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Censorship The Internet

WikiLeaks' International Man of Mystery 116

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wonder-what-his-wiki-says dept.
AcidAUS writes "The founder of WikiLeaks lives a secret life in the shadow of those who blow the whistle. Here's a detailed profile of the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, by Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald."
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WikiLeaks' International Man of Mystery

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:06AM (#31815920)

    You gotta hand it to the CIA. When they attack something like Wikileaks, they really take the long view.

    First, show how Wikileaks is somehow providing incorrect/incomplete/biased information [newyorker.com]. Now, set the founder up for more publicity, implicitly encouraging violence upon him.

    It's a chilling effect on anyone who might be initially inclined to provide information to Wikileaks under their cover of anonymity.

    • by Animaether (411575) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:13AM (#31815972) Journal

      First, show how Wikileaks is somehow providing incorrect/incomplete/biased information http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2010/04/truth-but-not-the-whole-truth.html [newyorker.com]. Now, set the founder up for more publicity, implicitly encouraging violence upon him.

      If that article was intended to show that Wikileaks is "providing incorrect/incomplete/biased information", then that article failed on numerous accounts. I won't list them here - it looks like the people commenting on that article (although going off the deep end in another way) have already taken that bother. I highly doubt that was its intent anyway as it goes more into the general topic of what you see in a video and what the actual circumstances were. It still fails even at that, but it's not really directed at Wikileaks.

      • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:09AM (#31816454)

        I think the article was just trying to milk the whole wikileaks publicity train for an extra 15 minutes of fame :-)

        Espionage in real life is more likely to land your backside in jail (naturally a few exceptions here and there): Back when I was working for 'them' (secret 3 letter agency) there was a guy who tried to sell a certain ELINT publication to a foreign country - as far as classified documents go, this one was (and still is) pretty damned important, with a short shelf life. Ultimately not of much interest to anyone other than the people that make use of it. What struck me as both amusing and interesting was that representatives of this particular country returned the document and helped out with the investigations. Naturally the guy is sitting in a cell. A good many classified documents and publications can sometimes (read: very rarely) be interesting, but it's often not the publication itself that is important, it's how it came to exist. Politicians are a terribly leaky bunch, but they are also usually a little smarter than they look, you rarely, virtually never, hear them talk about collection systems.

        My point: throughout all of the agencies I worked for over the years, WikiLeaks was pretty low on the Radar. So low that most people, until now, had no idea it actually existed. It might be a very small PR problem every once in a while, but this little pony show you saw on CNN is about publicity just at the moment. Nothing more, nothing less. War sucks for sure, but cherry picking pieces of a story to highlight ones own agenda, that's not cool, though it probably does bring in the money, fame, hookers and whatever.

        Disclaimer: I'm just one guy though, so what matters to me might not be viewed the same way by another. If you feel differently this is okay. I'm good with it. Slashdot actually gets far higher publicity than WikiLeaks anyway. Some of these 3 letter agencies may or may not have even approached Mr Taco (and others) for permission to graft certain articles along with their comments such that they are visible 'on the other side of the air gap' so to speak.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by vlm (69642)

          Some of these 3 letter agencies may or may not have even approached Mr Taco (and others) for permission to graft certain articles along with their comments such that they are visible 'on the other side of the air gap' so to speak.

          As it says at the bottom, "Comments are owned by the Poster."

          So I checked my Slashdot Achievements list and right in between "Got a score 5 comment" and "Days metamoderated in a row" I see "NSA hall of fame" they need to ask me for permission not Cmdr Taco. Note to Cmdr Taco -> A good achievement for 4/1/2011

          No idea what the NSA wants with articles like "Help Me Get My Math Back?" or "Hollywood's Growing Obsession With Philip K. Dick" (which would have been much funnier without the first and middle name

          • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:57AM (#31817796)

            This is going back a few years, but permit me to explain the logic used:

            Because the stories were being 'transplanted' from the real slashdot to some server or other 'as is', completely unmodified, everyone involved was okay with it.

            Possibly I've made it sound a bit more frequent that it actually was, though the stories were usually pretty high profile in so far as they related directly to the agencies themselves along with public knowledge and perception thereof.

