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Wikileaks releases 92,000 classified documents on Afghanistan


Cap'n Refsmmat
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The story today is that this leak has "outed" hundreds of Afghan informants by name and location. And not just people who helped Americans, but actually people who turn-coated the Taliban, giving inside information on plans and positions which lead to American attacks and captures. People the Taliban will surely now proceed to locate and kill. [/Quote]

 

Pangloss; Revenge killings are going to happen in any conflict, justifiable or not. Major informants, I suspect were well paid off, have moved out of Afghanistan, a good share running around on US or another NATO Nation, today.

 

And all because Julian Assange hates war. That is some serious moral compromising for a pacifist. Wow. [/Quote]

 

I've always wondered what the antonym is to "hates war"? Are their people out there, in any large numbers, that actually "love war" or would refuse to negotiate a settlement. As for "Pacifist", I've always looked at them as cowardly individuals, with little or no understanding of "unintended consequences".

 

 

Thread; A related interview, will be aired on Fox Business Channel, this Saturday 10AM ET, on Judge Napolitano's "Freedom Watch" and several times over the week-end. Apparently Assange, will tell the Judge, the US Government was advised of the leaks, in advance of their release...

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Pangloss; Revenge killings are going to happen in any conflict, justifiable or not. Major informants, I suspect were well paid off, have moved out of Afghanistan, a good share running around on US or another NATO Nation, today.

 

No, I don't believe that's correct. The general beef I gather from the news stories I've seen is that these are casual, "neighborhood" informants, some of whom also turned in Taliban information in exchange for favors. These people are not removed from the country -- we see stories on this all the time, jackson.

 

 

He doesn't actually intend to kill people, for one thing. Being a "terrorist" requires intentionally causing terror in your victims.

 

Okay, fair enough, but I'm not sure he's a whole lot elevated above a terrorist. He knew people could die because of his actions, and decided that his ideological goal was more important than their lives.

 

The really sad thing is that some people see Julian Assange as a hero.

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Okay, fair enough, but I'm not sure he's a whole lot elevated above a terrorist. He knew people could die because of his actions, and decided that his ideological goal was more important than their lives.

Did he? They actively tried to hide the 15,000 still-sensitive documents. Is there evidence that he knew of the named informants and decided in advance to name them anyway?

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I'm simply going by what you said earlier:

 

I think what this really exposes was a failure by the Wikileaks people to fully screen the data. They say they've withheld several thousand documents for being sensitive, but apparently they missed some.

 

Why do you feel that they should have known that the data needed to be screened?

 

Also, I'm not convinced that they "withheld several thousand documents for being sensitive" and just "missed some". I'm not convinced they did any screening at all, and weren't actually quite happy to expose as many names as possible. All we have is his word on it, and he's already given us a significant reason not to trust his word.

 

Regardless, in his interview on the Today show yesterday he dismissed as rumor the idea that there are any names in the documents in the first place, in spite of the fact that reporters had no trouble finding them in about 24 (admittedly well-motivated) hours. He had months.

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Also, I'm not convinced that they "withheld several thousand documents for being sensitive" and just "missed some". I'm not convinced they did any screening at all, and weren't actually quite happy to expose as many names as possible. All we have is his word on it, and he's already given us a significant reason not to trust his word.

The newspapers he allowed to see the documents before public release stated that they convinced him to withhold some documents.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/world/26editors-note.htm

 

Apparently at the request of the government, actually...

 

What reasons do we have to distrust everything Assange says?

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No, I don't believe that's correct. The general beef I gather from the news stories I've seen is that these are casual, "neighborhood" informants, some of whom also turned in Taliban information in exchange for favors. These people are not removed from the country -- we see stories on this all the time, jackson.[/Quote]

 

I believe this article was written sometime in Mid-June, long before Wiki-Leaks, leaked...

 

 

For cash, but risking his life, he has given valuable information to the 293rd US Military Police Battalion, who train Afghan forces in a densely populated northern district of Kandahar, a known staging area for insurgents.

 

"A lot of Taliban leaders live here," said US Sergeant Michael Crowley.

