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Human Rights Groups Join Criticism of WikiLeaks 578

Posted by Soulskill
from the of-heat-and-kitchens dept.
e065c8515d206cb0e190 writes "Several human rights organizations contacted WikiLeaks and pressed them to do a better job at hiding information that endangers civilians within their leaked documents. From the article: 'The letter from five human-rights groups sparked a tense exchange in which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange issued a tart challenge for the organizations to help with the massive task of removing names from thousands of documents, according to several of the organizations that signed the letter. The exchange shows how WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange risk being isolated from some of their most natural allies in the wake of the documents' publication. ... An [Amnesty International] official replied to say that while the group has limited resources, it wouldn't rule out the idea of helping, according to people familiar with the reply. The official suggested that Mr. Assange and the human-rights groups hold a conference call to discuss the matter.'"
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Human Rights Groups Join Criticism of WikiLeaks

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  • nice (Score:5, Informative)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 09, 2010 @08:48PM (#33198982) Homepage
    An Amnesty official replied to say that while the group has limited resources, it wouldn't rule out the idea of helping, according to people familiar with the reply. The official suggested that Mr. Assange and the human-rights groups hold a conference call to discuss the matter.

    Mr. Assange then replied: "I'm very busy and have no time to deal with people who prefer to do nothing but cover their asses. If Amnesty does nothing I shall issue a press release highlighting its refusal," according to people familiar with the exchange.


    Kind of comes off as a narcissistic jerk here.
    • Re:nice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RabbitWho (1805112) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:00PM (#33199046) Homepage Journal
      Amnesty International are an incredible organization that are making real change on a daily basis. I haven't read much of the leaks, but if they're worried about this then suddenly I'm worried.
      Mr. Assange should show a little respect for an organization that have educated and mobilized so many people around the world with real life consequences for human rights. Guess he's too busy talking about himself to every journalist he can find.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Hmm. Is it narcissistic, or is it perhaps the typical OSS response of "you want to help? Ok, then show me the code you're writing".

      It's easy for anyone to criticize any project. How do you propose to identify those who have useful skills and are genuinely trying to help a particular project?

      • Re:nice (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:21PM (#33199180)

        That's a terrible analogy. People's lives aren't at stake if an OSS project comes out with shitty documentation. If Wikileaks lacked the manpower to properly scrub names from the documents, they shouldn't have released them.

        • Re:nice (Score:5, Insightful)

          by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:33PM (#33199312)
          But lives are at stake if the information is not leaked either, since the leaks have proved that the US military forces sometimes act ... rashly. That kind of behaviour only gets worse when it stays secret.

          Does an Afghan civilian prefer to die from a US missile or a Taliban bullet? How can wikileaks estimate the number of deaths in each alternative?

          • Stop equivocating (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MikeRT (947531)

            But lives are at stake if the information is not leaked either, since the leaks have proved that the US military forces sometimes act ... rashly.

            You can't predict how many civilians may die in such a fluid situation tomorrow if US forces have to act quickly. What you can predict is the extremely high probability that every single solitary last informant/source in those documents will take a dirt nap after the Taliban locates them.

          • Re:nice (Score:5, Interesting)

            by tibman (623933) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:15AM (#33204566) Homepage

            It sounds like you think the US Army doesn't learn from its mistakes unless the mistakes are visibly published in the news? Trust me that the military punishes its own. If we were allowed to kill each other, i'm sure it would happen quite often.

            I think outsiders looking in, is good. As long as they are only looking and not touching. It's the one reason why i detest ICRC.. though for personal reasons really. It was august in iraq and my squad was guarding a large detainee compound (did this job for 3 months, a nice break from fighting but very frustrating). ICRC was inspecting things, making sure the detainees were being treated properly. I caught two of the ICRC people passing our water supply through the fence. I asked them to stop and why they were doing this? They said the detainees were thirsty and needed water. I laughed and explained to the two that the detainees have plumbing and a clean water supply, they also received 16x 40lb bags of ice each morning that they put into provided water coolers. I had neither of those things, i had a palette of bottled water dropped off by a forklift each week that sat in the sun. So, i left the two ICRC people and continued my rounds. Came back maybe five minutes later and ALL of the water we had was GONE. Fucking ICRC literally gave away all my water.. i had almost nothing to drink for the rest of the day. I was angry, "WHY DID YOU GIVE AWAY MY WATER!" They were stupid with fear i think because they couldn't answer me. But they can go back to their airconditioned buildings and think they were saving the world. I went back to my tent with a plywood floor and cleaned my rifle so i could get through another day. I should point out that it was easily over 120F degrees. I was drinking 10x 1.5liter bottles of water during the 12hr work shifts.. and still peeing an odd orange-brown color.

