US rebuffs Wikileaks Iraq torture claims

US soldiers in Iraq in 2003, file image US soldiers allegedly handed prisoners back to Iraqi forces despite evidence of abuse

The US says it did not "turn a blind eye" to torture in Iraq, in response to allegations raised in files published by whistleblower website Wikileaks.

Gen George Casey, who was in charge of US forces in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, said all soldiers were instructed to report any allegations of abuse.

Wikileaks released thousands of war logs which suggested US forces had ignored torture by Iraqi forces.

But US officials have insisted that the documents revealed nothing new.

The Pentagon has repeatedly asked Wikileaks to hand back the files, saying the disclosure has put the lives of soldiers and civilians at risk.

On Friday, the website published almost 400,000 US military logs, mainly written by soldiers on the ground.

They included accounts of alleged atrocities carried out by Iraqi forces on their own people such as summary executions, attacks with acid and electric drills, beatings and mutilations.

The documents reveal that coalition forces handed Iraqi prisoners back to local forces for interrogation even when they showed signs of having been tortured and abused.

But Gen Casey told reporters on Monday that the policy during the administration of President George W Bush was to report abuse.

Leaked Iraq war logs

Document more than 109,000 violent deaths from 2004 to 2009.

  • 66,081 civilians
  • 23,984 people classed as "enemy"
  • 15,196 Iraqi security forces
  • 3,771 coalition troops

"Our policy all along was if American soldiers encountered prisoner abuse, to stop it and report it immediately up the US chain of command and up the Iraqi chain of command," he said.

State department spokesman PJ Crowley echoed the general's comments, saying: "We did not turn a blind eye.

"If there needs to be an accounting, first and foremost there needs to be an accounting by the Iraqi government itself, and how it has treated its own citizens."

The latest controversy comes as the US military prepares to withdraw all 50,000 remaining troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Middle East stories

RSS

Features

  • HandshakeKiss and make up

    A marriage counsellor on healing the referendum hurt


  • Pellet of plutoniumRed alert

    The scary element that helped save the crew of Apollo 13


  • Burnt section of the Umayyad Mosque in the old city of AleppoBefore and after

    Satellite images reveal Syria's heritage trashed by war


  • Woman on the phone in office10 Things

    The most efficient break is 17 minutes, and more nuggets


  • Amir TaakiDark market

    The bitcoin wallet with controversial users


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.