The population has good reason to be afraid to tip off or cooperate with Afghan and Western forces for fear of reprisals.

 

"There have been threats. (The Taliban) cut hands off construction workers building government-funded projects, after sending them threatening letters," Crowley said.

The population has good reason to be afraid to tip off or cooperate with Afghan and Western forces for fear of reprisals.

 

"There have been threats. (The Taliban) cut hands off construction workers building government-funded projects, after sending them threatening letters," Crowley said.

 

US forces depend on local intelligence as extra troops surge into Kandahar this summer, part of a mammoth build up designed to drive the Taliban out of the city in a critical campaign intended to help end nine years of war.

 

But the Taliban has executed a number of locals it has accused of spying for Western forces, and even civil servants who cooperate are also a prime target.

 

On Tuesday, the chief of Kandahar's Arghandab district was killed in a suicide car bomb. He was considered a traitor by the Taliban, his villagers being funded and supported by US special forces to protect against the insurgents.[/Quote]

 

http://inform.com/world/afghan-informers-play-dangerous-game-taliban-heartland-967847a

 

I have no doubt hundreds, even thousands with perceived vital information ("major informants")were given asylum, someplace, many in the US. While figures are NOT mentioned, in the past I've heard some rather high figures for a third world Nation and I think your aware of the poppy growers, that for money burned their crops. Revenge killings have always been part of War and after conflict it becomes, particularly a violent event. I doubt the Taliban leaders care one bit about who the US Government or anybody else might name and will go on maiming or killing whomever they suspect. Frankly they probably KNOW people are not going to use a correct (real) name, there would be no means to verify anyway and some might be using a foes name.

 

I have already given my view on the actual leaks and it has nothing to do with potential retribution, it's simply treasonous and all the whomever's responsible, should be held accountable.

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Apparently at the request of the government, actually...

 

The White House says they never saw them.

 

What reasons do we have to distrust everything Assange says?

 

The reason is that he is willing to release classified information that puts people at risk in order to further his ideological goal.

 

He may not be Osama bin Laden, but I wouldn't put trial for "war crimes" or "crime against humanity" out of the ballpark. Anybody who wants this guy off the hook will need to come up with something better than the benefit of the doubt.

 

 

I doubt the Taliban leaders care one bit about who the US Government or anybody else might name and will go on maiming or killing whomever they suspect.

 

Uh, I think it's quite clear that they like to make examples of people who assist the US, especially by providing the US with their actual plans before they use them, causing their own people to die or be captured. Yes, I think they care about that very much.

 

The fact that some informants may have been moved to the US is just interesting speculation. Hm, I wonder if there might be a resource available out there somewhere that the Taliban might be able to access that could tell them where those individuals might have gone. If it's not in these papers I'm sure Julian Assange will be happy to locate it and pass it along to the New York Times.

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More on this from the Washington Post today:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/29/AR2010072904900.html

 

A Washington Post search of the 76,000 reports released by WikiLeaks turned up at least 100 instances dealing with Afghan informants. In some of the reports the informants' names and villages are listed along with the names of the insurgent commanders that they had discussed with U.S. and Afghan officials. The secret reports also include the name of at least one U.S. intelligence operative.

 

Assange, apparently moving past a raw dismissal as "rumor" that any names exist in the papers at all (guess his people didn't read them that carefully after all), today moved to a new defense, which is a pretty sweet piece of spin:

 

"None of the information released by WikiLeaks has ever led to physical injury of any person as far as can be ascertained, and we try hard to ascertain that fact,"

 

I guess his people flew to Afghanistan and verified that each and every one of those 100 names (and all of their families) have changed their names and are no longer living in those areas. Riiiight.

 

The Post story has additional information about the people in question:

 

Most of the informants identified in the documents are village elders or relatively impoverished Afghans from remote areas where insurgent forces remain strong. "In the case of [Afghans] who are identified, bad actors may assume they're working with the United States even if they aren't," said a U.S. official in Washington who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence-related matters. "That's one reason why the actions of WikiLeaks are so reprehensible."

