back to article Wikileaks double dares Pentagon hawks

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said his whistle-blower site won't be silenced by the Pentagon or any other group seeking to prevent it from airing more than 15,000 secret documents relating to the war in Afghanistan. "This organization will not be threatened by the Pentagon or any other group," Assange told reporters this …

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  1. DavCrav Silver badge

    It started off being funny...

    But now Ass. is blackmailing the US military. Every time you think he can't raise the stakes more, he does. If I were a bookies, I'd put bets on the time before he gets taken out. Does Australia have an extradition treaty with the US?

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      OK, I don't care any more

      BBC News story says that a US senator has asked for people with knowledge to leak information abotu Megrahi, and assured confidentiality. The US government cannot have it both ways, so I say fuck em.

      1. Stratman
        FAIL

        title

        Ah yes, good 'ole Uncle Sam 'ordering' the Scottish Government to attend its inquiry about the release of Megeahi.

        Shame the same Uncle Sam isn't quite so forthcoming about so-called 'Friendly Fire' inquests in Blighty.

        Goose, gander, sauce etc.

    3. DavCrav Silver badge
      Unhappy

      To the people who continue to downvote my first post while upvoting my second one...

      I changed my mind! Do you have to continue the hating?! ;-)

    4. Burch
      Grenade

      Yuou do realise

      That the USA does not own the world don't you?

      I have to ask as so many seem to think so.

  2. b166er

    Checks and balances

    Democracy in action. It's good to see.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brave, or stupid?

    Wikipedia shows this guy as 38-39 years old. I wonder if he'll make it to 40.

    As Jim Croce used to sing, "You don't tug on Superman's cape..."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You don't tug on Superman's cape..."

      or give him enough rope...?

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      Why's that then? I was under the impression that Superman was a nice guy, not a bully.

  4. JimC

    We're the internet: we're above the law...

    Seems like a strategy doomed to end very unhappily to me...

  5. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
    FAIL

    I used to respect wikileaks

    There is a difference however between leaking evidence of illegal activity on behalf of a government and putting lives at risk. I have several good friends currently posted in Afghanistan, and I really hope that this arrogant **** doesn't get them dead. Something like half the people I knew growing up have served there in the past few years, not all of them came back. Several that did come back didn’t exactly come back whole.

    The thought that some douche might get people I care about dead just for his ego is almost too much to deal with. Very upset with this whole situation. What ever happened to wikileaks serving as a way to keep corporations and governments honest? The information in these leaks isn’t scandalous in the least; it isn’t evidence of anything untoward on behalf of the governments involved in this war. It’s a detailed list of who’s who and where; just the kind of information that the Taliban require to get our men and women dead.

    Regardless of the how or why the war started, it is a WAR. We kill them, they kill us. We spend resources on converting folks on their side so they will leak us information, they do the same. In this case though, Ass. has revealed huge numbers of informants and classified activities to the Taliban whilst we learn nothing new from them. It’s a huge boon for the Taliban in that they can now target turncoats on their side as well as analyse the documents to extract information about how our side plans and executes strategies.

    They may even be able to get a feel for which units serve which purposes, and lay traps to get rid of the particular thorns in their side. Understand me when I say I am no fan of the Americans, nor do I really think they should have gotten involved in the Middle East at all. I am however a proud supporter of Canada’s military, and I don’t want to see my friends get killed because of this Ass.hat.

    We are at war here. If we simply packed up and left right now that country would be worse off than if we saw this thing through. Regardless of the origins of this conflict, the politicians or the money-grubbing corrupt corporations that are involved, the men and women out there dying on our behalf do deserve our support. The best possible thing we can do is help them end this war quickly and decisively so that they can finally come home, whilst knowing they did the best they could to leave Afghanistan capable of taking care of itself when they are gone.

    The armchair critics of this war such as Ass. have absolutely no idea what is going on there. It’s easy to point fingers and publish documents, it’s another thing entirely to live in that country for months or years and be faced every day with exactly how different, hard and just overall BAD life in that country really is. I know some twat will come out of the woodwork and scream “if you want to support the soldiers, bring them all home tomorrow!” I promise you that would be one of the worst things you could do.

    These men and women have lived in this country and seen what goes on there; I promise you that the majority of them would rather lay down their lives than abandon the locals to the wolves. If doesn’t take long living in theatre before you realise that you are truly fighting /for/ something. That the people in these towns and villages are people just like you, and they deserve to live free from fear as much as the armchair critics back home do.

    It is my greatest regret in life that I wasn’t able to join Canada’s military, and fight alongside the men and women I grew up with. This isn’t because I agree with the wars we’ve gotten in to, or because I think war is at all a good thing. It’s because I care about these people and wish I could be watching their backs in what is a terribly hostile environment. It is also because I have spent a lot of time talking with those who have returned from Afghanistan, and I have gotten a very vivid picture of just how good we have it here. The folks in Afghanistan don’t have the means to win their own freedom, but by $deity they are trying. With our help, they just might succeed.

    So long as egomaniacs like Ass. aren’t allowed to **** it up for everyone. Our soldiers, and the millions of people in that country are counting on it.

    1. Mark 65

      Maybe I'm missing something

      The likelihood of your friends being killed is purely down to the fact they are in the military and on active duty in a combat zone. Unless they are Taliban informants of course, in which case you might have a justifiable grievance against Wikileaks.

      Not quite sure how Wikileaks can be getting soldiers killed otherwise with their info. I mean, it's not like the Taliban don't know what the opposition looks like or what combat events they have been party to or even where they're based. The fact that they're probably being helped by factions of a foreign military power means they would likely have access to plenty of information anyhow.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
        Grenade

        @Mark 65

        The way this has all been explained to me is as follows: the information coming from the local informants is unbelievable valuable for keeping our folks alive. One of the big things that comes from these informants supposedly is information such as “what roads IEDs have been placed on.” Alternately “the bad dudes are planning to be here at this time” which has helped the allies avoid ambushes and the like.

        If that information dries up then simply going out on patrol becomes far more risky. They do their best at all times to be on alert for IEDs, ambushes etc…but knowing beforehand where to look can ensure that they pack extra precautions. A UAV over flight, or taking an IED robot to sweep in front of the convoy.

        This isn’t true in all areas of Afghanistan, but in some areas, particularly where the Canadians currently are, they are apparently quite reliant on this information, as there simply aren’t enough resources available to send up a UAV for every patrol, or send a crawler in front of every convoy. If we stop receiving this information then we have to make far less educated guesses about when to deploy the appropriate resources. This in turn leads to more of our guys getting blown up.

        I am sorry if you don’t see the connection there, but that seems pretty cut and dried to me.

    2. Alfred

      Not one soldier has come back from Afghanistan yet. So true.

      "These men and women have lived in this country and seen what goes on there; I promise you that the majority of them would rather lay down their lives than abandon the locals to the wolves"

      That is so true. I see plane after plane come back empty because soldiers refuse to come home at the end of their duty cycle. They just go AWOL and remain in Afghanistan, preferring to die there than come home.

      On a more realistic note, do you even read the words you type or is it like a guessing game for you?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @Alfred

        Soldiers come back from their tours knowing that other soldiers will be shipped out in their place. Many of them sign up for more than one tour because of what they see there. I can't speak to the Americans, but i know several Canadians who, upon completion of their tour, volunteered to return with the next group because they felt the job wasn't done.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          WTF?

          Alfred

          Returning to theater as the job is not finished ?

