Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pentagon Says Nothing New in Afghanistan Documents Leaked Online

Pentagon and Administration officials are downplaying the online leak of more than 90,000 documents regarding the military effort in Afghanistan. However, senior Pentagon officials say that they still need to sort through at least 75,000 of the documents.

Some of the revelations contained in the Wikileaks document dump were already widely known or suspected by those in military, diplomatic and intelligence community, such as Pakistan's Interservices Intelligence Directorate playing a double-game with the USA and the Afghan Taliban. Documents from Afghan officials included in the leaks also allege that Iran has been arming and financing Taliban commanders as far back as 2005.

Earlier this month, the US Army pressed charges against PFC Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq who leaked classified video of two Reuters journalists killed by a helicopter gunship along with Iraqi insurgents back in 2007. While Manning was stationed in Iraq and the Wikileaks document dump deals mostly with Afghanistan, Army officials have not ruled out the possibility that Manning could also be the source of the latest leaks and are attempting to backtrack what information he had access to.
"WikiLeaks does not have an opinion whether the war in Afghanistan should continue or not continue. ... It should continue in a just way if its to continue at all,"
Wikileaks creator Julia Assange claimed in a CNN interview. However, in an inteview with Germany's Der Spiegel the other day, Assange said:
"I enjoy crushing bastards. So it is enjoyable work."
Note that the Wikileaks benefits nobody but the Taliban in the short-term, so it's pretty clear who Assange thinks the 'bastards' are in this instance.
Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said the information should be put "in context" and that journalists should avoid publishing anything that could harm U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Assange, he said, "is an anti-war activist who has repeatedly cast a very unfair light on the American military and on the American population in general."

"There are American troops in harm's way getting shot and killed," Rieckhoff said. "If WikiLeaks is endangering them, we need to push back, and the American public needs to push back."
As others much more in the know than myself have described it, the leaks are more or less "old news that comes at a bad time".

Steve Schippert of threatswatch.org goes into more detail about some of the familiar-sounding memes that seem to be a common theme of the latest offering from WikiLeaks.

Curious how Assange and the others haven't gone to such lengths to undermine the regimes of Hugo Chavez, Hu Jintao or Mahmoud Ahmedinejhad. I guess they're part of the 'vulnerable' that he seeks to protect.

1 comment: