The Guardian’s coverage of detainee abuse highlights a coalition “fragmentary order” called “Frago 242.” A “frago,” as the story explains, is a military order “which summarises a complex requirement.” Frago 242 was a decision not to investigate any instances of detainee abuse in which coalition troops were not directly involved (in other words, torture by Iraqi soldiers or police). The result was that U.S. medical examiners treated victims of torture, documented the incidents, and sent them through the proper channels, only to hear back that no investigation was required. The Guardian explains that Frago 242 resulted in both isolated and “systematic” instances of detainee abuse being buried—that is, until WikiLeaks brought them to the surface. - Michael Meyer
Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera English focuses on the same secret U.S. military order not to investigate Iraqi torture. “The reports reveal how torture was rampant and how ordinary civilians bore the brunt of the conflict,” reporter Gregg Carlstrom writes. “The files record horrifying tales: of pregnant women being shot dead at checkpoints, of priests kidnapped and murdered, of Iraqi prison guards using electric drills to force their prisoners to confess.”
The site bolsters these findings with a dozen or so feature articles, focusing on individual topics such as civilian deaths at checkpoints, additional revelations about the helicopter squadron “Crazy Horse” that was responsible for the deaths of two Reuters journalists in 2007, a closer look at Iraq’s deadliest suicide bombing in August 2007, and the story of the murder of a Catholic archbishop by al-Qaeda in Iraq in February 2008. In the “Showcase” section of the site, thirty-four reports are provided for readers in full and translated into plain English, but with most names redacted.
The Al Jazeera site has several interactive features, such as a Flash timeline of IED attacks much like the one The Guardian produced for the previous WikiLeaks dump. The data has been fed into several easily readable graphs, charting and mapping the casualties, roadside bombs, and reports of detainee abuse. All in all, Al Jazeera’s coverage of the secret files is straightforward, except perhaps for a six-and-a-half minute documentary video posted prominently throughout the site, a video that is awkwardly edited and features weird, cable-TV-style reenactments and dramatic readings of some of the reports. - Lauren Kirchner
Der Spiegel’s English-language coverage of the Iraq war logs is relatively thin, compared to the Times and The Guardian’s packages, at least as of Friday evening. But it does feature a very thorough interactive map of casualties and “events,” called “An Atlas of Horror.” If that proves too hard to absorb, the map can also be collapsed into “One Day in Iraq,” a day in November 2006 with several civilian deaths by IED attack as well as a surprising number of “criminal events (murders)” in which unidentified civilian corpses were discovered by coalition troops. Der Spiegel also, like Al Jazeera, embellishes on the story of the “Crazyhorse” apache helicopters, who were involved in several “dubious” attacks. And one feature in the package takes a step back and dicsusses the ethics of publishing the secret reports, analyzing the shifts in reactions of the U.S. government to this latest leak, as opposed to the previous leak of 75,000 reports from Afghanistan. - Lauren Kirchner
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a U.K.-based nonprofit, had three months to analyze the Iraq war logs. The result is approximately twenty stories, all of which are published and freely distributable under a Creative Commons license. (“Steal our stories,” the homepage blares.)