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WikiLeaks and The Guardian - The Afghan War Logs

Discussion in 'Serious' started by NuTech, 26 Jul 2010.

  1. NuTech

    NuTech New Member

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    There will never, ever be an all seeing, all knowing, unimpeachably qualified expert panel - as people will always argue that your expert isn't 'expert' enough. Organisations that operate within the fringes of the law (such as Wikileaks) have to take each situation as it comes - there are no hard and fast rules.

    Now, when we're in a situation like the one we're in currently - fighting multiple wars that many consider illegal - it is even more imperative that those who fund said wars (practically everyone reading this post) should be given access to any and all information we can get our hands on - After all, ultimately it is us that could stop these wars right now if we really wanted to.

    To those arguing that the freedom of this information isn't worth the risk it may pose to troops currently stationed in hot zones, allow me to propose this hypothetical situation: What if tomorrow morning, highly sensitive and incredibly damning military information found its way to Wikileaks doorstep. This information was so sensitive that the worst case scenario happened - tragically a patrol was ambushed and over a dozen soldiers were killed. However, this information was so sensational that it caused a massive amount of controversy and public outcry, leading to further anti-war protests - but this time with much greater conviction. This leak becomes the catalyst which expedites our withdrawal from multiple front lines across the middle east. Hundreds of soldiers who would of otherwise been killed are now safely tucked up in bed back home. Thousands of Afghanis and Iraqis are now enjoying what's left of their war-torn country as opposed to becoming unidentified blood smears decorating collapsed buildings.

    Isn't ending a war worth those initial dozen lifes? War is hell anyway, so why not die for peace instead of for no reason at all?

    Far fetched? Possibly. But lesser things have changed the outcome of wars in the past.
     
  2. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    I suppose we would then have to ask the sacrificial lamb's relatives if their loss was worth the final outcome.
     
  3. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I see where you're coming from, NuTech - Sacrifice a few to save the majority, but I don't subscribe to that model of thinking.

    Don't know about you, but I wouldn't like having the death of any number of troops on my conscience. Even if it did get the rest of them back home.

    I guarantee you that, any solider, doesn't want to die. I'd even wager that, if you went around a squad, the only reason any one of them would even risk it would be to save one of their own.

    Asking an army of men at least vaguely similarly minded to let some men die just so they can go home? I doubt that would go down too well.
     
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  4. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    This I agree with wholeheartedly, but shouldn't all sources of information be subject to critical evaluation? Shouldn't all sources of information be cross referenced and validated before being published if the information is to be taken seriously? Now Wikileaks have claimed that this is what they do, but how do we know that? Do they detail how they do that? Do they back up their claims of due process with verifiable facts? No they don't.

    EDIT: The only people who could truely assess whether any strategically important information was divulged within these reports are the troops and commanders on the ground in Afghanistan. After all, they are the people who know much more than any of us about the true picture over there. You can pull in as many ex-officers, or ex-intelligence officials as you like, but if they are out of the current loop, then they have no right to be assessing data.

    I think it would be interesting to see how many servicemen and women, and also their families are worried by leaks such as this? My dad saw active service three times in N.I. and I would have been extremely worried if this had occured whilst he was on tour over there. So I should imagine that there are families now that feel the same way.
     
    Last edited: 28 Jul 2010
  5. Mr Mario

    Mr Mario New Member

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    Yeah you are right there, apparently this guy was able to just use USB ports and CD drives without anything stopping him. And we all know this will probably just lead to more red tape, that slows down the distribution of intelligence to where it's actually needed.
     
  6. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    There has to be some modicum of trust placed on the personnel who handle intelligence. The organisations simply could not function otherwise. Having said that though, there seems to be a growing trend in leaking info to the press, something the US and UK governments need to be more aggressively tackling imho. In the same breath though, there should be more transparancy within our government, and it should be forced to justify unpopular decisions and actions.
     
  7. NuTech

    NuTech New Member

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    Why don't we ask this guy if he's happy with his daughter being a sacrificial lamb?
    But the deaths of thousands of civilians doesn't bother you conscience at all? You may not be dropping bombs with your own hands, or firing bullets with your own fingers - but do not forget for one single moment that it is our nation out there fighting. Us. We. You and I. The government we elected declared war. Our money is now funding it.