            I would definitely give you an irony mod if such a thing existed, some people here do indeed have fame they don't realize they have.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:15AM (#31815988)

      So the CIA controls both the New Yorker and the Sydney Morning Herald?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So the CIA controls both the New Yorker and the Sydney Morning Herald?

        Yeah, on top of that, they control Slashdot. Oh, and anyone who even nods at all positively toward the war in Iraq then you can be sure that the CIA is behind it and controlling them. Oh and you, Anonymous Coward, you are the most CIA controlled actor around. Did you see how you just questioned a conspiracy theory? That reeks of CIA.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Dude, you just gave away the secret wikireek site from Asia!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by daveime (1253762)

          Oh, and anyone who even nods at all positively toward the war in Iraq then you can be sure that the CIA is behind it and controlling them

          Guys, didn't anyone tell you, the war in I-raq is over already.

          Don't worry, you've still got the war on drugs, the (generic) war on terror, and the war in Afghanistan to win (i.e. beat the enemy senseless in 12 days, then stay there for 10 years too long until the locals get pissed and ask you to leave).

          And coming soon to a munitions manufacturer near you, advance orders f

      • by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:38AM (#31816156)

        Jayzuz. PR firms feed the journalists with pre-researched, pre-angled cases. The journalist checks a few of the facts, rewrites the prose a bit/writes the prose. And the desk approves. Everybody does this: Government, big tobacco, Toyota, UNICEF. Everybody. There's no need to control the media when the productivity expectations of the journalists ensures they are toothless and more than happy to regurgitate your propaganda.

        • In general I'd agree, but the SMH is (usually, at least) a cut above the typical newspaper. They've got quite a good reputation internationally (I read them relatively often, and I'm British, living in the UK).
    • by chrb (1083577) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:59AM (#31816358)

      Now, set the founder up for more publicity, implicitly encouraging violence upon him.

      Assange brings publicity on himself. He is the media friendly face of Wikileaks. He won the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award and he has been a guest speaker at various international conferences. He chose to be interviewed on Al Jazeera, which is watched by 50-100 million households. I'm not suggesting that he actively seeks publicity for himself, but he does choose to seek it on behalf of Wikileaks, in order to further the Wikileaks mission.

      It's a chilling effect on anyone who might be initially inclined to provide information to Wikileaks under their cover of anonymity.

      Assange chose not to be anonymous so the analogy does not apply. Read his Wikipedia biography [wikipedia.org] for more information. There is no evidence that this will have any effect on anonymous leakers. The people opposed to Wikileaks have various options at this point:

      • Undermine and discredit Wikileaks by publically unmask some of the anonymous leakers
      • Ignore Wikileaks, and accept that leaking happens.
      • Use Wikileaks by leaking "friendly" info, info that makes opponents look bad, etc.
      • Discredit Wikileaks by leaking info that is subsequently shown to be false.
      • Push for the legislation and political will to punish Wikileaks as a criminal organisation that undermines national security.
      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        He chose to be interviewed on Al Jazeera, which is watched by 50-100 million households.
        He chose to be interviewed on Al Jazeera, which is watched by 50-100 million terr'ist, filthy, Muslim, households.

        FTFY
        Obviously, choosing to be interviewed by a news organisation which has in the past taken an unAmerican point of view is in and of itself proof of being a terr'ist. Call the "wet work" department, they've got a customer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Angua (1732766)

      You gotta hand it to the CIA. When they attack something like Wikileaks, they really take the long view.

      Well, I don't see anything in the article as being particularly discrediting to Julian Assange. It appears that he has a secret past involving nomadic life and computer hacking. I don't know about the rest of you, but considering his current career pretty much consists of being constantly on the move and publish classified documents online I find that amazingly non-shocking.

      Not that the CIA might not be involved in this, they might, what do I know? But if they are, they are either taking the long, long, inf

    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:08AM (#31816442) Homepage Journal

      But they did and do present the data in a biased way.
      Look at the prologue they added to the video. Just what does a picture of the dead reporters son holding his fathers picture have to do with truth?
      That is a classic case of "what about the kids" that gets so often bashed on Slashdot when it is convenient.
      For the most part what I have seen of Wikileaks they are the Nation Enquirer of the internet. They present the data in the most inflammatory way possible and it is often incorrect, incomplete, and biased.
      They do not just present the data but comment on and embellish.

