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back to article Pentagon out to 'destroy' Wikileaks, founder says

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday accused the Pentagon of setting out to destroy the whistleblower website and struck back at news organizations that he said bought in to the smear campaign. Speaking to an audience in London, the 39-year-old defended the decision to release some 77,000 classified documents related to …

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Wish

Wish he wasn't so self righteous. Wikileaks used to appear responsible, with no underlying agenda. Not so sure now.

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Grenade

Yawn

I wish this idiot would clear off, and take his "whistleblowing" website with him. If he and it were genuine he would be totally unbiased; instead Wikileaks is a (annoyingly large) mouthpiece for his own political leanings.

"Media organisation" my arse.

Grenade, obviously.

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Stop

Why?

"I wish this idiot would clear off, and take his "whistleblowing" website with him."

I don't have an opinion either way on him as a person - too much is distorted by the media to get a good grip on that. However, what's wrong with Wikileaks as a whole? They certainly made a mistake by not redacting the names of the informants, but given their backpedal on this, I they know that was a cockup. That aside, I think the world is better off for having the kind of info that gets regularly disseminated by wikileaks, regarding many organisations, not just the US gov.

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Silver badge

His personality is neither here nor there

People may not like the Wikileaks guy, consider him eccentric, self-aggrandising, arrogant or whatever.

One should remember though that reasonable people whom everybody likes become plumbers, bankers and IT specialists. Reasonable people usually do not take the risks of non-conforming and going against the establishment.

So, don't expect a project like Wikileaks to be led by a nice guy. It just can't happen.

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Anonymous Coward

How many names?

I've seen a lot of comments, all over the place, talking about unredacted informant details. What I still don't know is the scale of that. How many endangered informants are we talking about? 1? 10? 5000?

I know that even one death, of anyone, is too many. But that also applies to all the soldiers and civilians killed by "friendly fire" (good oxymoron), and "collateral damage" too.

Only the historians (well those on a "winning" side) get to decide whether what was done before was good or bad.

So please, before we keep going on about unredacted informants can we have a little less FUD and a bit more fact?

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Grenade

Endangering Lives

Surely military occupations endanger lives more than documents.

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Anonymous Coward

That depends.

The problem is that the view of the good military operations can do has been seriously warped by the, well, abuse of the military apparatus by the UK and the US. A classic *good* example if occupation post disaster, to contain the inevitable looting and lawlessness that follows.

As with whistleblowing, I have had my reservations about Wikileaks. In both cases, I don't think uncontrolled release of information is always positive. Especially when other routes exist, this should not happen until those other routes are exhausted. What's more, it ESPECIALLY should not be under control of single individuals with their own agenda.

Assange has used this information for his own ends - it wasn't an open release, it was a conditional release via news channels, and unedited at that. There was plenty of warning that it would cause harm, yet he allowed the data out without redaction, and is thus as responsible for the consequences as the original "leaker" is.

BTW, I don't care about his political leanings in itself (I don't think he has any other than "me"). You remain a w*nker, wether you do it left- or right-handed..

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Black Helicopters

It is necessary, it is a public right to know the truth

Information is a right and no Pentagon, NATO or Blackwater/Xe self-proclaimed ruler of the world should be put above the right of the citizens of the World, including Afghans, to know in detail what is going on.

Spies and other conspirators, with private or public paychecks, have already too much power and the way to curtail that is exposing them: making all info available.

There is no right to hide info from the people of the world, first of all because there is no formal world government, world constitution nor world legislative body, thanks goodness. Wikileaks is a public good: they are not exposing your private life but the manipulations of the oligarchs.

And we the people have the right to know.

Specially now that the mainstream media is so sheepishly, sites like Wikileaks are very valuable and must be defended from US-NATO imperial totalitarianism.

I hate to see myself so dedicated to defend Wikileaks or any other particular site but some of the opinions dumped here are bordering fascism and look like an orchestrated campaign by the USDHS (the Pentagon for short).

And if the Pentagon is so determined to destroy Wikileaks and jail or even kill Assange, they are probably doing a good job and merit defense. If nothing else to defend some of the last bastions of democracy and freedom of speech.

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Anonymous Coward

stupid title

ASSange is just out for publicity.

No matter which way he spins it he has harmed those people who have been named. Anyone who is injured or killed because of the leaks is his fault.

I wonder if he realises this. or is he too busy with his 5 minutes of fame.

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Silver badge

Wrong logic

"Anyone who is injured or killed because of the leaks is his fault."

Nope. You're wrong.

It's the fault of those who were supposed to protect the sensitive information about the intelligence sources but didn't.

