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DoD Study Contradicts Charges Against WikiLeaks 228

Posted by samzenpus
from the offical-story dept.
Voline writes "Last Summer, after WikiLeaks released 90,000 leaked internal US military documents in their Afghan War Log, Pentagon officials went on a media offensive against WikiLeaks, accusing it of having the 'blood on Its hands' of American soldiers and Afghan collaborators who are named in the documents. The charge has echoed through the mainstream media (and Internet comment threads) ever since. Now, CNN is reporting that after a thorough Pentagon review, 'WikiLeaks did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods, the Department of Defense concluded.' And, according to an unnamed NATO official, 'there has been no indication' that any Afghans who have collaborated with the NATO occupation have been harmed as a result of the leaks. Will the Pentagon's contradiction of the charges against WikiLeaks get as much play in the media as those original accusations did?"
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DoD Study Contradicts Charges Against WikiLeaks

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  • Hmmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:38PM (#33925698)

    Will the Pentagon's contradiction of the charges against WikiLeaks get as much play in the media as those original accusations did?

    Thats not how FUD & propaganda work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rainmouse (1784278)
      Don't know how things work in the US but unless I am mistaken, in the UK WikiLeaks could sue them for libel.
      • lol, I would love to see the UK try and sue the US military for libel, that would be pretty funny.

  • Who Cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:39PM (#33925704)

    Seriously, who cares? Assange has an agenda, and so do we. If we can point out Wikileaks' bias and colr them as they try to do to us, than all the better.

  • It doesn't sell. (Score:5, Informative)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:40PM (#33925708)

    Will the Pentagon's contradiction of the charges against WikiLeaks get as much play in the media as those original accusations did?"

    No.

    Rational discourse doesn't sell.

    • Re:It doesn't sell. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gmail.REDHATcom minus distro> on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:54PM (#33925814)

      And more accurately, while this will get extremely little to no press, we'll still constantly be hearing character assassinate stories. Crap like, "I would totally be behind wikileaks but I hear Assange is a total tool", as if the only way someone can support what an organization does is if the members of the organization are saints.

      These kind of comments are no less trolls/flamebaits than comments like "I'd totally use OpenBSD but Theo de Raadt is a meanie.", yet I see them modded insightful every time there's a wikileaks story.

      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:59PM (#33925860)

        People wouldn't change their behaviour even if X was different. They're just using X as an easy rationalisation for their existing bias.

        • by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:42PM (#33926112)

          Of course not. They don't care, and they don't have any reason to care. Until such time as they have a (personally relevant) reason to care, it will be an academic matter to them. It's like debating whether quantum uncertainty makes the universe non-deterministic in nature. It's okay to make completely bullshit comments, because almost nobody who's doing any of the commentary needs to care.

          Intellectually speaking, I know that WikiLeaks is an important resource. However, as someone who's never felt like he had any control over his own life (with family and others nearby the ones who have more power, not the government or corporations), the idea of having a place to turn to when you need to expose something of world-shattering import is foreign. Because the first I've heard of it is when I had no power, I'll probably always be predisposed to say, "Yes, underdogs need protecting." If the first time I heard about it, I had power, I would probably see it as a threat to power. What it is, however, is a (non-governmental) judicial mechanism, designed to only affect people who have, in fact, done something wrong.

          If the only commentary we heard on the subject was people who were actually affected by Wikileaks, it would be pretty easy to notice biases--group A was happy that plans to the Death Star leaked, group B wanted to use the existence of the leaked plans to run a smear campaign against the Empire, group C are afraid they'll lose their jobs because it got out (or worse), group D is thinking that this might be very useful for leaking many other nefarious plots which they already sense, but cannot prove, are ongoing.

          But we're not hearing only those people. We're hearing a lot of myth and speculation from people who are presumed to be knowledgeable, but who are paid to be less than factual. And we're philosophizing like it doesn't matter, because to most people, it doesn't. For that reason, popular opinion shouldn't matter on the subject, but it does. I guess. For some reason.

          In any case, let Wikileaks do what they're there for. If it didn't make sense, to them and the people who use them, it wouldn't be there.

    • by IICV (652597) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:57PM (#33925842)

      Yeah, and even in this report Gates says both of these things:

      "The initial assessment in no way discounts the risk to national security," Gates wrote. "However, the review to date has not revealed any sensitive intelligence sources and methods compromised by the disclosure."

      and...