    I really hate acting like a sensationalist/alarmist, but it really grates me when people start championing the safety of 'our boys'. What about the safety of their actual boys and girls?
     
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  8. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    Nutech, I come from a military family, and I lost my dad whilst he was on active service. So I feel I am qualified to answer the question myself. Would I have preferred that a security leak was the reason for my dad's death,and in turn this solved the troubles in N.I. Hell no I friggin wouldn't. Call me selfish, but I would have preferred my dad coming home full stop. Did I agree with what he was there for? No I didn't, and I have always said leave the Irish to it. To know that it was a UK citizen who played a part in my dad's death, while acting the people's champion, would have taken me over the edge. I would have held whoever published the leak, and whoever leaked the info, directly responsible for my dad's death. I'm sure Nexxo would say my dad would have had a part to play too, but signing up for queen and country doesn't come with the provisio that you may be sold out to the enemy by your own countrymen.
     
  9. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    No, civilians shouldn't be caught in the crossfire, it's terrible that they are, but it is a fact of war. Neutral parties, if they're "hosting" the war, are likely to be shot (And what I expect is true for the large majority of British forces) rather accidentally. Especially with this "war" being what it is - A long term battle against insurgents rather than two armies.

    However, yes, I do care more about our military than the civilian casualties. I know, not very loving of me, but it's true. I don't know what to feel about civilian casualties, and were the situation reversed (them here illegally) I'm not certain I'd know then, either. I do know, though, that the people being put into a situation they probably don't agree with, because their civilian leaders sent them there, should not be being put at any more risk courtesy of the civilians that put them in harms way to begin with.
     
  10. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    And if you want to attribute some more blame for the civilian casualties Nutech, go seek the talliban who use the civilians and their settlements as a defence against attacks. They do this purposely, because they know that every single civilian hurt or killed is a double whammy to our efforts. Remember that before you go attributing blame. I get sick of hearing about the civilian losses from our bleeding heart brigade here in the UK, blaming our troops for every single civilian fatality out there, without having a clue as to the real facts. Have you guys checked the figures on how many civilians are being killed and maimed by taliban roadside bombs, suicide bombings etc? Convenient to forget about those in times like this isn't it? There are many more killings that can be attributed to taliban action than from British armed forces action.
     
  11. NuTech

    NuTech New Member

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    Yes, it's a 'fact of war', but can you honestly call what's happening in the middle east a 'war'? And a "long term battle against insurgents", seriously? That in itself is a fallacy - the insurgents exist because there is an occupying force to 'insurge' against. There aren't even any aims we can hope to achieve for so-called victory - we lost the 'hearts and minds' years ago. It's now just a perpetual, violent power struggle.

    When I compare two lives lost - one of a British soldier and another of a child - IMO the only thing that matters is one chose to be there and another was born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    I don't even know where to begin with such a narrow minded statement like this.

    We are the aggressor over there. We chose to use that landmass to wage war on. If our so-called enemy (who just so happens to pose no real threat to our way of life) decides to hide among civilians, we do not have to attack.

    Do you know why police officers sometimes end high-speed pursuits? Because the risk to innocent life outweighs any possible gain from catching the criminals. Alternatively, imagine if Gangster A runs into a pub with a gun to kill Gangster B. Gangster B hides behind innocents to not get shot. Do you then blame Gangster B for hiding? Or do you blame Gangster A for running into a crowded pub with a gun in the first place? Now substitute that bar for Helmand and you might just realise how ridiculous your argument is. Arguably Gangster B shouldn't of hid behind innocents, but that doesn't forgive Gangster A for deciding to shoot.

    As for those road-side IED's and suicide bombers, have you even bothered ask yourself why they exist? Or if they would exist if it wasn't for foreign occupation?
     
  12. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    Have you even stopped to consider what the taliban were doing before we invaded? Hanging people who dared not to go to mosque? Stoning women to death for showing their faces? Or how about killing people who dared to speak against them? You say I am narrow minded, well so are you in the same token then! You are seriously suggesting that the taliban has no part ot play in the civilian deaths? Get real man!

    If you sypathise with the feckers so much, go out and do your bit, don't sit here trying to make me look silly or feel guilty, cos it won't work!