 

And why the US may not be able to save them from Taliban retribution:

 

U.S. troops don't have the manpower to offer round-the-clock protection to large numbers of Afghans scattered throughout the remote regions of the country.

 

I guess Julian Assange didn't take that into consideration. But then, that's not his job, now is it?

 

This isn't just about Julian Assange. It goes right to the core of the progressive notion of Transparency Uber Alles. This is a lesson in why there are limits, and why it's not actually true, this ridiculousness notion that everyone has a "right to know" everything that the government knows. I hope they learn it.

 

-----------------

 

Edit:

 

You don't have to see them to know that the Times has seen them and may have leverage over Assange to get him to withhold sensitive documents.

 

Fair enough, I acknowledge that this may be the case. I don't think it changes my opinion of Assange very much. Even if it's true, the evidence indicates that he blew it (failed to protect people), and frankly that's why it wasn't his job in the first place.

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The reason is that he is willing to release classified information that puts people at risk in order to further his ideological goal.

 

He may not be Osama bin Laden, but I wouldn't put trial for "war crimes" or "crime against humanity" out of the ballpark. Anybody who wants this guy off the hook will need to come up with something better than the benefit of the doubt.

 

I give him the benefit of the doubt because as you've made abundantly clear, being responsible for the deaths of many people won't make him look good nor further his agenda (unless his agenda is to get himself killed).

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I give him the benefit of the doubt because as you've made abundantly clear, being responsible for the deaths of many people won't make him look good nor further his agenda (unless his agenda is to get himself killed).

 

Absolutely it'll further his agenda. Has the impact of the papers been any less diminished by the additional revelation that it put people in danger? Of course not -- the media still gobbles them up, having had them dumped in their lap through no action of their own. If there were a smoking gun in there about either the current or previous administrations do you think they'd stop short of reporting it because people are already in danger from the papers' release? Already we've seen reports about civilian deaths that weren't previously reported, so it's already furthering his agenda.

 

And as for "making him look good", what does a committed ideologue care about that? The goal is the goal, what else matters? The man shows up on camera with unkempt hair and no makeup, with his ideology on his sleeve -- I don't think he's in it for the money or the attention.

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I struggled for quite a while as to how to reply to the posts that you've made, Pangloss, for the simple reason that I utterly disagree with every single one of them. So I will try and keep my arguments reasonably succinct.

 

Classification of documents is clearly misused and abused to cover political ass, especially when it comes to high-profile stuff like wars and the like. It has been shown time after time that politicians simply cannot be trusted to make the right choice to make embarrassing information public knowledge. When it comes to the killing of other human beings by a government, then the public in my mind has a right to know why that's being done, especially if they were killed by mistake. From a purely democratic point of view, hiding this information doesn't allow the public to have a fully informed view at the ballot box, and morally I believe it's equivalent to pure cold-blooded murder. Clearly some people in the armed forces (namely the ones behind these '

 

Now, to answer your general points of the last few posts; yes, Assange clearly has an ideology. My problem with your posts is that you've now twisted things around to saying that the documents were released without any care for what they contained and that Assange actively hopes that people are killed as a result of their release, as it will bring in a bit more publicity for Wikileaks. I don't have to tell you how baseless and ridiculous I think either of those points are.

 

Wikileaks is well-established and has a very good track record of checking their material, especially in high-profile cases. (See the leaked military helicopter video a few months back - their research was very well done indeed). At this point in time I'm more inclined to trust that they didn't release this information in a hap-hazard fashion, especially since this is backed up by reputable newspapers and third parties. On the second point, I don't even know what I could possibly retort with - I mean, can you actually back that up with something other than a couple of thoughts, or are you just saying it to provoke someone?

 

I just don't understand why anyone wouldn't want this material released.

 

Unrelated to all of the above, I also read this evening that Robert Gates has said that Assange (and presumably Wikileaks) have "blood on their hands" as a result of leaking this material. I can't tell you how sick this makes me feel. I mean, sure, it's totally okay for the US government to cover up civilian deaths/torture people/imprison innocents indefinitely/kill 20,000 people, but if someone calls them out on it in a way which embarrasses them then they're morally the equivalent of murderers? Give me a break.

