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Wikileaks Iraq: data journalism maps every death
Data journalism allows us to really interrogate the Wikileaks Iraq war logs release. Here is the statistical breakdown - and data for you to download
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Wikileaks Iraq: a man holds his wounded daughter outside in August 2006 after being injured in road side bomb explosion. Photograph: Ali Abbas/EPA
UPDATE: an academic who has worked with the data has pointed out some of its limitations - you can read his take here
Data journalism works best when there's a lot of data to work with. Wikileaks' Iraq war logs release has dumped some 391,000 records of the Iraq war into the public arena. We've had them for a few weeks - what have we found out?
This is in a different league to the Wikileaks Afghanistan leak - there's a good case for saying the new release has made the war the most documented in history. Every minor detail is now there for us to analyse and breakdown but one factor stands out: the sheer volume of deaths, most of which are civilians.
Some key findings:
Total deaths
• The database records 109,032 deaths in total for the period
• The database records the following death counts: 66,081 civilians, 23,984 insurgents and 15,196 Iraqi security forces
• The worst place for deaths was Baghdad - 45,497, followed by MND north (which is the region that goes from Baghdad up to Kurdistan) where another 34,210 died. The quietest place was the north east with only 328 deaths
Murders and escalation of force
• 34,814 people were recorded as murdered in 24,840 incidents
• The worst month was December 2006 with 2,566 murders - and 2006 was the worst year with 16,870 murders
• The database records 12,578 escalation of force incidents (where someone is shot driving too fast at a checkpoint, for instance) - and these resulted in 778 recorded deaths
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)
• There were 65,439 IED explosions over the period - with 31,780 deaths recorded on the database from those alone.
• There were another 44,620 IEDs found and cleared
• The worst month for IED explosions was May 2007 with 2,080 IED explosions
Download the data
The Guardian has decided not to republish the entire database, largely because we can't be sure the summary field doesn't contain confidential details of informants and so on. But, so you have some data to work with, we have provided this spreadsheet. It contains the records of every incident where someone dies, nearly 60,000 in all. We have removed the summary field so it's just the basic data: the military heading, numbers of deaths and the geographic breakdown.
Get the fullscreen version
Google Fusion tables is fantastic for mapping out bulky datasets and they don't come much bulkier than this. We took all these incidents where someone had died and put it on the map above. The fullscreen version is easier to use. A few of the datapoints aren't mapping correctly - but this may be a problem with the data.
You can download it below, plus we've broken down the deaths by cause and year in sortable tables. What can you do with it?
Data summary
Deaths and wounded
Click heading to sort
YEARCoalition forcesIraqi forcesCiviliansEnemyTOTAL DEATHSTOTAL WOUNDED, all categories
Causes of death
Click heading to sort
CategoryCoalition forcesIraqi forcesCiviliansInsurgents
Attack Threat0011
Border Ops0002
Cache Found/Cleared21028236
Close Air Support005776
Counter Mortar Fire00024
Deliberate Attack030119
Direct Fire4824,2704,7666,807
Direct Fire Threat0010
Equipment Failure4230
Escalation of Force02268670
Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)/Turn In0010
IED Explosion2,1075,99020,2283,455
IED False0030
IED Found/Cleared63190579
IED Hoax1021
IED Pre-detonation00350
IED Suspected00037
IED Threat0002
Indirect Fire1922842,0871,040
Indirect Fire Threat0002
Intimidation Threat06181
Kidnapping Threat0020
Mine Found/Cleared0021
Mine Strike3724306
Movement to Contact10077
Murder Threat0010
Other Defensive25141116
Other offensive0418639
Police Actions011432
SAFIRE Threat0010
Search and Attack00090
Small Unit Actions2713653,129
Sniper Ops8617362364
Staff Estimate023800
Tribal Feud0141385
Unexploded Ordnance02153
Unknown Explosion42428461
Vehicle Interdiction00429
Not known0100
Download the data

DATA: download details of every death in Iraq (Google Fusion tables, requires Google login)
DATA: download the full sheet (no login)
DATA: download our analysis spreadsheet
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Posted by
Simon Rogers Saturday 23 October 2010 17.57 BST
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Iraq: The war logs · Iraq · US military
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Comments in chronological order (Total 15 comments)
22 October 2010 10:01PM
Is that map actually working? All I see is a few 1 or 2 digit numbers in green boxes, but I've no idea what they represent. Are they years? Keys to a datatable? Road junction numbers?
