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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.

Wikileaks
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: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By heffeque on 8/3/2010 9:29:03 PM , Rating: -1
May I remind everyone that they offered the White House to review the documents to prevent that some names would slip and... the White House declined the offer so... the US Government is also responsible for this.

What surprises me is the fact that people want to blame Wikileaks and their informers:

If the reported crimes were committed by the U.S. government, treason was committed by the government to its citizens and the rest of the world, not the other way around.

Obviously the government has a lot of dirty stuff to hide and interestingly enough one of the loudest voices of the extreme right wing is the voice of the person who "basically" said "Torture works and when it works, it's no longer torture. It's patriotism American-style": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...

I'm sure I'm gonna get a lot of negative votes from some people, but I guess that some people prefer not to have true notion that their government is committing crimes (that's what the leak is all about: crimes committed by US and other countries in Afghanistan, etc). It's obviously not the first time someone leaked info to tell the truth to the world about crimes governments are committing. Nixon's "Deep Throat" anyone?

Personally I prefer that these crimes are exposed so that we can all know how and what our governments are doing, not just what they want us to know.

The patriotic thing to do is to peal out these rotten apples in the government that are committing crimes so that we can have the best government our country deserves.


RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By afkrotch on 8/3/2010 9:42:47 PM , Rating: 5
Releasing document for transparency of the government is one thing, but releasing documents that happen to mention possible spies that are currently still out in the field is another.

Regardless of what you think, there is no such thing as strictly black and white in the world. There is always a gray area. There will always be things within the government, any government, that the world is best off not knowing.


RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By TheEinstein on 8/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By jonup on 8/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By clovell on 8/4/2010 11:39:34 AM , Rating: 5
Assange is not an American. His rights are not protected by our Constitution. Manning is an American. But, since we're at war, and he leaked secret intelligence to the enemy which may well result in the death of allied forces, he has committed treason and will be tried as such.

I also don't see how tax dollars are being wasted here. We left Afghanistan to fend for itself back in the 80s, and the Taliban took over, got to supporting Al Qaeda and then we got 9/11 and a complete collapse of the United States economy. There's a saying that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

One more - there are no inhuman actions going on - the leaked documents have showed nothing of the sort. The casualty figures are lower than any other war of similar ever fought.

And what's this stuff about Republicans and small government? This isn't a Republican war. It's an American War. Damn near everyone in Congress authorized it. Believe me - we're all ready to leave, but there's a fair precedent that's been set that says if we mess this up, it will probably bite us in the ass a lot harder than if we'd stayed.


By asuffield on 8/5/2010 1:19:33 AM , Rating: 1
Assange is not an American. His rights are not protected by our Constitution.

An interesting attitude, but I'm fairly sure your courts have disagreed with it on several occasions. Citizenship is not a requirement for constitutional protection in the US. Fortunately.

Manning is an American. But, since we're at war, and he leaked secret intelligence to the enemy which may well result in the death of allied forces, he has committed treason and will be tried as such.

The US is not at war. That requires an act of congress. The US is merely "conducting peacemaking operations overseas". This is the official position of the US government.

Manning has already been charged and will not be tried for treason. He is charged with two counts of violation of the uniform code of military justice. The first is article 92 (failure to obey orders) and the second is article 134 (general conduct bringing discredit upon the armed forces).


RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By Hyraxxx on 8/8/2010 6:45:09 PM , Rating: 1
Our Constitution does not grant us rights, it reinforces rights we already have because we are human. Lets our rules know our individual sovereignty.

We are not at war. We are in a military incursion. The media just likes throwing the word 'war' around.

Assange is a true patriot. US just being there is a crime. How many civilians has the US murdered? Where is the outrage against the war during the Obama administration?


By Chaser on 8/9/2010 3:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
I can't speak for everyone but I'm outraged over the 3000 civilians that were murdered when the World Trade cCenter buildings were flown into and blown up.

