Julian Assange says his stolen files include evidence of “war crimes.” But while he doesn’t say who committed those war crimes, it’s clear that Assange isn’t the slightest bit interested in the Taliban’s intentional targeting and wholesale slaughter of civilians.
Meanwhile, a UN backed court lets a real war criminal and mass murderer live. Khmer Rouge chief executioner ‘Duch’ was found guilty today by a UN-backed court. He could be out of prison in 19 years.
A team of crack NY Times reporters selects from Assanges stolen haul only those reports that implicate US and Coalition forces to tell us that their view of Afghanistan is bleaker then the “official” reports.
I’m not an “official” but I’ve been writing in comments on other blogs since 2006 that things were not going according to plan in Afghanistan. Many of my posts on this bloglet are dedicated to that very fact. I’ve been writing in public since 2001 that the Taliban and al-Qaeda’s very existence is a war crime.
Now let’s take a look at this PDF file of a CRS report for the US Congress in 2006.
Cherry picking from that report like the way the NY Times does we find…
On pg. 9…
“NATO’s Supreme Commander, U.S. Marine Corps General James Jones, has reportedly asked NATO member nations to drop their restrictions on how their troops can be used in Afghanistan, suggesting that the existence of national caveats “significantly limits the scope of military operations there.”
Yes, that is the same Marine General James Jones who, now retired, serves as President Obama’s chief military advisor. General Jones was very clearly calling for more troops, (rare is the general who does not call for more troops), and less Rules of Engagement, in 2006. Written in 2006, when there were just over 21,000 US troops in Afghanistan. Now there are over 100,000 US and allied troops in Afghanistan.
Let’s cherry-pick something else from that report to Congress in 2006. Also from pg. 9.
“While many U.S. officials praise Pakistan’s military activities, some U.S. and Afghan officials question if Pakistan is doing enough in combating Taliban insurgents. Reports also continue to suggest that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency is actively conducting training camps for insurgents and supporting jihadist madrassahs (religious schools) along the Afghan- Pakistan border.”
I’ll repeat that for the slow learners…
“Reports also continue to suggest that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency is actively conducting training camps for insurgents and supporting jihadist madrassahs (religious schools) along the Afghan- Pakistan border.”
That was written four years ago. Given that its from an official report to Congress and is still carried on-line and in open source by the US State Department it seems very clear that its not “news” and its not a secret, at least not to anybody who’s been paying attention. It was reported by Jane’s Defense Weekly in November of 2006.
So how bad has Assange and Manning’s document dump actually hurt the US military and intelligence effort against the enemy?
It’s going to be a while before we find out the true extent of the total damage, but the strategic implications could very well be a disaster of epic proportions. Even the Obama White House recognizes that…
*Updating because all the cool kids are doing it…
Noting that the extremely light sentencing (just 19 years) of the Khmer Rouge’s chief executioner by the UN was announced on the same day that Julian Assange made his “war crimes” statement. Perhaps the threshold for what is and is not a war crime has been reduced as much as the punishment for such?
More likely Julian Assange hasn’t a clue what a war crime is or looks like.
It is highly unlikely that Wikileaks will ever be releasing any such internal information from al-Qaeda or the Taliban, although there is no lack of such on the web. Nor will Julian Assange ever be issuing such judgments on al-Qaeda or the Taliban, because they execute suspected spies and traitors, very quickly and usually very unpleasantly.
As Mr. Roggio points out, there is nothing earth shaking that’s been reveled in there so far that we don’t already know. I suppose next we’ll be told that we’re paying the Taliban to protect our convoy’s from the Taliban or that the Iranians and Saudi’s (who we also support) are both supporting our enemies at the same time.
The overall strategic implications probably won’t be impacted all that greatly. Most of the involved governments already know that we know that they know that we know and so on and so forth.
Tactically on the other hand…This leak is tantamount to a death sentence for thousands who have operated or cooperated with the Coalition. The personal safety of every one of those people is now the sole responsibility of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.
Of course now every single Lady Gaga fan in the military and intelligence worlds is immediately suspect. But we already knew that too…