The Afghan war documents published by WikiLeaks appear to contain evidence of war crimes, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a news conference in London Monday.There's more at the link.
"There does appear to be evidence of war crimes in this material," he said, adding that it would be "up to a court" to make judgements on any crimes.
He cited in particular Task Force 373, which he described as a U.S. military "assassination unit" that he said killed seven children in a "botched raid."
He strongly suggested a coverup of civilian deaths during the war, pointing to U.S. military reports on the number of people wounded or killed during specific incidents. In some of these, a high number of those killed or wounded are classified as "enemy" while very few are classified as "civilians," which Mr. Assange called "suspicious."
Asked how many incidents could potentially be investigated for possible war crimes or other reasons, he said "thousands," adding that the U.S. military would probably be forced to investigate some. "You need enough investigated to create deterrents" against similar behaviour in the future, he said.
Mr. Assange added that the information in the documents "really doesn't paint a flattering picture of the Taliban, either," noting that there are many reports of Taliban-planted explosive devices resulting in "significant loss of human life."
He said the documents don't just "reveal abuses" but paint a detailed picture of "the last six years of war," including the kinds of weapons used and the progress or setbacks experienced.
Noteworthy is Assange's claim that "he doesn't 'really have an opinion about whether the war should stop'."
Actually, he does care if the war stops, because his whole agenda is to stop the United States, and he's backed by the global transnational network of neo-communist activists who're gunning for America.
That said, lots of folks are unimpressed (and hence it's a media hayride mostly).
See Jawa Report, "Noted Liar and Conspiracy Theorist Leaks Documents Which Shock and Awe No One." And at Abu Muqawama, "Scoop!":
Here are the things I have learned thus far from the documents released via Wikileaks:But more seriously, see this piece at Mother Jones (of all places):
- Elements within Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) support the Taliban.
- The United States integrates direct action special operations into its counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, targeting insurgent leaders through capture/kill missions.
- Civilians have died in Afghanistan, often as the result of coalition combat operations.
I'm going to bed, but if I were to stay up late reading more, here is what I suspect I would discover:
- "Afghanistan" has four syllables.
- LeBron is going to the Heat.
- D'Angelo Barksdale didn't actually commit suicide in prison. Stringer Bell had him killed.
- Although a document dated 17 October 2004 claims the Red Sox were down 3-0 in a seven-game series with the Yankees, they actually went on to win 4-3.
- Liberace was gay.
- The Pathan remains wily.
- Julian Assange is a clown.
The other interesting data are notes from what the military calls KLEs—key leader engagements. Military officers, as well as officials from State, USAID, and other agencies regularly meet with important players in a war zone to get their take on the situation. Often they're dull and tell the interviewers little they didn't already know; sometimes, though, they give insight to "atmospherics"—how Afghan locals feel about US forces or the Taliban. Many of these key leaders take their lives into their hands; from my experience in Iraq, I know that numerous Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds with high standing among their tribes—and among our enemies—took time to brief US officials, often to dish dirt on crooked or violent elements in their vicinity. If they were ever outed as collaborators with American forces, they'd be as good as dead. And Wikileaks has 16 pages of secret military KLEs with individuals and groups in Afghanistan, spanning six years. No names are redacted. In this case, what retired general James Jones, the White House national security adviser, said yesterday is correct: WL is putting some lives at serious risk with that particular data dump.