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David Petraeus, who comands the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, warns that Wikileaks' upcoming document dump will reveal the names of U.S. collaborators in Iraq. The U.S. Military says that it is working to protect its allies from being killed as a result of the potential leak.  (Source: The Huffington Post)

Convicted computer criminal and Wikileaks chief Julian Assange says that the U.S. government cannot intimidate him not to release the info.  (Source: AP Photo / Bertil Ericson / SCANPIX)

The Taliban vows to "punish" those found in the new documents, and has already killed one tribal elder it claims to have found to be a U.S. collaborator.  (Source: AP)
Site also posts interview with soldier involved in 2007 Apache helicopter attack

It was a episode of high drama and tragedy, one which put the site Wikileaks on the map.  The video of the 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad, which now appears to have been leaked by arrested U.S. Military intelligence specialist Bradley Manning, stirred strong sentiments among many worldwide.

Today, the site is once again the center of attention.  Just over two weeks ago it leaked over 76,000 classified documents on the Afghan war. 

The hostile insurgency in Afghanistan known as the Taliban lauded the leak, saying that they would use it to identify and "punish" locals who cooperated with the U.S.  Soon after they murdered a tribal elder and threatened many other local leaders.  While it is unclear whether they actually identified the individual via references in the documents, or are merely trying to get under the U.S. Armed Forces leadership's skin, the leak seems to be giving the insurgency much needed ammo against their U.S. foes.

Unfazed, Wikileaks is pressing ahead.  This week it aired an interview with Ethan McCord, a solider involved with the 2007 Apache helicopter attack, which Wikileaks dubbed "Collateral Murder".  McCord was the soldier who reported finding an AK-47 and RPG launcher among the killed civilians -- which some used argued showed the soldiers involved followed procedure. 

McCord, in the video counters this argument, saying civilians regularly carry and proudly show off such weapons in Baghdad.  He said they did not appear hostile when the attack was initiated and he emotionally recalls pick glass from the eyes of a 4-year-old girl after the attack.

That's just the warmup -- Wikileaks plans to soon air 15,000 additional classified documents on the Afghan conflict.  The site previously had indicated that it was withholding these documents as they might endanger U.S. allies.  Apparently it has since abandoned such concerns, and is planning on releasing the documents, according to an Aug. 8 interview with a man who goes by the name Daniel Schmitt and claims to be among Wikileaks' five full-time employees.

Convicted computer criminal and site founder Assange commented in subsequent Associated Press interview, "We have a duty to the people most directly affected by this material, the people of Afghanistan and the course of this war which is killing hundreds every week. We have a duty to the broader historical record and its accuracy and its integrity. And we have a duty to our sources to try and protect them where we can."

On Sunday the top US military commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, blasted the leak, stating, "As we have looked through it more and more, there are source names and in some cases there are actual names of individuals with whom we have partnered in difficult missions in difficult places.  And obviously, that is very reprehensible."

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed earlier this month that the U.S. was taking steps to protect its allies in Afghanistan who might be endangered by the leak.

As the new leak approaches, it appears public sentiment within the U.S. is shifting against Wikileaks.  A FoxNews poll showed 66 percent of Americans thought the site should be condemned for the leak, while only 21 percent said it should be praised.  In total 76 percent of those who identified themselves as independent voters, 73 percent of those who identified themselves as Republicans, and 57 percent of those who identified themselves as Democrats condemned the leak of classified military documents.  Also 61 percent indicated that they believe the individual who leaked the documents committed treason, while only 29 percent disagreed.

Some individuals do support the site's actions, though.  Posting on the video of McCord's interview, a user "illrated213" writes:
how about instead of punishing someone with bravery for leaking this video out, does the u.s. or the soldiers responsible get punished???? no.... thats right, usa never does wrong.....im ahamed (sic) to be an american.....p.s. FUCK OUR GOVERNMENT!!!!
In related news, Assange told Swedish news agency TT that he was seeking a publishing license in Sweden in order to receive protection under local whistleblower laws.  Wikileaks has a number of servers in Sweden, which host much of is content.  Assange states, "We're dealing with organizations that don't obey the law.  We're dealing with intelligence agencies."




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