          I have done a few tours and the last thing on my mind was going back or STAYING there when my tour was up. Believe it or not most soldiers have family and spending six months (minus a short berak in the middle) at a time away from them is not nice.

          Yeah i have volunteered to go on tour before now but if you think i really want to spend six months in a shithole of a country eating crap and getting shot at you must be fuc*ing nuts. I did it for the money, had a great time overall and made some mates for life, you take the rough with the smooth and going to war (or SFOR) aint nice.

        2. Semihere
          Big Brother

          Get the job done?

          "I can't speak to the Americans, but i know several Canadians who, upon completion of their tour, volunteered to return with the next group because they felt the job wasn't done."

          But can you quantify - in very precise terms - just what 'the job' actually is? I believe the original stated aim for the illegal invasion and ongoing occupation was to capture Osama Bin Laden. Or have you forgotten that part of the grand lie?

          So just what are they actually doing now to 'get the job done' considering that THAT is the true 'job'?

          (Big Brother for the obvious newspeak links of terms like 'get the job done')

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
            Unhappy

            @Semihere

            What is "the job?" According to all of my friends who have served, they want to see the Taliban beat back enough so as not to be a threat the local Afghanis can't deal with. Removal of the Taliban ability to make war on the locals, for all intents and purposes. They want to pull out of the country, but only once they are sure the locals can actually take care of themselves when they do.

            This is a recurring theme, as many of these folks have seen exactly what the Talbian do when they "reclaim" territory. Several of these guys will never be the same (mentally) because of seeing it. I know for a fact the soldiers in question would never sleep well again if we just packed up and left that entire country to that fate.

            We got into this war on false pretences. We fucked up big time. Now we’re stuck in a situation where if we just take our ball and go home then hundred of thousands if not millions of people are going to die some pretty goddamned awful deaths. I understand the moral outrage over our having to be there in the first place: hell, I share it! If we had left well enough alone these people wouldn’t be under this kind of threat. They wouldn’t be living the most open society, but they would be at risk of being slaughtered as collaborators.

            I honestly can’t believe the number of people in this thread who are either A) so naive that they believe if we just left the Taliban would peacefully take over the country without harm to the locals and everything will be flowers and rainbows or B) are so morally self-righteous about the fact that this was a botched war from the beginning that they simply don’t CARE about what happens to the Afghanis.

            It makes me sad to be of the same species as these people. I believe that human lives are worth more than the self-satisfaction of a few westerners.

        3. Rob Dobs
          Unhappy

          Is this a good thing?

          I know that really some of these troops are upstanding and moral men, who go back because of a moral obligation to duty. They do exist and I have met a few guys like this.

          However I have also met some really racist, murderous fucks who love the chance to get to a foreign country and see how many "kills" they can chalk up.

          A Warrior who fights and kills for a living, who chooses to go back to the killing fields, as opposed to coming home when the GOVERNMENT says he has done his duty, is maybe not always to be by default a great thing to be admired.

          From the glint in the eyes and factual news reports coming out of the country, I am convinced that this is a common enough problem, and not just isolated instances.

          Barbers cut hair, soldiers fight, its their job. I don't think we should have a default reverence for someone who VOLUNTARILY chooses a job that puts them into situations where they have to shoot and kill people.

          This is not the poor saps drafted and FORCED to go fight in Vietnam, or the GREAT soldiers who rose up in WWII to fight a threat that would soon, if not already threaten their lives and way of living.

          These people choose to do this, and no one is making them. When they serve, I show respect, when they go back for more, I have to question which of the two above types they guy is.

          (hint most fall somewhere in the middle, with a sense of duty and a love for violence)

          Really the stink hiding under this is how many of these troops who do go back, only because their house is in foreclosure, and they can't pass up that active duty hazard pay.

          So let me be fair and add a third class of troops that go back (probably the biggest group in fairness). Those that don't want to go back, but are too poor to turn down the large sums the government is offering them to re-enlist. Combine that with poor job propects back home, and you get lots more.

    3. ajh-

      How Trevor_Pott used to support Wikileaks when it affected other people

      > The armchair critics of this war such as Ass. have absolutely no idea what is going on there.

      But due to the release of the some of the documents we are starting to get a better idea.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On the other hand...

      "We are at war here. If we simply packed up and left right now that country would be worse off than if we saw this thing through."

      Perhaps if "we" hadn't been buggering about in Afghanistan since time began (and more ineptly than usual in the last decade) "our" troops, Afghan civilians and the informants you so worry about wouldn't be getting slaughtered at all. Its terribly convenient to do the old "Regardless of the origins of this conflict" number, but as with just about every other bloody time this weak crock of shit is trotted out, the origins tend to look an awful lot like the current situation, just with different square-headed swivel eyed types in charge, and a slightly different flavour of Demon to slay.

      "With our help, they just might succeed."

      Oh christ, I can hear the mournful twang of "star spangled banner", and it ain't the Jimi Hendrix version. Perhaps, just maybe, the Afghans really, really have had enough of the "help" - so frequently US funded - that has reduced their society and country to ruin. If "success" is a pliant, US-friendly and hyper corrupt regime run by a weapons grade sycophant, I'm not sure you'll get many takers.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @AC Re: "star spangled banner"

        I think you are making some pretty big assumptions there buddy. I in absolutely /no way/ support US.gov, America or it's policy of capitalism colonialism. I do wholeheartedly support the right of the individuals who make up a country to be allowed to choose their own leaders and political system. If they choose capitalism, I will mourn. If they choose socialism, I will cheer. The choice should be theirs however.

        Personally, I suspect that after decades of meddling in their affairs by foreign powers, the emerging regime will be FAR from compliant with the US, the EU, Russia or anyone else. Personally I have zero problem with that. I do have a huge problem with a forced theocracy just as I would a forced dictatorship of any kind.

        I support my CANADIAN troops in theatre. Just don’t get me confused with someone who supports US.Gov. My beef with wikileaks is NOT support for US.Gov.

        1. kissingthecarpet
          FAIL

          What if

          they choose a theocracy? I'll bet that most of the more westernised Afganis that used to live there in the 60's & 70's have left for other countries by now - I've met a few.

          The Russians got rid of anyone left-of-centre who wasn't a Soviet loyalist (e.g social democrats), which killed of any trend towards secularism. Then the CIA funded all the Islamists it could get its hands on, & taught them insurgency methods into the bargain.

          The shit world we now face is of the USA's & its allies making - if they hadn't brought down every self-determined left-wing government established in any 2nd/3rd world country since the war, perhaps we'd be living in a better world now.

    5. JaitcH
      WTF?

      Potts doesn't speak for all Canadians

      The majority of thinking Canadians wonder why we are there at all.

      The Canadian military doesn't have sufficient resources, equipment or even infrastructure to defend our country (we have three coasts to protect) and the last place we need to be is in Afghanistan, especially since the Americans are still killing their Allies, whilst denying it.

      It is another VietNam where America sticks it's nose in where it's not wanted. Just like Iraq.

      The US wants one thing only: O-I-L. Only trouble is they haven't figured out there is none in Afghanistan, so maybe they are fighting the drug business.

      Canada has plenty of oil, we have a totally different view of cannabis and we aren't bankrupt (unlike the USA).

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
        Unhappy

        @JaitcH

        Count me among the Canadians confused about how in the fnord we ended up there in the first place. We've been there how many years and I still have absolutely no clue how the hell we ended up fighting over that particular stretch of land. That said, we're there now; let's get the thing done and bring our men and women home. Personally, I think this war would be better run WITHOUT the Americans. If I had my way, we’d kick the yanks out, gather some real international support and return to Afghanistan in blue berets.

