The Afghan Diaries set off a firestorm when it revealed the suppression of civilian casualty figures, the existence of an elite U.S.-led death squad, and the covert role of Pakistan in the conflict, as Elizabeth Vos reports.
This is the second article in a series that is looking back on the major works of the publication that has altered the world since its founding in 2006. The series is an effort to counter mainstream media coverage, which is ignoring WikiLeaks’ work, and is instead focusing on Julian Assange’s personality. It is WikiLeaks’ uncovering of governments’ crimes and corruption that set the U.S. after Assange and which ultimately led to his arrest on April 11.
By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News
Three months after it published the “Collateral Murder” video, WikiLeaks on July 25, 2010 released a cache of secret U.S. documents on the war in Afghanistan. It revealed the suppression of civilian casualty figures, the existence of an elite U.S.-led death squad and the covert role of Pakistan in the conflict, among other revelations. The publication of the Afghan War Diaries helped set the U.S. government on a collision course with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that ultimately led to his arrest last month.
The war diaries were leaked by then-Army-intelligence-analyst Chelsea Manning, who had legal access to the logs via her Top Secret clearance. Manning only approached WikiLeaks, after studying the organization, following unsuccessful attempts to leak the files to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
A major controversy surrounding the Diaries’ release were allegations that operational details were made public to the Taliban’s battlefield advantage and that U.S. coalition informants’ lives were put at risk by publishing their names.
Despite a widely-held belief that WikiLeaks carelessly publishes un-redacted documents, only 75,000 from a total of more than 92,201 internal U.S. military files related to the Afghan War (between 2004 and 2010) were ultimately published.
WikiLeaks explained that it held back so many documents because Manning had insisted on it: “We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from the total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source.”
Manning testified at her 2013 court-martial that the files were not “very sensitive” and did not report active military operations.
“As an analyst I viewed the SigActs [Significant Activities] as historical data. This event can be an improvised explosive device attack or IED, small arms fire engagement or SAF engagement with a hostile force, or any other event a specific unit documented and recorded in real time.
“In my perspective the information contained within a single SigAct or group of SigActs is not very sensitive. The events encapsulated within most SigActs involve either enemy engagements or causalities. Most of this information is publicly reported by the public affairs office … They capture what happens on a particular day in time. They are created immediately after the event, and are potentially updated over a period of hours until final version is published on the Combined Information Data Network Exchange [CIDNE].
Although SigAct reporting is sensitive at the time of their creation, their sensitivity normally dissipates within 48 to 72 hours as the information is either publicly released or the unit involved is no longer in the area and not in danger.
It is my understanding that the SigAct reports remain classified only because they are maintained within CIDNE … Everything on CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A to include SigAct reporting was treated as classified information.”
Manning testified that the data she leaked had been “sanitized” of sensitive information. She further explained in her court martial, her motive for leaking the documents. She said:
“I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.”
WikiLeaks explained its reasons for publishing Manning’s material:
“The reports do not generally cover top-secret operations or European and other ISAF Forces operations. However when a combined operation involving regular Army units occurs, details of Army partners are often revealed.
For example a number of bloody operations carried out by Task Force 373, a secret U.S. Special Forces assassination unit, are exposed in the Diary — including a raid that lead to the death of seven children. This archive shows the vast range of small tragedies that are almost never reported by the press but which account for the overwhelming majority of deaths and injuries.”
Covering Up Civilian Casualties
The Diaries documented cover-ups and misreporting of civilian deaths. The Guardian reported that the files illustrated at least 21 separate occasions in which British troops were said to have shot or bombed Afghan civilians, including women and children. “Some casualties were accidentally caused by air strikes, but many also are said to involve British troops firing on unarmed drivers or motorcyclists who come ‘too close’ to convoys or patrols,” the newspaper reported.