            I have more ICRC stories, if anyone is interested in hearing about people so blinded by the idea that the entire US Army was made up of those idiots in that Abu Ghraib travesty. I sometimes type these rants and always delete them.. but maybe someone will find this interesting.

        • Re:nice (Score:5, Interesting)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:45PM (#33199412) Homepage Journal

          That's a terrible analogy

          Not really. Wikileaks may be a much more life-and-death situation than writing OSS code, but the notion of "You want to help? Then help!" is pretty apt..

          I worry that the multi-million dollar "human rights" organizations sometimes get too cozy with the people who are in power. I'm not saying Amnesty International is necessarily guilty of this, but there were lots of "human rights organizations" running around Yugoslavia in the late 90s that were playing both sides of the fence, getting their mission mixed up with the very complex political situation and passing intelligence on to the people who deal in intelligence, sometimes at the cost of human lives. I saw this with my own all-American eyes, and it's one reason why some people in the Balkans came to resent some of the aid groups..

          The US is also not above putting enormous pressure on the NGOs and human rights groups, demanding collusion for access. It can get very murky.

          The "mission" in Afghanistan is such a cocked-up mess that there's nothing clear about any of it. You're not going to help a country by invading it, playing unprotected civilians against the enemy, while playing footsie with Pakistan, whose intelligence service is in league with the Taliban (after taking billions from the US in military aid). Remember, the Taliban are the guys we armed to the teeth a while back to fight the Russians, who are now our friends. And we originally went there to get rid of Al Qaeda, the enemy, who were funded by Saudi Arabia, our friends, who got rich because we just couldn't bring ourselves to try to get off oil back in the '80s.

          It's all complicated shadows, and I don't see blaming Wikileaks for throwing a little light on the subject. This is what Jefferson was talking about when he said "avoid foreign entanglements".

          • Re:nice (Score:4, Informative)

            by sumdumass (711423) on Monday August 09, 2010 @11:06PM (#33200090) Journal

            Wow, I started to think you were on to something then you went and spoke about shit you obviously have no clue about.

            Remember, the Taliban are the guys we armed to the teeth a while back to fight the Russians, who are now our friends

            The US did not fund the Taliban to fight the Russians. The Taliban was not even around during that conflict. The Taliban didn't emerge until after the Russian afghan war was over and the collapse of the soviet union. Now would be right to say out inaction allowed them to become powerful in the region as after the Russian pulled out, the US bailed too for fear that our involvement publicly would cause Russia to either return or to attack us as a last ditch effort. This caused the area to be broken into territories controlled by war lords and made trade or transportation and travel in the area almost impossible as the feuding between the warlords interrupted anything resembling a economic stability or public safety if you weren't from their clan. Finally, the war lords formed an alliance but elements still broke away and pirated cargo from supply shipments and stuff.

            With all this Chaos, along comes a group calling itself the Taliban who started out as armed security guards being hired to protect shipments but the Afghan government. They got the job done and started getting shipments through, opened trade up, and made it safe to travel . Then they ended up getting into the government and imposing their views onto the people. The Taliban was not heard of until the mid 1990's. Now it's possible that some Taliban members were the same mujaheddin members, but the organization itself did not/does not resemble anything in play when the US aided the Afghan rebels.

            And we originally went there to get rid of Al Qaeda, the enemy, who were funded by Saudi Arabia, our friends, who got rich because we just couldn't bring ourselves to try to get off oil back in the '80s.