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23 October 2010 12:11AM
The Google fusion table data seems to have no option to export. So in fact it can't be downloaded. Is there another place to find it?
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23 October 2010 5:28AM
Most civilian deaths for 'murder'? What does murder entail? Murder by troops?
Interesting to note the number of civilian deaths from IED explosions. Perhaps a review on their usage is needed?
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23 October 2010 9:43AM
so you have some data to play with
Considering the subject, is that the best phrase to use?
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23 October 2010 11:39AM
No doubt that this information will provide those outside the 'fog-of-war' with a better understanding of what happed. However, we need to remember that the death-count here of over 100,000 Iraqis is that reported by the Allies i.e. the invaders in this war. The infamous quote "We don't do body counts" by Gen Tommy Franks leading US army said it all.
The neutral view on the number of people who died (by respected Lancet medical journal) was over 600,000 deaths by Oct-2006 alone. That research is the best we have and tragically, things are not over yet.
The Guarnaid should make that clear as a footnote to this article.
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23 October 2010 2:43PM
I agree with Darren B.
Similarly "Google Fusion tables is fantastic for mapping out bulky datasets and they don't come much bulkier than this" hardly rings with understanding and empathy, more like abstract data techie excitement.
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23 October 2010 2:54PM
31,780 deaths by IEDs, of which 2,107 coalition forces, 3,455 insurgents themselves and the vast majority civilians.
Maybe extremist leaders world wide busy on Internet recruiting cannon fodder could just for a minute look at these numbers: IEDs are a losers tactic.
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23 October 2010 7:28PM
@ efields
The Google fusion table data seems to have no option to export. So in fact it can't be downloaded. Is there another place to find it?
Make your own HTML file
This works with Firefox with Firefox set as default browser
Left click spreadsheet field/Select All
Left click spreadsheet field again/View Source
In DOM of selection window: left click/Select All
In DOM of selection window: left click/Copy
Paste in NotePad (text file)
Save as “whatever_file_name.html” <=IMPORTANT
Save type As: select “All Files” <=IMPORTANT
Open “whatever_file_name.html”
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23 October 2010 7:50PM
Gosh, the level of detail and perfect record keeping of the American corporatist Empire almost matches that of the Nazi fascist Empire's detailed record keeping.
Oh, that's right ---- a corporatist Empire IS a fascist Empire. That's why Benito Mussolini himself said that fascism should really be called corporatism.
Rumor has it that the chain gun camera video from the earlier Wikileaks release is going to be used in an up-coming FOX video game.
As Chris Hedges compelling notes in his books, including his newest and incomparable "Death of the Liberal Class", imperialist wars for profit are beyond the pale and can never be justified by supposedly humanitarian rational.
Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine
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23 October 2010 8:31PM
Paragraphs 1-3 of your comment are wrong on the following counts-
Paragraph 1: The corporatist empire(s) is/are multi-national. The US and most other countries with large militaries answer a global "Admiralty Law" The US is just the worst.
Paragraph 2. As true as it may be, as far as context is concerned, that is an oft quoted misquote. Benito Mussolin never associated the two.
Paragraph 3. Echoing rumor is just wrong
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23 October 2010 9:44PM
This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
23 October 2010 11:54PM
To export the file, go to FILE and EXPORT
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24 October 2010 6:41AM
The summary is simple: This was a very bad idea, and never should have happened.
Also, if wiki-leaks can do this, why could none of the mainstream Media outlets manage something like this in all these years?
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24 October 2010 12:52PM

Coalition forces Iraqi forces Civilians Insurgents
direct fire 82 4,270 4,766 6,807
indirect fire ,107 5,990 20,228 3,455
Murder 9 2,169 32,563 73
TOTAL 3,771 15,196 66,081 23,984
From the table it is seen that the civilian casualities are the highest in all forms of combat operations. Wonder whether the american and british soldiers went there to fight saddam Hussain's army or to kill the Iraqi civilians.It is indeed shameful.
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25 October 2010 1:52AM
I would like to see this Baghdad data overlay onto a similar sized American city. It might be impactful to people to see how many deaths would have occurred in their own neighborhoods. Some readers would find the data points - or deaths - landing on their own addresses.
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