“Bloody errors at civilians’ expense, as recorded in the logs, include the day French troops strafed a bus full of children in 2008, wounding eight. A US patrol similarly machine-gunned a bus, wounding or killing 15 of its passengers, and in 2007 Polish troops mortared a village, killing a wedding party including a pregnant woman, in an apparent revenge attack,” said The Guardian.
The Diaries revealed a cover-up of civilian casualties and possible evidence of war crimes. “These detailed reports show coalition forces’ attacks on civilians, friendly fire incidents and Afghan forces attacking each other – so-called green on green,” The Guardian said. At least 20 friendly-fire cases were reported. Assange said in a written affidavit given in 2013 that the material documented “detailed records about the deaths of nearly 20,000 people.”
Pakistan Backing Terror Groups
Among the significant revelations of the Afghan War Diaries is the U.S. belief in the covert roles that Pakistan has played in the war.
“More than 180 intelligence files in the war logs, most of which cannot be confirmed, detail accusations that Pakistan’s premier spy agency has been supplying, arming and training the insurgency since at least 2004,” The Guardian reported.
“Pakistan’s military spy service has guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than $1 billion a year from Washington for its help combating the militants,” wrote The New York Times on the day the Diaries were published.
The Afghan War Diaries illustrated the implementation of U.S. and coalition-backed psyops via Afghani radio stations.
“Several reports from Army psychological operations units and provincial reconstruction teams (also known as PRTs, civilian-military hybrids tasked with rebuilding Afghanistan) show that local Afghan radio stations were under contract to air content produced by the United States. Other reports show U.S. military personnel apparently referring to Afghan reporters as “our journalists” and directing them in how to do their jobs.”–Yahoo News, July 27, 2015.
One June 2007 document, classified “Secret,” also describes alleged self-censorship amongst Pakistan’s media:
“Pakistan”s cable television operators report they are under continuing pressure (read “requirement”) to block news broadcasts emanating from three television news networks. Most cable networks are complying with government directives that trickled down to cable owners on June 1. On that day, all cable companies in Pakistan ceased airing ARY news, while AAJ TV became unavailable in 70 percent of the country. (Reftel.) As of 1700 local June 5, ARY was available again throughout Pakistan. We are attempting to ascertain whether the network is self-censoring”
Task Force 373
The Afghan War Diaries described the activities of Task Force 373, a unit whose existence was unknown prior to WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication. At least 200 incidents involving Task Force 373 were reported to have been found amongst the Afghan War Diaries material.
“The Nato coalition in Afghanistan has been using an undisclosed ‘black’ unit of special forces, Task Force 373, to hunt down targets for death or detention without trial. Details of more than 2,000 senior figures from the Taliban and al-Qaida are held on a ‘kill or capture’ list, known as Jpel, the joint prioritised effects list,” reported the The Guardian on the day of the Diaries’ release.
The article added: “In many cases, the unit has set out to seize a target for internment, but in others it has simply killed them without attempting to capture. The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed civilian men, women and children and even Afghan police officers who have strayed into its path.”
The Huffington Post also wrote regarding Task Force 373 in the weeks following WikiLeaks’ publication of the files: “The Wikileaks data suggests that as many as 2,058 people on a secret hit list called the “Joint Prioritized Effects List” (JPEL) were considered “capture/kill” targets in Afghanistan. A total of 757 prisoners — most likely from this list — were being held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility (BTIF), a U.S.-run prison on Bagram Air Base as of the end of December 2009.”
Reaction From, and Collaboration With, the Press
WikiLeaks’ publication of the Afghan War Diaries was groundbreaking in that it was the first instance of WikiLeaks coordinating with major news organizations such as the The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian prior t0 publication.
Mainstream media, which since the 2016 U.S. presidential election has taken a sharply critical view of WikiLeaks and Assange, were active participants in publishing the Afghan War Diaries. WikiLeaks gave the Diaries in advance to The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel in an arrangement in which they published articles on the same day WikiLeaks made the archive public.
