UK Politics

Hague: Iraq leak is a propaganda gift for terrorists

William Hague
Image caption William Hague said UK troops had been issued with guidance on how to handle prisoners properly

William Hague has called the leak of documents suggesting US troops ignored evidence of torture in Iraq a "propaganda gift" for terrorists.

The Wikileaks website has published almost 400,000 military logs detailing thousands of deaths, some saying Iraqi forces abused detainees.

The foreign secretary said there was "no place" for mistreating prisoners.

But he told MPs that the leaks gave a "one-sided" perspective and information revealed could endanger UK forces.

Wikileaks published the military logs, mainly written by soldiers on the ground, last Friday.

They include 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 United Nations has asked the US and Iraq to investigate the information.

'Very clear'

In the House of Commons, Conservative MP Stephen Mosley said the logs included 21 incidents in Afghanistan involving British troops.

Mr Hague responded: "There is no place in our policies for the mistreatment of detainees. We've been very clear about that as a government, and we have of course published the guidance we give to our intelligence officers and announced an inquiry into previous allegations.

"But I do condemn the unauthorised release of information which can endanger our forces, which can endanger people who have worked with our forces, and which gives one-sided propaganda, a propaganda gift, for insurgents.

"So I do condemn those leaks. It is our forces who are engaged above all in protecting the civilian population in Afghanistan, often having to accept casualties because of the work they do to protect the civilian population.

"The people who indiscriminately attack the civilian population and do not care whether women, children and other people are blown up by their IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are the insurgents and the terrorists."

The US military has denied turning a "blind eye" to torture in Iraq.

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