Sunday, October 31, 2010

10-10-31 The "Universal Plan" for "Legal Abuse Syndrome" - from the Lawster discussion group.

Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2010 21:16:21 +0200To: lawsters@googlegroups.comFrom: joseph zernik
Subject: The "Universal Plan" for "Legal Abuse Syndrome"
List-Post: <>, <>List-Help: <>, <>List-Archive: <>

On the personal side: 
I don't believe that there could possibly be a "universal plan" for addressing the "legal abuse syndrome".
One way to think about it, is by comparing it to robbery, physical violence, or rape victims.  Each addresses the trauma in a different way, for better or worse.  For those who feel that they are not able to proceed with their lives without help after the trauma, help should be offered.
Abuse of the people by the powers that be has been the story of mankind since time immemorial.  To a large degree the trauma today may be the result of cognitive dissonance.  Many of the victims mistakenly thought that in the US, in the 21st century, certain rights were guaranteed.  It may be difficult to re-build their gestalt after the rude awakening.
That said, the "Universal Plan" may be in educating the young, that no rights are guaranteed.  In each generation those in power would try to abuse it, and in each generation the people must fight to safeguard their fundamental Human Rights, or else - lose them.
At 09:10 PM 10/31/2010, you wrote:
I don't feel impotent at all and I feel like I am revolutionizing in my way the best and most powerful way I can.  People are being heard and courts are forced to be fair and then sometimes a little justice happens.  I won't go on negative campaigns.  I just don't have it in me.  My husband died at the hands of these wrongdoers.  I have passion.  I put my piece of the puzzle anyplace it fits to accomplish the overall goals.  My cases are tragic and so unfair.  What little I can do with a powerful law helps some.
On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 12:07 PM, Bob Sherin <> wrote:

Karin, Sure, I believe you're a national expert on that.  But what good is expertise without a grand plan that everyone supports.  This is the way to move an issue forward.  Given such a system, I've been successful throughout life on a few equally important fronts.  Am chomping at the bit to tackle this accordingly.
Need strategy, tactics and the specialized knowledge to put it over the top.  It really isn't very hard if everyone moved in the same concentrated direction.
Heck, we've got Meryl's outrage, the millions of which she's unjustly deprived, the murderer of Steve Esdale's Father walking the streets of Sarasota County,  a law enforcement agent protected by law enforcement and the courts, a recent murder case in Palm Beach County appearing thrown by the prosecution, which failed to put in a scintilla of evidence of the abundant, the probate court good ol boy network ripping off estates all over Florida, the Bankruptcy Court playing footsies with the lawyers and experts to siphon funds, our free speech being rolled over, in fact, a codified Bar rule depriving lawyers of their Constitutional rights, decent judges, such as Matthew McMillan  harassed by the system and removed, the Bar's star chamber that denies its members and the public due process, Bar racketeering with Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Corporation, the Farah law firm of Jacksonville stealing hundreds of thousands from clients' trust funds as determined by a Bar audit yet the Bar finds no probable cause to proceed further, beau-coup lawyers breaking all the rules with impunity, the UPL process being used, not to protect the public, but to achieve a stranglehold over problem solving while it runs roughshod over nonlawyers, our legal citadel, The Florida Bar, covering-up, misrepresenting cases, failing to produce evidence sought from it and destroying said evidence when it suits their case.   What in God's name are you all waiting for?
Who's committing perjury or legitimately being disciplined, while interesting, shouldn't be the focus this group, in my opinion.  Rather wiping all this wrong out with all of our energy ought to be.
To me, action is way, way overdo.  I love this group, but I must admit to smiling at each post because we're stymied in impotency, when the system is there to make a big difference.  I rest my case.
Bob Sherin, nl