            The start of the either with us or against us attitude comes from our attempts to get Al Qeada and the Taliban gave them state protection. Our only option to get Al Qaeda was to violate their sovereignty so the call was made to oust the Taliban government in the process. And no, it wasn't funded by Saudi Arabia, it was funded by elements inside Saudi Arabia. Saying that the country is responsible for the people breaking their own laws is like saying the Federal government of the US and the entire US funded my efforts to piss on Buckingham Palace when I was in England- and of course I used my own money to go over, I used my own money to get drunk, and I used my own money to take the taxi ride in which I somehow thought it would be a good idea or a funny idea. The US government had absolutely nothing to do with it.

            So lets get back to reality here, mkay?

            • Re:nice (Score:5, Informative)

              by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @07:04AM (#33202534) Homepage Journal

              The US did not fund the Taliban to fight the Russians. The Taliban was not even around during that conflict.

              You're right that the Taliban formed after the Russians gave up on Afghanistan.

              However, the US was arming the people who became the Taliban, the mujaheddin. They just weren't called the Taliban yet. WHen the vacuum came the guys we armed stepped up (with the arms the US gave them) and took over as the Taliban.

              So yes, the Taliban was armed by the US and we did it (at the time) as a counter to Russia.

      • Re:nice (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Bacon Bits (926911) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:35PM (#33199328)

        Hmm. Is it narcissistic, or is it perhaps the typical OSS response of "you want to help? Ok, then show me the code you're writing".

        It's still a bullshit response.

        One doesn't need to know how to find a solution in order to identify a problem. It's rather how the human species gets from point A to B. Fundamentally, this is why criticism is generally valid, and "the typical OSS response" is so reviled by developers and non-developers alike. It's a response that's aggressive, unhelpful, and, frankly, quite rude. No person is going to be inclined to help someone who is so rude. I understand that application support is tiresome and draining on developers who often answer the same question over and over or make the same argument over and over. It sucks, but reacting rudely is simply the worst possible choice. You alienate rather than build a community. It's anathema to the basic ideals behind OSS.

        • Re:nice (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jack9 (11421) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:58PM (#33199574)

          It's a response that's aggressive, unhelpful, and, frankly, quite rude.

          That's a lot of words. I've seen those before, many times. They are often used in the stead of, "pragmatic".

          When your time is valuable and accounted for, get back to me on why you aren't working in a 3rd world country to save the lives of other people. It's quite rude to be so self-centered about your limited efforts in this lifetime.

  • The sad part? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Monday August 09, 2010 @08:49PM (#33198992) Homepage

    I hate the need for wikileaks, if not wikileaks directly.

    Freedom of the press was supposed to be a balance between this and the traditional media. However, with the major news outlets falling over themselves to appease different market segments, real news gets lost in the translations. Real information is not reported when it should be, letting situations like Iraq happen.

    • Re:The sad part? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) on Monday August 09, 2010 @08:53PM (#33199018)
      The problem is, thus far these leaks of U.S. "secrets" have revealed *NOTHING* that anyone with eyes and common sense did not already know. Except the names of those sources that are surly now on someone's "death list". In fact, nothing at all other than the possibility of these sources being murdered has come of the "leak" at all.
      • Except the names of those sources that are surly now on someone's "death list". In fact, nothing at all other than the possibility of these sources being murdered has come of the "leak" at all.

        Yeah, and since they are foreigners, it's not like they are real people, right?

        The ironic thing is that this has the potential to result in more civilians getting killed than the civilians the leaker and wikileaks were ostensibly protecting by airing the US military's dirty laundry.

      • Except the names of those sources that are surly now on someone's "death list". In fact, nothing at all other than the possibility of these sources being murdered has come of the "leak" at all.

        And hey, that's really nothing at all, right?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wrath0fb0b (302444)

        The possibility of these sources being murdered? How about the actual fact of at least one Afghan tribal elder -- Khalifa Abdullah -- who was murdered because one E3 did not appreciate the actual risk to real life human beings from releasing these documents.

        I am quite sympathetic to the argument that the documents needed be redacted. The American public needs to know about the nature and results of the operations. They do not, however, need to know exactly which grid-square they took place on, the compositi

        • Re:The sad part? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:54PM (#33199510)

          The possibility of these sources being murdered? How about the actual fact of at least one Afghan tribal elder -- Khalifa Abdullah -- who was murdered because one E3 did not appreciate the actual risk to real life human beings from releasing these documents.

