Monday, October 18, 2010

WikiLeaks Release

As though months ago when WikiLeaks released about 70,000 leaked documents to embarrass the U.S. military and the American administration with embarrassing little facts they would far rather keep hidden wasn't enough, they're at it again. They've 400,000 leaked classified documents this time around. And this time around they've gone through them carefully to ensure that none of them contain the names and addresses of informants working with the U.S. military.

In the previous release they were accused heatedly of recklessly placing the lives of innocent and useful Afghans informants in danger of potential Taliban reprisal. This time, after close scrutiny, 15,000 incriminating documents will be withheld. Which still leaves hundreds of thousands of confidential documents set for release. Very nervous-making, to be sure.

These later, set-for-release files will relate to the concluded and withdrawn war in Iraq. There will be revelations that the Pentagon and the U.S. Defence Secretary may feel they can live with. Even so, the founder of WikiLeaks has been soberly put on notice that what he is planning to do may very well result in a breach of national security.

The documents themselves will be published simultaneously by The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel; in the United States, Britain and Germany, respectively. They've had experience in this sort of thing, since they also published the previous releases, the Afghanistan "War Logs".

But before WikiLeaks there was a solitary reporter, born in Canada and latterly working for the U.S.-based Los Angeles Times. The Pulitzer Prize-Award-winning Paul Watson reveals in his book, Where War Lives, some embarrassing realities, much as he revealed them at a much earlier date with the discovery of "secret" flash drives that were circulating in the public market for civilian sale by Afghan shopkeepers.

Which provided him with startling documentary evidence of American military and government lies that Pakistan, for example, was a staunch ally of NATO and the U.S. The discarded flash drives that would slide into a computer's USB port contained all manner of secret documents. And they were available at a village bazaar. The digital files gave an impression of the ordinary, in soldiers' lives, as well as classified documents.
"There were intriguing shots, of Afghan prisoners, including one in a police uniform, leaning against a mudbrick wall, blindfolded by several rounds of tightly-wrapped tape, his hands bound behind his back.

"But most shocking were the photographs and detailed personal information on Afghans spying for the U.S. military. The files included the spies' names, addresses, birth dates, and similar information about their wives and children, as well as detailed records of meetings with their U.S. military handlers and the intelligence provided.

"When my story was printed, the military's senior public affairs officers at Bagram suddenly started calling me, desperate to plug a massive security breach that had compromised their operations and put the lives of several spies at risk. The Time's lawyers negotiated with the Justice Department and the Pentagon for the return of the flash drives in exchange for guarantees that neither I, nor Wesal (his interpreter), would be prosecuted. The U.S. Army's criminal investigators would spend months trying to figure out how one of the most important front-line bases in the war on terrorism had sprung so many leaks.

"...One of the computer file folders was full of intelligence reports, marked "Secret", which were part of an operation code-named "Implicit Agile". Also among the digital documents were secret PowerPoint presentations for senior U.S. commanders at Bagram, such as one from August 2005 that highlighted "obstacles to success", along the border and accused Pakistan of making "false and inaccurate reports of border incidents". It also criticized "political military inertia in Pakistan".

"Half a year later, the U.S. military was still complaining privately that improvised explosive devices,or IEDs in military jargon, were being smuggled in along numerous known routes from Pakistan, just as they had been for decades. A Special Operations task force map, which showed the militants' main cross-border smuggling routes in early 2005, included a comment from a U.S. military commander who sought some way to make "Pakistani border forces cease assisting cross border insurgent activities".
So, then, what else is gnu under the sun and Brother Mars?

Labels: , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet