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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: Bad journalism *and* fabrications
By asuffield on 8/5/2010 12:54:47 AM , Rating: 1
Look up Arghandab (the district Monar is in)there are several intel reports about recruitment.

I looked up Arghandab. It took approximately half an hour to check all references and reports from that district. There are no reports about recruitment (almost every report is about enemy fire or discovery of IEDs).

Readers are free to speculate on why you might lie about this.

It’s not even up for debate they admitted they were aided by the information

Even the dodgy stories cited by Mick do not make this claim. There appears to be no evidence whatsoever that the Taliban have claimed any connection between these events and the leaked documents.


By tmouse on 8/6/2010 8:41:19 AM , Rating: 3
Took me a lot less than a half hour, put the csv into excel. There are numerous reports about discoveries of uxo (un exploded ordinance) if there is no abbreviation mentioned as a source this means the items were discovered by sources outside of the military or afghan security forces. There are also numerous reports about drug site destruction. Many of the NPCC reports mention arrests of suspicious individuals, here it’s not clear if they were caught by chance or the checkpoints were alerted. finally there is a specific report about an individual named Abdul Rahman Akhundzada who is a Taliban Tactical Commander the information was released by a source described as:

"HUMINT Source: B2 rated Source who has reported reliably 12 times in the past. Source can PID with detailed physical description. Additionally, Source has operated with ODA in the past to PID".

Was this Khalifa Abdullah? I do not know could this be one of the others? Possibly.

We do not have the necessary information to piece these together BUT they certainly could. You simply cannot declare the information as harmless with the extremely limited information you have available. As for "There appears to be no evidence whatsoever that the Taliban have claimed any connection between these events and the leaked documents" There are NUMEROUS reports all over, from their own spokes people mentioning that the information will be helpful, and from a cursory glance if there are more mentions of HUMINT (which is mil speak for human intelligence sources) there is certainly damaging information.


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