          Interesting. Searching google with the terms: "site:wikileaks.org abdullah" [google.com] returns about a page of results. I see some references to a gentleman in Canada, some about one in Somalia, some references to King Abdullah (didn't bother to see whether it was Saudi Arabia or Jordan, since it's clearly not relevant,) the Foreign Minister of Turkey... ...not a single result was from the Afghan files.

          The Taliban have been ramping up assassinations in Kandahar for months. Correlation is not causation. If you want to pin a dead civilian on Wikileaks, you might want to start with one that's actually mentioned.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by LambdaWolf (1561517)

            Searching google with the terms: "site:wikileaks.org abdullah" [google.com] returns about a page of results. [...] ...not a single result was from the Afghan files.

            Unless I'm mistaken, the Afghan files are all distributed in compressed 7-Zip archives, which might account for Google not indexing them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            http://wardiary.wikileaks.org/robots.txt has Disallow: /

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          From the Newsweek [newsweek.com] article you refer to:

          Locals have long known that the Taliban deals harshly with those it suspects of working against it: the ruthless guerrillas have assassinated scores, if not hundreds, of tribal elders and Afghans of all ages for their alleged cooperation with the coalition. In one particularly gruesome case a few months ago, according to the intelligence officer, the Taliban discovered that a group of recent high-school graduates in Ghazni province had been feeding information to the Americans.

          I wouldn't exactly say these guys were safe had the documents not been leaked. Safe*r*, true, but certainly not safe.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RingDev (879105)

          Tens of thousands of people are dead, and it is your opinion that only 1 of those deaths represents the 'sad part'?

          The hope is that balances of power, like Wikileaks, like our own journalists and news media should be doing, will prevent, or at least deter us from entering into such conflicts and rogue actions again in the future. If it even just slightly aids in the process of maintaining peace, it will save far more lives than this limited exposure will cost.

          Also, if you are looking for a target to blame,

        • Re:The sad part? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @03:31AM (#33201308)

          The possibility of these sources being murdered? How about the actual fact of at least one Afghan tribal elder -- Khalifa Abdullah -- who was murdered because one E3 did not appreciate the actual risk to real life human beings from releasing these documents.

          So...

          An illegitimate secret must be maintained to protect warlords in a warzone.

          Afghanistan is a warzone, whoever killed Khalifia Abdullah knew who the fuck he was and what the fuck he was doing long before it made it onto Wikileaks. Now thanks to Wikileaks all of us know why.

          Would the world be a better place if everyone just shut the fuck up about the Mai Lai massacre and said "I have no idea where all these bodies came from"?

      • Re:The sad part? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by copponex (13876) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:37PM (#33199352) Homepage

        The problem is, thus far these leaks of U.S. "secrets" have revealed *NOTHING* that anyone with eyes and common sense did not already know. Except the names of those sources that are surly now on someone's "death list". In fact, nothing at all other than the possibility of these sources being murdered has come of the "leak" at all.

        Oh, shit! Who are you working for these days? The same guys who did the whole "babies on the floor" thing for the first Iraq War? Oh, no, brilliant stuff. You guys are on top of your game, too, though.

        When I saw that some asshole who didn't play by the rules was going to reveal the fact that the Taliban are using missiles we gave them back in the 80s to try and shoot our copters down, I was thinking "Uh oh - disaster!" And then when the documents revealed that accounts given by the military were wrong and that many more civilians died, I thought it would be a real shit storm. Don't even get me started on Task Force 373 extrajudicially executing people. Or the fact that many of the military operations are now classified and under the direct control of the CIA. You'd think in a place like the US that would generate a little buzz. Even the fact that the Taliban is growing stronger every day, despite official reports to the contrary seemed like a huge turd on top of a shit sandwich.

        But you guys wrap all that up with "No Big Deal," and feed it to all the media outlets who depend on you for access to government officials? Fucking. Brilliant. They don't even have to pretend to have reported on those things before. They just say, basically, the emperor has clothes, and then Joe Sixpack nods his little beer storage unit up and down and switches back to WWE. I know, and now they're all uppity about this Australian guy possibly getting innocent people killed when we're laying civs out left and right - with secret police and secret budgets! God bless the US of Amnesia.

        Anyway, I gotta get going. No, some more disinformation work with energy execs, and then later we have to pretty up the apologetics about the net neutrality crap.

