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Wikileaks To Publish Remaining Afghan Documents 711

Posted by timothy
from the post-processing dept.
Albanach writes "WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange has been quoted by the Associated Press as stating 'the organization is preparing to release the remaining secret Afghan war documents.' According to Assange, they are halfway through processing the remaining 15,000 files as they 'comb through' the files to ensure lives are not placed at risk."
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Wikileaks To Publish Remaining Afghan Documents

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  • by Pengel the squib (300408) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:31PM (#33231484)

    Illegal detention.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:32PM (#33231512) Homepage Journal

    "He said he had 'no comment' about his current whereabouts."

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:33PM (#33231522)

    My favorite feature of this round of Wikileaks is how it divides us. We now have the privilege of mostly being sorted into two rather neat piles:

    A) This stuff should never have been secret, and anyone who would hide it is un-American

    or

    B) These secrets are property of the government, and anyone who would divulge them is un-American

    The framing is succinct, and I doubt there will be another issue of this type within my lifetime. No matter which camp you're in, from a certain point of view, you're right. Personally, I hold that nothing need remain secret for very long, and that our government should be in the business of printing this material itself. Others are calling for Pvt Manning's execution.

    Amazing times to live in...

    • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:38PM (#33231582)
      Since when did being wrong make anyone LESS American? ;)
    • by kurokame (1764228) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:56PM (#33231932)
      I'm going to go with Spock on this one:

      Military secrets are the most fleeting of all. (Spock, The Enterprise Incident)

      Here's the thing - nothing really can remain secret for long. At least, not from the guys you're actively engaged in fighting against. Beyond immediate operations, the only people you can hope to hoodwink for long are your own citizens by way of information control and propaganda.

      Are there ethical (and practical) issues involved in releasing this info? Are there similar issues involved in not releasing this info? Certainly. But in all likelihood, the harm involved in releasing it will be very limited. Anyone who could make use of it in a military sense probably already knows most of this stuff. Not all...but probably most. So what remains? It seems like it would be reasonable to conclude that the main effect is to inform the American public and international community - people the American government very much wants to keep in the dark, but people who they have no right to keep in the dark.

      Anyway, the cat's out of the bag now. Everything you're seeing is spin control - it's not like making a big fuss over this is going to make it be un-leaked. On the other hand, if the government puts a big enough spin on it, the odds are that they can strongly diminish any informing effect it would have for the public. They can't go back and hide it from the people they're fighting, but they have a pretty good shot of hiding it from their taxpaying voters and from the international community. Does it make any sense to hand them a win on that front? Any damage the info could do in a military sensehas already been done.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        Here's the thing - nothing really can remain secret for long. At least, not from the guys you're actively engaged in fighting against. Beyond immediate operations, the only people you can hope to hoodwink for long are your own citizens by way of information control and propaganda.

        It's not a given that every military secret will be discovered. Look through history and you'll find examples of secrets that were uncovered and secrets that remained secret for years. It all depends on the nature of those secrets and the actors involved.

        Are there ethical (and practical) issues involved in releasing this info? Are there similar issues involved in not releasing this info? Certainly. But in all likelihood, the harm involved in releasing it will be very limited. Anyone who could make use of it in a military sense probably already knows most of this stuff. Not all...but probably most. So what remains? It seems like it would be reasonable to conclude that the main effect is to inform the American public and international community - people the American government very much wants to keep in the dark, but people who they have no right to keep in the dark.

        I don't believe it's a given that there is not sufficient military value in this information. Nor do I agree that there is significant information for the public. I find the documents fascinating (and more than a few incidents described tragic) - but th

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday August 12, 2010 @04:00PM (#33231996) Homepage Journal

      Others are calling for Pvt Manning's execution.

      I wouldn't call for execution, but he's certainly due some discipline for disobeying orders. However, Julian Assange has done nothing wrong and the US shouldn't be hounding him. Instead, they should be investigating the abuses Manning and Assange have brought to light.

  • Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Securityemo (1407943) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:34PM (#33231532) Journal
    I wonder how many relatives/friends of MIA soliders will comb through these archives looking for clues as to their fate.
    (Just to clarify that I'm not being macabre for the sake of trolling - I support both wars and occupations, even though they ignored sane advice as to the troop strength required to hold and secure the regions.)
    • Re: Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:49PM (#33231790)

      I wonder how many relatives/friends of MIA soliders will comb through these archives looking for clues as to their fate.

      Or find out that their loved one was actually killed by friendly fire, as opposed to what they were told.