    EDIT: That was a rash comment, and serves no purpose here. So I retract it. I do however stand by my statement that you are being incredibly narrow minded by claiming that civilian deaths would not be happening if the coalition forces were not there. They already were.

    Now you seem to be blaming the UK troops for civilian deaths caused by taliban tactics and actions. That would be exactly the same as saying that the IRA bombings were legitimate then, wouldn't it, and that any civilian casualties would be the fault of the British armed forces then? That's pathetic and stupid, all rolled into one.

    Further EDIT:

    The British Armed Forces also have clear and defined rules of engagement within the Afghanistan theatre. They are not allowed to fire if there are civilians within the vicinity, and this has given rise to British casualties, in situations where British forces were caught in situations where fire was being directed at them, but they could not return fire due to civilians in the area.

    Obviously, accidents can and do happen. Our soldiers are not robots, and are just as fallible as the rest of us, even with the best training in the world.

    The point you are also missing is that the taliban encourage the situations where innocents could be hurt, and also target civilians. One example is where anyone suspected of assisting the coalition forces is killed, and also possibly their families. No trial, no warning, just executed. Another example is the roadside bombings. It doesn't matter to the taliban that there may be civilians in the area when they detonate them, they will do it regardless. Same goes for suicide bombers. Now whether it's right or wrong us being there, how in the hell can you say that it's our fault the taliban choose to do this? Again that's just stupid!
     
    Last edited: 28 Jul 2010
  13. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    If the respective military authorities/governments involved published this information themselves then there would no need for wiki leaks. I think they could put a lot of this information into the public domain while with holding anything that would directly endanger troops. The trouble is to keep support for the war back home they have to gloss over the horrors and keep the PR machine spinning. If they have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear from telling the truth.

    Lets hope we don't end up with more David Kelly's in the process.
     
  14. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    As far as I am concerned, if anyone signs the official secrets act, then they should be held accountable and face trial if they breach the agreement. I'm not saying chase people down and kill them, or anything else Bond-ish, but I am saying that if someone leaks info, and breaches the official secrets act, why shouldn't they expect to face punishment.

    It's Ok saying everything should be within the public domain, but there is always information that is witheld from the public for very good reasons, that we may not even realise. We are seeing info being divulged without any real control or consideration into what ramifications the release of said info has. It's just a matter of time until we face a real disaster from the growing trend in whistleblowing on confidential documents. It will happen, and by christ I hope it's not soldiers facing the consequences.

    As I pointed put earlier, there is NO-ONE here who knows exactly how the leaked info was assessed by Wikileaks, and what measures they have in place to ensure ALL the data was benign.
     
  15. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    "One chose to be there" Not strictly true. If you signed up before war was declared, and finished basic training during the war, you would be put into a rotation for going out there, whether you wanted to or not. So "chose to be there" is probably not the right way to describe a British soldier. I'd agree for a mercenary force, sure, but we're not mercenaries (In as much as we're bound to the RoE/Geneva Convention).

    The individual troops probably didn't make the choice to go there, the leaders did. As for correctness of the war, yes, everyone agrees it's not correct in any sense that we went there, but we are there now, and no amount of sensitive data leaking is going to bring us back in a hurry, it's just going to endanger the lives of the soldiers there. You're so keen on saying that we, the public, are as responsible as anyone, and we are, but we are also responsible for not propagating documentation that could get our troops killed.

    Those against the war are going to cherry pick the most supportive pieces of documents they read to support their cause - Essentially doing half the insurgents job for them.

    As for "were there insurgents there before us". Well, ask yourself this:

    Did the insurgents we are fighting suddenly wake up one morning with the knowledge and experience to manufacture IED's, the know-how and skill to disguise roadside bombs, and other such destructive items?

    No. Experience. They've been doing this long before we were there - They've been fighting amongst themselves for superiority, power, and just about anything they see as theirs, that the other group has.

    Your example simplifies it far too much. Are those civilians under threat to assist the gangster they're in front of? Are they friends, family even? Are they paid? There are variables that we cannot even begin to fathom, because their culture is so drastically different to ours. I'm not defending the killing of civilians, I'm just trying to explain that there could be circumstances that drive the civilians to be there.

