Nouri Al-Maliki's 'Detention Squad'

(ALJAZEERA)

In October 2006, an Iraqi army unit reportedly robbed a number of people living in Sunni neighbourhoods in western Baghdad. The unit was arrested on October 11 - and told its captors that it was operating under the authority of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The unit seems to be a sort of ""detention squad"" operating under al-Maliki's authority. An official from the defence ministry showed up several hours later and urged the US to release the men, saying their mission was ""directed by PM Maliki"".

Politics, unsurprisingly, factors little into these leaked documents: They are ground-level assessments from army units, far removed from the government.

Still, some of the reports paint the Iraqi prime minister in an unflattering light, which may be why al-Maliki and his allies have described them as a smear campaign. ""These are all just fakes from the Internet and Photoshop,"" Hassan al-Sneid, a member of al-Maliki's State of Law coalition, said on Saturday.

Al-Maliki himself also responded to the documents, saying their release was designed to undermine his bid for a second term as prime minister.