The Guardian described the project as a “Unique collaboration between the Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel magazine in Germany to sift the huge trove of data for material of public interest and to distribute globally this secret record of the world’s most powerful nation at war.”
Der Spiegel described the process as one of vetting the material and comparing the data with independent reports, and wrote of the consensus between the three outlets working with WikiLeaks: “The publishers were unanimous in their belief that there is a justified public interest in the material because it provides a more thorough understanding of a war that continues today after almost nine years.”
In a 2011 interview, Assange talked about his partnerships with corporate media. “We’ve partnered with twenty or so newspapers across the world, to increase the total impact, including by encouraging each one of these news organizations to be braver,” he said.
“It made them braver, though it did not entirely work in the case of The New York Times. For example, one of the stories we found in the Afghan War Diaries was from “Task Force 373”, a U.S. Special Forces assassination squad.
“Task Force 373 is working its way down an assassination list of some 2,000 people for Afghanistan, and the Kabul government is rather unhappy about these extrajudicial assassinations—there is no impartial procedure for putting a name on the list or for taking a name off the list. You’re not notified if you’re on the list, which is called the Joint Priority Effects List, or JPEL. It’s supposedly a kill or capture list.
“But you can see from the material that we released that about 50 percent of cases were just kill—there’s no option to “capture” when a drone drops a bomb on someone. And in some cases Task Force 373 killed innocents, including one case where they attacked a school and killed seven children and no bonafide targets, and attempted to cover the whole thing up.
“This discovery became the cover story for Der Spiegel. It became an article in The Guardian. A story was written for The New York Times by national security correspondent Eric Schmitt, and that story was killed. It did not appear in The New York Times.”
On the day of the Diaries’ publication, Assange said in a video published by The Guardian: “It is the role of good journalism to take on powerful abusers, and when powerful abusers are taken on there is always a bad reaction. So we see that controversy and we think it is good to engage in, and in this case it will show the true nature of this war.”
The press response to the publication of the war diaries was far from uniformly positive.
Maximilian Forte described the issue via Counterpunch: “Wikileaks seems to be depending now on individuals to privately sift through thousands of records, and then to presumably publish their findings outside of newspapers, months from now, about events that happened perhaps years ago. This is great for historians, and not so great for anti-war activists who deal in the immediate, in the present.”
However, such a sentiment dismissed the coordinated release with papers of record from three countries. Anti-war activists and artists did make use of the material, especially using data-visualization techniques.
A televised CBS report aired in the days following the release called WikiLeaks a “shadowy website.”
Reaction from The Military
According Assange’s affidavit, just three days after the July 25 publication of the Afghan War Diaries, the U.S. Department of Defense and the FBI stepped up pre-existing efforts to prosecute Assange and disable WikiLeaks.
“With our publication of the Afghan War Diaries and the news that WikiLeaks intended to publish hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables, U.S. government officials started an attempt to delegitimise the legal protections WikiLeaks enjoys as a publisher by casting WikiLeaks as an adversary opposed to U.S. national interests.
An article published by the Department of Defense on July 29, 2010 has since been deleted, but was retrieved via archiving services. The report states in part:
“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced he has asked the FBI to help Pentagon authorities investigate the leak of the classified documents published by WikiLeaks. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, condemned the leak in the strongest possible manner during a Pentagon briefing here today.”
The article said, “Calling on the FBI to aid the investigation ensures that the department will have all the resources needed to investigate and assess this breach of national security, the secretary said, noting that use of the bureau ensures the investigation can go wherever it needs to go.”
In the days following the release, Michael Hayden, a former NSA director who also served as CIA chief under President George W. Bush from 2006 until 2009, called publication of the Diaries a ‘tragedy.’
The Obama administration’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones called the release “a threat to national security that could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk.”
Democratic Party Presidential candidate John Kerry called the publication of the Afghan War Diaries “unacceptable and illegal.”