Assange voluntarily joined the U.S. military service. It's shameful and saddening when "patriots" like Assange (and you) gleefully justify treason and endangering fellow military personnel with impunity.


By TheEinstein on 8/5/2010 3:22:29 AM , Rating: 3
Rating me down does not change the facts.

This man aided and abetted terrorists. The United Nations recognizes them as terrorists. Russia recognizes them as terrorists, NATO recognizes them as terrorists.

His deliberate choice to reveal classified information without filtering them aided and abetted the terrorists.

If we sent a drone to kill this man we would be in our rights. If we seized him from his hiding hole and put him in gitmo, we would be in our rights.

Wiki-Leaks is GONE.


RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By jonup on 8/4/10, Rating: -1
By clovell on 8/4/2010 11:25:00 AM , Rating: 5
We live in a Republic, not a direct democracy. You don't have the right to personally know everything that's going on at any given time in the government. Transparency is one thing, but releasing classified documents in the middle of an ongoing war is treason.

The Romans recognized millenia ago that a direct democracy was simply not feasible. So, in closing - I hope you like knowing that we're doing a good job over here, even though that knowledge comes at the expense of the lives of our Afghan allies.

*Warm Fuzzies*


RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By heffeque on 8/4/2010 4:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
"Releasing document for transparency of the government is one thing, but releasing documents that happen to mention possible spies that are currently still out in the field is another."

The White House made that possible. It was the White House's job to filter the possible spies and they didn't do it, so he's obviously not responsible for that.


RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By clovell on 8/4/2010 4:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm gonna let you off with a warning for not using sarcasm tags on a Wednesday, sir - but, next time, I'll have to issue a citation ;)


By heffeque on 8/11/2010 6:13:35 PM , Rating: 2
There's no sarcasm there. He asked the White House to help him filter the info and the White House didn't want to cooperate.

Here's your citation ;)

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jeff-poor/2010/07/29/...


RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By inperfectdarkness on 8/4/2010 9:57:37 AM , Rating: 5
wait...

so you think that the white house should condone leaks such as this by being willing to "filter" them out?

negative.

the white house is not about to let the world think that we're "ok" with having protected information in the public sector. worse, even IF they agreed to filter the documents--the filtered parts would likely still find the light of day; thanks to conspiracy idiots.

rest assured that if the white house had filtered anything, the same apologists (of which you are yourself a staunch believer) would come out with a statement painting the white house as culpable and quite complicitous. IF such a transaction ever did happen between wiki-leaks and the white house--the response from the white house was the correct one.

the blood is on the hands of wikileaks and the source behind these documents. blood also resides on the hands of al qaeda; but the latter has not changed circumstances by this development.

collaborators should be tried and punished to the maximum extent allowable under law. in this case, that includes execution.


RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By jonup on 8/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Link between murder and wikileaks?
By clovell on 8/4/2010 12:45:08 PM , Rating: 5
A small price to pay? The rate of collateral civilians casualties in this war has been one of the lowest of any war ever waged?

The tactics have been respectable and commendable. It's time to give it up and stop spreading FUD.


By priusone on 8/5/2010 5:31:05 AM , Rating: 2
Have any of the deaths listed in the documents done out of malice or were they accidents, mainly based on identity? Our troops are held to a very high standard and exercise great constraint in their actions, yet the tens of thousands of women and children IED's kill, well they are not important. People like Jon would rather that Saddam be in power, punishing the 70+% of his population, killing off the Kurds, and spending the rest of the money on his fellow Sunni's. Oh well.

And if you think that Manning's actions will result in only 70 "elderly" people dying, you have no idea. The Taliban will kill way more than that using the excuse that Islam is a Religion of Piece.

Those of us who have had our boots on the ground and have walked among the downtrodden truly know and understand what freedom means.


By clovell on 8/4/2010 11:18:07 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure the White House would rather that secret documents remain secret. Blaming the negligence of Wikileaks on the White House is patently ridiculous.


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