        Keep up the good work! See you at the Press Corps dinner.

    • Re:The sad part? (Score:5, Informative)

      by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:02PM (#33199054)

      And a point that isn't made enough: people complain that wikileaks didn't do a good enough job of redacting the info themselves yet wikileaks requested help redacting sensitive info from the pentagon(they would after all have all the knowledge required to pick out what could potentially reveal their sources in a roundabout manner after all) but they got no reply other than attempts to shut them up entirely.

      In an ideal world wikileaks would not be necessary.

      • Someone please mod this up if it's true.

        • Re:The sad part? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdot@noSPam.warriors-shade.net> on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:25PM (#33199238)

          It is, but nobodies listening.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ironhandx (1762146)

          It is very true and there is a very large very powerful misinformation campaign going on against Wikileaks right now. Amnesty International does do good work, but they also bend over backwards to various governments requests in order to get anything that they would deem "more important". They've done it in the past, and I fscking HATE to be crying conspiracy but this just stinks too much.

        • Re:The sad part? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sumdumass (711423) on Monday August 09, 2010 @11:22PM (#33200192) Journal

          Why would anyone want to mode it up? I mean his premise is that because the pentagon didn't validate leaked secretes by combing though them and saying what was sensitive and what wasn't, it's now their fault?

          The entire validation effort could have been an effort to gather information on which piece of information was important which this ass at Wikileaks could have used once again to his name in the paper by saying not only do we have the leaked shit, but we have what the pentagon doesn't want you to know. And for that matter, For all we know, this could be a secrete Taliban/Al Qeada sympathizer who is just attempting to narrow down what was important to the US in order to save the enemy the time it took to comb though it themselves.

          So why would the pentagon want to help spread the crap that shouldn't be public at all at this stage? I mean this guy is giving the enemy information right now and blaming it on "I don't have enough time before I release this crap and get my name in the papers again" then suggesting to people who ask him to not release it until after he gets the time because it's getting people killed, that they would have to do it themselves if they wanted it done.

          Someone mod him down or save your mods for something else entirely. Perhaps for something that has some merit.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        You have to be joking. That anyone would expect the Pentagon to abet the compromise of its own classified material is as assine as the idea that civilians don't die in wars and that the enemy is always given a trial prior to actions on the battlefield.

        Mr. Assange had a clear choice and clearly he's made it. This choice was whether or not sacrificing the lives of others for your own political objectives is moral course of action. Clearly and without hesitation Mr. Assange made the choice that yes, his pol

      • Re:The sad part? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by c6gunner (950153) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:39PM (#33199366)

        So true. This one time when I tried to rob a bank, I asked the cops for help so that I could do it safely without hurting anyone. But the fucking pigs just wanted to stop me. Clearly it wasn't my fault that people died.

        • So true. This one time when I tried to rob a bank, I asked the cops for help so that I could do it safely without hurting anyone. But the fucking pigs just wanted to stop me. Clearly it wasn't my fault that people died.

          "This one time when I wanted to reveal that the cops had shot up a bunch of hostages I asked the cop to tell me who were the robbers and who were the hostages so I could blur out the innocent faces in the video, but the cops refused to help and when I revealed their deadly mishap they said more hostages would be shot because of me."

          This is the honest version of your allegory. The way you say it you've conflated Wikileaks and the Taliban, because you're biased against wikileaks and are actively trying to sme

  • Torn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vgbndkng (1806628)
    I'm still torn in regards to Wikileaks. On the one hand, transparency can be a phenomenal thing. On the other, it can't help but bleed interpretation, which in and of itself can lead to misgivings and the perversion of a "truth". Granted, there are concurrently 4 million different truths all bubbling away. Ew, interpretation just reared its ugly head. Does the right hand always want to know what the left is doing? In a perfect world, yes. In this one? I just don't know. Yep, still torn. I contributed absol
  • by steveha (103154) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:15PM (#33199130) Homepage

    Wikileaks and Julian Assange own this now. The good, and the ill, from publishing that information are on them. And it looks pretty ill to me.