In a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that WikiLeaks represented a “very real and potential threat.”
A White House memo sent to reporters shortly after the release of the Afghan war documents was said by Assange to have stated in part: “As you report on this issue, it’s worth noting that WikiLeaksis not an objective news outlet but rather an organization that opposes U.S. policy in Afghanistan.”
The publication of the Afghan War Diaries would form a major part of the U.S. criminal investigation of Julian Assange that the Justice Department announced was underway in December 2010 and would ultimately lead to Assange’s arrest on April 11 of this year.
Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter and regular contributor to Consortium News. She co-hosts the #Unity4J online vigil.
Why not go to the heart of the Afghan situation which are the poppy fields being protected by big pharma and the Deep State? The US wouldn’t even be there if not for that fact because other than the mineral resources in Afghanistan, what else is there to require US troop involvement?
China has been buying up mineral resources in Afghanistan for many years but they have yet to send troops over there to guard poppy fields.
So WikiLareaks exposed the criminal nature of “western democracies” inherently racist” Afghan invasion led by the United States and their junior partners in crime, led by clinging by the US coattails United Kingdom aka “we better ride along cause our heyday is gone” and other hangers on like Poland and Canada……The British were never able to defeat the Afghans when they were the Empire of record and the Soviets could not defeat the US supplied “Afghan freedom fighters” so bent in keeping women as third class indenture servants without education and minimal rights. Now the American Empire in decline is bogged down in a war of attrition killing civilians left and right with the arrogance of an Empire that has no clue of the culture of the people they are engage to “bring democracy and freedom” to. WikiLeaks made it harder for the spin doctors to lie to millions back in the US and their minions about the “building democracy abroad” and other pro US propaganda designed to obfuscate and hide the true nature of the genocide they so gladly accused Hitler and Stalin of perpetuating when they were in power. Flash news bulletin, the US and NATO are guilty of more civilian casualties than Hitler and Stalin ever did since the end of WWII. Someone has to pay for bringing to light the war crimes and outright genocide of the “Western democracies” and that is Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning or anyone else that gets in the way of the Fascist Corporate Elites posing as Western Democracies………
Manning believed that if the American public knew what was going on around the world in the GWOT they might reconsider what the government does in their name.
Sorry kid but the American public is largely a bunch fat, lazy, tv addled, flag waving retards. They aren’t even able to pick up on what their government is doing to them let alone what happens in some country they didn’t know existed until Washington started bombing it.
WikiLeaks and Julian Assange truly deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. And Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Daniel Hale…
Should Assange be used to upgrade certain press organs?
Spiegel (one example):
In 1952, this francophobe attitude becomes noticeable for the first time: the so-called Schmeißer affair comes to pass. That Hans-Konrad Schmeißer, former agent for the French secret service SDECE, had claimed that Chancellor Adenauer, the ministerial director Blankenhorn and Consul General Reifferscheid were working for the French secret service. That did not happen by chance. Adenauer and his followers had resisted an unconditional pro-American course and preferred to focus on cooperation with France. The accusations turned out to be baseless – but the beginning was done. The SPIEGEL had bound its editorial orientation to CIA interests.
Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War. The Role of Osama bin Laden and Zbigniew Brzezinski
By Janelle Velina
Global Research, May 08, 2019
Assange made us face what we’d like to ignore.
First, that we’re killing and maiming people who had nothing to do with 9/11. The insurgency is directed against US occupation, not towards crumbling US skyscrapers.
Secondly, that our destruction is vast and impersonal, because the American public wouldn’t support such an intervention if US casualties were high. Thus, we mete out terror technology on an unimaginable scale.
And, we’re following the tactics that the Nazis used in Europe and the US used in Vietnam, such as uprooting ancestral villages to relocate and isolate their inhabitants and targeting for murder the political arm of the resistance, even when it’s not involved in actual combat.