On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 1:39 PM, legal abuse syndrome <> wrote:
I do expert witness on the ADAAA and the PTSD caused by litigation.
On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 11:36 AM, Bob Sherin <> wrote:
Bill, though I am outraged and can write, I have no idea where and how to begin.  A team player, I need everyone's intellect to guide me: In which venue do I start? How much scope do I take on? What is the first subject I tackle? Then, it's everyone's expertise on subject-matter, so I'm truly authoritative.
That is my idea of team playing.  I don't believe any of us, without help from the rest, can begin to put this across.  Given the input, I'm ready to devote myself, such as my talents are.  You can conceive of it thusly: We constitute a PR agency:  How would the best PR organization strategize this?  Then give me a tactical outline.  I'll do the rest -- in spades.
Bob Sherin, nl ____________
On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 1:10 PM, william scott <> wrote:
The internet gives us the opportunity to be effective.  Let me have your work when you think it is appropriate to do so – we never know when one person’s actions leads to another’s attempt to achieve justice.
I too was on Les’s program.  Went to the mid-year Florida Bar meeting in Boca Raton as a media representative (they tried to deny me entrance) and was told by more than one Florida Bar Board member that my comments had caused a stir – whatever that means.  I had been previously suspended on June 10 – when I asked when the stir was received, they clammed up – no desire to expose themselves to a free speech retaliation claim – which I have without regard to my Les W appearance.
William Sumner Scott
3109 Grand Avenue, #183
Miami, FL 33133
305 961-9949 ____________
From: [] On Behalf Of Bob Sherin
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2010 12:12 PM
Subject: Les Winston has Impact; We need to do more!!!
Want you all to know that Les Winston's series "Disbarring the Florida Bar" is playing big on the Internet. 
A fellow with a legal problem who contacted the Bar about adverse Counsel's alleged misconduct got nowhere (as we all know), then began researching the Bar, coming upon Les' programs.  After hearing my segment, also reading my story in Coral Gables Living (, he approached me with an elementary legal problem.  We've been going back and forth on the pleading, where, if justice is honest, he ought to win.  His is not a problem demanding Jack's tall mind but law 101: Dismissing a Motion for Declaratory Judgment, failing conditions precedent, ripeness, exhaustion, etc.
So I wanted Les to know the impact of his work.  One by one, we're creating a peaceful revolution within Constitutional constraints.  And I want to add, I believe we're not doing enough to reach the public and turn things around
Bob Sherin, nl (nonlawyer)
Dr. Karin Huffer
Counseling and Forensic Psychology
Marriage Family Therapist
ADA Title II and Title III Specialist
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10-10-31 More on elements of computer fraud opined in the online access and case management systems of the US courts - from OAK discussion boa

Comment by Joseph Zernik, Los Angeles, CA 14 hours ago[]
Computer Fraud Opined in the Online Public Access and Case Management Systems of the US Courts in Paper Submitted for International, Peer-reviewed Law Journal
[for full text of this comment, see:
10-10-30 Computer Fraud Opined in Online Public Access and Case Management Systems of the US Courts in Paper Submitted for International Peer-reviewed Law Journal]

 Dr. A. D. Jackson
Comment by Dr. A. D. Jackson 12 hours ago
In El Lago County ((nom de plume)) IN, some time back there was a problem with incompatible computer systems wreaking havoc between different offices and sometimes in the same office. Electronic records didn't square with paper or other electronic records until computer systems were replaced and unified. Whether that and California being broke has anything to do with it, I'm in no position to know but only posed the question.

I am also aware of some judges making wrong rulings when they didn't seem to understand the law. An inbecile can make errors on the law and no doubt will, but the errors will be random as the goof will screw up things for both sides in about equal proportion. But when "misunderstanding" of the law tends to beneft politically connected lawfirms and vested interests, that clearly is not random error. As far as intentional violations of civil rights, we have addressed that in correspondence to appropriate government officials who often choose to do nothing, which topic we have also addressed.

The prospect of bias and conflict of interest in the Fine case has received considerable comment and no doubt arose in his pleadings. One would hope that Fine had been released much sooner. The hour is late, and I drone on too long.