Assange may be out for publicity - but by the same argument the cops are there on the streets for their salary, not to protect the public order...

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Alert

Re: ASSange is just out for publicity.

He's not a 5 minutes of fame guy. He (and I) were on the cypherpunks, and later coderpunks, lists 15 years ago and I would regularly read his stuff. Yeah, he's always been "politically aware", let's say but he has been completely consistent in that entire timeframe.

People may not warm to him, but to say that he's some kind of johnny-come-lately riding atop wikileaks to personal fame is simply untrue.

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Nope. You're wrong.

you dont blame a householder for being burgled, do you?

only a wooden door sir? you realy were asking for it, wern't you, sir?

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Grenade

Oh, the irony...

Funny to see Assange showing *precisely* the characteristics that he projects onto others: megalomania and a casual disregard for human consequences, and a dislike of whistleblowers (like Daniel Schmitt). Don't be naive: he's in the game like the rest of 'em, and I hear rumours he's made friends with the Chinese now... just rumours, of course, but I don't see him publicly listing his sources of funding.

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Meh, nobody deserves privacy except Assange

Really, when's He going to stop mucking around with this Wikileaks hobby and get down to the serious business of starting His own religion?

In the meantime, I predict a People's Front of Wikileaks in 3... 2...

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Grenade

Move along now, nothing to see here...

Self promoting conspiracy theorist promotes conspiracy theory about self.

When 'we' do it then it's leaking. When 'they' do it then it's espionage. Just like when 'they' do it we call it an invasion but when 'we' do it we call it a peacekeeping force. Let's just remember that America pwns the world except China and so can do what the hell they like and dweebs like Julian can't do anything to stop it. Bring on the quiet deniable hit I say.

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Paris Hilton

'according to the Associated Press.'

Are Vulture Central's hacks investigating in order to provide El Reg's own take on this?

Where's the story?

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It has been obvious for some time

that the US DoD has been carrying out a campaign against both the site, and the people who run it.

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Grenade

Just as obvious...

Ass-n-age has been carrying out his leftist viewed agenda.

Its ok for him to spill the beans but if anyone spills the beans about his organization... well that's not fair.

Sorry, no sympathy because wikileaks could have been a good thing, but his ego and lack of consideration for the consequences of his actions killed it.

Watch the leftist leaning simple thinking folks flag this post with a lot of thumbs down.

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FAIL

@Ian Michael Gumby

Watch the right-winger try to dismiss anyone who disagrees with him as "leftist leading simple thinking" because obviously no right(!) thinking person would disagree...

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WTF?

@Graham Marsden

No.

I think you missed the point.

In today's society, there exists a need for something like Wikileaks. Just not something like Ass-n-age. Personally he has the mentality of someone who goes on MTV's real life or road rules but would be beaten and tossed out on his ass were he on Jersey Shore. (All mindless tv shows that pander to our need to watch train wrecks.)

The point is that were Ass-n-age to have done this right, there wouldn't be any hype and his name would never be known. That is... had he gone through the documents and redacted names, dates and sometimes places he would be doing the "right thing" in the right manner.

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FAIL

@Ian Michael Gumby

No, you are the one who has missed my point.

You brought in the political "left" and "right" which are completely irrelevant to this story and then tried to stop anyone from down-voting your post by implying that, if they did, they were "leftist leading simple thinking".

You may have had a reasonable point, but you blew it by using tactics like these.

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Rotter

Assange is highly political, and his politics is anti american, anti western, and all the rest. The internet has given a voice to every cretinous little megalomaniacal leftist, communist, socialist, and they prove over and over why they are morons.

He and his actions put people in harms way, and not just those he has an axe to grind about. When you start to go out of your way to publish details you know the taliban will examine, and will lead to aid workers, christian 'missionairies', and others who are none military being killed, you;ve crossed the line of decency, or of having any value in what you are doing.

Personally, the son of a bitch crossed my country which is at war. As far as I am concerned, he is an enemy of the state. Whatever is coming his way, is well deserved. No one in the west should think themselves above getting our troops killed, or meddling in a warzone. It would take 100 assange's to ever reach the value of one british squaddie.

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Anonymous Coward

Who

But with whom your country at war?

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Rob
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FAIL

By your definition...

..."Assange is highly political, and his politics is anti american, anti western, and all the rest. The internet has given a voice to every cretinous little megalomaniacal leftist, communist, socialist, and they prove over and over why they are morons."

Your saying that the Americans/The West are always right, your also saying that groups like communists are always wrong, communism may not be the best choice for a society and aspects of it are wrong but not all of it, my point is that life is not black and white unless your 10yrs or under after that shades of grey get brought into the equation whether you like it or not.