    According to Newsweek, a man named Khalifa Abdullah was killed [newsweek.com] after the release of these documents. So that's one man dead already. The Taliban has vowed [channel4.com] to hunt down and kill anyone who is a "spy", and they are using the Wikileaks information to do it, so there will be more. Some of the people listed in Wikileaks have disappeared [wtop.com], hopefully into hiding rather than dead.

    Julian Assange's stance on this is callous [registan.net]. He "insisted that any risk to informants' lives was outweighed by the overall importance of publishing the information." Okay, at least one man is dead now. What is that "overall importance"? I sure don't see it.

    I'm also not buying his idea [wsj.com] that this is really the US military's fault, together with Amnesty International, for not helping him redact the critical info. Much of the info is years old. What was the big rush? If Wikileaks didn't have enough volunteers to vet the info carefully, why rush ahead and publish it anyway?

    If I were Julian Assange, I wouldn't be sleeping well at night.

    steveha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      There was no 'big rush', the documents were in the hands of reporters for months prior to public release for fuck sake.

      And why aren't you buying that it's not the US military's fault? They were given a pretty simple choice; help us redact or risk sensitive information falling through. A simple choice. No rush.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There was no 'big rush', the documents were in the hands of reporters for months prior to public release for fuck sake.

        And why aren't you buying that it's not the US military's fault? They were given a pretty simple choice; help us redact or risk sensitive information falling through. A simple choice. No rush.

        So, you're basically saying that Assange told the military something along the lines of "if you don't redact this information, I will release it anyway, and these innocent people mentioned in these papers will likely be killed."

        To say it more concisely, what Assange was saying was essentially "if you don't comply with my demands, these innocent people will die." Wow. He should be shot with Bin Laden.

    • by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdot@noSPam.warriors-shade.net> on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:30PM (#33199286)

      As a USMC Iraq combat vet, who has for the past few months been studying the Afghan situation extensively, I can say that this is a good thing. Anybody who is actually involved knows that the Paki, and more specifically ISI, have been a problem for us since the early 80's, and not much has changed. The Paki's have and will continue to say "What? Not us!" but they are full of shit. The fact that the politicians are relatively good at hiding this fact undermines the general public's knowledge about the situation, and therefore it is a major part of controlling public opinion about our war. The facts are that we send money to ISI (often bypassing paki authorities completely) who then have (sometimes rogue) officers directly funding everything from afghan warlords, to Al Queda, to Paki Talibs, and on down the line. The fact of the matter is that Pakistan has absolutely no interest in really getting rid of their extremists, on either border, because Islamabad has so much fear of India, the militants are a tool they plan to use if needed. They will only do enough to keep our money flowing to them, but not enough to truly alienate the extremists. Its enormously complicated, with factors such as Iran and Russia playing into the equation. Regardless, I just hope that Assange did a good enough job purging of intel that could jeopardize people, but when so much is being hid, this kind of knowledge should be made public, albeit perhaps a bit with a bit more ambiguous information. But the real interest here is that that at the moment, as do many of the officers and enlisted I have talked to who are active in "Ganny" agree that we should not be there. First, not only does history show us that attempted conquer after attempted conquer, (including Russia, the British, and Rome as the most cited examples) Afghanistan is not a place that has ever been receptive to foreign rule. Second, our objectives are far too abstract. I often hear conflicting statements from politicians, some say we are there to prevent a safe haven for terrorists, but if that is the case, there are more AQ in places like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, UAE, and especially Pakistan than there are in Afghanistan. Not to mention the amount of funding flowing from third parties with interest in AQ and AQ like organizations that we do little about. We even fund the militant talibs with protection money for convoys! Others say we are there to help prevent Pakistan being overrun with terrorists (who we are afraid will attempt to take control of Paki's nukes), but if that is the case, why are we not forcing ISI and Paki to help destroy these enemies? It is because, as I said before, they don't want to! Others say we are there to help restore the people of Afghanistan to a "Representative Government" but I have multiple problems with this. One, the culture is not conductive to such things, there is far too much fighting between Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras, Pashtuns, Foreign Arabs, et al. If they don't even claim to be Afghan, but rather claim their ethnicity, how can they unite to rule themselves? Sure we could do it for them, but we would be there for another 150+ years. Not something I think we are willing to do. The other question this brings up, is, "Where do you stop in your effort to "liberate" peoples from oppression?" I have been places I might consider worse than Iraq or Afghanistan (usually in Africa). So should we be "liberating" the people of Darfur(in Sudan), Somalia (I thought we learned our lesson there, apparently not with recent events) etc? I have said it before, and I will say it again, tactically, our military is pretty much capable of anything you throw at them. It is strategically that we have failed, and I blame this on a handful of issues. A few of these being, a blatant disrespect for learning histories lessons, the infiltration of the military system with political "control/influence", and the lack of ranks above 0-6 not having the balls to tell truth to power, because once you get stars on, your are no longer military, you are a politician (With a few exc

