London: President Barack Obama stepped into
the White House pledging to end George W Bush`s gloves-off
approach to interrogations and detention, but a flood of
leaked documents suggests that old habits were hard to break.
Field reports from the Iraq war published by WikiLeaks
show that, despite Obama`s public commitment to eschew
torture, US forces turned detainees over to Iraqi forces even
after signs of abuse.
Documents also show that US interrogators continued to
question Iraqi detainees, some of whom were still recovering
from injuries or whose wounds were still visible after being
held by Iraqis.
"We have not turned a blind eye," said US State
Department spokesman PJ Crowley, noting that one of the
reasons why US troops were still in Iraq was to carry out
human rights training with Iraqi security forces. "Our troops
were obligated to report abuses to appropriate authorities and
to follow up, and they did so in Iraq."
Crowley added, "If there needs to be an accounting, first
and foremost there needs to be an accounting by the Iraqi
government itself, and how it has treated its own citizens."
Obama signed three executive orders shortly after taking
office, vowing to return America to the "moral high ground" in
the war on terrorism. The implication was that the United
States would do more to make sure terror suspects weren`t
tortured or abused -- either at the hands of US forces or by
governing authorities to whom the detainees were handed over
for detention or interrogation.
WikiLeaks recently published almost 400,000 US military
logs, mainly written by soldiers on the ground, detailing
daily carnage in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion:
detainees abused by Iraqi forces, insurgent bombings,
sectarian executions and civilians shot at checkpoints by US