No matter what I think of Assange's personality it doesn't override the work that he's doing which is effectively standing up to one of the largest degrading super powers on the planet, a superpower that's armed forces don't always act in a professional manner which seems top be a direct reflection of it's governance.

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Anonymous Coward

No..

"It would take 100 assange's to ever reach the value of one british squaddie."

No, you'll never get there at all with "assange" units. Your average squaddie is risking his life, underpaid and generally under equipped (let's not forget the bullet proof vest debacle) for sometimes questionable reasons (WMDs anyone? Never proven, conveniently "forgotten" fact in certain memoires). And all so that when he gets injured he has to fight to get his rights when he gets back home - or his family loses him for good and has to see how it manages that.

Assange, OTOH, knows full well intelligence service won't touch him. Not because he blackmails them (which is what he seems to flatter himself with), but because nobody would want to martyr him and so inflame other idiots.

He's a leech, and the quicker Wikileaks gets rid of him, the quicker they can start working on recovering some semblance of credibility. If ever.

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DT

"Wikileaks - the bomb the failed to go off"?

If it's insignificant... why continue to report on Assange - in any other circumstances he'd look parnoid, but given what the Pentagon has said before and the other allegations he's faced... Arrgh, now I'm being distracted; whether you think the guy is a nut or not, the documents weren't authored by him and their veracity isn't disputed. The whole incident conflicts with a large of the media who appear to have a very particular notion of what it is to be patriotic. Nothing disenfranchises a readership better than telling them unpleasant truthes about the things they hold dear.

Shooting the messenger or passing the moral buck is for the most part; moot. Are the Afghani's themselves somehow aware of these incidents, and not already cogniscent of the situation in their own country? The Pentagon and media commentators have declared on occasion that it contains nothing new and is of no consequence, then have made conflicting claims that it poses a massive security risk. Well, which is it?!!! Secrets are always deemed essential, and their release detrimental, by those who hold them.

This is about accountability at home, and saving face internationally. Governments don't want their own citizens to consider the unpleasant aspects of war... and don't even give the enemy civilians (who supposedly they're trying to save) the courtsey of a body count. For a few of us; its patriotic to hold one's country accountable to the highest possible standards, despite El Reg attempt to emulate Officer Barbrady "Nothing to see here children".

There are two solutions which prevent an enemy from being empowered and motivated by news of how you've accidentally killed civilians and not so accidentally tortured folk...one is to discredit discenting journalists.... the other is to stop doing it!

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Ah, come on...

Maybe I'm over-simplifying this but surely the Pentagon, with all its contacts, wealth, black ops. background and so on wouldn't have any trouble at all in "destroying" Wikileaks if it chose to.

I suspect Messers. Assange & co. to be attention seeking - something I believe they thrive on as 'information brokers'. It's been a very productive day in the office for them, then?

Whether the Pentagon taking them down is a good or bad thing is debatable. Not by me tho', I don't give a damn for their site or its content either way.

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Megaphone

They are not all powerful

Obviously. They just failed a coup in Ecuador, in fact they have totally failed to defend the USA from BP and associates, and earlier from Goldman Sachs and Other Vultures Inc. The US Imperial regime is a big failure if you look at it in some depth but I don't want to go off-topic.

My point is that few committed and organized people like, in this case, Wikileaks can cause a lot of trouble to the oiligarchs (no typo) and their Pentagon, White House, Brussels, etc. minions. People is not powerless it is just unorganized and lacks faith in their own power. The oiligarchs are just people like you and me after all, just that they are better organized for the global ripoff.

But they are vulnerable, and the more megalomaniac and greedy they go, the more vulnerable they are.

If Wikileaks falls something else will appear. It has been shown it can be done, so it can be replicated. But I don't think it will fall, though Assange may go through a very difficult period personally with such powerful enemies.

I wouldn't be surprised if he was murdered for instance, as has happened to other whistleblowers and leaders that resisted Washington in the past. I hope I am wrong of course.

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Bah!

I won't believe any US involvement in the Ecuador mess unless I read about it on Wikileaks.

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That's not a suprising statement....

...and neither should he be surprised.

Regardless of what was release, you antagonise a individual or organisation in the way they did, it will come back at you!

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Black Helicopters

Absolutely

either he is stupidly courageous, or just stupid.

I know which way I'm betting.

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FAIL

Nice

Attacks articles he doesn't like, yet was quite happy to collaborate in the production of that recycled sycophantic bogroll spewed out by the Graun et al. in the run-up to the big Afghanistan leak.