      2. Rob Dobs

        Afganistan has land between oil and consumers

        Dont loose sight and forget the Truth.

        Afghanistan does not have Oil, they have the land that is between the oil and the european markets.

        Don't forget history. Halliburton was in talks with the Taliban to put a oil pipeline across their country. in Aug, before 9/11. (Remember VP Dickhead Cheney was the ex CEO of Halliburton before coming to office just recently before this).

        Then the oil pipepline talks breakdown, then 9/11 happens, then we are in control of Afghanistan for a decade.....

        (not saying Dickhead actually planned the 9/11 attack... but this whole situation has stuck to high heaven of dirty work from the beginning, there is certainly more toadism, backroom deals and other shit going on we are just not aware off.

    6. rwhite17
      Unhappy

      65 years ago

      The judges at Nuremberg described wars of aggression as the ultimate crime. They precipitate all the subsequent crimes, none of which would have occurred had the invasion not happened.

      Hitler claimed he was liberating other countries at their request (and promptly set up puppet governments to confirm his claims). The Nuremberg judges saw through this, of course. Easy enough, given Germany was an official enemy.

      No matter what happens in Afghanistan or Iraq, the blame for every subsequent crime falls squarely on the shoulders of those who invaded the country with their troops. Dead civilians, dead "insurgents" (in France in the 40s they were called Freedom Fighters, but what do you expect from corporate media lap dogs?), or dead invading soldiers, the blame lies with those who started it all by invading another country.

      As for saving the Afghan people, I shudder to imagine anyone actually believes this, especially after the exposure of dozens of great lies since WWII -- Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Greece, Haiti, Chile, and on and on.

      This is about force-projection and resource control so a tiny minority of the world's population can maintain and increase their hold on power. They couldn't care less who dies as a result, so long as they achieve their aims. It is a very, very old story: private profit, public cost.

      No matter what Assange does, there is only one group of people I will blame. After all, no invasion of Afghanistan (the ultimate crime), no secret documents to release.

    7. veti Silver badge
      Grenade

      You're bluffing

      "In this case though, Ass. has revealed huge numbers of informants and classified activities to the Taliban "

      Name three of these "informants".

      You're saying their names have already been released to the Taliban, so you couldn't possibly do any more harm by telling us here, could you?

      So let's hear it - or at least, the document references where they're identified. Otherwise, I shall go on believing that, as far as I've seen, sensitive details have been thoroughly redacted in the documents that have been leaked - and all comments of this type are just systematic character assassination of an inconvenient/embarrassing figure.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @veti

        I am not going to go dig up names of informants and post them on the internet when the thrust of my entire beef with Ass. is that he posted names of informants on the internet. Think about this carefully for a second.

        As for “character assassination of an inconvenient or embarrassing individual” you are completely and utterly wrong. I CACKLE WITH GLEE at the thought of the American government being embarrassed by the kinds of things that show up on Wikileaks. I don’t support US.gov, the American military, large corporations or any of that. The more embarrassing and politically inconvient someone is, the more I want to give my hard earned cash to their cause.

        Where I draw the line is the instant anyone is put at risk. This would be no different than publishing a list of known sex offenders. Sure, there is a side that legitimately can say “we deserve a right to know/think of the children!” On the other hand, there are places in this world (even/especially in the US) where having your name on that list will get you lynched. When you consider a country like the US where you can be put on a sex offender’s list for sexting your significant other, then I would have some /very/ serious reservations about the release of that information.

        Release a document however about how many sex offenders were living in a given area/the government lost track of/something else that doesn’t include personally identifiable information and I will be the first person to stand up for the right to do so.

        Do you understand the difference here? Release of information that is embarrassing is one thing. Release of information that can endanger the lives of others is a different kettle of fish entirely.

        At least it is to me: you are of course welcome to your own opinions on the matter.

        1. Rob Dobs
          Happy

          At some point you have to answer to the truth of your actions.

          I agree you have a good general line.. but there is always a grey area.

          Is it worth it for the truth to come out and expose a brutal occupation, have a few US soldiers killed as a backlash, and THEN have the brutality to the Afgan people STOP? ( or let up a little anyways).

          US releases the sex offender list because our parents ability to keep our kids away from THOSE particular houses, outweighs their right to privacy. I will also say as much as I wish to, I have not yet heard of ONE lycning in the US of a person on the sexoffender list (maybe just missed it, but not aware of any).

          I can understand TACTFULLY handling releasing the truth to avoid it damaging people, but when you are talking about the real TRUTH, facts, then there is rare cases I could imagine this would be needed. People should be able to face the facts of what they have done and defend their actions openly in a public forum. Don't get me wrong we all have a right to general privacy, I don't think the German government should be recording who is Jewish for example - this is a fact, and they should be proud to be jewish, but for obvious reasons they should be able to keep their religious beliefs private. However when your religious beliefs involve activly killing people, you can't claim that no one should release your personal info, that truth deserves to be known.

        2. veti Silver badge

          @Trevor

          Your entire rant is based on the claim that Assange has already made "countless informants" names available to the Taliban.

          Whereas I believe, from what I've seen, that the documents thus far released have *not* made this sort of information available to the Taliban.

          It's very hard for me to prove you wrong, because your position is hard to falsify. I can point to document references saying "There, here's an example of a document that doesn't reveal an informant's name". (Here's one: http://wardiary.wikileaks.org/afg/event/2004/01/AFG20040101n4.html). But of course that doesn't prove that other documents *don't* leak that information.

          But it should be easy for *you* to prove *me* wrong. All you have to do is point at three documents that *do* reveal informants' names. Can you do that?

    8. Matt Bradley
      Thumb Up

      Well said

      ••••APPLAUSE****

      A well written and emotive response. Couldn't agree more.

      I'm sorry we got involved in these wars. It wasn't helped by the fact that the incumbent in the White House was a war-mongering shitbag who didn't care about the lives of his own people, or those in Afghanistan & Iraq.

      BUT. We're there now - and it is our DUTY to leave these countries in a stable condition. Abandoning them now makes us even worse. We've bombed them into the stone age, and now we're going to fuck off home? Sorry: that's just selfish, irresponsible and downright evil.

      Assange has demonstrated that he has no interest in anything other than his own self promotion: these documents put real human beings at risk. Some of them allied forces, some of them Afghan citizens. Responsible journalism isn't about killing people just to get yourself some more publicity.

    9. Rob Dobs
      Happy

      Biased much?

      I can hear where you are coming from, and no one wants to see a turncoat or traitor risk the lives of our loved ones. However you seem very biased, and not open minded to this situation at all.

      Have you really read through the information available? From what I have seen, and what the mainstream press has reported on, there is not the kind of information that you describe released. As a matter of fact, that specific kind of information you address is what Wikileaks used the NY post, guardian etc to vet this information for, and remove such dangerous materials.

      What I have gathered from what I have read and seen covered in the press as well, is a picture of a war run amok, with violence and vengeance being doled out by both sides. I also see a much more bleak picture of a war that is not going well, and that we are loosing the war in the minds of the local people.

      War sucks!

      You mention yourself that many of your loved ones did not come back whole. I am sure that applies both physically and spiritually/mentally as well. Yet you attack wikileaks, and seem to come off defending your right to do as you will there, without review. It is not as if they are creating false stories or propaganda, or even releasing detailed troop locations, informant names etc. My understanding is that almost all of this has been edited out. What is left are the factual critiques of the war from the US army itself. and in many cases what they are saying publicly isn't washing with the what is reality. The infamous helicopter video is a great example. Even if it costs a few lives, I think the truth is more powerful, and worth it to be out there for people to make their own informed decisions.

