Danish military appeals to Wikileaks for info on alleged Iraqi prisoner abuse

Denmark's Defense Ministry says it wants to know if its troops abused prisoners in Iraq after a Danish newspaper and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks published evidence.

The details of the alleged violations have not been forthcoming from any of the sources the ministry has tried to reach, including Denmark’s NATO allies.

Dagbladet daily refused to give any information to the government because of the need to protect its source. WikiLeaks has said it is ready to give part of the data.

Some fear the ministry needs the information to punish the informant, rather than the offenders, despite officials insisting they just want a clear picture of events.

“If anything had happened in the wrong way, of course, we should be open about that. But to be sure that there is no new information in Wikileaks’ documents, we ask that Wikileaks provide us the 400,000 documents so that we can actually work them through to compare with our own information,” said Gitte Lillelund Bech, Denmark's Defence Minister.

But the whistleblower website was not the first place Denmark went to in its supposed quest for the truth.

A Danish newspaper had the documents in its possession for quite some time – and not from the same source as Wikileaks.

“We did not give them the documents because it's a source protection thing for the newspaper,” says Danish investigative journalist Charlotte Aagaard from Dagbladet Information based in Copenhagen.

With the paper keen to protect informants' identities, the Danish military ran into another dead end.

After being refused access to the information by NATO and their American counterparts, Danish defense officials have been forced to turn to Wikileaks. Ironically enough, RT got to see those documents before they did.

None of the web logs on the topic have been seen by Danish military chiefs, something which journalists here find astonishing.

“They could get the documents from the Americans, because Americans are close allies of Denmark and these documents are American,” Charlotte Aagaard said.

Former military intelligence officer Frank Grevil thinks there is a different agenda at work.

“It only shows that the Danish government has a viewpoint regarding freedom of speech which is always bent to suit itself,” Frank Grevil says. “If it's embarrassing news that is leaked, they will do whatever they can to punish the messenger, but if it's leaks that will somehow support the government's politics, then they're legal.”

Grevil, himself, was arrested and jailed six years ago for leaking classified information which revealed there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

And, if top military brass does not like what they discover this time, it might just be that once again it will be a website which tells the Danish people what their soldiers were really doing in Iraq.