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23 Oct, 2010 18:28

“Start imagining the war or stop supporting it” – WikiLeaks head

The shocking WikiLeaks release, which has revealed thousands of unreported civilian casualties in Iraq, is the most accurate picture of war ever made, and it is food for thought, says the website’s editor-in-chief.

The report, condemned by the Pentagon, claims that US commanders in Iraq ignored evidence of torture and the murder of civilians.

“This material has revealed 15,000 previously unreported, undocumented civilian casualties. That’s an extraordinary number of people who have never been spoken about before,” Julian Assange said.

“We also see that the cover up of torture by coalition forces well after Abu Ghraib was a concrete policy, a secret policy: to not intervene with torture conducted by the fledgling Iraqi government,” he added.

“This is the most accurate description of a war that has ever been released into the historic record. There is nothing comparable. It is the details of the deaths of 109,000 people, the wounding of 170,000 people, the detaining of nearly 200,000 people during a course of six years. Of course, that is only about a half the military action that went on during that period, because it is only the US view on things, but even so we see that there is nearly no street corner in Baghdad that did not have a body found that had been killed through violence in one form or another,” he said.

“We should start imagining it or stop supporting it. It is not good to support things that you do not understand,” he pointed out.

“We need to understand what the reality of war is, if we are going to choose to engage in it.”

Assange said that WikiLeaks was now expecting some kind of response from the Pentagon, a counter-attack that follows each of the website’s releases.

“Last time it was names appearing in the material, which the Pentagon managed to successfully fool the press into believing was going to be a great big assassination list for the Taliban. But in fact, nearly all of those names were right to appear; they were the names of governors who were taking bribes by the US military, or the names of the radio stations that were taking bribes to put on propaganda content… As recently as last week, NATO officials in Kabul said they could not find a single person that needed protecting or moving… And a letter has come out that was originally written on August 16th by Defense Secretary Gates stating that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods were revealed in that material, but of course, this was not the public line,” he said.