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US military has Wikileaks, Julian Assange in its sights
July 26, 2010
6:52 pm
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rath
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July 27, 2010

THE White House has accused the whistleblower website run by Australian activist Julian Assange of risking the lives of coalition troops in Afghanistan.

In what has been described as one of the biggest leaks in US military history, Mr Assange's Wikileaks site dumped 90,000 classified documents with left-leaning news outlets worldwide.

The documents are said to outline a rising and unreported civilian death toll, the activities of secret military hit squads, a surge in Taliban attacks, and NATO fears that Pakistan and Iran aid insurgents.

In one report, Pakistan's former ISI spy chief Hamid Gul is described at a January 2009 meeting with a group of insurgents following the death by a CIA drone attack of a leader of Al-Qa'ida operations in Pakistan named Zamarai.

Other leaked material says Iran is waging a covert campaign against US-led forces in Afghanistan by providing money, arms, training and safe haven to Taliban insurgents

According to media reports, the documents disclose for the first time that Taliban insurgents appear to have used portable, heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles to shoot down US helicopters

"The US strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of Americans and our partners at risk and threatens our national security," said National Security Adviser General James Jones.

"These irresponsible leaks will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Born in Townsville and educated at the University of Melbourne – where he studied pure mathematics – Mr Assange has no fixed address and was last month named as the target of a Pentagon probe into another leak of a classified video showing a US helicopter shooting civilians in Iraq in 2007.

Military figures fear the leaks – which were taken from documents compiled between 2004 and 2009 and handed to The Guardian, The New York Times and Germany's Der Spiegel – will heighten hostility towards troops in a country where 1967 coalition soldiers have died since 2001. Australia, which has 1550 soldiers in Afghanistan, has suffered 17 troop casualties.

In eastern Afghanistan today, US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen said the nine-year war was at a make-or-break stage.

"As we continue (to ramp up) our force levels and our operations over the summer, we will likely see further tough casualties and levels of violence," he said.

July 26, 2010
6:53 pm
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rath
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THE man behind financially challenged whistleblower website WikiLeaks is reportedly subject to an "aggressive surveillance operation" for exposing US military secrets.

WikiLeaks has posted an entry on Twitter claiming its editor, Australian Julian Assange, was tailed by surveillance agents in Iceland and another employee was detained for 22 hours, SBS World News reports.

"WikiLeaks is currently under an aggressive US and Icelandic surveillance operation. Following/photographing/filming/detaining," the Tweet reportedly says.

"If anything happens to us, you know why: it is our Apr 5 film. And you know who is responsible."

The comments apparently refer to documents posted recently on WikiLeaks purportedly revealing "nearly the entire order of battle" of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from April 2007.

WikiLeaks publishes information and documents supplied by anonymous whistleblowers and claims to have uncovered "significant injustices".

It appeals for donations on its homepage, describing itself as "non-profit organization funded by human rights campaigners, investigative journalists, technologists and the general public".

SBS reports a US Army expert has recommended trying to undermine WikiLeaks by exposing its contributors, whose anonymity it has sworn to protect.

July 26, 2010
11:24 pm
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frrostedman
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The jerk got hold of 90,000 field reports that contain sensitive information. Information that if released as is the case, puts soldiers, allies, helpful citizens, and informants at great risk.

Obviously this guy has an axe to grind and doesn't care WHO he gets killed in the process.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

July 27, 2010
6:58 am
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rath
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Or the usa was/is involved in war crimes & should be called to justice.

As the case is with Australian troops.

July 27, 2010
7:19 pm
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"frrostedman" wrote: The jerk got hold of 90,000 field reports that contain sensitive information. Information that if released as is the case, puts soldiers, allies, helpful citizens, and informants at great risk.

Obviously this guy has an axe to grind and doesn't care WHO he gets killed in the process.

DITTO.

July 28, 2010
3:56 am
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frrostedman
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I am so SICK and TIRED of Obama blaming eveyrone else.

In a recent public statement about the leaked documents he said they are all dated 2004 to 2009... he was already aware of all the problems they will uncover and that's why he changed our policy in the war.