      You come off as defending US military actions, regardless of how they are carried out. A US solider thought that this war stank so bad, he has risked his life in Jail, abuse and even torture, to let the world know what is really going on. Is he a hero? and opportunist? a traitor? only time will tell as the REAL facts come out.

      I think Wikileaks, and this US soldier who leaked the docs, both feel that this information will allow people to be more informed about the TRUTH, and hopefully avoid more or unnecessary bloodshed and violence .

      If we don't like it and it puts our troops at risk, maybe we shouldn't be doing the things we are doing there huh?

      If all my soldiers followed orders, and were really working their asses off to protect and re-build this country, the locals would not be able to deny their own eyes, and the "leaked" truth would match that reality.

      If on the other hand your troops are out of control, killing and raping civilians, and generally not seen to be making progress or helping the locals, well then your behavior is finally going to come calling for you to pay the piper.

      For me I am glad to know that when our troops violently MURDER a family in the name of an armed conflict, and then LIE and cover up the story, they should get caught , and the truth can get out. Even it takes on of our own damaging their own lives greatly to bring it to us.

      Oh or remember the US football star killed by friendly fire? They lied about that one too, covered it up and LIED their asses off to the public.

      How can a democratic country wage a war, and vote intelligently for leaders to lead us, when we are being lied to and misinformed about the very nature and facts of the war itself.

      Also what right does the Pentagon have to claim any authority over other sovereign countries.

      It's not like Assange took these documents, they were given to him and intelligence, by an informant, we do this all the time, and can't (with any credibility anyways) ask people to do as we say and not as we do.

    10. Terry Barnes
      Thumb Down

      Hmm

      History has shown that change in a country can only come from the inhabitants of that country driving it. We can't enforce a new way of living in Afghanistan through war or any other means. What can we achieve that the Russians couldn't over a very long period with far more resources deployed?

      Bring them home now. People will die - but they'll die too if we stay. If Afghanistan wants to emerge into the 21st century it will only happen when the Afghans make it happen.

    11. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      they've got guns, don't they?

      Let them F***ing use them, hell, that's what my taxes are paying for. Tell them not to bring any ammunition home. In addition, they're all volunteers, so they volunteered for a job which is defined as making onesself a target of rocks, pistols, rifles, RPGs, and the odd HE roadside bombs. Don't feel sorry for them, but feel free to tell the higher-ups in their chain of command to go to http://m-w.com and look up 'war.' War's are meant to be won. The best case is the enemy surrenders....the worst case is the enemy is eradicated.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    re Trevor_Pott

    from the article - "...are about halfway through a “line-by-line” review of the 15,000 documents not yet released .... help in purging the documents of sensitive information that might threaten the lives of Afghan citizens cooperating with US forces."

    Did you miss that bit, or choose to ignore it?

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
      FAIL

      @AC

      These documents were CLASSIFIED. They are supposed not for public consumption because, at time of classification, they contained information that could compromise ongoing military activities. I am not saying that US.Gov doesn’t classify WAY too much material, but we aren’t talking about classifying where the money for the $40,000 hammer and the $10,000 toilet seat went. We’re talking about classifying information about ONGOING ACTIVITIES in an ACTIVE THEATER OF OPERATIONS. You don’t just release this information for your ego, and you sure as hell can’t expect the US military to help you break the law. (Release classified materials is a federal offence.)

      On the flip side: there are processes in most civilised countries, (I am unsure if this is true of the US,) whereby a review of classified documents can be called for. It is usually an extension of what in Canada we would call the Freedom of Information and Privacy act. FOIP requests can be made to have documents (or at least redacted documents) declassified unless there is a currently valid Damn Good Reason for them to remain classified. This is the proper way to go about obtaining information about ongoing operations where the documents in question would put people’s lives at risk.

      Releasing classified materiel whole hog and then after the fact saying “well, if you don’t like it, help us redact them” is bull****. If the US doesn’t have proper FOIP legislation, then THAT is the battle that Ass. should be fighting. If he cares at all about “the cause” and isn’t in it just for his ego then he should be fighting for expanded declassification and freedom of information rules. He should be declassifying information in a one-sided fashion.

      Understand that I say this as someone who respects and reveres the right of the public to know what governments and corporations are up to. I believe in nothing so much as the rights of freedom of the press, and I revere no one so much as proper investigative journalists. You can read my past comments here on this site if you have doubts. What Ass. did was wrong. There simply are far better ways to go about this that don’t put my friends at risk.

      1. Ole Juul

        Get with the times

        "These documents were CLASSIFIED."

        And they've just been re-classified.

      2. ajh-

        You presume too much

        You presume all these documents where classified because they contained information sensitive for operational reasons as opposed to being sensitive for domestic political reasons.

      3. smudge
        FAIL

        You show me yours but I won't show you mine

        "You don’t just release this information for your ego, and you sure as hell can’t expect the US military to help you break the law. "

        Don't need the military to do that. The US Patriot Act can compel employees of US companies (including non-US citizens) to disclose any information that they have that could be deemed useful to the US in the "war against terrorism". Private information such as medical records or financial records - corporate information such as business plans or details of new products.

        Even if such disclosure is illegal in the country where the information was legally obtained - eg if it violates data privacy legislation.

        In short, US legislation can compel people to break the law in other countries. But it's not US law they're breaking, so that's all right and it doesn't count.

      4. John G Imrie

        Re: CLASSIFIED

        Classified isn't a level of secrecy. According to wikipidia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classified_information there are 5 levels of classification.

        Top Secret (TS)

        The highest level of classification of material on a national level. Such material would cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security if made publicly available.

        Secret

        Such material would cause "grave damage" to national security if it were publicly available.

        Confidential

        Such material would cause "damage" or be "prejudicial" to national security if publicly available.

        Restricted

        Such material would cause "undesirable effects" if publicly available. Some countries do not have such a classification.

        Unclassified

        So which of these, or which combination of these is it?

      5. Highlander

        You're referring to the freedom of information act.

        Please I believe you can request a review in court - assuming you have standing to do so.

  7. The Doctor
    Thumb Down

    Assange

    What an obnoxious little bubble of spittle Assange is. After all the high-minded waffle about how leaking confidential information serves a purpose he decides that he's not going to follow his own arguments and instead of making a huge chunk of information public he decides he's going to try and blackmail the US government with its release. If he wins, it stays secret and WikiLeaks is rendered pointless and if he releases it, all the claims about "careful filtering" of the data they release is proven to be nonsense.

    To play fast and loose with this sort of information in order to massage your own ego is quite frankly revolting. I hope he ends up in a prison somewhere if only because he'd never be able to cope with the utter powerlessness he'd experience there.

    1. 42
      Flame

      Which

      Government do you work for I wonder Mr troll? As an aussie Assange has my full support, shining a light in the dark palce that is govenment controlled spin otherwise.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby
        Flame

        @42

        Funny. Aussies support the US.

        How may Aussies died in Bali?

        Aussie, Canadian, Brit, American. (You can insert your other favorite Western country here)

        To the terrorist, they all look alike. And if you happen to be Islamic and caught in the crossfire? You've just become a martyr like it or not.

        With respect to Assman... He's playing with fire. Perhaps you've never heard the expression "Reach out and touch someone..." ?

