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  (Source: Flickr)

Taliban gunmen mudered a tribal elder, who they believed was revealed as a U.S. "spy" by Wikileaks documents.  (Source: Sky News)

Wikileaks founder and convicted computer criminal Julian Assange  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Over 70 other tribal elders receive death threats, U.S. Congressman calls on death penalty for leaker Manning

It's been a nightmarish last few months for U.S. Military officials.  First they discovered that a young soldier serving in Iraq had acted as a spy passing documents to the site Wikileaks.  Then they endured Wikileaks release of 90,000 U.S. Military documents -- many of them classified -- detailing their operations in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, a radical Islamic militia in Afghanistan, announced its gratitude to Wikileaks for the release and vowed to hunt down those revealed in the documents to be collaborating with the U.S.  It appears that they have now made good on that threat.

Khalifa Abdullah, a tribal elder, was removed from his home in Monar village, in Kandahar province’s embattled Arghandab district, by gunmen.  He was then executed.

At the same time, 70 other tribal elders received death threats warning them that the Taliban had obtained reason to believe they were collaborating with the U.S.  One such threat is signed by Abdul Rauf Khadim, a senior Taliban official who was imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.  When the Cuban prison was partially shut down by President Obama Khadim was transferred to Afghan custody in Kabul, where he subsequently escaped.

The note reads:
We have made a decision for your death. You have five days to leave Afghan soil. If you don’t, you don’t have the right to complain.
NewsWeek first reported on the murder.  They report that the Taliban believes the documents showed it U.S. sources, including the murder victim, Abdullah -- whether or not they truly do.

founder and convicted Australian computer criminal Julian Assange claimed in a TIME interview that the leak was justified in the name of transparency.  He assured that no one would be harmed by the leak, stating:
We feel confident. The material is seven months old; we reviewed it extensively. We held back 15,000 documents that we felt needed further review because the type of classifications they had. We've been publishing for four years a range of material that has caused the changing of constitutions and the removal of governments, but there's never been a case that we are aware of that has resulted in the personal injury of anyone.
In related news, U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) has called on the U.S. Military to pursue the death penalty in the Manning case.  He says Manning's actions constitute treason in a time of war and thus should be punishable by death.  His statements came in an interview, which is preserved here in an audio recording.

We spoke with key government witness Adrian Lamo, who turned Manning in, about Rogers' remarks.  He tells us he doubts the U.S. government would pursue the death penalty given that they didn't in the case of Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent-turned-Russian spy.  Lamo states, "The damage done by Bradley Manning doesn't begin to approximate the damage Robert Hanssen did."

Hanssen received a life sentence, which he is currently serving.

If the government were to pursue such a sentence, though, Lamo says he would refuse to testify.

He states,"I elected to turn Manning in, in the hopes of saving lives.  I'm not going to participate in a process that's going to take a life.  There should be no other blood spilled by Wikileaks."

He concludes, "Under any other circumstances I will testify in the case.  [But] my concern for human life comes first."

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RE: Bad journalism *and* fabrications
By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/2010 9:16:22 PM , Rating: 0
So just to understand where you guys are going with this... Jason Mick made up the death threats and a possible murder relating to these documents? Or are 70 death threats right around the time the Taliban themselves cited the leak a mere coincidence? Or is the murder right around the time of the death threats made up and/or a coincidence as well?

He did give the source. Sky News. The story is real. It happened, like it or not. True, we don't KNOW for a fact the murder was only because of the leaked documents. But the timing is exact enough to draw the conclusion. But I'm not sure how you can guys can say Jason is lying and spinning conspiracies. At worst he's taking the same liberties with a story every journalist does.

No offense to journalists and armchair blog posters alike, but I doubt they are trained and qualified to search through intelligence reports and relate them to a current event. And I'm pretty sure a lot more goes into this than matching a name with a place. Come on, it can't be THAT easy. You don't honestly believe that, do you, that any trained monkey with a search bar can do intelligence analysis?

The UK Times reported that in just a few hours of combing through the reports dozens of Afghans were named that provided detailed intelligence to the US military. So don't sit here and tell me nobody is being put at risk by this leak.

RE: Bad journalism *and* fabrications
By asuffield on 8/5/2010 12:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
He did give the source. Sky News

Ah, I see you fell for that little trick. Sky News is the source of the photograph.

Jason Mick made up the death threats and a possible murder relating to these documents?

No. Somebody made it up. Mick printed it without checking.

By priusone on 8/5/2010 5:41:18 AM , Rating: 2
Death threats? Fabrications? When I first heard that those documents were leaked, I knew that the Taliban would be digging through it to find "reasons" to kill fellow humans. I would fabricate a story tomorrow about sales surging this December? Decades of statistics say that sales will surge, and statistics say that the Taliban will be busy doing Allah's work.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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