Basically he preemptively blamed every bit of it on George Bush.

He's such an immature, reactionary, blame-it-on-someone-else, childish brat. I mean, he even had Shirley Sherrod FIRED because he was scared Glenn Beck would make fun of him.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

July 28, 2010
5:35 pm
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rath
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That's so true frrostedman ....

& lets not forget, it was an American who handed over these 90,000 files to julian Assange.

We all know that Australia turned down the USA's request to hold & watch Assange.

So now the USA will try and get Assange by themselves.

& if thay can't get Julian Assange, Then the USA will turn on the New papers who also published the files.

They being ...... The New York Times, Der Spiegel, and Britain's Guardian.

July 29, 2010
5:37 am
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frrostedman
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"rath" wrote: That's so true frrostedman ....

& lets not forget, it was an American who handed over these 90,000 files to julian Assange.

Yes, I think it's a low-ranking soldier that did it. Why would he do that? I can kind of see someone doing it if they feel like there are horrible war crimes going on and need to be made public, but, so far none of the documents have demonstrated war crimes.

Innocent civilians die within the fog of war; it's a sad fact and an inevitable one especially considering the tactics of the Taliban et al. They use civilians as their shields and actually prefer them to be killed, so that it generates negative press.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

July 29, 2010
6:49 pm
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greeney2
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They should all goto federal prison. They were obtained illegally, they were classifed, and not autorized to print them. They were stolen, passed off, and passed off again to the media. They are all equally guilty. Those involved are not experts in military intelligence, or what exposing these things could tell the enemy. People will die as a result.

July 30, 2010
7:03 am
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Pentagon: Leak investigaton may go beyond military
Buzz up!9 votes ShareretweetEmailPrint AP – Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen hold a press …
Slideshow:Afghanistan Play Video Video:Obama: Nothing new in leaked Afghan documents AP Play Video Video:Leak of Afghan war logs condemned CBC.ca By ANNE GEARAN, AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan, Ap National Security Writer – 1 hr 39 mins ago
WASHINGTON – A criminal investigation into the leak of tens of thousands of secret Afghanistan war logs could go beyond the military, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday, and he did not rule out that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be a target.

"The investigation should go wherever it needs to go," Gates said.

Gates would not be more specific, waving off questions about whether Assange or media outlets that used the WikiLeaks material could be subjects of the criminal probe. But he noted that he has asked the FBI to help in the investigation "to ensure that it can go wherever it needs to go."

The Army is leading an inquiry inside the Defense Department into who downloaded some 91,000 secret documents and passed the material to WikiLeaks, an online archive that describes itself as a public service organization for whistle-blowers, journalists and activists.

The Pentagon inquiry is looking most closely at Pvt. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence specialist who was already charged with leaking other material to the website.

The FBI would presumably handle aspects of the investigation that involve civilians outside the Defense Department, and the Justice Department could bring charges in federal court.

Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the release of the documents that WikiLeaks calls its "Afghan War Diary" deeply damaging and potentially life-threatening for Afghan informants or others who have taken risks to help the U.S. and NATO war effort.

Theirs was the most sober assessment of the ramifications of the leak Sunday of raw intelligence reports and other material dating to 2004.

Click image to see photos of Afghanistan conflict, debate

AFP
"Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family," Mullen said.

Assange told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview aired Thursday that WikiLeaks had contacted the White House — via The New York Times acting as intermediary — and offered to let government officials go through the documents to make sure no innocent people were identified. The White House did not respond to the approach, he said.

Assange dismissed allegations that innocent people or informants had been put in danger by the publication of the documents.

"We are yet to see clear evidence of that," he said in the Australian Broadcasting interview.

Gates said that the Pentagon is tightening rules for handling classified material in war zones as a result of the leak. He did not mention Manning by name, and Pentagon officials caution that Manning may not be the sole target of the Army inquiry.

Manning was stationed at a small post outside Baghdad. If he was the source of the Afghan war logs, he would have been amassing material he had little if any reason to see.

"If the kind of breach involved in the downloading of these thousands of documents had occurred at a rear headquarters or here in the U.S., there's a very high likelihood we would have detected it," Gates said.

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