Britain slams WikiLeaks' publication of military documents

23rd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Ministry of Defence on Saturday condemned the release of secret US military documents on the war in Iraq by WikiLeaks, saying it put the lives of troops in danger.

"We condemn any unauthorised release of classified material," an MoD spokeswoman said in a statement.

"This can put the lives of UK service personnel and those of our allies at risk and make the job of armed forces in all theatres of operation more difficult and more dangerous."

The 400,000 documents released by the website offer a grim snapshot of the Iraq war from 2004 to 2009, including showing the abuse of Iraqi civilians by Iraqi security forces.

The heavily redacted logs appear to show that the US military turned a blind eye to evidence of torture.

"It would be inappropriate to speculate on the specific detail of these documents without further investigation while the Iraq Inquiry is ongoing," the MoD spokeswoman said.

"There is no place for mistreatment of detainees and we investigate any allegation made against our troops.

"The protection of civilians is always at the core of what UK forces do in any operational theatre and any civilian casualty is, of course, a matter of deep regret and we take any incidents extremely seriously."

The MoD has an Iraq Historic Allegations Team dedicated to investigating alleged cases of abuse by British troops in the country.

The Iraq Inquiry, headed by a former senior civil servant, is investigating Britain's role in the war to identify lessons that can be learned.

Some 46,000 British troops were involved in the March 2003 invasion, the second largest contingent after the United States. Britain's mission in southern Iraq ended in July last year.

© 2010 AFP

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