        The flame is because the Aussie twit only cares about himself.

      2. The Doctor
        Thumb Down

        The Doctor

        I'm glad to see that your support for Assange is based on the fact that he happened to be born in the same country as you. As for spin, if WikiLeaks has a purpose it's to expose hypocricy, not to release information simply because it's secret.

    2. ajh-

      It is called insurance for a reason

      Given the US governments propensity for extra judicial killings this isn't blackmail, it is leverage. I just wouldn't get on a plane with Assange.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Learn. To. Read.

      /headdesk.

      That is all.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Troll

      Hello there Doctor Sockpuppet!

      Come to lend some support to your "friend" Trevor_Pott?

  8. Alfred

    What blackmail?

    I must have missed some news. What blackmail? This article indicates that he has some data, and it's being read, and some bits cut out to protect people, and then it'll be released.

    Blackmail would involve not releasing it in exchange for some kind of compensation, financial or otherwise. Where's the blackmail people are talking about in the comments?

  9. Rogerborg
    Grenade

    He really is a bag of syphilitic dicks

    Whatever the original intent of Wikileaks, it's now all about Assange and his martyr complex. If the CIA weren't such a bunch of liberal pussies now, they'd indulge him and give him a dirt nap, so I guess it's all down to a collosal battle of the leftie gobshites.

  10. iRadiate

    Trever Pott

    ... and I really hope that this arrogant **** doesn't get them dead. Something like half the people I knew growing up have served there in the past few years, not all of them came back. Several that did come back didn’t exactly come back whole.

    I suspect there are a few innocent Afgans saying something similar.

    Imagine going to a wedding only to see your family and friends blown to bits by bullets fired from a passing American helicopter.

    >>What ever happened to wikileaks serving as a way to keep corporations and governments honest?

    Thats exactly what Wikileaks has been doing. They've exposed a number of incidents that were covered up by the US government not least that Apache shooting down the unarmed journalist.

    >> The information in these leaks isn’t scandalous in the least; it isn’t evidence of anything untoward on behalf of the governments involved in this war. It’s a detailed list of who’s who and where; just the kind of information that the Taliban require to get our men and women dead.

    Information hasn't published it yet. What do you know that the rest of us don't ?

    >> We kill them, they kill us.

    You do your friends a disservice by breaking down the complexities of whats going on into 6 words

    >> The armchair critics of this war such as Ass. have absolutely no idea what is going on there.

    Just because you have a few friends involved doesn't make you less of an armchair critic.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
      Unhappy

      @iRadiate

      You are correct, I am as guilty of armchair criticism as anyone else. you believe that by publishing everything unredacted that this will "keep governments in check." I happen to disagree. First of all the regular Joe American citizen isn't reading what's posted. They're barely aware of the controversy at all. Secondly, there's nothing in those documents that shows anything untoward enough to get a politician or military leader in general. It's a lot of routine stuff that basically covers the disposition of troops, names of informants (and what they told us) as well as strategies, tactics, assessments etc.

      Lots of stuff that frankly is helpful to the Taliban, or even to our troops in theatre, but doesn't tell the public at large anything. "There's a war. We do war-like things. We make some mistakes as anyone does, we get our ass handed to us periodically." There is information that hasn’t been published, it’s true. If there were information that were scandalous and could/should be getting politicians and military leaders into hot water /and didn’t compromise the troops on the ground/ then I would be the first person in line saying “this needs to be published.”

      In fact, after the war has been fought and we as the public of the nations involved need to assess how it went down and what needs to change for next time I wholeheartedly believe that everything short of the names of the informants should be released whole hog. At that point it shouldn’t compromise any ongoing operations or provide strategists on the opposing side any details relevant to predict our moves. What it would do is allow is to see exactly what went on, and press for legislative changes if necessary.

      Understand that I am not pro-war. I am certainly not pro-War-in-Afghanistan. In my personal opinion we should never have gotten into this mess in the first place, but we’re sort of stuck. Right now the locals are living in the middle of a war zone where terrible, TERRIBLE things like the wedding incident you describe happen. We leave and the Taliban reclaim the country and brutally subjugate the population, exacting some pretty horrific revenge for anyone who ever “collaborated” with the allies. (That is not a statement pulled out of my ass. The Taliban have done this more than a few times during the war already. Letting them reclaim the whole country would be unconscionable at this point.)

      Let me put it more bluntly: the whole war in Afghanistan is a shitty damn situation. It was badly handled from the get-go, but what Ass. has done isn’t helping at all. Worse yet, it may well compromise individuals on our side. There were better ways to deal with this, and I frankly expected more from wikileaks.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Re: Trevor_Pott's rant

    Dear Trevor_Pott

    It is my understanding that the guys at wikileaks asked the US military to check the leaked documents for any information that might compromise troops or civilians.

    They refused.

    Therefore shouldn’t you be angry at the US military? Once for letting the information get into the wild and again for not taking up wikileaks offer to check the documents.

    Please would you explain

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      "they refused"

      Assange seemed to have a very particular way of asking for help checking the documents. He says that the Pentagon is "trying to bankrupt Wikileaks" by refusing to help checking the documents.

      What I understand from this is that he basically told them:

      "We will release the documents, filtered or not filtered. You want them filtered? The filtering will cost Wikileaks a lot of money, so please kindly send $$$ to the following bank account..."

      It would be difficult to get closer to blackmail than this

      1. Semihere
        FAIL

        Show me the money

        So instead of it costing $$$s to redact these documents, Wikileaks are using volunteers. So where exactly is the money you talk of? He gave the US Govt the opportunity to review the documents prior to release, but they refused because it would cost THEM money. Wikileaks are at least trying their utmost to do the job FOR them for free.

  12. william henderson 1
    Stop

    can't....

    wait for the first corpse.

    i wonder who will claim credit for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps

      you should?

    2. Geoff Campbell
      WTF?

      The first corpse?

      Didn't that happen about 9 years ago?

      Seriously, does *anyone* understand what this beknighted clusterfuck is about? I'm not sure even the US government have any understanding of what they are trying to achieve any more, they're just grimly hanging on to avoid losing face, hoping that something will miraculously happen to get them out of the hole they have dug themselves into.

      What a sad indictment of the human race....

      GJC

  13. Pete 8
    Thumb Up

    A spike of light

    into the eye of the Owl.

    The truth shall set you free.

  14. John Sanders
    Thumb Down

    Asange is...

    Acting like an useful idiot, like most militants leftists that get access to classified information.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useful_idiot

    Western countries may be full of shit, but they are our our shit countries, if we screw them we screw the same shit we're standing on.

    I'm all for punishing corrupt governments and god and its dog knows they are corrupt til the bottom of their asses, but leaking massive amounts of classified info does nobody any good.

    Asange is a public danger and a stupid guy with an overinflated ego which is atracting the spotlights over the internet. He is just an anecdote, but the damage he's causing is epic.

    I would like to see Asange as a freedom fighter publishing classified documents from Iran, Russia, Cuba, etc. Oh wait! he'll be dead in minutes...

    1. Goat Jam
      Happy

      There is right and there is wrong

      "Western countries may be full of shit, but they are our our shit countries, if we screw them we screw the same shit we're standing on"

      If "our shit countries" are doing the wrong thing to other peoples shit countries then it is still wrong.

      End of story.

      Bleating on with some pseudo intellectual rationalisation of what amounts to base patriotism doesn't change the facts.

