At a glance: WikiLeaks’ war logs

WikiLeaks has published 391,832 “SIGACT” (Significant Action) reports, described as one of the biggest military leaks of all time.


The documents, written by US soldiers during the war in Iraq, date from January 2004 to the end of 2009.

Because of the sheer number of documents, SBS cannot independently verify them.

However, WikiLeaks has collaborated with international news agencies such as The Guardian and Al-Jazeera, as well as The International Bureau of International Journalism, have had access to them for some time before they were released.

Here are the main points from the files:

– Civilian deaths:

Leaked documents on Iraq war contain thousands of allegations of abuse, but a Pentagon order told troops to ignore them.

Al-Jazeera has documents detailing 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprising 66,081 civilians of which WikiLeaks claims 15,000 were previously unknown, 23,984 insurgents, 15,196 Iraqi troops and 3,771 coalition soldiers.

– Abuse:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called the war in Iraq “a bloodbath on every corner”. The documents allege that the US army turned a blind eye to several cases of abuse by Iraqi troops.

The Guardian newspaper said the “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.”

One Iraqi detainee claimed he was “blindfolded and beaten with a wire by Iraqi police on two consecutive nights” near Ramadi in 2008, according to documents seen by AFP.

Another detainee alleged that after being arrested last year, “his hands were bound behind his back, (he) was placed in a stress position… and the bottoms of his feet were beaten with an object.”

But Iraqi forces were not the only ones accused. The documents showed up more than 300 allegations of detainees being abused by coalition troops since the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal.

Rapes and murders perpetrated by Iraqi forces were documented by US soldiers but were not followed up.

– Other incidents:

US forces allegedly killed almost 700 civilians at checkpoints in Iraq.

In 2007 a US helicopter killed two insurgents who wanted to surrender after an army lawyer told the crew they were valid targets as they could not surrender to aircraft.

– Iran:

The documents show Tehran waging a shadow war with US troops in Iraq, with Tehran training and arming Shiite militias in Iraq in order to kill or capture US troops.

According to one report, Iran planned an attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad, where the main Iraqi government buildings and Western embassies are housed.

– The Politics:

The backlash from the latest Wikileaks revelation is also being felt by Iraq’s Prime Minister.

Reports claim prisoner abuse by Iraqi security officials– much of which happened after Nouri al- Maliki came to power.

But he’s accused his political opponents of using the documents against him.

In numbers:

(Via the Bureau of Investigative Journalism)

37.6 million words

391,832 files

109,032 deaths including 66,081 civilians

176,382 wounded – 99,163 civilians

183,991 detentions – 1 in 50 of the adult male population

65,349 IEDs causing 31,780 deaths and leaving 100,985 injured

24,764 air strikes including 1,684 Hellfire missile strikes

34,814 murders – 32,563 civilians and nine coalition troops

13,963 Escalation of force cases killing 832 people – 681 civilians

12,570 reports of al-Qaeda in Iraq – seven reports in 2004; 8,208 reports in 2008 (one in every seven reports written that year)