“Increased secrecy breeds corruption” – WikiLeaks spokesperson
”There has to be a change in the policy of increased secrecy that we have seen in the last decade since 9/11,” he said. “There is an unhealthy progress that we are seeing with increased government secrecy. At the same time, the privacy of individuals is decreasing. That is not a very good equation. Increased secrecy breeds corruption.”
Co-founder of the Iraq Body Count, John Sloboda, said that WikiLeaks revelations are crucial to Iraqi families who have lost their loved ones.
”Knowing about death in war is probably the most important thing for any family who has lost someone,” he said. “We know that when our soldiers die, it is front page news in our country the next day. The Iraqi people have not had that privilege. Many people have died anonymous, terrible deaths at the hands of assassins, torturers, check point killings, suicide bombings and their deaths have not been properly, fully acknowledged.”
”Until that acknowledgement is present, A – the Iraqi people can never move on but B- we can never actually assess the full cost of what has been done, partly through our taxes, to help us understand whether we should ever support that kind of thing in the future,” Sloboda added.
According to human right lawyer Phil Shiner, the latest leak gives shocking details of civilian deaths UK courts needs to address.
”There are whole ranges of cases which we already know about of Iraqis being killed,” he said. “I mentioned the 8-year-old girl playing in the street in broad daylight, when a tank comes round the corner. How anyone could think a small girl in a yellow dress represents such a threat to UK force that she has to be killed, I have no idea.”
The documents highlight the lack of concern of civilian life, he said.
While in training to go to war, Stieber explained battle cries and songs constantly mentioned the killing and targeting of civilians.
“We would sing songs talking about killing civilians. We would have battle cries, like ‘kill them all, let God sort them out.’ In training you might not think it’s a huge thing and then you get to the battlefield and slowly reinforce those ideas and combine that with trying to keep yourself safe,” said Stieber.
Iraqi civilians were not high on the priority list; they were expendable, explained Stieber. Military policies ignored the humanity of Iraqi civilians, US troops were allowed to open fire on large groups after explosions regardless of who was there as a means to intimidate the local population and send a message.
When Stieber complained about the policies or spoke with senior officers, he was told the policies came from higher up and there was nothing that could be done. Essentially, the notion ‘the end justifies the means’ was in place.
With the release of new information more people can now call into question many of the policies he once questions, said Stieber.
Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, explained the leaked documents show precisely what one would expect from a war of aggression.
The documents highlighted an “accumulated evil,” including torture, kidnapping, and the killing of civilians.
“WikiLeaks has done a great service to our country by exposing that,” said McGovern. “The mainstream media won’t make it easy for people to learn the truth.”
Injustice must be exposed to the national opinion. Without WikiLeaks this rarely occurs in the United States.
The US media has hardly covered the WikiLeaks story, with the exception highlighting calls for the prosecution of Assange and others involved with WikiLeaks.
Seeking legal action or prosecution against Assange, as opposed to those guilty of the atrocities, is simply shooting the messenger, explained McGovern.
The US government argued the leaks are endangering the lives of sources overseas although there has been no serious damage to sources. In fact, the Pentagon had the option to edit out names of those who might be put in danger. They refused.