Comment by Joseph Zernik, Los Angeles, CA 8 hours ago
Dear Dr Jackson:
Very interesting stories indeed... A person like me, with no legal training, is a bit surprised by your story spinning discussion style. Let's try to be more structured in our discussion of the matter at hand. How about agreeing first on the definition of fraud and the respective elements of Fraud.
Here are some definitions:
a) Fraud is a deliberate misrepresentation which causes another person to suffer damages.
b) Fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual.
Therefore, for conduct to be found as fraud, it should include the following elements:
a) False
b) Deliberately misleading
c) Intended for gain or to inflict harm on others.
Do we agree so far?
P.S. I used the Richard Fine case only because people were familiar with it. I had by now a whole archive of alleged Fraud on the Court at the US courts, derived from US courts from coast to coast... After I submitted the first manuscript I was asked to cut it down in size 5-fold. Let's see what the reviewers will say about the short version. 


Comment by Joseph Zernik, Los Angeles, CA 10 minutes ago[]
It appears that Dr Jackson tacitly admitted that today the online records published by the US courts are false.
a) This element requires also the demonstration of "Reliance".
Today counsel, parties, and the public at large effectively rely on PACER dockets and PACER records as their primary, if not exclusive route for access to the US court records. When one goes to the offices of the clerks, and requests to inspect and to copy records, pursuant to First Amendment rights, the clerks routinely refer the public to PACER on computer terminals, which are installed and available in the offices of the clerks. Records, upon request, are then printed off these terminals.
b) The deliberately misleading nature of the system is further demonstrated by the denial of access in PACER to the authentication records (NEFs and NDAs), which are available only in CM/ECF. Therefore, parties, counsel, and the public-at-large, are referred to a system, where they would not be able to distinguish between valid and effectual judicial records, such that command "full faith and credit", and void, not voidable records.
c) Furthermore, as documented in the paper, which was submitted for peer-review, the PACER dockets today hold both types of records. The courts, and counsel who are authorized in a given case, can distinguish between the two types of records. Parties, unauthorized counsel, and the public-at-large cannot.
d) The deliberately misleading nature of the systems is further documented by denial of access, upon explicit written requests to the various US courts and courts of appeals, for First Amendment right to inspect and to copy the NEFs or NDAs in various cases.
e) The deliberately misleading nature of the systems is further documented by the refusal of the clerks to certify the PACER dockets, albeit, without ever admitting or informing the requester that such dockets, in certain cases, are false court records.
f) The clerks of the courts, and also the Chief Judge of the US District Court, Central District of California, refused to correct false and deliberately misleading records, which had been published online in PACER, even after they were reliably informed of the fraudulent nature of such records, in disregard of the Code of Conduct of US Judges.
As documented in the paper, which was submitted for peer review, such systems are routinely employed by the US courts from the US district courts, through the courts of appeals, to the Supreme Court of the United States to deprive persons of Liberty and the Right for Possession. 


Comment by Joseph Zernik, Los Angeles, CA 1 second ago []

Welcome Italy - Latest new visitor! // Benvenuti Italia - Ultime nuovo visitatore!



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Saturday, October 30, 2010

10-10-30 Computer Fraud Opined in the Online Public Access and Case Management Systems of the US Courts in Paper Submitted for International, Peer-reviewed Law Journal // 在法院计算机欺诈