      If you want to take sides on an Us versus Them basis then perhaps you should consider "Them" to be your own goddamn government for a change.

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      I agree

      I'm not with you on the "it's our shit so we shouldn't add top it", but Ass has indeed an ego problem and is dangerous. He's smart enough to presently avoid being thrown in jail, but he has nowhere near the smarts to prevent innocent people becoming the victim of what he does.

      I'm all for exposing wrongs, but there is a time, place and method for that. Ass. has it wrong on all three counts.

      1. Highlander

        Aor now, but what if...

        Ass. may have to answer for his part in the release of those documents. If Someone is killed as a direct result of the release of these documents, especially considering that Ass has a fairly belligerent attitude of "damn the consequences", why should he continue to escape justice as an accessory to murder?

        Seriously, he knowingly released documents (and is proud to have done so) that led to the deaths of people. I has stated he will do it again, regardless of the consequence because of some higher purpose. Well, I'm sure that higher purpose is of great comfort to the families of those that die as a result of his actions. The man is in fact an accessory to murder, whether he or anyone else wants to see that or not. You can't cry freedom of information and freedom of speech and then claim some kind of BS protection when you are held accountable for your actions or words.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trevor, human rights organisations, others.

    I think a few people, perhaps because of patriotically hazed glasses, forgot what game wikileaks is really playing. In case you did forget: It's about leaking documents and things classified and otherwise hidden. You can see that in the overly enthousiastic CCed wikileaks email that got submitted back as a leaked document in wikileaks. That's what they do. And damn the consequences.

    There is also the glaring media spin on top of a dud release, and that arguably is an error.

    What I'm not sure about is whether they really did change tack and are now all about spin, whether they're doing a "flight forward" to paper over the mistakes, and/or whether something else is afoot. Time will have to tell.

    On to the other side. Though my uninformed guesses are likely poor solace, it might be that most of the danger from the leaks will likely be to the informants (Afghanis), and American soldiers distantly next. Even so, a change has already happened: Civilians and foreign civilian aid workers are now acceptable taliban targets. Those have far less training and equipment to survive direct attacks. One could doubt the taliban will find much of direct operational interest in the 90k+ boring bits of intelligence that were just analyzed to not provide us additional insights, provided they organize the effort to work through it, above and beyond what they already have: Civilians with (in taliban view) "collaborationist" positions, which one can presume known locally already anyway, making them prime fodder for object lessons by beheading. After all, by bbc reports, the path of the righteous taliban is wading through blood and guts while citing the quran, so presumably is not reading infidel writing. In short: I think the impact there, too, will be limited.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The useful idiot

    Asange may be a grandstanding ass, but at this point any soldiers that die in Afghanistan would be the responsibility of the Afghans and the boneheads in the US military hierarchy that is too stupid to realize that their operational security was compromised long before the latest Wikileaks stunt.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Classified to protect the innocents.

    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

    Thomas Jefferson

  18. A J Stiles

    Why am I reminded of a quote?

    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" -- Eric Scmidt

    1. The Doctor
      FAIL

      Don't be evil?

      So that's basically "If you've nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"? That makes me feel much more comfortable.

      1. A J Stiles

        Different standards for different people

        A soldier in a foreign country, wearing the Queen's uniform and acting in the name of Her Majesty, ought to be held to a higher standard of behaviour than a private citizen in their own home, acting in no-one's name but their own.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          @A J Stiles

          "A soldier in a foreign country, wearing the Queen's uniform and acting in the name of Her Majesty, ought to be held to a higher standard of behaviour than a private citizen in their own home, acting in no-one's name but their own."

          Hear, hear! I couldn't agree more. Throw politicians and representatives of powerful companies in there too. That said, I again must say that release of any information that may cost lives, (be it about war or anything else) is not properly thought through.

          Hold those who represent us to the flame and see if they are worthy, but remember that we don’t actually burn people to death as witches any more. Release of embarrassing information is one thing. Release of information that threatens lives something else entirely.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Umm, yes, but..

          .. I would add to that that those so risking their lives are entitled to a higher standard of attention than they were given by their respective governments. Most of these people are like you and me, just trying to do a job (I'm excluding the raving nutcases - that's just a percentage) - only theirs can get them killed.

          That the UK people were sent out without proper protection, and that they are treated like 2nd class citizens when they come back injured is dishonourable.

          They also really don't need some asshole like Assange leaking details that can get them killed, just because it makes him money. I don't buy this "careful screening" for a second - he has the means nor the required access. What he DOES have is the "selected" media contacts (i.e. those that make him the most money) and apparently a cushy column writing agreement. All of this on the back of a war - you could say he thrives on victims on both sides. Despicable.

          Anyway, enough time wasted on Ass. Rest assured that no site or company he is associated with will ever get as much as a webclick from me - I have my standards.

      2. kissingthecarpet
        FAIL

        No it isn't

        Nuff said

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Troll

    Assanage be trolling

    To all the crazies suggesting they 'take him out', you do realise that Wikileaks will continue even if/when he dies.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Waitwaitwait...

    Shouldn't there be several organizations (countries and otherwise) currently DOS:ing the hell out of Wikileaks and annoying them and Assange in all sorts of ways trying that password released?

    At the least, it seems like a rather limited insurance...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    1-300,000...

    ...Iraqi civilians 'disappeared'/'collaterally damaged'/murdered.

    Many hundreds and thousands of Afghan's likewise.

    I am 25, and I am already a jaded wreck simply from hearing about the disgusting acts of violence mine and other allied countries commit around the world. Terrorist IS synonymous with Freedom Fighter and the opinion that justifies the action does not matter. what matters is that there are sufficient people oppressed, injured and killed to allow some extremists to gain traction and thus commit further acts of violence.

    I don't like Assange, he appears to be egotistical and vain, however I don't believe I need to like someone who may hopefully change something about the way our global society does business.

    After all, as many Politicians from the west, suicide bombers from all over the planet, Army officials appear to believe: the end very definitely justifies the means.

    @Trevor - you probably don't deserve all the 'thumbs-down' some of your opinions seem very reasonable, but I'm afriad I believe that the guys you know who've been hurt and injured pale into comparison with the millions of Asians who've had their lives torn apart through western influence alone in the last 150 years.

    Beer cos the only civilised way to discuss this stuff is pissed and trying to forget that you're going to work tomorrow.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      @AC

      I am /NOT/ trying to justify the fact that we are involved in this war. I am SURE AS HELL not trying to justify western imperialism. All that I ma saying is that in the particular case of Afghanistan, the whole thing was been such a clusterfuck for the very beginning that now we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

      We put these Afghani in the situation where they are now considered collaborators and traitors by the Taliban. Even if all they do is try to live their lives and ignore us, the Taliban consider them collaborators because they didn’t fight us to until they were all dead. So if we leave, the Taliban return and butcher EVERYONE.

      Is it RIGHT That we put these people in this situation? HELL NO. Should he just take our ball and go home? HELL NO. What we should be doing is stop pussyfooting around with this political garbage and give our troops the resources they need to end this damned war quickly and decisively. The quicker we can bring this to an end the fewer lives lost and the quicker we can spend resources on training the Afghani to take care of themselves.,

      If we were even HALFWAY decent as countries, we would be paying reparations to the new country for the next 50 years along with huge amounts of training and education to ensure that the locals never have to take this sort of shit from us or anyone else ever again.

      Of course, that probably won’t happen because our politicians are asshats, but at this point I will settle for “ensuring the locals don’t end up another middle-east “cleansing” statistic.”

