Revealed: Afghan war horrors, via Wikileaks

By Richi Jennings. July 26, 2010.

The whistle-blower website 

Julian Assange (source: The Guardian)
Wikileaks has opened up a new cache of military data from Afghanistan. Wikileaks' founder, Julian Assange, has been explaining himself, telling us why it's important for us to see these "secret" Afghan reports. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers debate the pros and cons.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment.

    Nick Davies and David Leigh report:

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports ... obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks ... one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files ... give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting ... which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.

...

The White House said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of "under-resourcing" under Obama's predecessor. ... [And it] criticised the publication of the files. ... Most of the material ... is no longer militarily sensitive. A small amount of information has been withheld ... because it might endanger local informants or give away genuine military secrets.

...

The reports ... present an unvarnished and often compelling account of the reality of modern war.
M0RE

Dan Nosowitz adds:

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, explains some of his motivation ... saying that these war logs "show the true nature of this war." ... The documents portray the war as much bleaker than official reports. ... The material is largely "Secret" level, which is a fairly low level on the classified-documents scale.

...

Other important findings indicate that the civilian death toll has been significantly under-reported ... unmanned drone aircraft ... performance is less impressive than reported ... secret commando groups are tasked with a "capture/kill" list of about 70 top insurgent commanders.

...

WikiLeaks, as is its custom, has not revealed the source of the leaks. ... The New York Times, The Guardian UK, and Der Spiegel have taken it upon themselves to research and verify the findings.
M0RE

Nick Farrell worries about our allies:

According to the documents ... some elements in Pakistan's intelligence community have been helping US enemies. ...  The White House ... had to admit that Washington had long-held doubts about links between Pakistan intelligence agents and Afghan insurgents.

...

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani ... denounced the leaks, saying they consisted of "unprocessed" reports from the field. ... By unprocessed, we guess he means uncensored, to give the impression that Pakistan was not helping terrorists.
M0RE

 Dean Takahashi wonders what we can learn:

The lesson ... is clear. Secret documents have a way of becoming public.

...

“We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies,” [Wikileaks’] web site says. “All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny.”
M0RE

But sycodon is not at all happy:

So once again Mr. Assange ... will decide what to leak, when to leak it and what to redact ... to make decisions that could put lives in danger or derail sensitive negotiations, etc.

...

I don't recall anyone electing him, or appointing him. ... What if something he releases gets someone killed? ... All for the greater good you say? Maybe if you or someone you know is the one who is killed, you'd change your mind.
M0RE

Spencer Ackerman compares it to a previous Wikileaks leak:

Turns out “Collateral Murder” was just a warmup. ... WikiLeaks’ release of a 2007 Apache gunship video sparked worldwide outrage, but little change. ... [But] this massive storehouse ... has the potential to be strategically significant, raising questions about how and why America and her allies are conducting the war.

...

WikiLeaks presents a new depth of detail about how the U.S. military has seen, for six years, the depths of [Pakistan] facilitation of the Afghan insurgency. ... WikiLeaks has freaked out the White House ... by clearly raising questions about whether Pakistani aid to the Afghan insurgency is far deeper than typically acknowledged.

...

[It] casts serious doubt on official ... accounts of how insurgents prosecute the war.
M0RE

Meanwhile, Micah L. Sifry asks a simple question:

If you didn't think technology was changing politics, perhaps now you'll reconsider?
M0RE
    

And Finally...

Sorry, not in the mood for a funny link after reading all that.

 
 
Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

  
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