Los Angeles, October 30 – Human Rights Alert (NGO), and Joseph Zernik, PhD, submitted a scholarly paper for peer-review in an international law journal, opining large-scale fraud in the online public access and case management systems of the US district courts and US courts of appeals (PACER & CM/ECF), and likewise in the public access system of the Supreme Court of the United States. [1]  Such conduct by the US courts was alleged as undermining banking regulation in the United States and permitting the routine deprivation of rights under the color of law.
Report, which was previously submitted by Human Right Alert to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, was later incorporated in an Official United Nations staff report, with reference to “corruption of the courts and the legal profession” in California. [2]
The new paper included a unique set of records from the US District Court, Central District of California, US District Court, Washington DC, US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, and Supreme Court of the United States.  Such records documented a chain of actions in the US courts, where all of minutes, orders, judgments were either unsigned by judges, or unattested by clerks, whereas US law required certification by a duly assigned judge and attestation/authentication by a duly authorized clerk of the court to render judicial records such that commanded “full faith and credit”. [3]
The paper also included records of pretense judicial review, which were issued by unauthorized court personnel – Courtroom Deputies instead of Deputy Clerks at the US District Court, Central District of California, and Court Counsel Danny Bickell instead of the Clerk of the Court at the US Supreme Court. 
Furthermore, the paper included detailed analysis of the attestation records of the US district courts (NEFs) and US Courts of Appeals (NDAs), as they are implemented today in CM/ECF, and contrasted them with the Certificates of Service, which were issued by the clerks prior to implementation of PACER and CM/ECF, and concluded that the NEFs and NDAs were void on their faces as attestation/authentication certification records.
The paper also referred to inspection of the records of large number of US district courts and US courts of appeals and found that all, without exception, failed to publish rules of courts pertaining to their novel electronic records and related court procedures, in what was opined as violation of Due Process/ Fair Hearing rights. 
Through the implementation of such systems by the Administrative Office of the US Courts, the paper opined that accountability of the clerks for integrity of electronic court records was circumvented and integrity of the courts was undermined.  Accordingly, the paper documented the refusal of clerks of the US district courts to certify the PACER dockets, where judicial records – minutes, orders, and judgments - were today published online, which were void, not voidable.  Furthermore, the paper documented the routine denial of access to the attestation records of the US courts, in apparent violation of First Amendment and Due Process rights.
The papers proposed solutions, based on enactment of federal rules pertaining to the operation of the online public access and case management systems of the courts by the US Congress – to restore accountability of the clerks for electronic court records, through legally and publicly accountable validation of all online public access and case management systems of the courts, and through ongoing public monitoring of such systems.  The paper also suggested that following restoration of public access to electronic court records, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is likely to be call for, since the records would reveal widespread alleged misconduct of US judges. [4]
Human Rights Alert previously published papers in a peer-reviewed, international computer science journal, where the Editorial Board listed scholars from six European nations and Canada, which opined computer fraud in PACER & CM/ECF – which enabled the conduct of pretense judicial reviews, [5] and likewise in the online Inmate Information Center of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – which enabled the holding of prisoners under the pretense of lawfulness. [6]
Human Rights Alert is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the United States in Los Angeles County, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justice system in the United States.  