    • by Klinky (636952) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:31PM (#33199298)

      From the Newsweek article you linked to:

      While it is unknown whether any of the men were indeed named in the WikiLeaks documents, it’s clear the Taliban believes they have been cooperating with Western forces and the Afghan government.

    • Ok so that's one man dead already related to these documents.

      The documents show 50-100 dead civilians on average every month.

      Which outweighs which.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dbIII (701233)

      According to Newsweek, a man named Khalifa Abdullah was killed after the release of these documents.

      Sadly that sort of thing has been happening every week so it's a bit of a stretch to blame it on redacted wikileaks documents. It's a fair bet that the killers don't even have net access and that it's completely unrelated to the idea that they read something, put two and two together until they knew who it would be, and then planned the murder.
      We're mostly seeing a cloud of pretend patriotism bullshit, gues

  • So we go to war, supposedly to "protect our freedoms," having soldiers willing to lay down their lives. We then censor all those said fatally defended freedoms. A journalist then decides to express their lost freedom by ousting the underhanded and barbaric activities of our own government. Another group whose sole premise is to advocate the rights of humans, ignores the whole barbarism bit and advocates censorship.

    Yes, bad shit happens in war. Being willing to help cover it up makes them accessory to all th

  • war, or no war? (Score:2, Informative)

    by bcrowell (177657)

    These groups have correctly identified a life-or-death issue affecting real human beings. Nevertheless, they're failing to see the forest for the trees. The reason these people need to hide their identities for fear of being murdered is that there's a war going on around them. The real issue is this: should there be a war in Afghanistan, or should there not be a war in Afghanistan? There was more justification for invading Afghanistan than there was for invading Iraq, but that ain't saying much, considering

  • by aslashjax (905872) on Monday August 09, 2010 @09:28PM (#33199276)
    Assange needs to take some responsibility for his own actions and quit playing the martyr. His irresponsible behavior, by not redacting the documents, will quite likely get people killed. That is not the US government's or Amnesty's responsibility. It is his and he needs to man up to it and quit being such an ass.
  • Their compassion for all human life -- as long as it's civilian life -- is touching.
    </sarcasm>

  • by xmundt (415364) on Monday August 09, 2010 @11:54PM (#33200392)

    Greetings and Salutations.
              I have read a number of the opinions posted here, and, my first reaction is "Have any of these people actually even LOOKED at the documents posted on Wikileaks?"
    I have read quite a number of the documents available on line, and there are a few things that have popped out at me.
              1) the only names that I have run across in the documents have been known taliban, insurgents and supporters of the insurgency.
              2) A huge percentage of the reports are recording general suspicious activity picked up by routine patrols both on the ground and in the air.
              3) There have been some interesting notes about aerial vehicles being shot at with missiles positively identified as stingers ( a little fact that has been, shall we say, downplayed, by the official military sources).
              4) On the other hand, there are quite a number of reports of Afghan nationals (so far, all un-named) with war-related injuries being flown out for medical attention. Pretty much all the ones I have read have apparently been civilians caught up by accident.

              Now, there may be some military usage in the times and dates and such listed with each event, but, I suspect that any decent intelligence service will already
    HAVE the time and location details listed in the reports.

              I was also interested to see the number of times when fairly suspicious behavior, or serious weapons of war were observed, yet, no action was taken to kill the enemy, or, destroy the weapons (tanks, howitzers, etc).

                Overall, it seems to me that the biggest issue with Wikileaks is that they have dumped out a bunch of information, concealed by our government, that shows that some of the positive spin put on the situation in Afghanistan is a bit thinner than they would have us believe.

              Pleasant Dreams
              dave mundt

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