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Dave, I'm not saying we don't need squealers, I'm saying we don't need people who are pretending to be objective watchdogs, standing above ideology, when in fact they're really just partisan ideologues who will do anything that furthers their agenda. Rush Limbaugh does the same thing, pretending to be some kind of objective arbiter of right and wrong, with no agenda, performing a public service, etc. What if Rush Limbaugh had published these papers? Would you make the same assumption that he tried to prevent the release of documents that put people's lives in danger? Would you see him as objective?

 

I'm not saying he hopes people will be killed, I'm saying he considered the possibility less important than furthering his ideological goal. I admit it's not the action of a terrorist, and I appreciate being straightened out on that point earlier. But it is vigilante governance -- forcing actions because people won't select the choices he wants them to.

 

Your last paragraph is a straw man. It's not okay for the government to kill civilians, and it's also not okay for Julian Assange to put people's lives in danger because he doesn't like a decision that the government made. And he isn't being called out for embarrassing the government, he's being called out (at least by me) for putting people's lives in danger. But if you're referring to other people, you might have a point. Certainly the political punditry business is making hay over the incident that is worse than pointless.

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Dave, I'm not saying we don't need squealers, I'm saying we don't need people who are pretending to be objective watchdogs, standing above ideology, when in fact they're really just partisan ideologues who will do anything that furthers their agenda.

 

I dunno. Assange's agenda is to ruin government secrecy, publish secret documents, and make sure the world knows about them. (He stated in an interview that they promise their sources wide media exposure.) And that's exactly what he pretends to do, too. Where's the disconnect?

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Dave, I'm not saying we don't need squealers, I'm saying we don't need people who are pretending to be objective watchdogs, standing above ideology, when in fact they're really just partisan ideologues who will do anything that furthers their agenda. Rush Limbaugh does the same thing, pretending to be some kind of objective arbiter of right and wrong, with no agenda, performing a public service, etc.

 

It's only pretending if the words and actions differ.

 

What if Rush Limbaugh had published these papers? Would you make the same assumption that he tried to prevent the release of documents that put people's lives in danger? Would you see him as objective?

 

Yes, I would take Rush Limbaugh being the person people go to to leak important documents as very good evidence that he is trustworthy. But he isn't and they don't.

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I dunno. Assange's agenda is to ruin government secrecy, publish secret documents, and make sure the world knows about them. (He stated in an interview that they promise their sources wide media exposure.) And that's exactly what he pretends to do, too. Where's the disconnect?

 

Really? Let's see.

 

SPIEGEL: Do you think that the publication of this data will influence political decision-makers?

 

Assange: Yes. This material shines light on the everyday brutality and squalor of war. The archive will change public opinion and it will change the opinion of people in positions of political and diplomatic influence.

 

SPIEGEL: Aren't you expecting a little too much?

 

Assange: There is a mood to end the war in Afghanistan. This information won't do it alone, but it will shift political will in a significant manner.

 

SPIEGEL: During the Vietnam War, US President Richard Nixon once called Daniel Elsberg, the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, the most dangerous man in America. Are you today's most dangerous man or the most endangered?

 

Assange: The most dangerous men are those who are in charge of war. And they need to be stopped. If that makes me dangerous in their eyes, so be it.

 

"That" is clearly a reference to the previous sentence, describing the "need to stop them" -- he's openly stating that that was his purpose here. And yeah, "that" makes him dangerous in my eyes.

 

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/26-0

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Wikileaks is well-established and has a very good track record of checking their material, especially in high-profile cases. (See the leaked military helicopter video a few months back - their research was very well done indeed). At this point in time I'm more inclined to trust that they didn't release this information in a hap-hazard fashion, especially since this is backed up by reputable newspapers and third parties.

