re saying via the cleveland plain dealer

    http://www.cleveland.com/natio


       Now it is not just governments that denounce him: Some of his own comrades are abandoning him for what they see as erratic and imperious behavior and a nearly delusional grandeur unmatched by an awareness that the digital secrets he reveals can have a price in flesh and blood.

    • RiaD on October 24, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    up at dkos now.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/

  2. on c-span this morning. It was amazing and made me cry because humans can and do change reality, we are not helpless and at the mercy of theses evil bastards, we have to stand up to them and leaking the truth is the first step. It gave me hope that these people who spoke so eloquently are rising above the squawking chatter that we call news and the double speak of politics. What a farce that they call the truth and the real law, leaking, a threat to security and traitorious. It also gave me clarity about what this administration is doing to the law.

    Julian Assange said that what the Obama administration is doing is making new law by interpretation of the old ones. This seems to be their MOA for most of the lawlessness they are implementing, from security to the bankster’s to our civil rights. They are twisting are laws and our justice system so that it legalizes what it was designed to stop. It was also heartening that this was a collaborative effort all involved are credible, and not easily dismissed as just crazy cyber terrorists or some such bs. Hillary was really disgusting, and looked mean as hell. They are all criminals and should not be supported. ek is right we are Good German’s when we refuse to look at what we do. Thanks to those who have the courage to speak the truth.            

  3. Every name, by time, by date, of culprits and victims of violence over the entirety of the Iraq War.

    I bow at the humble ass fucking of NATO forces with this leak.

    Sportin’ half a pack of Rolaids in my Depends these past few days…

  4. I do recall the rendition flights going back to 2004.  The Bush war, continued and expanded upon by peace prize recipient Obama.  Now why nary a blip on the US lamestream media yet UK coverage from the BBC who first put out “The Power of Nightmares” and also reported the collapse of building seven twenty minutes before it did collapse.  From Saturday Night Live “Jane, you ignorant slut”.   Oh, well what does my analysis which nobody listens to say.

    It’s a globalist advancement thing.  The UN, those agenda 21/Codex Alimentarius let us not stop wars in non-oil producing places UN.  It is placed and based in the UK to make the US look bad, bad US, good globalists….as if there is much difference.

    It’s also kind of funny they can kill off all kinds of free energy scientists yet fail to get/disappear a guy “leaking” classified, highly classified documents for a “world” stage.  So we talk about it, and nothing “changes”.

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