      "We assess this risk as likely to cause significant harm or damage to national security interests of the United States and are examining mitigation options," Gates wrote in the letter. "We are working closely with our allies to determine what risks our mission partners may face as a result of the disclosure."

      Wait so which is it? If nothing was compromised so far, why is this risk likely to cause significant harm or damage? Haven't they heard of Bayesian statistics?

      It sounds like he's just covering ass, but is compelled to tell the truth. After all, they were out in the media saying that Assange has "blood on his hands" - apparently, it was imaginary blood.

    • by bananaendian (928499) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:25PM (#33926010) Homepage Journal

      Yes, please. Everyone line-up here:

      -

      to apologize for claiming patriotism and being a tool by shouting on previous threads here that Wikileaks had got people killed in Afghanistan.

      Writing a hundred times: "I will not watch FOX anymore" should do it.

      • I think it's telling that no one has replied to your request. I don't expect anyone to do it any point either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by machine321 (458769)

        If FOX is already on 24/7, then they can't watch it any more.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by causality (777677)

        to apologize for claiming patriotism

        You know, I've never seen that claim used to back up a rational position. Maybe that has happened somewhere out there, but I've never once seen it. The primary use of loaded words like "patriotism" is to create emotional fervor that shuts down things like dispassionate inquiry and critical thinking.

        Therefore, the people who use "patriotism" in the media don't have the same definition of it that I do. My own preference is for that definition that "a patriot supports

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          FOX didn't cause Americans to become a mindless, fat, stupid, herd-mentality, emotionally driven, reactive, childish, flavor-of-the-week, decadent people who hate critical thinking

          But it certainly didn't hurt.

      • I'll line up (Score:4, Informative)

        by pavon (30274) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @08:24PM (#33927632)

        I'll be the first to admit that I was misinformed about the actual damage caused by wikileaks' first batch of leaked Afghanistan documents, and now that I know the truth it does change my opinion somewhat.

        I was initially supportive of wikileaks, as I am of responsible whistle blower groups in general. When the government and Fox news attacked wikileaks, it didn't phase me a bit - that was expected, and provided zero credible information. However, when Amnesty International and others rights groups came out and criticized wikileaks [wsj.com] for not doing a good job protecting Afghan informants, that caught my attention. Those are groups that I trust to put the well being of the Afghans above politics, and I assumed that they had done their homework. That was followed by other wikileaks members publicly distancing themselves from Assange because they felt he was not doing enough to redact the documents before publishing them.

        Even if I wasn't working or going to school I wouldn't have had time to personally review 700,000 pages of documents for myself. We are all dependent on others to provide information to us, and have to be careful who we trust. Given these independent sources it seemed reasonable to me to conclude that Assange wasn't being responsible in disclosing the documents the way he did. Now that report has been leaked, however, I am more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will do the right thing with the next batch of documents.

        But go ahead and assume that everyone who disagrees with you is a "patriotic tool" who only gets their news from FOX. Calling people names is a great way to change people's mind and strengthen support for your cause.

        • Thanks for restoring a bit of faith in humanity. I would argue though that due to how you arrived at your conclusion, you weren't the target of the OP. Instead, he was targeting the crowd that was screaming treason - and those do seem to get their talking points from Fox News a lot.

  • Hilarious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:40PM (#33925710)

    to note seemingly half of ./ comments were dead set against Wikileaks for exactly this reason...

    • by PatPending (953482) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:42PM (#33925744)

      to note seemingly half of ./ comments were dead set against Wikileaks for exactly this reason...

      And the other half were /. comments.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HangingChad (677530)
      to note seemingly half of ./ comments were dead set against Wikileaks for exactly this reason...

      And I'm sure Fox News will apologize, just like they did after they helped frame Acorn.

      • by Rewind (138843)
        Just replying to this to remove the Redundant mod I accidentally gave you. I was trying to click Insightful, sorry :(
    • Re:Hilarious (Score:4, Informative)

      by PietjeJantje (917584) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @06:32PM (#33926714)
      Let's not be shy.. Like half of the commenters here: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/10/14/2220209/Wikileaks-Donations-Account-Shut-Down [slashdot.org]

      If you are in there accusing wikileaks of killing people, you have now been officially documented as an idiot and an easy target of propaganda.
  • NO (Score:5, Informative)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:40PM (#33925724)

    It'll barely get mentioned. Every smear against wikileaks gets maximum exposure but retractions are barely heard.