[1] Case Management and Online Public Access Systems of the Courts in the United States - A Call for Action, by Joseph Zernik, PhD, Human Rights Alert (NGO)
[2] 10-10-01 United Nations Human Rights Council Records for 2010 Review (UPR) of Human Rights in the United States - referring to "corruption of the courts and the legal profession" in California
[3] List of US Judges, who were named in the paper as involved in pretense judicial review in alleged violation of the Code of Conduct of US Judges:
a)      US District Court, Central District of California: Magistrate Carla Woehrle, Judge John Walter, and Judge Virginia Phillips;
b)      US District Court, Washington DC: Judge Richard Leon:
a)      US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit: Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, Circuit Judges Richard Paez, Richard Tallman, Stephen R Reinhardt, Marsha S Berzon And Milan D Smith, Jr,  Andrew J. Kleinfeld, Mary M. Schroeder, A. Wallace Tashima, N. Randy Smith, Stephen S. Trott, and Kim Mclane Wardlaw;
b)      Supreme Court of the United States: Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, and Conference of the Supreme Court.
[4] The Code of Conduct of US Judge, Canon 3B(3) states: “A judge should initiate appropriate action when the judge becomes aware of reliable evidence indicating the likelihood of unprofessional conduct by a judge or lawyer.”  In contrast, in all cases, which were detailed above, US judges – up to the Supreme Court of the United States - were reliably informed of “unprofessional conduct” by judges and attorneys.  All judges that were involved failed to comply with the Code of Conduct – instead, they engaged in pretense review of the respective complaints.
The Code of Conduct of US Judge, Canon 3 states: “A judge should perform the duties of the office impartially and diligently”, and Canon 3A(2) states: “A judge should hear and decide matters assigned, unless disqualified...”  In contrast, in all cases, which were detailed above, US judges – up to the Supreme Court of the United States – failed to discharge of their of their judicial responsibilities. They never decided on matters pending before them. Instead, they issued only pretense rulings and pretense notices.
[5]10-08-18 Zernik, J: Data Mining of Online Judicial Records of the Networked US Federal Courts, International Journal on Social Media: Monitoring, Measurement, Mining, 1:69-83 (2010)
[6] 10-08-18 Zernik, J: Data Mining as a Civic Duty – Online Public Prisoners’ Registration Systems, International Journal on Social Media: Monitoring, Measurement, Mining 1: 84-96 (2010)
Human Rights Alert (NGO)
Human Rights Alert is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the United States in Los Angeles County, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justice system in the United States.
"On July 26, 2010, Laurence Tribe, Senior Counsel for the United States Department of Justice, Access to Justice Initiative, delivered an important speech to the Conference of Chief Justices, challenging them to halt the disintegration of our state justice systems before they become indistinguishable from courts of third world nations."Prof Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School (2010), per National Defender Leadership Institute
*     "Innocent people remain in prison"*     "...the LA Superior Court and the DA office, the two other parts of the justice system that the Blue Panel Report recommends must be investigated relative to the integrity of the system, have not produced any response that we know of..."LAPD Blue Ribbon Review Panel Report (2006)
*   "...judges tried and sentenced a staggering number of people for crimes they did not commit." Prof David Burcham, Dean, Loyola Law School, LA (2001)
*   "This is conduct associated with the most repressive dictators and police states... and judges must share responsibility when innocent people are convicted."     Prof Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, Irvine Law School (2001)
*   "...corruption of the courts and the legal profession and discrimination by law enforcement in California."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10-10-26 Welcome Romania - Last New Visitor! // La bienvenida a Rumanía - el último visitante!


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10-10-26 Welcome Maldives - Newest Country! // Bienvenido Maldivas - Nuevos País!


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10-10-26 UCLA Law School, Human Rights Project, Asked to Initiate Debate and Study of Hunan Rights Violations by the Courts and the Legal Profession in Los Angeles County, California

UCLA School of Law; Sanela Diana Jenkins Human Rights Project

Los Angeles, October 26 - Human Rights Alert (NGO) and Joseph Zernik, PhD, called upon Law Prof Richard H. Steinberg, Director, Sanela Diana Jenkins Human Rights Project, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), School of Law, to initiate academic debate and research of conditions of Human Rights and the justice system in Los Angeles County, California, and designate November 2010 for debate of the matter on its online forum, which is noted by the participation of international experts in the field, to coincide with the first ever review by the United Nations Human Rights Council of Human Rights in the United States, pending November 5, 2010.
The request followed the recent United Nations Human Rights Council report, which referred to “corruption of courts and the legal profession” in California.  The Sanela Diana Jenkins Human Rights Project was established in 2009 to advance the cause of human rights and international justice around the world. The Project engaged in a range of activities, aiming at advancing understanding about human rights, and organized international conferences on the subject. 
The request noted the extreme level of abuse of Human Rights in Los Angeles County, California, as evidenced in media, expert, and official reports for over a decade. Such abuses were hallmarked by large-scale false imprisonments and financial institution and housing fraud by the judges of the courts.  The request also noted the importance of breaking the existing silence on the matter among US law school faculty (with a few notable exceptions), as essential for the academic integrity in US law schools and in education of the next generation of legal professionals.  Moreover, the request noted a range of weighty academic questions, which are raised by the situation:  Examination of the causes of the rapid disintegration of the US justice system, its implications, viability of the US constitutional model, failure of the US government to abide by its duties and obligations pursuant to ratified international law, and potential ways to address the situation.  Moreover, Human Rights Alert noted that the deterioration of the justice system in the United States reflected an ongoing process of disintegration of US government frameworks, which today are in a fluid phase, posing risks that are difficult to assess to world peace and welfare.  Therefore, there should be considerable international interest in examining putative future scenarios and ways that they may be addressed.
In his initial response, Prof Steinberg in fact acknowledged the situation, noting that the US excluded itself from binding international treaties on the matter, leaving the Security Council of the United Nations, where the United States held veto powers, as the only international venue, where abuse of Human Rights by the US justice systems could be addressed.
Human Rights Alert (NGO) is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the United States in Los Angeles, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justice system.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