Anybody remember the Strategic Hamlet Initiative or Operation Phoenix?
Because our weaponry keeps us from losing, we’ll always be beyond accountability to international law. And, we’re doing this to a country that doesn’t present the remotest threat to the homeland security of the US, though it does represent a stumbling block to a bloody and unrestrained empire. Many Germans hanged for far less.
Agreed. Phoenix was indeed such a project. Retired Nebraska Senator, Bob Kerrey, lost part of a leg and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his participation in just such an action while serving as a USN SEAL in the Republic of South Vietnam. Folks like John Bolton, the man behind the mustache, seeks to keep us there, why? Everyone should watch, “Legion of Brothers;” the documentary showing 12 man ODA’s from the 5th SF Group (totaling less than 100 men) dispatched to Afghanistan within one month of the Twin Towers attack. Force multipliers on horseback, target acquisition and interdiction, and conduct of constant DA missions was like watching Lawrence of Arabia without actors. We were then thought of liberators by the Afghanis. The experts saw fit to remake the country into Iowa, and we soon became occupiers.
Keep up with the programme. This story is bollocks. False. Made up. Go and check.
https://www.lewrockwell.com/author/karen-kwiatkowski/?ptype=article Is were this shyster nonsense started, does anybody not check stories out?
The author, Karen Kwiatkowski, is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. She should be marched out and put up against a wall for this knife in the back on the credibility of VIPS.
Go to the headlines on the home page of Consortium news…_
I know it is. But it can become true any moment.
This is a great article with lots of deep information concerning Wikileaks and how the US Government hides behind a false patriotism to which all we citizens fall victim to.
Here is an article describing Chelsea Manning’s release from prison (until another day).
“Democratic Party Presidential candidate John Kerry called the publication of the Afghan War Diaries “unacceptable and illegal.””
Amazing what some people will twist.
God I wish reality could turn itself on its head long enough for the press to become fiercely independent and dedicated to factual analysis and a sense of justice. So people like Kerry couldn’t be so brazenly treacherous. War crimes hold an “acceptable” back seat to the “unacceptability” of their exposure—in John Kerry’s twisted mind.
Through the revelations of many small war crimes could spring forth a greater awareness of the real war crime, invasion and continuing occupation of Afghanistan, and disclosure of the individuals responsible for all of it.
Not only that, butblay bare the sordid history by individuals and Corporate influencing that instigated such a crime.
Sorry, but this is not 1944-48 where two Nations, Japan and Germany , were held criminal, but it was individual mainly military men that were hung for their individual crimes.
What good does it do to say US is Guilty for War and crimes against Humanity, and not punish the perpetrators.
At Nurimburg we hung Generals and imprisoned political and Industrial leaders for their part.
Poland is not only military to massage for revenge, A highly placed US General who knew Iraq military had surrendered days, weeks before, deliberately attacked an Iraq military convoy that was following US orders to drive equipment to a certain point for decommissioning.
Generals punishment, another Star to add cash for when he retired years later.
General at head of Military after Blackhawk down episode replied agar action bad he taken by Congreess, Oh he had fired more Rtillary the city wold of been below sea level.
THERE was no organized military and only around 5p0 insurgents, all else were civilians.
ew star on shlder.
I never see any news about the Australian government position on Assange. Why, for instance , wasn’t he able to take refuge in the Australian embassy? Why, for instance, are they not upset about another country arresting and extraditing one of their citizens to a third country?
The Australian governments position is consistent with their regular failure to protect their citizens from america’s clutches. For example David Hicks languished in Guatanamo for years while the Australian government ignored his plight. Australia, does not have an independent foreign policy. It is basically the 51st state of America. The military alliance with America ( the one where the U.S.A. comes to the rescue when Australia is attacked by God knows who) is regarded as so important to Australia that nothing is done to jeopardise it. America gets what America wants. Australia bends over and takes it, with a big smile on its face.
