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

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


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.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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