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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 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.

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