10-10-25 Number of Deaths in Iraq - follow up on Wikileaks

The numbers discussed in conjunction with the recent Wikileaks records were all based on US reports, and were incredibly low.  Here are some other estimates.

Iraq Deaths

The number is shocking and sobering. It is at least 10 times greater than most estimates cited in the US media, yet it is based on a scientific study of violent Iraqi deaths caused by the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003.
Remind visitors to your site of the awful human costs of continued war by posting the Iraqi Death Estimator on your website. You can use the code in the box below.

Iraq Deaths Estimator

Sunday, October 24, 2010

10-10-24 NYT on Wikileaks Iraq Log

New York Times
The War Logs
An archive of classified military documents offers views of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Iraq Documents 
The archive is the second cache obtained by the independent organization WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations. The Iraq documents shed new light on the war.
Continue Reading Series Introduction »
Andrew Testa for The New York Times

WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Chased by Turmoil

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, faces a variety of challenges after his most brazen disclosure yet: posting 391,832 secret Pentagon documents on the Iraq war. Twelve weeks earlier, he had posted some 77,000 documents on the Afghan conflict.

Growing Use of Contractors Added to War’s Chaos

Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press
The reports describe episodes in the Iraq war in which private security contractors were involved in shootouts, killed civilians and were themselves killed.

A Mix of Trust and Despair Helped Turn the Tide in Iraq

Hameed Rasheed/Associated Press
While each conflict is different, an analysis of the reports from Afghanistan and Iraq suggests that while some Iraqis decided to work with American troops, Afghans have lost faith in the Americans’ ability to protect them.

Tensions Remain High Along Kurdish-Arab Line

American officials fear what may happen in northern Iraq when American troops leave the country in 2011.

Deadly Day in Baghdad

On a single day in Baghdad, Dec. 20, 2006, more than 160 Iraqi citizens and police officers were killed in a single day.

Archive Offers Grim Portrait Of Civilian Deaths

According to the reports, most Iraqi civilians were killed by other Iraqis in violence that was driven by sectarian cleansing.

Detainees Suffered Most In Iraqi Custody, U.S. Logs Say

Reports of the beatings surfaced in the documents, giving the impression that such treatment was not an exception.

Iran’s Role in Aiding Iraqi Miltias Is Detailed in Reports

The political struggle between the United States and Iran to influence events in 

10-10-24 WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs at

At 5pm EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports ('The Iraq War Logs'), document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a 'SIGACT' or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout.
The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 'civilians'; 23,984 'enemy' (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 'host nation' (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 'friendly' (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period. For comparison, the 'Afghan War Diaries', previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, detail the deaths of some 20,000 people. Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivallent population size.
Please donate to WikiLeaks to defend this information.