I really want him not to be a douche (and I still have a hope that all these quotes are being taken out of context) but the evidence is mounting - <sark> and surely the CIA can't get to /every/ news outlet and brainwash them into pushing an anti-assange angle?</sark>

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Bronze badge
Stop

Let's not forget ...

Who put informants' names in the database and made them identifiable rather than using code names and the like?

Even a cursory risk assessment would indicate that such data would be dangerous if it fell into 'enemy hands' and we do not know that it hadn't before Wikileaks 'spilled the beans'.

The real moral of the story is - don't trust others to protect your identity; you only have yourself to blame if you do and the consequences of their failure can sometimes be deadly.

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Silver badge

I hope that everyone who attacks wikileaks because of Assange ...

... also boycotts music by Wagner, poetry by Larkin . . . etc. etc. The guy may or may not be a douche - and whether he is may or may not be interesting in its own right. But it has nothing to do with whether wikileaks is useful or not.

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truth

if exposing truth is a problem what does it say about the fact?

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Silver badge
Grenade

No

They have not been "injured or killed because of the leaks". They have been injured or killed because the US government was up to no good.

If it wasn't for the USA acting like they have some sort of right to go sticking their beak into other countries' affairs, Wikileaks would have nothing to report. They really are showing all the signs of believing in that so-called "divine right to rule" they supposedly rejected in 1776.

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Black Helicopters

Doesnt bother me

All this personal stuff is just to try and deflect attention away from the US military they have been at best lax with their security and at worst, guilty of illegal acts themselves.

wikileaks is one of the few places people can get this information out and into the main stream the governments hold to much sway with the mainstream media to allow documents like these to ever be talked about, we have to support freedom of information for good or for bad, as our governments are showing daily they are untrustworthy and down right incompetent to be in charge of it.

The truth will out but only if WE push for it....

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Thumb Up

Yes, they keep murdering civilians as we speak

They do so often that is not even news. I read/watch about it (last time yesterday) and I almost don't feel affected and don't consider it anymore to be "news" or "scandal". It is a scandal but a routine of a scandal.

However the Pentagon is horribly vengeful. Remember that poor English hacker, Gary McKinnon, who dared to break in their computers and left an angry note accusing them of being behind 9/11? He did not steal any secret... but they have got him extradited from Britain (shame on Britain!) and he's probably going to spend the rest of his life in jail.

Is that democracy? Justice? No, it is vengeance of the worst kind. State terrorism: a state trying to impose terror all around.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Cryptome.com & Wikileaks.com needed to offset governmental abuse

Given the obsession of the military to stick SECRET on every piece of paper, other than toilet paper, and the misinformation/lies the Pentagon and governments come out with we need disclosure.

If these government organisations had norhing to hide they wouldn't be so touchy. History tells us that no government can be trusted, even more so these days.

Remember WMS - Weapons of Mass Destruction. They haven't found them yet, 7 years and counting.

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Silver badge

Wrong War.

You're thinking about Iraq, and we're actually pretty much winding down there. The big problem is Afghanistan where there is a known enemy (Al Queda) that is known to have committed acts of atrocity against Americans on American soil (which we need not mention), which have vowed to commit more given half a chance (heck, I think they'd rather destroy the world than lose--so MAD doesn't faze them), and which have said they're pretty much in it for the long haul. So you have a sworn intractable enemy who's already struck on your home ground. SOMETHING needs to be done, but it's just a different kind of war, and it's tricky to adapt.

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More sinned against than sinning

Charles9,

In 2002 Al Qaeda had fled Afghanistan and the Taliban had evaporated. If the invasion had been justified in your opinion then the justification was gone by then. Instead of supporting democratic Afghans Bush put corrupt, mysoginst warlords in charge, averted his gaze to Iraq and ravaged the country with mercenaries and serial killers in uniform. The risk of the Wikipedia leak does not compare to the real massacres and criminal negligence that it has helped expose.

huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/10/petraeus-alqaida-not-oper_n_201310.html

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Unhappy

Do they still print Government Property on toilet paper?

I visited a toilet in the UK years ago and they had Government Property, or something similar, on each sheet.

The other memory of that occasion was the abysmal condition of the facility.

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Silver badge

Then who's shooting the Americans...

...and coming up with the cleverer tactics?

Perhaps it's not Al Queda itself (who are now mostly in Pakistan where they can't be reached by an army), but from the very article you posted, "Gen. David Petraeus says affiliated organizations still have 'enclaves and sanctuaries' in the country." So Al Queda's still got lots of friends, and they need to be dealt with just as Al Queda itself. Plus it doesn't defuse the fact that Al Queda has shown a desire to attack the US even before we started trooping into foreign soil. An opponent like that needs to be continually pressured so as to keep them from coming around back at you.