      I am not for taking them down but my goodness they need to clean up their act. Between releasing all sorts of personal data they got from the 9/11 pager traffic to the prologue and added commentary they added the the Apache video just released they show that they don't care anymore about being unbiased or responsible than Fox news does.

      • by gambino21 (809810) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:48AM (#31817656)

        Just to be clear they presented the data in both an edited and unedited version [collateralmurder.com]. I would agree with you if wikileaks had released only the edited version, but the fact that they released the full video right next to the edited one, puts them several levels above something like National Enquirer IMO. It also puts them at a higher standard than most of the current US mainstream media which is usually very light on references and heavy on granting anonymity even when it's not needed.

        Did the edited video go overboard with the picture of the son in the edited video? Yes, probably. But in general I think wikileaks does a good job of providing unbiased information and filling a big gap left by most of the media.

        • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:09PM (#31817974) Homepage Journal

          No they don't they have one marked as the short version and one as the full version. The short version has the prologue on it and is put on the top of the order.
          There should be only one and that is the unedited on with out the commentary. There is no reason for their to be two versions at all except to allow for manipulation disguised as making it clearer.
          Wikileaks can not make any claim as to being unbiased. They are clearly in this case taking on the job of judge, jury, and prosecutor.
          Please even the URL you posted is inflammatory. collateralmurder.com! Gee no slanting there at all.
          So just how is this in your own words "doing a good job at providing unbiased information"?

          This is as bad as any hatchet job by 60 minutes or Fox News. I think you need to review what unbiased really means. There is no way anything posted under the url of collateralmurder can be considered unbiased when the url and title on the page are clearly biased as to what the actions shown constitute. I can not believe that you posted a link to the url and still defend any claim of being unbiased!

          Nope it is classic yellow journalism.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chrb (1083577)

        For the most part what I have seen of Wikileaks they are the Nation Enquirer of the internet. They present the data in the most inflammatory way possible and it is often incorrect, incomplete, and biased. They do not just present the data but comment on and embellish.

        Look at wikileaks.org [wikileaks.org]. The most recently leaked documents are reproduced in their entirety, with (usually) only one single paragraph to describe the document. The descriptions are descriptive and accurate (if you don't believe me - read them for yourself - stuff like "Quote for a US$85 million line of credit from FirstCaribbean to the government of the Turks & Caicos Islands."). How is a release of original source material along with one single descriptive paragraph "incorrect, incomplete, and biased..

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR (28044)

          And this video doesn't push opinion? Gee so you think that the URL collateralmurder isn't biased?
          Showing times when they are no biased doesn't remove times when they clearly are. Even the times when they behave as you show in their examples shows bias. They have decided that that leak isn't worth pushing while this video is.
          The fact that they made a special project page for this video and of course put it at the top of the page right next to their fund raising request is not bias at all. Or the fact that th

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MobyDisk (75490)

        I won't agree or disagree with your sentiment, but I do think the analogy is misdirected.

        Wikileaks they are the Nation Enquirer of the internet. They present the data in the most inflammatory way possible and it is often incorrect, incomplete, and biased.

        As far as I know, The National Enquirer does not present incorrect, incomplete, or biased information in an inflammatory way. They just make shit up. That's a pretty big difference. I could learn a lot from Wikileaks, but I can learn nothing from the Enquirer.

        • by dave420 (699308)
          They've actually had brief periods where they've performed actual journalism. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

          For a time the Enquirer sought recognition for journalistic research and news scoops. In 2001, the Enquirer uncovered that the Rev. Jesse Jackson had an illegitimate child. Salacious details of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair were first made public by the Enquirer. The Enquirer was regarded by some as having the best media coverage of the O. J. Simpson murder trial. For example, when a distinctive footprint from a Bruno Magli shoe was found at the crime scene, Simpson vehemently denied owning such a shoe. The Enquirer, however, published a photo by a freelance photographer showing Simpson in the shoes, then dug up another one again showing him in such a pair.

      • The apache video brings out a bias on one side or another to people who have only heard about it let alone watched it. It would be hard to present it without bias so the best thing is to be upfront about why you are showing it to the world.
        In my view it divides those that are happy for the troops involved to be unprofessional, disobedient, undisciplined thugs because they are on our team and those that are not happy about it - but I'm biased.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Yes you are.
          Also judgmental and polarizing. What is worse is probably also unteachable.

