Devastating Picture of War in Iraq and Afghanistan from Wikileaks Files

tortureflagWikiLeaks, over the past year, has released some of the most damning evidence yet against the ongoing occuptions in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Must read: US Response to Wikileaks: Diplomacy as Another Means of Warfare

Defend Julian Assange and Wikileaks

Open Letter in Defence of WikiLeaks’ Right to Publish.

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Guantánamo Files | Cablegate | Collateral Murder Video | Iraq War DiaryAfghan War Diary

Watch: Collateral Murder and Targeted Assassination with Ethan McCord and Pardiss Kebraei

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The Guantánamo Files (released April 24, 2011)

Andy Worthington: WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Files on All Guantánamo Prisoners

In its latest release of classified US documents, WikiLeaks is shining the light of truth on a notorious icon of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” — the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which opened on January 11, 2002, and remains open under President Obama, despite his promise to close the much-criticized facility within a year of taking office.

In thousands of pages of documents dating from 2002 to 2008 and never seen before by members of the public or the media, the cases of the majority of the prisoners held at Guantánamo — 758 out of 779 in total — are described in detail in memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay, to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida, in files arranged by nationality from “af” for Afghanistan, featuring 213 files, to “ym” for Yemen, featuring 109 files.

These memoranda, which contain JTF-GTMO’s recommendations about whether the prisoners in question should continue to be held, or should be released (transferred to their home governments, or to other governments) contain a wealth of important and previously undisclosed information, including health assessments, for example, and, in the cases of the majority of the 171 prisoners who are still held, photos (mostly for the first time ever).

They also include information on the first 201 prisoners released from the prison, between 2002 and 2004, which, unlike information on the rest of the prisoners (summaries of evidence and tribunal transcripts, released as the result of a lawsuit filed by media groups in 2006), has never been made public before. Most of these documents reveal accounts of incompetence familiar to those who have studied Guantánamo closely, with innocent men detained by mistake (or because the US was offering substantial bounties to its allies for al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects), and numerous insignificant Taliban conscripts from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Beyond these previously unknown cases, the documents also reveal stories of the 397 other prisoners released from September 2004 to the present day, and of the seven men who have died at the prison.

Get a copy of the DVD
Andy Worthington´s Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo

The memos are signed by the commander of Guantánamo at the time, and describe whether the prisoners in question are regarded as low, medium or high risk. Although they were obviously not conclusive in and of themselves, as final decisions about the disposition of prisoners were taken at a higher level, they represent not only the opinions of JTF-GTMO, but also the Criminal Investigation Task Force, created by the Department of Defense to conduct interrogations in the “War on Terror,” and the BSCTs, the behavioral science teams consisting of psychologists who had a major say in the “exploitation” of prisoners in interrogation.

Crucially, the files also contain detailed explanations of the supposed intelligence used to justify the prisoners’ detention. For many readers, these will be the most fascinating sections of the documents, as they seem to offer an extraordinary insight into the workings of US intelligence, but although many of the documents appear to promise proof of prisoners’ association with al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations, extreme caution is required.

The documents draw on the testimony of witnesses — in most cases, the prisoners’ fellow prisoners — whose words are unreliable, either because they were subjected to torture or other forms of coercion (sometimes not in Guantánamo, but in secret prisons run by the CIA), or because they provided false statements to secure better treatment in Guantánamo.

Regular appearances throughout these documents by witnesses whose words should be regarded as untrustworthy include the following “high-value detainees” or “ghost prisoners.” Please note that “ISN” and the numbers in brackets following the prisoners’ names refer to the short “Internment Serial Numbers” by which the prisoners are identified in US custody: (continue reading)

Chris Floyd: Normalizing Evil: the N.Y. Times Take on the Guantanamo Files

Glenn Greenwald: Newly leaked documents show the ongoing travesty of Guantanamo

Spencer Ackerman: Guantanamo Doctors Hid Evidence of Torture

Andy Worthington: The Hidden Horrors of WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files

Margaret Kimberley: The Guantanamo Files

Andy Worthington: New Study: Guantanamo Doctors Neglected, Concealed Evidence of Torture

Cablegate (released November 28, 2010)

Wikileaks' own summary:

Statement from Anti-War Movement: Why New Evidence Demands End to Wars

Wikileaks began on Sunday November 28th publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into US Government foreign activities.

The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February this year, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret.

The embassy cables will be released in stages over the next few months. The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice.

The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in "client states"; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

Every American schoolchild is taught that George Washington – the country’s first President – could not tell a lie. If the administrations of his successors lived up to the same principle, today’s document flood would be a mere embarrassment. Instead, the US Government has been warning governments -- even the most corrupt -- around the world about the coming leaks and is bracing itself for the exposures.