 

So releasing all of those names is not hap-hazard, and is necessary to fullfill the mission to expose government secrecy? No, I'm not buying that. And neither will the families of those that get murdered specifically because of this amature, immature idiot that only seems to understand half of the role he's trying to play. Do you believe CNN or MSNBC would release those names? Would they be so callous and pathetically amature and naive about such a thing? Particularly when it serves NO purpose for his proclaimed agenda?

 

The Taliban are now hunting down those people, or so they say.

 

The information should have been released in a responsible, ethical manner. I do believe most of modern media understands that. Most regular folk understand that too. Endangering these people's lives did nothing to any noble end. Nothing. He's got blood on his hands because he's a child trying to act like a grown up. Amature hour in Afghanistan bungling up what he thought was easy. Professionals make it look so simple don't they, Assange...

 

Unrelated to all of the above, I also read this evening that Robert Gates has said that Assange (and presumably Wikileaks) have "blood on their hands" as a result of leaking this material. I can't tell you how sick this makes me feel. I mean, sure, it's totally okay for the US government to cover up civilian deaths/torture people/imprison innocents indefinitely/kill 20,000 people, but if someone calls them out on it in a way which embarrasses them then they're morally the equivalent of murderers? Give me a break.

 

It is what it is. They do have blood on their hands. It serves no useful purpose to deflect the obvious. It reminds me a bit of the ole "that's business" ethical delusion people like to do. Somehow, if they say "it's just business", that suddenly makes it ethical to cause some poor family to be destitute by your business prowess. It doesn't. And it doesn't fly with Assange, or anyone else that wants to romanticize the exposure of government secrets to the point that innocent people can be named - without adding any value to the exposure at all - and subsequently murdered, and yet dodge responsibility for causing it. That's BS. Those people were protected by the same device that was exposed - and they aren't guilty of anything except trusting us, you, me.

 

Assange screwed them for no better reason than he's an inexperienced ideologue with little regard for innocent life. All he had to do was take the time to be ethical. And we're making excuses for it.

 

It's not ok for any government to cover up and torture and kill, and neither is it ok for journalists to rat out informants to be tortured and killed. It's not an either/or - it's both. And if it was our fathers, our sisters, our brothers, our sons or daughters, we'd see that quite clearly.

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Really? Let's see.

 

 

 

 

 

"That" is clearly a reference to the previous sentence, describing the "need to stop them" -- he's openly stating that that was his purpose here. And yeah, "that" makes him dangerous in my eyes.

 

http://www.commondre...ne/2010/07/26-0

So... where's he pretending to be objective, then? He says exactly what he does.

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Particularly when it serves NO purpose for his proclaimed agenda?

 

That's a great point. The more that comes out about these papers the less new substance there appears to be. There's danger to individuals, but nothing newsworthy. So the only effect their release can have is impact. Assange openly admits that this is the purpose for their release.

 

At best it's a blue dress with sperm on it. And for that "benefit" we may see the deaths of hundreds of innocent, well-meaning human beings.

 

 

It reminds me a bit of the ole "that's business" ethical delusion people like to do. Somehow, if they say "it's just business", that suddenly makes it ethical to cause some poor family to be destitute by your business prowess.

 

Good comparison.

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At the cost of being called a "birther", "thirteenther" or possibly the ultimate right winger a "Teapartier", here is another case where somebody believes Obama, should be held accountable or responsible.

 

For the record, I supported the rights of the "Birthers", even their duty as Americans to question the authenticity of the Obama Candidacy, so long as their arguments were conducted under law, which was the case. McCain, his opponent was question by a House Committee on his candidacy and found to be legal. However when once elected and confirmed by Congress (even if controlled by his own party), anything along this line should be ceased, toward Obama himself.

 

A video interview by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox Business News blows this scandal wide open. When asked by Judge Napolitano why he should not be held responsible for potential deaths caused by the leak, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, answered that he contacted the White House about the leaks before they were released and asked them to review them.

