Leaked documents recount tales known by every Iraqi

Iraqi schoolteacher Fatima Razak does not need WikiLeaks to show the scars of the US occupation.

Updated: Oct 23, 2010, 17:50 PM IST

Baghdad: Iraqi schoolteacher Fatima Razak
does not need WikiLeaks to show the scars of the US
occupation. Every morning she looks in the mirror she relives
the horror of 2007, when she says a bullet fired by a US
soldier shattered her life.

Fatima had been caught in a bottleneck at one of the
maze of checkpoints the Americans set up in Baghdad after the
2003 US-led invasion.

She waited nervously with hundreds of other cars,
conscious that a suicide bomber could be lurking among them.
And there were jittery US troops at checkpoints
notorious for being ready to fire at anything that looked like
a suspect move.

"An American Humvee with mounted guns drove toward the
checkpoint," Fatima recalls, almost in a whisper.
"It fired for no apparent reason and a bullet went
through my face," she told AFP, her finger tracing a deep scar
from mouth to ear.

"How can I look in the mirror every morning?" asks the
42-year-old English teacher who is awaiting a seventh round of
plastic surgery. "I am a woman. I have a husband. I have a
child."

Graphic accounts of torture and civilian killings are
detailed among nearly 400,000 of US military documents made
public on whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

The secret field reports span five years and are the
largest military leak in history. From them emerges a grisly
picture years of bloodshed and suffering following the
invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

Al-Jazeera television said the major findings included
revelations of "hundreds" of civilian deaths at manned
American checkpoints after the invasion.

In September 2007, the same year Razak was shot, the
leaked papers document the killing at a checkpoint of a
nine-year-old girl, Al-Jazeera said.

She was killed when an Iraqi in a car ventured too
close to a US patrol in Baghdad. Soldiers honked their horns,
but when the car failed to turn around one of the gunners
fired a warning shot, which was meant to hit the pavement
harmlessly.

"Gunner fires one warning shot from his M4. The bullet
ricochets and hits one local national (9 year old girl).

Patrol stops traffic at the intersection," Al-Jazeera quoted
one of the leaked documents as saying.

Qatar-based news channel`s Arabic-language service
reported at least 109,000 people were killed, 63 per cent of
them civilians, between March 2003 invasion and end of 2009.

But Iraqis say things are much more relaxed since US
forces officially ended combat operations at the start of
September, handing over control of checkpoints to Iraqi police
and now rarely seen in the streets.

PTI