      How this pile of internet trolls gets from that opinion that I am either supportive of US.gov or trying to explain away or excuse our involvement in Afghanistan I will never comprehend. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the politicians involved or their “Right” to have incriminating documents withheld.

      If there is one person on this earth who DOES deserve to be burnt as a witch its Cheney, and all his cronies are not far behind. I call for war crimes tribunals, except – oh wait – the US apparently doesn’t believe in the international criminal court.

      What I care about are my friends the soldiers on the ground, and the Afghani people who didn’t deserve ANY of this shit happening to them. Apparently however caring about anything other than the moral self-satisfaction of people who bitch on the internet is worth a squillion thumbs down.

      So be it.

    2. PT

      @1-300,000

      On the contrary, Trevor richly deserves the thumbs-down for using the massively abused "support our troops" argument at the start of the comments. The only thing in his favor is that he didn't continue with the ".. because we can't tell them it was all for nothing" corollary, though he did take a step in that direction with the fatuous argument that we're there because we care about the Afghans. Perhaps we do, but that's not why we're there. In fact nobody seems to know why we're there. Well obviously some people know, but they're not saying, and the regular media is complicit not so much in in banging the war drums and covering up - though some are - but in suppressing dissent, for what reasons I can only speculate. Even the New York Times, which published the initial Wikileaks, is part of this publishers' cabal. Last week it published an editorial similar to Trevor's first comment and incautiously opened a comment thread, which was prematurely closed after less than 100 comments were submitted, almost all of which were strongly negative.

      As a commentard with a son-in-law in harm's way, I strongly believe the best way to "support our troops" is to get them out of there. This appears to me to be the majority view of the citizens of the "democracies" involved in this imbroglio. How are we supposed to get our so-called "representatives" to pay attention, except by embarrassing them in every way possible? Go Assange, go Wikileaks. Extra credits if you can find and publish the order to let Bin Laden get away.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
        Unhappy

        @PT

        So screw the Afghani, eh?

        Our troops aren't dumb. They know they aren't there for any good reason; this war was started based on a series of lies, deceptions and misunderstandings. They should be told this because they are citizens of the countries they are fighting for, and deserve as we do the right to hold our politicians accountable for this fiasco.

        What you, and so many commenttards here seem incapable of understanding is that no matter how broken the reason we got into this mess, we are there NOW. We have a responsibility to the people whose lives we ruined not to botch the job further. If you don't believe that, well, that is your right. It is also my right to think you and everyone else who believe the same are terrible people. You would callously throw away the lives of the Afghani people rather than try to fix the mess we created.

        The best way to support our troops isn't to bring them home and inhumanely abandon the Afghani. It's to give the troops the resources they need to help the Afghani as quickly as possible and then get the hell out of there.

        If that's a thumbs down in your mind sir, then again: so be it.

        1. PT
          Thumb Down

          @Trevor_Pott

          "So screw the Afghani, eh?"

          _I_ have not screwed the Afghani. I have, however, been screwed myself on their behalf and I've had enough of it. I've had enough of being lied to by my own government, and having my pockets looted by the military and their private contractor pals for no good purpose. If you, sir, think the ongoing effort and expense has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with the welfare of the Afghan people, then you are abysmally ignorant of politics. If you think the United States is even capable of making any positive difference in that country, then you are abysmally ignorant of history. Every day and every dollar we spend in that region is just destabilizing it more and creating more problems for the entire world in the future. The best way to stop screwing the Afghani is to get out, now, and leave them alone.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            @PT

            I wholeheartedly agree the AMERICANS shouldn't be in Afghanistan. Pretty much exactly for the reasons you outlined. I’m Canadian, NOT American. I don’t have any faith whatsoever in America’s ability to any good even in their OWN country. If you read back in this thread I think you’ll find that my personal preference is to boot the Americans the hell out of that country.

            I would prefer that Canada, the UK and various other allied nations returned to Afghanistan as UN Peacekeepers. The US could help with some funding, aid, supplies or even parking a carrier or two offshore for the nations in theatre to do their job. I honestly believe that if Canada, the UK and the rest were serving as UN Peacekeepers with the SOLE GOAL of shoring up the country enough that they can take care of themselves we could be done with Afghanistan in two years and be able to walk away knowing we did our best.

            If the allies simply leave now the result will be a small holocaust. If we stay and let the Americans continue being cowboys the result might very well be the same. As you might find by actually reading my posts in this thread, my opinion on the Afghanistan issue isn’t black and white. There is a lot of nuance here because I am actually pretty well informed on the whole thing.

            I don’t think the American government involvement has anything at all to do with helping the Afghani. That doesn’t mean that Canada, the UK or other allies don’t have different agendas. Sure, there’s a large helping of “the US said ‘jump’ and we said ‘how high.’” That said, there’s also differences in the overall national approach to things military. America is a very aggressive nation, and that plays out in their military presence. Canada by contrast is largely a peacekeeping nation. We prefer to do nation building and forge stable alliances rather than conquer or “project presence.”

            The only problem with this is that if the Americans did leave, Canada the UK and all the others simply don’t have the resources to stabilise Afghanistan with out them. It’s a “damned if you do, and dammed if you don’t” problem. The locals don’t want us there, and they don’t want the Taliban there. They want both parties to GTFO, but they don’t have the training or the resources to secure their nation on their own.

            The best way to stop screwing the Afghani isn’t to leave right now. It’s to hold the line long enough to train a local military and police force, hand then a heap of weaponry so they can defend themselves, put some time and effort into ensuring they have a working communications and education infrastructure, and then phase out our presence with the locals taking over the duties of protecting the local populace. An organised withdrawal rather than simply packing it all up tomorrow and leaving them to the wolves.

            And we should be setting about that RIGHT NOW.

  22. andbo
    FAIL

    Aftonbladet Sweden

    "...that Assange will write bimonthly columns for Aftonbladet, a left-leaning Swedish newspaper..."

    Mega fail!

    Aftonbladet isn't a left leaning newspaper, it is a typical Yellow-Press newspaper like "The Sun" in UK, the "New York Post" in the US and like the "BILD" in Germany...

    Regards from Sweden

  23. Matt Bradley

    Rwanda

    Anybody calling for our troops to come home NOW should read up about what happened when the UN pulled out of Rwanda.

    Maybe we shouldn't have gone there in the first place, but we're there now. The exercise now is damage limitation and mitigation of the worst atrocities. We can't do that by just upping sticks and leaving.

    I'm not sure what Assange thought he was doing, but I haven't heard anything yet that gives a sound reason for putting people's lives at risk.

  24. Highlander

    Can everyone who's so anti-american and so pro wiki-leaks answer one question please?

    Since when do two wrongs make a right?

    You would contend that the US shouldn't be in Afghanistan. I would tend to agree, However as someone (who was being downvoted into oblivion) clearly stated, we're there, so now the task at hand is to get out in the best way possible for all concerned, and a precipitous withdrawal isn't best for anyone. But you know what? That's not the issue at hand, so let's not confuse ourselves with things that are not relevant.

    What is relevant is that the files released contain a lot of information, some of it information that compromises the identity of an unknown number of local informants who have provided information about Al Queada or the Taliban. So now these poor people who have done what they think is right to help their country become free of the Taliban and terrorist extremists are at risk, and some may well have died as a result of the release of the information.

    Someone earlier suggested that the Taliban should be seen as freedom fighters like those in France in WWII. Not so sure that's really gonna work considering the Taliban record on human rights. Plainly put, the Taliban are not freedom fighters. They are oppressive and disregard human rights and under their rule women have almost no rights.