          The fact that you can not even imagine a middle ground where people feel the crews made a tragic error because of limited info is in it's self tragic.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dbIII (701233)
            Ah yes, by the "limited info" comment it appears you think the rules of engagement and orders are "shoot first and ask questions later".
            A real war with professional soldiers is run somewhat differently to an action movie.
            Please correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not "unteachable". Thanks for the petty little bullying personal attack to prey on the weak willed above BTW, it's a really nasty symptom of the decline of US education but with your low UID you should be old enough to know better by now.
            Now get o
            • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:18PM (#31819024) Homepage Journal

              Frankly No.
              I also saw the video. From the resolution of the images I can honestly say that the they did look like they where armed and when the camera man was ducking around the the corner with his camera he did look like a shooter setting up an ambush.

              Other looked like they where caring weapons and the video cometary did say that they where caring AK-47s.

              In that situation with that data I can see how the crew could open fire.
              The van was not an Ambulance and was not marked with the Red Crescent or Cross.

              If you can not see how they could decide to shoot then yes you are not being reasonable.

              Yes I can understand how this error was made.
              I happened to be visiting family in Northern Ireland in the 80s during the troubles.
              I was with some other teens when a bomb went off a few blocks down. I didn't run fast enough and was knocked down by a British solder because I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
              I was shortly let go but I understand how errors can happen even when I was the target of that error. I was lucky that I wasn't hurt too bad but yes I could have been dead for no other reason than I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
              That is what happens in insurgent fights like Northern Ireland back then or Iraq now.

              • by Fluffeh (1273756)

                I happened to be visiting family in Northern Ireland in the 80s during the troubles.
                I was with some other teens when a bomb went off a few blocks down. I didn't run fast enough and was knocked down by a British solder because I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

                Right, so the British soldier didn't just shoot you?

                I was shortly let go but I understand how errors can happen even when I was the target of that error. I was lucky that I wasn't hurt too bad but yes I could have been dead for no other reason than I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

                I will assume that your "wrong place" is inferring the reactions of the soldiers, not the initial bomb blast itself. You aren't dead however because of the soldier's choice not to shoot you and all the others fleeing from the scene. I am quite sure that there were more than a few people that may have been "suspicious" in terms of running away from the scene. Those guys probably also weren't shot on sight.

                That's the difference here which you seem to be m

                • by LWATCDR (28044)

                  Actually I did stop when he told me to because I didn't want to get shot. The rifle butt between the shoulder blades was not nessasry at the time since I was unarmed and frankly had nothing to do with anything just a kid from the US hanging with my cousins. They just happen to have been in Belfast.
                  The private that hit me was only 19 and had just seen his several of his mates die. Looking back my wounds where probably a lot less than his and healed faster.

                  I am not justifying the actions of the Military in no

              • While the van might have not been an ambulance, it was clearly unarmed and picking up a wounded man, not "weapons and bodies" as the chopper pilot said. I find it rather difficult to excuse that behaviour.

                While the first attack might be reasonably attributed to an error in judgement, the other incidents seen in the video (the pilot wanting the reporter to pick a gun so he can finish him, the attack on the van and the missile attack on the building) are pretty much the action of trigger happy men.

                As a minor

              • by dave420 (699308)

                Not this shit again. Iraqi citizens are allowed to have AK-47s. Carrying one is not an excuse to be gunned down. If the gunner was able to 'see' an RPG and AK-47, they would have also seen the children in the van. So either he saw both, in which case he is a cunt, or he saw neither, in which case he's a cunt. Also, a camera with a telescopic lens doesn't look anything like an RPG. The gunner's video was a lot clearer than the YouTube-encoded version, and is displayed in a reticle over the eye, providi

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by slick7 (1703596)
            The video is NOT polarizing. The fact that the video was shot in 2007, and possibly viewed by the Pentgram and the chain of command, all the way up to the commander in chief, of 2007 is more disturbing.

            Soldiers in a war zone develop a "gallows humor" as a coping mechanism.

