The site seems primarily concerned with documenting ostensible war crimes—or at least bad behavior—on the part of coalition soldiers. The lead story, titled “Biggest document leak in history exposes real war,” calls the documents “the uncensored detail Washington did not want us to know.” Other stories on the site emphasize civilian deaths and torture at coalition hands: an Apache helicopter crew that killed insurgents who were trying to surrender; Iraqi-instigated prisoner abuse that went uninvestigated by the U.S. military; and so on. A story dubbing December 2006 the war’s bloodiest month notes that 3,784 people died during that time period, a body count that far exceeds that which was officially reported. There’s also a Flash timeline of important events in the Iraq war, a glossary of relevant military terminology, and at least one article that is translated into Arabic. - Justin Peters
Channel 4 (U.K.)
The U.K. television station Channel 4 will air a program about the documents on Monday. In advance of that, its website has published several articles and video clips reporting on and analyzing the data. The lead story features a graphic seven-minute video that claims the documents “expose the lie that the U.S. kept no body counts” in Iraq. Particularly affecting is an interview with the uncle of a boy who was killed by a Hellfire missle: “The children came towards us screaming ‘Alawi has been blown to pieces.’ We collected the remains bit by bit. His head was more than 100 metres away.”
Other stories emphasize Iraqi-on-Iraqi tortrure that was apparently condoned by U.S. forces (“On 7 November 2005 George W Bush said: ‘Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture….’ The above examples of Iraq war logs may suggest that the former President’s claim was inaccurate.”), and report that more civilians were killed at checkpoints than insurgents. In another story, Channel 4 reports that it actually traveled to Iraq and found the two survivors of an incident in which a car came under fire for failing to stop at a checkpoint (the car’s driver was killed), and notes the drastic difference between the survivors’ version of events and the military’s version of events.
Chief correspondent Alex Thomson offers a robust what-it-all-means analysis, and ends on this note:
The reality today is that there are one million war widows across Iraq. Many come to the central mortuary in Baghdad to try and find and identify the body of missing loved ones. Because of the numbers of names in these leaked secret Sigacts, that search might just get a little easier in future.
That is just one of several significant truths revealed by this sudden avalanche of hitherto secret information. In that regard, its significance is hard to underestimate.
We’ll be watching for the station’s full program on Monday. - Justin Peters