The World Socialist Website is good on this subject. Eg here https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/16/aust-a16.html, or here https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/18/rees-a18.html
Does anyone know of a petition or some such effort to which a person could go to sign and offer support to Assange?
That would be, for example, in support of his right to publish as a journalist, and as a member of a public with the right to know what is happening, and usually kept hidden?
Yes, here: https://www.change.org/p/free-julian-assange-before-it-s-too-late-stop-usa-extradition?use_react=false
Thank you, Lorese, much appreciated.
The US government is the epitome of RICO – Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization. They lie, they conduct psyops, they murder wantonly, and then they classify it so that nobody will know about it until they can no longer be prosecuted for their crimes. A rogue nation indeed.
That is quite literally true, the US is guilty of racketeering in hundreds of areas under the RICO act, and citizens may actually file civil RICO cases against the US. Without expecting any effect beyond making a statement, of course, because the entire judicial branch is appointed by our dictatorship of the rich, and serve corruption as their highest aim. I expect to file several RICO cases against the judiciary themselves, as the inevitable result of my federal prosecution of other racketeers, because they invariably join the rackets by suppressing all such cases, as the first line of defense of organized corruption.
“TIMELINE: Human Rights and the U.S.”
“The Bill of Rights guarantees civil and political rights to individual citizens, including: freedom of speech, religion, and association; the right to a fair trial; and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.1791”
Human Rights and the United States
“Assange was always willing to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London, as had occurred in dozens of other cases involving extradition proceedings to Sweden. It was almost as if Swedish officials did not want to test the evidence they claimed to have in their possession.”
“The media and political courtiers endlessly emphasised Assange’s bail violation in the UK, ignoring the fact that asylum seekers fleeing legal and political persecution don’t usually honour bail conditions imposed by the very state authorites from which they are seeking asylum.”
“It was a freedom of information request by an ally of Assange, not a media outlet, that unearthed documents showing that Swedish investigators had, in fact, wanted to drop the case against Assange back in 2013. The UK, however, insisted that they carry on with the charade so that Assange could remain locked up. A British official emailed the Swedes: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!””
“It was about making sure there would never again be a leak like that of Collateral Murder, the military video released by Wikileaks in 2007 that showed US soldiers celebrating as they murdered Iraqi civilians. It was about making sure there would never again be a dump of US diplomatic cables, like those released in 2010 that revealed the secret machinations of the US empire to dominate the planet whatever the cost in human rights violations.”
by Jonathan Cook
April 12, 2019
What an about face! During the Vietnam war the government inflated death numbers. The enemy soldiers numbers were inflated by 2 to 3 times the actual numbers. The soldiers knew the truth. Some how civilian deaths were ignored.
The five o’clock follies where daily a government spokesman would put out what the government wanted known. The reporters knew they were being lied to.
When the news reports were sent to the news media headquarters; the reports were edited to satisfy the current policy. Changing the facts so much the front line reporters did not recognize their submissions.
The home office desk jockies decided what, we the people, were to hear. The truth be damned.
The tragedy is that the public doesn’t give a damn about civilian casualties “over there.” They have been so brainwashed about “terrorism” they are blind to the truth of what the government has been doing to perpetuate the power of the ruling class.
Heroes like Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are thought of as criminals, if they’re thought of at all. It’s all so depressing.
It was about 10 years ago, when I read a study by the American Psychiatric Association that said, that the average 18 year old American has witnessed over 40,000 murders on television, and over 200,000 violent deaths.
Now, I wonder just how many returning fallen soldiers has the average American 18 year old witnessed on television?
I also wonder, just how many posted names of those killed in action has the average American 18 year old American witnessed on television?
We are not talking here – about political football. .. In every sense, we are talking about us, our kids, our health, and the truth of our factual conversations on our airwaves.
For some further eye popping statistics:
* Correction: I apologize, I meant to say, “.. and over 200,000 violent acts.”
