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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: Obcession with Lamo?
By tmouse on 8/4/2010 8:18:40 AM , Rating: 4
Please, if you’re going to use a wiki as a source, at least try to understand it and think what are the limits or weaknesses in the information. The totals in the bottom are total BS. Did you notice that they simply totaled ALL of the minimums and maximums to get the numbers? Now look closely this time, see how the column sources do not match up? You cannot use unpaired data and it is also totally stupid to aggregate different sources to get a "total". The 20,000 figure is a number pulled out of the a@@ from a Guardian article totally unsubstantiated by ANY other source cited in the wiki and 5-6x higher than ANY other source, do you know what an outlier means? The different sources certainly overlap so totaling the numbers is equally stupid.

Now what was your point?

Yes a lot of people have been killed in this conflict (there are MANY other conflicts that make this look like a drop in the bucket), how pray tell does this even remotely limit the FACT that people are now being killed and their deaths are being justified by their identification from the wikileaks release? There is simply no way ANYONE can reliably scan that amount of documentation and have ANY confidence that they are not releasing information that will lead to exposing sources and their subsequent executions. I'm certain ALL the "review" was merely looking at the classifications on the documents. Clearly in small regions an "innocent" mention of a source as “a prominent elder in the region X” is enough information with the suspicions they already have to lead to the death of someone. Releasing ANY documents that contain ANY references to individuals ; in no way, shape or form aids in transparency. IF you see something that looks wrong release a digest, summary form of it and as the story gains momentum the details may be released ONLY AFTER EXTREAMLY CAREFUL AND PAINSTAKING REVIEW. Then and ONLY then can you have ANY confidence that you are making an effort to cause minimal harm. This was not done AT ALL by wikileaks, clearly there is a personal agenda with no real interest in "transparency" and certainly no interest in the potential harm that could be done. So yes blood is on his hands and he has direct responsibility for these deaths.

RE: Obcession with Lamo?
By DougF on 8/4/2010 9:14:04 AM , Rating: 2
(Stands on soapbox)

(clears throat)

Well Said!

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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