            THEY ARE IN A WAR ZONE. People die. Hopefully theirs and not ours. Soldiers follow orders, not determine the morality of an act.

            The politicians are supposed to be the moral compass of the military. But we all know they are the "bought
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aaaaaaargh! (1150173)

        Look at the prologue they added to the video. Just what does a picture of the dead reporters son holding his fathers picture have to do with truth?

        Look: If you publish a video to millions of people that shows how a reporter, a man with kids and wife, is being shot from the air, tries to escape deadly wounded by crawling away, then dies while the people who try to help him (and their children) are also getting shot, and subsequently is being overrun by a tank while his killers make jokes about it, then it is only fair to give some of his surviving family members a chance to show a picture of how he looked like when he was still happy and alive. If you

        • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 12, 2010 @03:20PM (#31820932) Homepage Journal

          Again with an emotional plea. Of course it is tragic that this gentleman died and that his child is an orphan. But him having a child or even being a reporter has nothing to do with was the Apache crew justified in shooting or if it was a war crime.
          You are using one emotional manipulation to justify another.
          Suppose instead we showed vets with their kids saying how they wouldn't have gotten home without that Apache crew protecting them? You would claim that was just emotional manipulation as was the prologue added to this video.
          Justice is supposed to be blind and only look at the facts. This video contains a prologue that is designed to push the viewer into agreeing with the conclusion of the people that edited the video. Even the URL that it was listed under is inflammatory. If you don't think that is biased then you don't understand the meaning of the word.
          To be unbiased they should just present the video without commentary and let each of us decide for ourself. Any commentary changes it from unbiased information to editorial content that reflects the views of those making the commentary.
          Even your comment that me seeing the bias shows that I am biased is just silly. Claiming I have lost all sense of humanity is just insulting.
          However to be an unbiased source of news (and they are very rare) you really should let the viewer decide without adding emotional manipulation.
          Let the evidence speak for it's self or admit that you are a biased source.

        • by Dhalka226 (559740)

          Of course it was biased, and blatantly so. What happened? An Apache crew fired on and killed a reporter and seriously wounded some others. Those are the facts.

          That the reporter happened to have a child is completely and utterly immaterial to what happened. It's nothing but cheap emotional manipulation, and the fact that you agree with the position they're obviously putting forward does not change that. When you try to paint somebody as a monster ("OMG LOOK, A SAD FATHERLESS CHILD!") you're manipulat

        • by dave420 (699308)
          It's strange that these folks most likely wouldn't think twice about news outlets reporting the deaths of soldiers by showing pictures of them being alive and happy, instead of showing gruesome pictures of them all blown up and bleeding to death. Double standards suck.
    • by slick7 (1703596)
      Here is some discrediting of the CIA

      People Who Live in Glass Houses Shouldn't Walk Around Naked [wikipedia.org]
  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:43AM (#31816198)
    This is the second time I've seen Julian Assange come up in reference to the video. I wonder why he's giving all this publicity? Surely this will hamper his efforts and get him on watch lists that make it difficult for him to travel. Maybe he's succumbing to the temptation to become infamous. Or maybe he just feels this is the best way to make sure the media hangs onto this story to make sure something changes. The interesting thing is that if he is a hacker, it makes it all that more interesting about how wikileaks is getting their stuff. Is it really even being leaked?
    • One way to dissuade the release of anonymous information is to very publically "out" either the source(s), collaborator(s) or the facilitator(s).
  • Shadow Broker (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tecnico.hitos (1490201) on Monday April 12, 2010 @09:48AM (#31816246)
    He only supports Wikileaks as charity work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @10:02AM (#31816378)

    More information on Assanage the reporter doesn't know about...

    Back in the early 90's, APANA, The Australian Public Access
    Network Association, kicked 'proff' out because he was using
    their network to crack into overseas systems. APANA was
    threatened with disconnection because of his attempts were traced
    easily. proff was already a known kook, who was attempting to
    make his system 'suburbia' (later suburbia.net) a global
    CyBeRpUnK HQ, his quest being to become the ULTIMATE CYBERPUNK
    who could overthrow governments (sound familiar..?) When we
    kicked him out, he spammed and attempted to DDoS apana.org.au. :/

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      More information on Assanage the reporter doesn't know about...