      • Re: Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Securityemo (1407943) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:57PM (#33231950) Journal
        I think the whole problem with that kind of stuff is that the U.S. seems to have a highly emotionally charged "hero cult" around their soliders. On that background, who would want to tell a grieving mother that her son was hit in the back by a machinegun in a stupid accident and bled out before he got to intensive care, instead of dying valiantly in a final stand while severely outnumbered by enemy forces?
    • Re:Good. (Score:4, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:55PM (#33231914) Homepage Journal

      I support ONE war and no occupation. Our sole mission in Afghanistan should have been to remove the Taliban, period. We should have gone in, kicked ass, and left it in shambles. BTW, we still haven't found Bin Laden. Getting him should have been job #1.

      We had no business whatever invading Iraq. The first gulf war, yes, but not the second.

  • Good for Them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by im just cannonfodder (1089055) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:44PM (#33231700) Homepage
    i hear plenty of talk about how evil wikileaks are, for releasing the info, but not much talk in the corporate media or from our governments about the war crimes committed & subsequently covered up by the USA & UK.

    so them inflated numbers of insurgents include how many woman, children and innocent men murdered exactly?
    • Re:Good for Them (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Un pobre guey (593801) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @04:01PM (#33232020) Homepage
      but not much talk in the corporate media or from our governments about the war crimes committed & subsequently covered up by the USA & UK

      Actually, you hear plenty about it. It is spun into stories like "bringing democracy to Afghanistan," "fighting the terrorists who wish to hurt us" (and its utterly moronic sibling "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here"), "defending America," "helping Afghans resist the Taliban," and the rest of the claptrap promoted in the commercial media.

      We had no reason to go into Iraq, now we're apparently saddled with decades of military occupation. We went into Afghanistan, ended Taliban rule, but allowed Al Qaeda top brass to escape into Pakistan. We are still fighting the Taliban, who represent no threat to us. If they once again become a threat, we remove them again. Why, however, did we not approach Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates about official and unofficial support of the Taliban and a variety of other extremists? What about Pakistan, funded officially and by means of private donations by SA and the Emirates to support the Taliban and other extremists? How do they end up being our allies in all this? Al Qaeda is still operational in Pakistan, apparently.

      The War on Terror is a scam, backwards and forwards. It cannot withstand even cursory quetioning of its purposes or the means used to achieve them.
  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:45PM (#33231710)

    The existing WikiLeaks documents contain 10-digit grid-squares, allowing people to know the location of various military resources down to the square meter. This is absolutely not required for any sort of public purpose -- the public would be just as informed if you would omit the grid-squares and replace them with a vague location/district.

    This can be done without wasting any manpower, something like this regex pattern will redact all collections of more than 5 numerical digits:

    sed -r s/'[0-9]{5,}'/'REDACTED'/g

    If the grid-squares are broken into chunks with a delimiter, say '-', you can try:

    sed -r s/'[0-9\\-]{5,}'/'REDACTED'/g

    As usual with regex, grep out the first 1000 or so matches for casual perusal before you let them loose.

    There is really no excuse, including lack of manpower, for removing these sorts of details that add nothing to public's knowledge but reveal very useful operational details.

    • Assange doesn't care. His "harm mitigation" only covers people he believes are deserving of such protections, which does not include the US military. He has responded to criticism about outing Afghans who had cooperated with the US by saying that they had done unsavory things that may have constituted war crimes, as though he was judge, jury, and execution.

      Who watches the watchmen? Seriously.

    • by RingDev (879105) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @04:06PM (#33232102) Homepage Journal

      Unless say, your house was the one documented in an artillery strike and such a document could give you evidence that it was one specific faction or another that blew up your house and killed your family.

      Or say that local Taliban leaders have been claiming that deaths were caused by the Americans, but no artillery or mortars were used by US forces in that immediate vicinity. These documents could show that the US is not to blame for everything.

      In either case, when you're talking about the specific coordinates of small arms fire and an air strike from 5+ years ago, there is no risk to current operations.

      Informants names shouldn't be in documents classified as 'Secret' anyway, they should be in 'Top-Secret' or above. As I said in the last thread on this. 'Secret' clearance is insignificant in the military. When I was active duty I knew an individual who was in under don't-ask-don't-tell, a couple of alcoholics, and even one enlisted guy that wound up getting convicted of dealing drugs, all with secret clearance. None of them were over the age of 21.

      Secret classification is one step up from Sensitive (SSNs, addresses, phone numbers, etc...) and it isn't very well controlled. How else do you think some lowly E-3 is going to get his hands on tens of thousands of documents?

      -Rick

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.

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