10-10-24 WikiLeaks Iraq war logs: home

WikiLeaks Iraq war logs: Nick Clegg calls for investigation of abuse claims

Any suggestions that the rules of war have been broken or torture condoned are 'extremely serious', says deputy PM
Nick Clegg on The Andrew Marr Show
Nick Clegg on The Andrew Marr Show. Photograph: Handout/Getty Images
Allegations of killings, torture and abuse in Iraq contained in leaked USmilitary logs "need to be looked at", Nick Clegg said today.
The deputy prime minister said any suggestion that the rules of war had been broken or torture had been condoned were "extremely serious".
The almost 400,000 secret US army field reports show two cases of alleged involvement of British troops in the abuse of detainees.
Clegg did not rule out the possibility of an inquiry into the actions of British forces in Iraq, but said it was up to the US administration to answer for the actions of its forces.
His comments contrasted with a statement from the Ministry of Defenceyesterday, which warned that the posting of classified US military logs on the WikiLeaks website could endanger the lives of British forces.
Clegg told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: "We can bemoan how these leaks occurred, but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious. They are distressing to read about and they are very serious. I am assuming the US administration will want to provide its own answer. It's not for us to tell them how to do that."
Asked if there should be an inquiry into the role of British troops, he said: "I think anything that suggests that basic rules of war, conflict and engagement have been broken or that torture has been in any way condoned are extremely serious and need to be looked at."
He added: "People will want to hear what the answer is to what are very, very serious allegations of a nature which I think everybody will find quite shocking."
Vince Cable, the business secretary, also said allegations of abuse should be investigated and criticised the way in which they were leaked. He told Sky News Sunday Live: "The Liberal Democrats were strong opponents of the Iraq war and we do feel vindicated by what's happening."
He added: "I think there have been several investigations already but I think, clearly, if there have been abuses taking place they need to be investigated – that's obvious enough."
British involvement in the alleged torture and unlawful killing of Iraqi civilians may also be the subject of legal action. Lawyers said the reports embroiled British as well as US forces in an alleged culture of abuse and extrajudicial killings in Iraq.
Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, appearing alongside theWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a press conference in London yesterday, said some of the deaths documented in the reports may have involved British forces and could now go through the UK courts. The Iraq war logs, Shiner said, indicated that British as well as US commanders were likely to have ignored evidence of torture by the Iraqi authorities, contrary to international law.
"Some of these deaths will be in circumstances where the UK have a very clear legal responsibility. This may be because the Iraqis died while under the effective control of UK forces – under arrest, in vehicles, helicopters or detention facilities," he said.
The Ministry of Defence said the publication of the records was reckless and put the lives of British military personnel in danger, adding that it investigated any allegations made against British troops. It said: "There is no place for mistreatment of detainees. Any civilian casualty is a matter of deep regret and we take any incidents extremely seriously."
As Assange defended the decision to disclose the documents – saying it was of "immense importance" to reveal the truth about the conflict – the UN warned that if the logs pointed to clear violations of the UN convention against torture, Barack Obama's administration had a clear obligation to investigate them.
Manfred Novak, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: "President Obama came to power with a moral agenda, saying we don't want to be seen to be a nation responsible for major human rights violations." A failure to investigate credible claims of complicity in torture, Novak suggested, would be a failure of the Obama government to recognise US obligations under international law.
The US defence department condemned the WikiLeaks release, describing the documents as raw observations by tactical units, which were only snapshots of tragic, mundane events. Assange said the snapshots of everyday events offered a glimpse at the "human scale" of the conflict. He told the news conference his motive for the disclosure was "about the truth".
Iraq Body Count, a private British-based group that has tracked the number of Iraqi civilians killed since the war began in 2003, said its analysis of the logs had raised its total of civilian deaths from 107,369 to more than 122,000. IBC, which worked with WikiLeaks, said the war logs showed there were more than 109,000 violent deaths between 2004 and the end of 2009. They included 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed as "enemy", 15,196 members of the Iraqi security forces, and 3,771 coalition troops.
John Sloboda of IBC said: "They [the documents] show the relentless grind of daily killings in almost every town or village in every province."
WikiLeaks yesterday promised to publish 15,000 more documents about the war in Afghanistan.