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Anonymous Coward

The Cheney-Huffpo Axis

The Bush doctrine, through the Dick Cheney - Huffington Post alliance, is applied to Assange and Wikileaks:

"We will starve them of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest."

Call the wahmbulance, Ass ... ange.

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Stop

when is a donkey not a donkey when its an ass......

who cares about assange to be honest wikileaks could do without him, but could we do without wikileaks.

I remember watching the leaked vid with 2 chopper pilots on a jolly killing a few journalists then maiming some children and slapping themselfs on back about it. powerfully sickening viewing but it needed to be seen.

If a policeman pull out his gun a shots a civillian he a murderer, if a solider does it seems it is all ok even if it ingnores all the ROE's in theatre.

wikileaks should be exposing as much as possible when ever possible...but early retirement for assange would help

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Bronze badge

"Sauce for the goose," I believe...

"He also attacked The Huffington Post and Wired.com for articles that scrutinized finances and internal power struggles within the Wikileaks organization, according to the Associated Press. "

Wikileaks doesn't like leaks when it's their OWN internals...?

*Heh*...

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Silver badge
FAIL

I'd have more sympathy....

If somewhere in those 77,000 documents was some actual news of nefarious deeds by the military. Instead we mostly get stuff we already knew, plus some blow-by-blows of specific instances where civilians were killed, plus a few eyewitness descriptions of NATO helicopters getting shot down. Then he discloses names of Afghans who are cooperating with NATO.

A) We already knew civilians were getting killed, but the reports show this happening in understandable "heat of battle" situations. If Wikileaks actually leaked something useful about unlawful killings and torture by NATO forces, that would be different.

B) Whether or not the NATO helicopters in question were downed by AA fire or not (and eyewitness accounts of air crashes are often inaccurate), its obvious that the Taliban doesn't have anything like a widespread anti-aircraft ability. Otherwise, we would be losing more helicopters than we are.

C) So in disclosing Afghans who are cooperating with NATO, Wikileaks put those Afghans at direct risk, and put NATO troops at indirect risk because there might be less cooperation in the future.

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Occupation cases terrorism

Charles 9,

"The Taliban are domestically motivated. By and large they are conservative Pashtun people who want to take control of bits of Afghan territory and implement their own social and religious codes in Afghan territory, but do not have a primary interest in launching terrorist attacks in the United States. The kinds of intelligence operations, police operations, special forces operations which targetted people who have an international terrorist agenda whose objective was to mount terrorist attacks against the United States seems perfectly justifiable and achievable, it's within our gift. Let's continue by all means to focus on defensive counter terrorism operations, which are really not all that different from the kind of disruption operations that you'd undertake against a criminal group in your own country, but not get involved in trying to occupy large swathes of Afghanistan in the vain hope that you can win a counter-insurgency".

-Rory Stewart

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Grenade

wikiweaks discreditation & islamic terrorist sympathizer

With thousands of names posted, which will lead to the genocide of tens of thousands of people interested in making their nation work, at the hands of a few people who have access that these regular every-day (soon to be or already dead) Afghan does not have - this idiot has destroyed the cause of WikiLeaks.

Remembering that the Taliban controlled the nation which protected the terrorist organization that led attacks against civilians in many nations based upon a violent religious ideology - any activity to assist these terrorist protectors to come back to power through the murder of tens of thousands of good Afghan citizens makes the people involved in this wikileaks decision terrorist sympethizers - partially responsible for every dead innocent civilian in Aghanistan as well as in other international governments from this day forward.

Grenade image for obvious reasons. The murderous founder of wikileaks should post it on their web site to demonstrate what side of humanity he exists for.

Anonymous because I could be targeted just like the wikileaks partisan targeted thousands of others. I hope The Register has fewer traitors working for them than the Pentagon.

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FAIL

@Danny 2 - Bad Assumption, Remember Immediate History

Danny 2> "The Taliban are domestically motivated... but do not have a primary interest in launching terrorist attacks in the United States."

That's why 9-11 happened, USS Cole, Embassy bombings in Africa, discotec bombings in tourist spots, etc.

The Taliban fostered these terrorists in Afghanistan, after they took control of that nation by force - and protected them when the terrorist leaders when foreign nations went to them for justice.

Once a local area is under control, then it is national, then regional, then continental.

Get your head out of the sand and see Islamic Terrorism for what it is.

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