    • Re:NO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:50PM (#33925790)
      Every smear against wikileaks gets maximum exposure but retractions are barely heard.

      As it is with pretty much every news article. Retractions are on page 43, or a 3 second clip at 4 AM.
    • There might be a tiny note at the bottom of the third page of the paper.

      "Wikileaks, the spy platform led by accused rapist Julian Assange, may not have put the forces operating in Afghanistan at serious risk yet."

  • Wikileaks download (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shyfer (1875644) <shyfer@live.com> on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:41PM (#33925736)

    A bit off topic but... anyone knows if there is a way to download all wikileaks documents? I would really like to save that locally

  • Yes, but... (Score:4, Funny)

    by ocdscouter (1922930) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:42PM (#33925740)
    What this obviously means is that no one has been killed *yet*! There will yet be deferred blood on guilty hands!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Clearly the CIA is way too busy to assassinate a few of their own informants for the greater good. Check back with them in a few months and they'll have bodies available.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:43PM (#33925754)

    It's about getting people with the first impression that hits them in their emotional, not rational center.

    Once you control somebody's emotions, they'll change their thinking to justify it.

  • by PatPending (953482) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:44PM (#33925758)
    Only if their donations account [slashdot.org] is reopened.
  • by PmanAce (1679902) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @03:55PM (#33925824) Homepage
    Let us get the word out since the media sure as heck won't.
    • Yeah they will... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @09:40PM (#33928174) Journal

      Newsflash: The suspected pedophile rapist Assange's terrorist spy network has once again come under the scrutiny of our glorious leaders. While no direct threats were reported, there remains a high level of suspicion about this egotistaical selfish showoff who's only agenda is to hate our freedom. More at 11.

  • What about? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Grand Facade (35180) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:06PM (#33925910)

    the financial and legal measures taken against him/them.

    Oh! Gee, sorry about the muck you got drug through........

  • by bkmoore (1910118) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:22PM (#33925992)
    I'm a military veteran and I may have authored some of the documents that were leaked. But pretty much all of the information was already publicly available in some form or another. We all knew Pakistan was playing a double game. We all knew that the CIA was operating secret drones along the boarder - who else could it be, the Mongolians? If you drop a bomb on somebody, you can keep it secret from the press, but everybody on the ground will know about it. It just takes a little investigative journalism to get at the truth. The main problem the Pentagon has is one of credibility. The fact that a low level intelligence clerk could smuggle out many GBs of classified documents while lip syncing to Lady Gaga makes the military and the entire chain of command look like a bunch of incompetent boobs. It just goes to show that WallMart has better protection against shoplifters than the military has against internal leaks. So the initial reaction is one of self-preservation. "If you leak this, people will die." Which is another way of saying, we royally screwed up and we're placing the blame on you because we don't want to be the ones getting busted over this. I am no longer in the military, so I can speak my mind on this. I still think Julian Assange is an idiot, but that's another topic.
    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:46PM (#33926132)

      It's also fascinating how they managed to entirely blame wikileaks.
      The new york times and the guardian mirrored a lot of the material too and took part in organizing the data before the public release yet everything was wikileaks fault.
      They military couldn't keep it's secrets secret but it was the fault of whoever the documents were sent to, not whoever was supposed to keep them secret.

      I wonder how it would have gone had he anonymously posted a USB stick to the guardian or another big name newspaper directly rather than going through wikileaks.
      They might have silenced it but they might not.
      would we be seeing the newspapers vilified in the same way.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @05:48PM (#33926514)

      I'm a military veteran and I may have authored some of the documents that were leaked. But pretty much all of the information was already publicly available in some form or another. We all knew Pakistan was playing a double game. We all knew that the CIA was operating secret drones along the boarder - who else could it be, the Mongolians? If you drop a bomb on somebody, you can keep it secret from the press, but everybody on the ground will know about it. It just takes a little investigative journalism to get at the truth.

      A lot of this was already in the press as well. Which leads me to wonder what the smoking gun was supposed to be. Exactly what was the big story that justified publishing this material? It could have been more corroborating evidence to back up speculation and other sources on these stories. And if so - why not limit the information to specifically those topics?