I am struggling a bit to understand the implications of your comment here. I’m sensing that you deplore that American kids, and Americans generally, do not understand the suffering and sacrifices of the American military, and your comment seems to be a polite rebuke to the posted article. If so, it would also seem to throw some light on the animosity directed at Assange by the American public, with Assange, in effect, perceived as attacking loyal American soldiers serving in defense of the nation. I recently posted at CN a report from Eric Zuesse shortly after April 11 that Americans disapprove of Assange at a ratio of 3-1. For some reason, editors at CN deleted my comment so I won’t bother to include the link again.
However, I would like to add another view, and hope I’m responding relevantly to what you intended. The article at the least, as with Assange’s previous reporting–as I say at the least–raises questions. It raises questions about what American soldiers are doing, as with here in Afghanistan, why the US is in Afghanistan, and whether the type of actions involved should be public knowledge, and to what extent “our boys” are involved in civilian murders, etc.
It raises questions on types of military activity, such as the use of drones. It informs as to the nature of the conflict, as part of raising these questions. The operative word is informs. Now, do we as citizens have a right to be informed in this way, hence to question and seek to evaluate those who have organized and promoted this conflict? This would mean evaluating political leadership at election time, for example, and whether a given political party or individual has a tendency to generate more war, and for what purposes, etc. Or should we instead dismiss all of it with “war is hell” and “since it’s classified, it’s none of our business”?
So this issue, it seems to me, comes down to whether Assange is serving a public in need of information (a citizen’s right to know) for such evaluative purposes, or is he on the other hand a destructive force for which the term “espionage” might apply?
I apologize if I have used your comment improperly to bring up this question.
Great question! I very much appreciate your reply.
If I buy the Wa Po, or the NYT, I ‘am casting my dollar vote for their (owners) interpretation of news. .. But if I turn on my television set, then I have a blind faith or trust that we (we the people) are talking as factual as possible of the news, (and we are not “producing” the news), since we the people – own our airwaves.
Please afford me to very loosely simplify my interpretation of the Communications Act of 1934:
1 – The American airwaves are owned by the American people.
2 – They will be over seen by the Federal Communications Commission.
2 – We will have Privately owned networks, as well as the public networks.
3 – What is broadcast on our airwaves will be deemed “good & necessary” for the American public.
These are obviously very different mandates than what is demanded by law, of the NYT or Wa Po. .. And these facts, they demand that we dictate a very different basis for our conversations.
Long before we even talk about Chelsea, Julian, etc., would we say that those statistics that I quoted above, that they are by accident? The average 65 year old has spent some 9 years in front of the tube. And, have you ever even felt a little frustrated, when you are conversing with the average “Bugs Bunny” version of accounts? .. I have.
.. And, I would say, that this is criminal. .. Let me explain. In Chelsea’s case alone, she revealed that laws that were broken. This is the legal foundation for a Whistle-blower. Now I haven’t watched television for about 40 years. .. But, I can probably guess, at how many times this fact has been pointed out on our airwaves.
.. And Julian, he didn’t give us an interpretation of the events, or the known information. .. He gave us just pure facts (that harmed no one, (unfortunately, including those that even broke the law)). .. But, in my opinion, this makes him the ultimate in journalism.
Thank You Hetro!
I can give you another angle on the turn against Assange in the US liberal media. Supporters of Assange that were Die hard Hillary believers and now infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome hope Assange gets burned at the stake for being part of Hillary’s defeat. Being one who lives among them I can assure you this is true. They don’t care about our troops or anything else.
I hope you don’t mind my using this reply box to also talk with Mike Perry: saying first that is a beautiful piece of research you have given to us, reminding of a different America. I won’t go into it, because I believe a lot of people here know exactly what I mean. So when we read Orwell we were certainly impressed but there was also disbelief it could happen here. And what was Orwell’s model? Nazi Germany. This lesson we need to remember.