The war logs contain multiple reports of the abuse of detainees by coalition soldiers although they are neither as clear nor as alarming as the evidence of abuse by Iraqi forces.
Because they record the activities of the US military, the logs hold few references to British handling of detainees. Two reports dated June 23 2008 record two Shia men who described being punched and kicked by unidentified British troops. Both men had injuries which were consistent with their stories. There is no record of any formal investigation.
Another log, dated September 2 2008, records that a civilian interrogator working with the Americans reported that British soldiers had dragged him through his house and repeatedly dunked his head into a bowl of water and threatened him with a pistol. The log claims that his story was undermined by inconsistencies and an absence of injuries.
In relation to US troops, the logs reveal numerous claims of assaults on detainees, particularly by marines. A woman reports being pulled by the hair and kicked in the face and displays injuries that tend to confirm her story; a man who was detained claims a US soldier kicked both his legs and punched his chest and arms, and he is found to have multiple contusions and abrasions on his legs, arms, chest and face.
On several occasions US soldiers report their own colleagues, including one who reveals that the driver of his Stryker armoured vehicle habitually calls out a warning to soldiers in the rear and then brakes heavily to send detainees flying forward, and that those in the back take it in turns to hit their prisoners. Another describes a fellow soldier choking a detainee before pointing an unloaded shotgun at his belly and pulling the trigger.
Some incidents are minor cruelties. A US soldier at Habbaniya is stood down after writing “pussy” on the forehead of a prisoner who was crying. Other incidents are fuelled by fear and anger. When a 26-year-old Iraqi throws a satchel bomb at a US convoy, American soldiers chase him into his house and beat him, leaving him with multiple cuts and bruises.
In relation to coalition troops the logs record no incident of systematic torture or assault as serious as those attributed to Iraqi security personnel. In one case, in February 2009, a detainee who endured three days of torture by Iraqi security forces says he was handed over to them by coalition soldiers because he refused to answer their questions. In all cases involving coalition troops there is a policy to hold formal inquiries, although preliminary reports frequently show signs of deliberate scepticism towards the claims of detainees.
One report considers allegations of assault made by 16 Iraqis who were arrested in a joint patrol by American and Iraqi forces. The report undermines every single claim and repeatedly concludes that “the signs of physical trauma are the result of legitimate use of force as documented in Sgt Tim M and Sgt Leonard C’s sworn statements”.