      Back in the early 90's, APANA, The Australian Public Access
      Network Association, kicked 'proff' out because he was using
      their network to crack into overseas systems. APANA was
      threatened with disconnection because of his attempts were traced
      easily. proff was already a known kook, who was attempting to
      make his system 'suburbia' (later suburbia.net) a global
      CyBeRpUnK HQ, his quest being to become the ULTIMATE CYBERPUNK
      who could overthrow governments (sound familiar..?) When we
      kicked him out, he spammed and attempted to DDoS apana.org.au. :/

      Sounds plausible. Do you actually have evidence to back up this claim or are you just referencing the illustrious "my friend told me" angle?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jbezorg (1263978)

        If he does, he should upload it to Wikileaks...

        I say that in jest but thinking about it more, it would be a very good litmus test for the statement "He is not politically motivated. He is more concerned with truth and the quest for it."

    • by dbIII (701233)
      What state was he in? Was it Queensland?
      The Queensland government was so blatantly corrupt in the late 1980s that a lot of people there were thinking about leaking something to bring down the government and eventually somebody did in 1988 by leaking to a national TV show. The government fell, and a lot of corrupt bastards spent time in prison (amusingly including the Minister in charge of Prisons).
      Two or three years later and that would still be fresh in a lot of minds. It doesn't sound so kooky now does
  • if you haven't already watched the "collateral murder" video on wikileaks, you must. It will open your eyes.

    Its scary how the American gunner is just begging for excuses to execute people. He invents an excuse that the guy who is obviously just holding a camera has an RPG. They quickly escalate one implausible gun sighting (which was clearly a shoulder bag) into the fact all the people are carrying AK-47s when they are clearly empty-handed. They even followup by shooting an obviously unarmed ambulance team

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Zironic (1112127)

      Well, that's sorta what the army is designed to do, kill people. They're a piss poor at peacekeeping.

      • by dave420 (699308)
        That might be true for the US army, but not all armies. Most are very well-trained to keep the peace.
    • It's a warzone. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905) on Monday April 12, 2010 @11:09AM (#31817072) Journal

      Actually such things are inevitable in a warzone. That's why you should never start wars lightly[1]. Lots of bad stuff will happen.

      It's obvious to many in hindsight that it's a camera. But if you look it from the POV from a paranoid nervous young military helicopter pilot, it does look like the tube of a RPG - esp when the camera sticks out from behind the wall...

      What follows after that is just what soldiers do - they kill people, and they are _conditioned_ to think it's OK to kill people. So they make up all sorts of excuses so that they can pull the trigger.

      If the helicopter pilot isn't paranoid enough, he or his friends will get killed. Because there ARE people out there who are out to kill him and his friends, and yes sometimes there are children around when it happens. And yes, both sides can be relaxed and merrily joking about stuff minutes before they blow away the other side.

      War is how you get otherwise reasonable people to kill strangers they have never met and would otherwise be happy to sit down and have a meal with together. You set things up so that if they don't kill the other side, the other side would kill them and/or their friends. If that doesn't happen, you kill/punish them for disobeying orders.

      To me the appalling bit is not that civilians were killed because the pilot made a mistake, it's that the war was either started due to lies or incompetence.

      I have to say though that the US military seem to have a reputation of being more trigger happy, and even since the WWII days - the joke goes that when a German plane flies over, the British take cover; when a British plane flies over, the Germans take cover; when a US plane flies over, everyone takes cover... ;)

      [1] http://slashdot.org/journal/208853/How-to-reduce-unwanted-wars [slashdot.org]

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by TheLink (130905)
        OK I don't mean that the civilians being killed wasn't appalling. But Bush does share significant responsibility for that incident (and many others).

        If you release a lion into field full of sheep and it kills sheep, yes the lion is responsible. But it's your fault too. Killing stuff is just what lions do.

        I'm sure there are already people clamoring for the heads of the lions involved in that attack.

        But to me it's the real Heads that should roll. The ones who unleashed the lions.
        • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          No, Bush doesn't share responsibility for that incident.

          "Befehl ist Befehl" is not a legal defense, this was established by the Allies at the end of World War Two at Nuremberg.