The full set consists of 251,287 documents, comprising 261,276,536 words (seven times the size of "The Iraq War Logs", the world's previously largest classified information release).

The cables cover from 28th December 1966 to 28th February 2010 and originate from 274 embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions.

For more on the cables, see The Guardian UK.

Daniel Ellsberg on this release on Larry King Live 11/29/10:


Articles Revealing More about Guantánamo:

More on the Ongoing Cablegate Releases:

David Corn: Obama and GOPers Worked Together to Kill Bush Torture Probe
Andy Worthington: Wikileaks: Numerous Reasons to Dismiss US Claims that “Ghost Prisoner” Aafia Siddiqui Was Not Held in Bagram
Alexander Cockburn: Julian Assange: Wanted by the Empire, Dead or Alive
Chris Floyd: "Why Aren't You Dead Yet?" The Enlightened War Policies of Obama the Peace Laureate
Tom Hayden: WikiLeaks Vs. the Empire
Gareth Porter: Russians Refuted U.S. Claim of Iranian Missile Threat to Europe
Glen Ford: American Racism on Display in WikiLeaks Iran Cable
Debra Sweet: Cablegate Raises Question: How Does an Empire Dominate?
Debra Sweet: US Response to Wikileaks: Diplomacy as Another Means of Warfare

Collateral Murder (released April 5, 2010)

Collateral Murder

Also see: An Open Letter of Reconciliation and Responsibility to the Iraqi People: From Current and Former Members of the US Military, a letter written by Josh Steiber and Ethan McCord


Message from Iraq Veterans Against the War:

What stands out to us at IVAW is the regular, seemingly commonplace occurance of civilian death depicted in the body of Wikileaks documents...

In a recent interview on Democracy Now, Wikileaks' founder, Julian Assange put out a call: "We really need the public, other journalists and especially former soldiers to go through this material and say, 'Look, this connects to that,' or 'I was there. Let me tell you what really happened. Let me tell you the rest of the detail.' And over the next few days, we'll be putting up easier- and easier-to-use search interfaces, the same ones that our journalistic teams use to extract this data."

These search tools will allow any soldier or veteran to look through the trove of documents on Wikileaks and find reports of incidents they were involved in to check for their accuracy and provide more details.
IVAW members are answering the call to humanize these 'war incidents.'  Right now, we are mobilizing our membership to look through the relevant Wikileaks materials, and provide additional information for the public.

For more information, see:

Collateral Murder is the military's own video of 12 Iraqis being shot and killed from a US helicopter circling above. No one has been charged in connection with these killings. However, (former) Pfc. Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after leaking this video to Wikileaks. World Can't Wait is distributing copies of this harrowing video so that many more people in the US see what is being done in their names. For a copy, write to us.


How to Show "Collateral Murder" Outside in Public

Ethan McCord: Memories of “Collateral Murder” - by Someone who was There

Anthony Wagner: Collateral Murder

Time Magazine: Invisible Wounds: Mental Health and the Military


Iraq War Diary (released October 22, 2010)

400,000 US military documents were released through WikiLeaks covering the Iraq War from 2004 thorugh the end of 2009. Key themes in the Iraq War Logs show:

Abuse, rape, torture, murder of detainees: Hundreds of incidents of abuse and torture of prisoners by Iraqi security services, up to and including rape and murder. These are so egregious that the UN is calling for further investigation.

Civilians are dying in greatest numbers: Rumsfeld always said "we don't do numbers" on civilian deaths.  Iraq War Log reveals that they kept some numbers. The US & allies killed civilians much more frequently than those they identified in the Log as "insurgents."  Still, we'll never know the total.

Hundreds of civilians killed at checkpoints: Robert Fisk says, "Out of the 832 deaths recorded at checkpoints in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggests 681 were civilians. Fifty families were shot at and 30 children killed. Only 120 insurgents were killed in checkpoint incidents."

Private contractors non-uniformed, unsupervised, wreak havoc: Blackwater (now Xe) and the thousands of civilian "security" operatives got away with murder, over and over again. And there are even more contractors in Afghanistan now than the larger troop force Obama sent in. 

Channel 4 News Overview

In the biggest leak of official files in history nearly 400,000 military logs from the Iraq war reveal the massive scale of civilian deaths, new torture allegations and a surge in US Hellfire attacks.