 

The White House’s response? Nada. [/Quote]

 

http://www.impeachobamacampaign.com/tag/wikileaks/

 

With all due respect to the office of President or it's current holder, the Administration or members of it, likely guilty parties in much of what's been going on by the executive today and should be question. I'll go out on the limb here and suggest (not knowing exactly whom) 'Assange' DID contact someone and that "whom" or his/her superior, even if the President himself, made the decision to ignore the request. Before asked, YES I would take Assange's accusation/comment, over what in my opinion is currently a dysfunctional Administration/Federal Government, today.

 

Rather than start a new thread, will place on this one...for now.

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That doesn't make you a birther or thirteenther in my view. You're just supporting their right to free speech. I can't imagine anyone here having a problem with that.

 

I'll go out on the limb here and suggest (not knowing exactly whom) 'Assange' DID contact someone and that "whom" or his/her superior, even if the President himself, made the decision to ignore the request. Before asked, YES I would take Assange's accusation/comment, over what in my opinion is currently a dysfunctional Administration/Federal Government, today.

 

Well fair enough, it's not as if any of us has perfect information here, and I suppose I also view new events through my own lens of judgment based on previous events.

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So earlier this week Representative Mike Rogers (MI-R) stated that he thinks that PFC. Bradley Manning should possibly be given the death sentence if convicted for his role in the wikileaks scandal.

 

Politico: Rep Mike Rogers: Execute Wikileaks leaker

"The death penalty clearly should be considered here," Rogers said. "[Manning] clearly aided the enemy to what may result in the death of U.S. soldiers or those cooperating. If that is not a capital offense, I don't know what is."

 

I can understand how you can consider Manning's actions to be very major offenses, but I am not sure they deserve execution. Also I think executing him would just cause a PR nightmare. However, the military justice system is very different from the civilian one, so I don't know if the punishments are different.

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Really? Let's see.

 

 

 

 

 

"That" is clearly a reference to the previous sentence, describing the "need to stop them" -- he's openly stating that that was his purpose here. And yeah, "that" makes him dangerous in my eyes.

 

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/26-0

 

If you want proof that Assuage has non-objective slants to his releases: he's repeatedly said in interviews that, as well as objectively releasing data, WikiLeaks also promises its sources that it will gain 'maximum exposure and political impact' for the leak; hence raw footage from a US helicopter-gun-ship's video being released and also an edited 'editorialized' piece entitled 'collateral murder' and framed with quotes from 1984, which was clearly not objective.

 

I guess you could consider him to both be objectively releasing data -- edited only where neccesary, to protect lives (which he asked the whitehouse for help in doing, btw) -- whilst also pushing his (or his sources?) ideological views.

 

To be fair, the fact that he also releases the unbiased source material puts him ahead of most other commentators, and you could always just ignore the WikiLeaks POV and either go directly to the source material, or to your news-vendor of choice (who, themselves, now have access to the data).

 

 

It's not ok for any government to cover up and torture and kill, and neither is it ok for journalists to rat out informants to be tortured and killed. It's not an either/or - it's both. And if it was our fathers, our sisters, our brothers, our sons or daughters, we'd see that quite clearly.

 

I think that we should wait until someone actually dies before criticizing him: they may well not.

 

As far as avoidable deaths goes, I think 'out of sight, out of mind' applies here: if this data remains secret, then not only do the government not have to tolerate scrutiny and maybe try a bit harder to avoid civilian deaths, but, to the extent that innocent deaths are kind of unavoidable in war, the less populations understand that the more willing they are to tolerate their countries waging war.

 

Finally, psyops and 'perception management' are an admitted part of war, which is tantamount to the gov' saying "hey guys, we're going to lie to and manipulate you so we can invade another country, OK?". I really don't think that should be tolerated in this day and age, as it could lead to unjustified wars.

 

A few deaths -- if they occour -- could probably be justified, tbh. And, seriously, if the US government is so sure it's right, it should release (redacted) versions of all this data itself. That would both achieve WikiLeaks purpose (allowing scrutiny of the government) and the US militaries (protecting sources).

 

the authority of a democratically elected government that represents the will of the majority

 

(Most US voters didn't vote Bush (or Obama, whichever you're talking about). So, not the will of the majority ;) )

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