WikiLeaks Discloses Thousands Of U.S. Afghanistan War Documents

A whistle-blower website has published what it says are more than 90,000 United States military and diplomatic reports about Afghanistan filed between 2004 and January of this year.

corporal gets flack afghanistan

Corporal gets flack during battle in war in Afghanistan

The first-hand accounts are the military’s own raw data on the war, including numbers killed, casualties, threat reports and the like, according to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.org, which published the material Sunday.

“It is the total history of the Afghan war from 2004 to 2010, with some important exceptions — U.S. Special Forces, CIA activity and most of the activity of other non-U.S. groups,” Assange said.

CNN has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the documents. The Department of Defense will not comment on them until the Pentagon has had a chance to look at them, a Defense official told CNN.

Assange declined to tell CNN where he got the documents. He claims the documents reveal the “squalor” of war, uncovering how many relatively small incidents have added up to huge numbers of dead civilians.

Just In blog: What is WikiLeaks?

The significance lies in “all of these people being killed in the small events that we haven’t heard about that numerically eclipse the big casualty events. It’s the boy killed by a shell that missed a target,” he told CNN.

“What we haven’t seen previously is all those individual deaths,” he said. “We’ve seen just the number and like Stalin said, ‘One man’s death is a tragedy, a million dead is a statistic.’ So, we’ve seen the statistic.”

CNN iReport: Help crowdsource the documents

WikiLeaks publishes anonymously submitted documents, video and other sensitive materials after vetting them, it says. It claims never to have fallen for a forgery.

It has made headlines for posting controversial videos of combat in Iraq.

The site gained international attention in April when it posted a 2007 video said to show a U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq killing a dozen civilians, including two unarmed Reuters journalists.

At the time, Maj. Shawn Turner, a U.S. military spokesman, said that “all evidence available supported the conclusion by those forces that they were engaging armed insurgents and not civilians.”

Pfc. Bradley Manning, 22, suspected of leaking a classified 2007 video, has been charged by the U.S. military with eight violations of the U.S. Criminal Code for transferring classified data, according to a charge sheet released by the military earlier this month.

Attempts to reach Manning’s military defense attorney, Capt. Paul Bouchard, were unsuccessful Sunday. However, U.S. Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins has said Bouchard would not speak to the media about the charges.

Assange says WikiLeaks has attempted to put together a legal team to defend Manning, something it will do for any “alleged” whistle-blower that runs into legal trouble because of WikiLeaks.

Assange, a former teen hacker who launched the site in 2007, denies that WikiLeaks has put troops in danger.

“There certainly have been people who have lost elections as a result of material being on WikiLeaks,” he said.

“There have been prosecutions because of material being on WikiLeaks. There have been legislative reforms because of material being on WikiLeaks,” he said. “What has not happened is anyone being physically harmed as a result.”

The website held back about 15,000 documents from Afghanistan to protect individuals who informed on the Taliban, he said.

But he said he hoped his website would be “very dangerous” to “people who want to conduct wars in an abusive way.”

“This material doesn’t just reveal occasional abuse by the U.S. military,” he said. “Of course it has U.S. military reporting on all sort of abuses by the Taliban. … So it does describe the abuses by both sides in this war and that’s how people can understand what’s really going on and if they choose to support it or not.”

Assange said the organization gets material from whistle-blowers in a variety of ways — including postal mail. He said WikiLeaks vets it, releases it to the public and then defends itself against “the regular political or legal attack.”

He said the organization rarely knows the identity of the source of the leak. “If we find out at some stage, we destroy that information as soon as possible,” he said.

[Via: CNN]

[ad]

1 comment to WikiLeaks Discloses Thousands Of U.S. Afghanistan War Documents

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  

sharethis_button(); }?>