Al Jazeera: WikiLeaks Iraq files reveal torture

The Guardian UK: IRAQ: The War Logs

How civilians have paid heaviest price

Guardian Video on Civilian Deaths

Some of those held in Iraqi custody suffered appalling abuse, the war logs reveal.Secret files reveal how US turned blind eye to Iraq torture

Massive leak of military logs exposes serial abuse of detainees, 15,000 previously unknown deaths and full toll of Iraq's five years of carnage

The New York Times: The War Logs

Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

Pentagon tries to plug the Wikileak

The Pentagon is trying stay aloof from allegations US soldiers were ordered to turn a blind eye to torture and instead is concentrating on condemning the leak.

CNN: Wikileak founder speaks

10/23/10 Press conference footage: "This is about the truth."

Full Press Conference 10/23/10 (C-SPAN)

Watch: BBC Channel 4 Dispatches Documentary: Iraq's Secret War Files

Dispatches exposes the full and unreported horror of the Iraqi conflict and its aftermath. The programme reveals the true scale of civilian casualties, and allegations that after the scandal of Abu Ghraib, American soldiers continued to abuse prisoners; and that US forces did not systematically intervene in the torture and murder of detainees by the Iraqi security services.

Andy Worthington: Wikileaks’ 400,000 Classified Iraq War Documents Reveal 15,000 Previously Unreported Civilian Casualties, and Extensive Torture

Dirk Adriaensens: Beyond the WikiLeaks Files: Dismantling the Iraqi State

Watch: Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg in Conversation at Frontline Club October 25, 2010

Watch: Julian Assange interviewed on Democracy Now! October 26, 2010. Part 1:

BBC Channel 4 Documentary: Iraq's Secret War Files. Part 1 of 4:

Watch the rest of the documentary on YouTube.

Afghan War Diary (released July 26, 2010)

Wikileaks released 76,000 military records exposing the truth of the unjust, illegitimate war in Afghanistan: revealing hundreds of civilian deaths, execution squads, other war crimes. They have 15,000 more records from Afghanistan that they are holding back for the time being. For more on the developing picture emerging, see The Afghanistan War Logs on the Guardian UK.

Webcast: Anti-War Leaders and Veterans Respond to the WikiLeaks Revelations (recorded August 1, 2010)

Watch recording now:

World Can't Wait presents a national webcast of anti-war leaders and veterans responding to the WikiLeaks revelations. What should we do NOW, immediately to end the occupations of Afghanistan & Iraq?


    • Dahr Jamail, journalist, author of "Beyond the Green Zone"
    • Cindy Sheehan, antiwar leader, author, Director, Peace of the Action
    • Josh Stieber, Army veteran of Bravo Company 2-16
    • Matthis Chiroux, Army veteran, Iraq war resister
    • Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace
    • Ray McGovern, former CIA Agent, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
    • Elaine Brower, military mother, World Can't Wait
    • Debra Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait


Julian Assange on the Afghan War Logs: "They Show the True Nature of this War"

Democracy Now! July 26th

The New Pentagon Papers: WikiLeaks Releases 90,000+ Secret Military Documents Painting Devastating Picture of Afghanistan War

With independent British journalist Stephen Grey; Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg; former State Department official in Afghanistan, Matthew Hoh; independent journalist Rick Rowley; and investigative historian Gareth Porter.

Democracy Now! July 28th

We spend the hour with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, talking about the biggest leak in US history: the release of more than 91,000 classified military records on the war in Afghanistan.

Democracy Now! August 3rd

Julian Assange Responds to Increasing US Government Attacks on WikiLeaks

Watch: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the Frontline Club (recorded July 27, 2010)

Further Coverage:

Watch Julian Assange at press conference July 26.

Kevin Gosztola: Nearly 92,000 Classified Documents Leaked, Expose Truth of Afghan War

Wikileaks files 'may reveal thousands of war crimes' (

US condemns Wikileaks: Julian Assange says "this is the story of the war" (BBC)

Chris Floyd: Leaky Vessels: Wikileaks "Revelations" Will Comfort Warmongers, Confirm Conventional Wisdom

Ray McGovern: WikiLeaks Bombshell Docs Paint Afghan War as Utter Disaster -- Will We Finally Stop Throwing Money and Lives at This Catastrophe?

Jason Ditz: Pentagon Launches ‘Manhunt’ for Document Leaker

Kenneth J. Theisen: Use the WikiLeaks Afghan War Diary to Mobilize Resistance to the U.S. War of Terror

Kevin Gosztola: The Danger of the Wikileaks' Leak: You Might Stop Thinking Like an American

Cindy Sheehan: I Have Become Uncomfortably Numb

Debra Sweet: More War Crimes Exposed - Now, What Do We Do?

Revolution editorial: WikiLeaks: Exposing War Crimes of a Criminal War

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] Features Wikileaks Devastating Picture of War in Iraq and Afghanistan from Wikileaks Files


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.