15,000 previously unknown civilian deaths contained in the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks
22 October 2010
London: Early analysis by the independent NGO, Iraq Body Count (IBC), of the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks suggests the logs contain 15,000 civilian deaths that have not been previously reported. Additionally, IBC calculates that over 150,000 violent deaths related to conflict have been recorded in Iraq since March 2003, with more than 122,000 (80%) of them civilian.
IBC’s expert analysis draws on a detailed comparison of the Logs to the information already contained in its public database detailing 107,000 Iraqi civilians already reported in the public domain.
IBC’s preliminary analysis of the Iraq War Logs concludes that:
- Most of the newly revealed deaths in the logs occurred in previously unreported violent incidents involving the deaths of one or two people. They include targeted assassinations, drive-by-shootings, torture, executions, and checkpoint killings. (http://www.iraqbodycount.org/analysis/numbers/warlogs)
- 64,000 civilian deaths recorded in these Logs are already represented in the IBC database. These were mainly gathered from press and media reports, as well as some NGO and official figures.
- Even when the bare fact of a death is already known, the Logs frequently add important new detail including, for instance, the precise time and place of particular deaths which were only previously represented in numerical totals from morgues
- Most significantly of all, the Logs contain many thousands of previously unreleased names of civilian victims. IBC has already been able to add over one hundred such names brought into the public domain for the first time (http://www.iraqbodycount.org/analysis/qa/warlogs/)
These analyses have only been possible because both IBC and the Iraq War Logs record data at the level of individual casualty and incident along with connected details (e.g. time, place, weapon, and victim demographics). This allows for detailed line-by-line matching of the two data sets. Earlier official releases allowed no such precise analysis, because they contained only numerical totals – bare numbers rather than human and factual details.
IBC has fully analysed all 360 of the Logs which report more than 20 people killed, and which account in total for over 17,000 deaths. It has also analysed random samples totalling 500 Logs reporting incidents in which 19 or fewer people died. It then carefully cross-checked this information against its own extensive data set, and now publishes its preliminary findings simultaneously with the public release of the Logs.
IBC plans to inspect all of the 390,000 Iraq War Logs for any casualty data they may contain, and then integrate them into the IBC database, a massive task that will take a dedicated team many months of effort. Merely sampling the Logs would not do justice to all the other deaths that are contained therein.
An IBC spokesperson commented: “It is totally unacceptable that for so many years the US Government has withheld from the public these essential details about civilian casualties in Iraq. There is a vital public interest and an inalienable public right to know who died in this war and how they died, whether Iraqi or any other nationality. Every recoverable detail about the human death toll in Iraq, and in all other conflicts around the world, must be brought to light. Only such detailed and specific knowledge makes the full human consequences of war impossible to deny.”
Three articles published today on the IBC web site describe and discuss what may be drawn from today’s WikiLeaks release:
The Truth is In the Detail: An analysis of the type of victim and incident details found in the logs, and why those details matter.
Iraq War Logs: Context: What makes the logs different and important, what IBC’s approach to them has been, and will be in future.
Note for Editors
Iraq Body Count (IBC) is a UK-based independent NGO dedicated to recording the violent civilian deaths that have resulted from the 2003 military intervention in Iraq. Its public database includes deaths caused by US-led coalition forces and paramilitary or criminal attacks by others. IBC’s documentary evidence is drawn from cross-checked media reports of violent events leading to the death of civilians, or of bodies being found, and is supplemented by the careful review and integration of hospital, morgue, NGO and official figures. IBC figures are widely quoted as an authoritative source of information by governments, inter-governmental agencies and the worldwide media. IBC has been co-ordinating the publication of its own careful preliminary analyses with WikiLeaks and those press and media organisations listed at http://www.iraqwarlogs.com
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