    I don't believe the benefits of this leak outweigh the potential downsides. I believe that it'll lead to a larger number of our soldiers getting killed, when we should be trying to bring them home - For both their sakes and the sakes of the people caught in the crossfire.
     
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  16. thehippoz

    thehippoz New Member

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    saw the hearing in congress about this.. looks like the information, as far as they could see, was information they already knew about

    course it isn't right to release things like this.. maybe a better background check on the people handling the information- or double checks needed so one person can't get ahold of it so easily.. it can only improve if all it took was one guy with a flash stick

    pakistan looks upset over the leak- maybe this will change things for the better (looking on the bright side).. I kinda agree with stewart- the guy who runs wikileaks likes the attention.. I saw one interview and he had his hair combed like a anime character
     
  17. brave758

    brave758 New Member

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    That site really pisses me off....... ****ing worm.
     
  18. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    So civilians sometimes get caught up in the crossfire. Sometimes an innocent guy's house gets blown up by mistake and he loses his entire family in the process. Why are we so quick to say, "Well, war is hell; that's just collateral damage, and it's to be expected."

    If the war was being waged in our own country, would we be so cavalier with civilian deaths? Would we, for example, be willing to fire off a rocket in a middle class suburban neighborhood in the middle of Kansas if we knew an insurgent was hiding out in someone's garage? I wonder how the neighbors would feel about that?

    Interestingly when a group of predominately Saudi terrorists, funded by Saudi money, crashed 2 airplanes into the World Trade Center, 1 airplane into the Pentagon, and 1 airplane in Pennsylvania, the US used that act as an excuse to wage war on Iraq, and later moved to a more nebulous idea of "War on Terror." It seems that some terrorists attacking our country and killing 3,000 people was enough justification to destabilize the Middle East.

    While we were running around shooting up the Middle East, we killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians and utterly ruined the infrastructure and stability of the region. Why do we even act shocked when the civilians start turning on us, especially when we initially invaded a country that had nothing at all to do with the September 11, 2001 attack?
     
  19. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    I'm not trying to say that the civilian casualties should be written off as just another statistic, I did say that our government should be releasing data on civilian casualties much earlier in this thread. Where the thread went off topic was when Nutech launched into defense of Wikileaks, by claiming that the leaked info could save lives, and that anyone who thought the leak was irresponsible wasn't considering the civilian casualties. He made it quite clear that he thought those who were worried about the military personnel couldn't be worried about the civilians either. That was quite an assumption, and also quite wrong too.

    Just because I feel that the leak was not appopriate at this time does not make me some loon who doesn't give a **** that civilians are dying too. Let's be quite clear on that. Where I do have the problem is that Wikileaks have refused to detail exactly how they have vetted the leaked info, and who has vetted it. This is nothing short of hypocrisy, as I said. Nutech tried to muddy the waters by throwing in the civilian casualty aspect, as the only defence he could give for Wikileaks leaking the info. He seems to think the leaks will save lives, or could end the war prematurely, and I could find I have won the lottery too, but in the meantime, Wikileaks is playing games that they clearly do not fully understand, and do not appreciate the potential consequences of.

    It then further degenerated when Nutech claimed that the civilian casualties in Afgahnistan are the sole responsibilty of the invading forces. This is an absolute crock of crap to be honest. Maybe he should think about the fact that it's believed that most of the taliban fighters are from neighbouring countries, and don't give a rats arse for the locals, or their safety. They use them for the own purposes, and will kill anyone who refuses to cooperate with them. They will draw fire towards civilians, if there are any in the area, in the hope that some get injured or killed. They will also use civilian compounds as arms caches, firing bases, comms and lookout stations, without any regard to the civilian population, but all this is due to the coalition forces? No it bloody well isn't, it's the taliban who chose these tactics, and they done so because they know the military is doing everything it can to avoid civilian casualties! As proof of this, just ask any returning soldier how many times they have been engaged by taliban fighters, only to see them walk away after having hidden their weapons, and they couldn't do a bloody thing about it!
     
    Last edited: 29 Jul 2010
  20. whisperwolf

    whisperwolf New Member

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    there's a wonderful irony between your view of wikileaks and the quote in your sig.

     

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