          "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

          Everyone in the US military volunteered, furthermore the guys sitting in those helicopters volunteered for the Army and flight school

          • by dbIII (701233)
            In this universe Gore was never President, so it really doesn't matter what he might or might not have done if he had.
            Bush gave the order and had all that evidence fabricated to make the USA a laughing stock in front of the entire world. It was a war with no clear reasons and no clear goals and is looking scarily like it was to try to turn him into a popular wartime President when Afganistan was going too slowly.
            You can't blame anyone else for that.
            Nobody is blaming him for pulling a trigger anywhere thou
            • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

              When Clinton ran in 1992 the left pointed to his outright dodging of the draft as a heroic effort to skip out on that terrible war. Clinton escalated the war in Somalia, invaded Haiti, bombed the Sudan which lead to tens of thousands of deaths, Afghanistan and declared war on Serbia.

              When Bush went into the Texas Air Guard and learned to fly T-33s and F-102s (the hardest and most dangerous interceptor of the era) and then skipped out at the end, he is some dodging jerk.

              The late 60s and early 70s were chaotic

              • by dbIII (701233)
                Meanwhile North Korea got nukes.
                Iraq was the "easy" war for popularity, profiteering and a spot for a permanent base (only sane reason).
                Why bring up Clinton? Why not bring up Ford, LBJ, Garfield, Jefferson or whoever for whatever they've done wrong? Wrong actions count even if others do things wrong as well. Let's go for one at a time instead of going for a someone that couldn't keep his pants on years ago - he's irrelevant now.
                I mentioned the AWOL thing because it sums up the playboy prince we got when
                • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

                  No, Bush wouldn't have been locked up for what he did at the end of his term in the Texas Air Guard, it would have been a black mark but in the time of military transition then it would have been ignored, like tens of thousands of other cases were.

                  I brought up Clinton because he had a similar skipping Vietnam history as W and was lauded for it by the same people who drug Bush over the coals for ten years and counting.

                  Why not bring up Ford? Because he was a combat officer in World War Two and commanded fire

                  • by dbIII (701233)
                    OK, you're back at the bone I threw away again, so let's put it to rest.
                    Clinton accepted a highly valued and rare chance to study at Oxford UK only offered to a total of two US students per year and quite legally took that up instead of the draft. Morally he probably should have gone into the army but legally it was NOTHING. Bush walked and went AWOL when he was already in the military and only family connections saved him from a criminal record. Very different things - but flawed comparisons really don'
      • As @wikileaks keeps repeating on twitter, the authotisation to kill was given before any mention of an RPG. IIRC they only mentioned that they are "armed", which they admittedly are, since the amongst the victims were the bodyguards of the journalists. Unsurprisingly, bodyguards bear weapons in Iraq, and this was known since 2007

      • by ladoga (931420)

        And yes, both sides can be relaxed and merrily joking about stuff minutes before they blow away the civilians

        FTFU ;)

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        >> if you look it from the POV from a paranoid nervous young military helicopter pilot,

        Agreed. It raises the question about the minimum requirements of people for doing the job though.

        >> I have to say though that the US military seem to have a reputation of being more trigger happy, and even since the WWII days

        Agreed again. Only RAF fighter loses in the Iraq war were to 'friendly' fire from US.
        http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/scotsman-edinburgh-scotland-the/mi_7951/is_2003_March_24/inquir [findarticles.com]

      • by dbIII (701233)
        With respect, you are simply rationalising why you think it's OK to be purely reactive blood crazed Viking instead of being a professional soldier following orders.
  • Forget Julian Assange, he will never touch any of the inner workings of WikiLeaks simply because he's such a target.

    As for Collateral Murder, the caveat is the attempted rescue [van] and the permission to engage, period.

    Since when do we, the United States of America, fire upon anyone tending to the wounded?
    [Don't give me that shit about "marked" ambulances - this was a war zone, yes, but also their neighborhood - think about].
    Never, is the answer, and this is why it should be reviewed and changed, forbid as

  • The founder of WikiLeaks lives a secret life in the shadow of those who blow the whistle

    If he was living in the shadow of the whistle-blowers, wouldn't they be up-front and well-known while Mr. Assange is shrouded in secrecy? Wouldn't this rather defeat the object of the site? Aren't things actually the other way around? Isn't the summary just talking crap?

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson

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