      The fact that these events were taking place isn't going to be a secret - as you've noted. However, the details to how things are done might be. Some of those reports look like they contain operational details that may or may not be gleened by opposing forces. In which case, Wikileaks did present intelligence and the US Military should be upset.

      The main problem the Pentagon has is one of credibility. The fact that a low level intelligence clerk could smuggle out many GBs of classified documents while lip syncing to Lady Gaga makes the military and the entire chain of command look like a bunch of incompetent boobs. It just goes to show that WallMart has better protection against shoplifters than the military has against internal leaks. So the initial reaction is one of self-preservation. "If you leak this, people will die." Which is another way of saying, we royally screwed up and we're placing the blame on you because we don't want to be the ones getting busted over this. I am no longer in the military, so I can speak my mind on this. I still think Julian Assange is an idiot, but that's another topic.

      The blame game rears its ugly head in almost any bureaucracy. The military is a bureaucractic force in to itself. To be sure - that's part of the story. But Manning (if he is the sole source) wasn't just some soldier from the motor pool wandering off with a book of military secrets. Manning was an intelligence analyst with access and a need to know. Although, if the story is to be believed, the huge question is why this system had a CD burner installed when supposedly these systems already have USB ports disabled to prevent data being transferred via thumbdrives.

      There's certainly some blame to go around in this case. However, I don't believe the entire story is simply smoke and mirrors to cover up someone's ineptitude. There is still intelligence value in the raw data. And Wikileaks' goal is to publish that data.

      • by rhizome (115711)

        Exactly what was the big story that justified publishing this material?

        That the DoD would respond as your parent said, with self-preservation in mind. This revealed them to be idiots when the facts revealed themselves as facts. The DoD didn't care what was in it, they just responded like a priestly sexual abuse victim: with pure anger and vengeance. Turns out they're really just a bunch of crybabies who fly off half-cocked. What a wonderful tradition of discipline and honor you have there, Eisenhower.

    • ... makes the military and the entire chain of command look like a bunch of incompetent boobs

      So by this statement I take it you would claim that they are not? I'd say that'll be a hard argument to prove. In fact I reckon it'd be easier to prove charges of treason against the vast overwhelming majority of them, than prove they were fit fir duty and competent for the position they hold.

      Sure hindsight is 20/20, but how often can you consistently get it completely wrong and make things *worse* for your country before someone calls you out on it?

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      ...makes the military and the entire chain of command look like a bunch of incompetent boobs.

      I'm pretty convinced of already they don't just play the fool, but they actualy are. Probably because they played it for too long (under Bush).

    • to wikileaks for falsely accusing it
    • to us for misleasing us

    I somehow doubt it. They make great words about being on the ''right'' side and then lie through their teeth when it suits them.

  • This is nothing new. This happens dozens (hundreds?) of times a year. A story surfaces, whether it was a mistake or actual disinformation, and is exploited by those stand to gain from spreading. It's beaten to death those first couple of weeks, repeated to the point that people believe it as fact. Then once it's been forgotten details come to light that completely refute the original claims or sometimes simply strips the blatant sensationalism of the original reporting. The correction is always released qui

  • why not fake an information leak, make the enemy (in this case Al Qaeda & the Taliban) think some important information was leaked regarding informants or whatever, and when the enemy goes to seek retribution they fall in to a trap and BOOM! bye bye enemy combatants. cant say it would work 100% of the time but even if it worked 30% to 50% it would help some.
  • And by here, I mean on Planet Earth.

    But, to answer your question:

    Will the Pentagon's contradiction of the charges against WikiLeaks get as much play in the media as those original accusations did?

    The answer is the same answer for the question "Does publicizing the contradiction of the charges INCREASE the levels of fear and/or paranoia amongst the general population?"

    Seriously folks, the only terrorists are The Government, The Department of Homeland Security (theater) and The Media. All of whom have a blatantly obvious interest in Keeping The Fear Alive.

  • As a tax payer... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 3seas (184403) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @06:03PM (#33926584) Journal

    ,,,I want the option to write off any contribution I make to Wikileaks to be tax deductable.

    My rational is quite simple and direct. For the people, by the people....... So damn't it... I want to know what I'm paying for as its bad enough that I don't have a choice what the taxes I pay are used for.

    As to the idea of harm being done, the fact of teh matter is of course there is harm being done by the massive waring mindset budgets of which the funds could most certainly be better spend on removing reasons for war, instead of creating reasons.

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