    But my point is, do the misdeeds (accidental or intentional) of military personnel somehow justify the release of these documents in a way that results in further death? Do the two wrongs make a right? Are we saying that the lives of those put at risk by these documents are forfeit because of the actions of others? Are the folks at Wiki-leaks in a position to make that judgment?

    No, they're not, and neither are you or I. The people behind these leaked documents have blood on their hands. I'd be ashamed to support them, and so should you. It's not a game, it's real, and immature egomaniacs can be just as dangerous as a Taliban sniper, albeit in a different manner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Well

      If the US held them to account... y know. Just sayin...

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
      Unhappy

      @Highlander

      Being anti-wikileaks /on this particular issue/ doesn't make you pro-American. Being anti-American doesn't make you pro wikileaks.

      In general, I think wikileaks has a good reason for existing and does a good job. I think they went too far on this particular issue and have risked lives. I also think that US.gov needs to be burned down and started over, preferably AFTER the American public has been educated to understand that the past fifty or so years of "yay capitalism, boo everything else" is lies, damned lies and propaganda.

      That’s the problem with the internet, and increasingly with The Register. The commenttards seem completely unable to comprehend the concept that the people whose comments they are reading, complaining about or flaming might not be as black and white as they would often like to make the argument. Arguing something in binary is easy. If it’s not 1 then it must be 0. Throw in 2 in there and you increase the complexity quite a bit.

      The concept of nuanced opinions that simply don’t seem to have a place in the middle of internet shitstorms, and this is what we have here. It’s sad really, that an issue as complex as wikileaks posting classified documents about an ongoing war as well as the inevitable issues surrounding why we are fighting the war, how we got into this mess and whether or not we have a responsibility to a nation we ruined all boils down a simple binary “I feel this person agrees/disagrees with my opinion.”

      How can opinions on these sorts of issues POSSIBLY be that simplistic? Put any two people in a room; throw this topic in, and no matter how closely they would appear to agree on the surface you will find nuanced elements of agreement and disagreement in their take on the matter.

      Still, this is the internet, LET THE THUMBSDOWN FLY.

      Allow me then my moment of binary exultation: for any and all of you who believe that the fact we should not have been involved in this war in the first place is a valid reason to leave the Afghani people to be butchered I am ashamed to be a member of your species. Your callous disregard for human life sickens me.

      If you want to bellyache about the hows and whys of getting into this ridiculous war, then go burn a politician or two. They at least deserve it. The Afghani people are innocent, and they don’t deserve to be abandoned by us simply because the political winds have changed.

      How polished your halos must be, and how righteous your moral certainty. That you would throw away the lives of others for your own self satisfaction sickens me. Soldiers at least know what they are signing up for. The Afghani people weren’t given a choice.

    3. rwhite17

      There is only one wrong

      "Someone earlier suggested that the Taliban should be seen as freedom fighters like those in France in WWII. Not so sure that's really gonna work considering the Taliban record on human rights. Plainly put, the Taliban are not freedom fighters. They are oppressive and disregard human rights and under their rule women have almost no rights."

      That must be me you're referring to, but I said no such thing. Don't make the mistake of confusing Afghan resistance with the Taliban. Most of the Afghan people want the Americans _and_ the Taliban out of their country. As for the Taliban's record on human rights, that didn't seem to be an issue when the US armed and trained them.

      It's so easy to pick on official enemies. I'm sure the French resistance murdered a good number of civilian collaborators (that's the proper name of Afghans who work with the foreign invading armies) as well. Should we rewrite history and villify them?

      Regular people living their lives with the military boot of an invading army repeatedly stomping on thier faces will often (and with good reason) rise up and fight back. If they see the Taliban as the best option of achieving their goal (freedom from foreign invasion, and swallowing the religious fundamentalism as a necessary evil to defeat an even worse evil), then who are we to blame them? They wouldn't have joined if there was no invasion.

      "But my point is, do the misdeeds (accidental or intentional) of military personnel somehow justify the release of these documents in a way that results in further death? Do the two wrongs make a right? Are we saying that the lives of those put at risk by these documents are forfeit because of the actions of others? Are the folks at Wiki-leaks in a position to make that judgment?"

      All the lives put at risk and lost are to be placed squarely on the shoulders of those who invaded Afghanistan with their armies in the first place. Once those responsible get a one-way lifetime ticket to Guantanamo bay, and the countries who have invaded Afghanistan appologize and pay billions in reparations, then the issue will be sorted. An Afghanistan with a healthy population will get rid of the Taliban on its own. Or not. That's their business, not ours (except for arming/training the Taliban part, of course).

      1. Highlander

        How far back in history do you want to look?

        "All the lives put at risk and lost are to be placed squarely on the shoulders of those who invaded Afghanistan with their armies in the first place."

        Which invaders would they be? The US? The Taliban? The Russians,...I'm fairly certain that if you go back through sufficient history, you'll find that Afghanistan has been invaded many. many times.

        But there is little point trying to discuss this issue with you as I see from the rest of your comment that you are not approaching from a reasoned position of logic. For a start, you claim that a Healthy Afghanistan would get rid of the Taliban on it's own. Well, prior to the US action in Afghanistan, the Taliban were doing a pretty effective job of not being driven out and being the defacto ruling power in a large swath of Afghan territory. Not only that but their influence was (and is) spreading to Pakistan. But, yeah, the healthy local Afghan population will rise up and drive them away...

        However the original point of action in Afghanistan was to go after a certain group of well financed terrorists who were closely allied (and still are) to the Taliban. Perhaps we all forget that unlike Irag, the US didn't merely invade the country on a whim.

        1. kissingthecarpet
          FAIL

          If you look at recent Afgan history

          It seems obvious that the US created the Taliban, by funding Islamists to fight the Soviet-backed government. Afganistan is just another country warped by US Cold War domino theory bullshit, just like a lot of the rest of South America, SE Asia, & Africa.

          1. Highlander

            Don't confuse the mjahidin with the Taliban

            They are not the same. As convenient and apparently comforting (to you) to blame the US for everything, they are not to blame for everything wrong in the world. Certainly they are hardly blame free, but then neither is Western Europe, or the former communist states of the Soviet Union (prior to it's disintegration).

            On the other hand, there are so many occasions where the world community wanted action but could not bring themselves to take it through the UN. The net result being the US and often the UK acting while the world looks on and wrings it's hands. It's very easy to do that of course because the can claim that it's all America or Britain's fault, and say they had nothing to do with it. What it comes down to is that the US (in particular) is more apt to act than any other nation, and when things don't go as well as they hoped, suddenly the chorus of voices calling for action (but unwilling to take it) turns into a chorus of criticism. It's wonder that the US has a wave of isolationism and xenophobia sloshing around right now.

            I'm not saying that the US is right or wrong, but there are so many times when action was needed and the UN and the international community lacked the spine, courage or political will to make it happen. Perhaps if more countries in that community stood behind their words and matched those words with action, the US wouldn't act so often, and the rest of the world might be more apt to get with the program.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
              Megaphone

              @Highlander

              Hear, hear! First things first: remove the damned vetoes from the UN Security Council. I think things would get significantly less a bucket of ass from there. Any time a motion comes up to do something that would be good for the world in general either the US, Russia or China vetoes it in an attempt to thwart one of the other three.

              Take the toys away from the misbehaved children and let the rest of the world get on with the business of growing up.

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