Wikileaks, the controversial whistleblower organisation, now comes to the rescue of the Danish Defence.
»The Danish military has formally requested access to the material for their inquiry, after having apparently been rebuffed access by its NATO partner, the United States. We have looked into the matter and have decided to provide the Danish investigation with the necessary information,« says Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.
Yesterday, the Danish Defence Command said that it had been unsuccessful in getting access to the 391,383 leaked Iraq logs despite having worked on its investigation of revelations in coverage of the logs for a week (link to article in Danish). According to the Defence, access to the logs is necessary in order for the Defence to carry out the investigation ordered by Danish Defence Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech which is to establish the facts of Danish soldiers’ involvement in the taking of prisoners left in the custody of Iraqi police.
Dagbladet Information has revealed that the logs indicate that Danish soldiers have participated in far more cases of detainments of Iraqis that were subsequently handed over to the Iraqi police than has previously been stated by the Danish government. At least one of the prisoners, Abbas Allawi, was beaten to death in police custody two days after having been handed over.
The Defence Command claimed that a number of logs were lacking in the material published by Wikileaks on the Internet, and that the redaction carried out by Wikileaks to remove sensitive information had been so heavy that a full investigation was made impossible.
»There seems to be an real intent by the Danish government to do a full investigation into possible wrongdoings in Iraq. That is a very positive sign and we feel that we should assist in that intent,« says Kristinn Hrafnsson from Wikileaks.
Logs not enough
The question is, however, if the Danish Defence is really dependant on the logs leaked by Wikileaks, and if it can narrow the investigation down to the documents, in order to uncover the circumstances of the detainee case. This question is raised by Professor Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, head of the Centre for Military Studies at the University of Copenhagen.
»The Defence has to carry out an investigation of a problem to do with the handing over of prisoners, not of Wikileaks. There are other sources for that investigation than Wikileaks, he says.
According to Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, the leak of the Iraq Logs has the credit for bringing the detainee case on the agenda.
»But the Defence could have investigated this problem before the Wikileaks publication,« he says. »For example, the Defence could investigate the information that it possesses itself.«
Mikkel Vedbye Rasmussen makes it clear that there are good reasons for the Defence to investigate the logs that have occasioned the coverage of Danish participation in the handing over of detainees, but the investigation cannot be based on those logs alone, he says:
»After having gone through the thousands of leaked documents and identified which ones are relevant, the Defence must look into its own archives and bring out relevant information from there.«
© Dagbaldet Information. Translated by Lotte Folke Kaarsholm