Julian Assange and Those Wikileaks Iraq Documents 79


I had the great pleasure today to present the Sam Adams Award for Integrity to Julian Assange at the big Wikileaks press conference in London.

I fear I did not do this very well. In fact I was merely trying to pass the award to Dan Ellsberg to present at the end of his talk, when he introduced me to make the presentation. I felt pretty shy at holding up a press conference being seen around the world, so I virtually threw the award candlestick at Julian and got off. The consequence of my lack of composure was that few people realised who I was or what had just been given.

Those who watched the full press conference on Sky or BBC red button will have seen me. Nadira said it just looked like some nutter had got up from the audience to give Julian a present. Oh well.

As for the Wikileaks document, the relentless detail of casual and routine torture and murder is chilling. But what I find most shocking is the fact that the military did in fact keep detailed and careful count of many tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq – some 70,000 are detailed. Yet all the time it was claimed, again and again and again from Blair and Bush down, that there were no official figures on civilian deaths and no estimates could be given.

If there had been a tiny bit of honesty in the official version of events, there might be some reason to consider the British and American government’s claims that British and American troops are put at risk because people know the truth.

This does not put soldiers lives at risk. What it puts at risk is the reputation of lying politicians and bureaucrats who send soldiers to their deaths.


79 thoughts on “Julian Assange and Those Wikileaks Iraq Documents

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  • anno

    Yes, they should be hung upside down and have electric drills driven into them. Who are they? The batch of politicians who were released without bail at the last UK and US elections.

    The present batch, including Hilary Clinton have been keeping their heads up, swimming round the septic tank for the last fifteen years. Now they have been fished out and scrubbed down, they are not going eat an ounce of blame for their democratically defeated predecessors.

    Blame the democratic system. But if Saudi princes are not beyond the law, politicians should not be. The present bunch will never betray their kind. There was a lot of discussion about the insideness or outsideness of Julian Assange in a previous post.

    The recent exodus of certain prominent advisors to Obama, tells me that this is a carefully managed leak. Same as the rest of the war. They talked about shame for those who leaked the evidence, but they are the ones who leaked it. Their predecessors signed off for the orders for the war and the present batch have signed off for the ‘leaks’.

  • craig

    anno

    These leaks include details of war crimes well into the Obama era. Hillary’s fury is not synthetic. Those who think Julioan works for the CIA are frankly bonkers.

  • anno

    Craig, I make no apology for being bonkers in a world that can tolerate the wars against Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. It’s not my bonkers, it’s the bonkers of the world we live in, that we find ourselves able to eat and breathe and go to sleep, while others are having electric drills driven into their heads.

    I marched in London against Blair#s decision to invade Iraq, with an Iraqi at my side telling me that Saddam could not be removed through peaceful means, ONLY because it was obvious that if you started a war, there would be no stopping the awful repercussions of the violence.

    The blame for Saddam lies with the Rumsdens who armed him, then violated the victims of the armaments they sold him by the brutal invasion.

    It would have been better if Blair had prosecuted Thatcher for supporting Saddam. But of course that could never have happened for the reasons I have given above.

  • Alfred

    Ah yes, wonderful Wikileaks.

    They manage to reduce the generally accepted civilian death toll of around 100,000 (Iraq Body Count) to a mere 70,000. And that’s ignoring the Johns Hopkins study that indicated a death toll by 2006 of almost seven hundred thousand (http://tinyurl.com/qgtny) (and if you’re skeptical of the Johns Hopkins directed study think about this: in the ten years prior to the war, the US killed, as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright confirmed with approval, 600,000 Iraqi kids just with a trade embargo, yet in the following nine years of war and brutal occupation they managed to kill only 70,000. Wow, well done George Bush;

    They prove that it was really the Iraq Government that did most of the torturing, not US forces “There are over 300 recorded reports of coalition forces committing torture and abuse of detainees across 284 reports and over 1,000 cases of Iraqi security forces committing similar crimes;”

    And “with its newest document dump from the Iraq campaign, WikiLeaks may have just bolstered one of the Bush administration’s most controversial claims about the Iraq war: that Iran supplied many of the Iraq insurgency’s deadliest weapons and worked hand-in-glove with some of its most lethal militias.”

    Wikileaks, Trikileaks? LOL.

    May be that’s why you nearly fell off the stage, Craig: sheer embarrassment.

  • anno

    The leaks happened intentionally. That doesn’t mean that Mr Assange intentionally works for the CIA. I agree with Alfred, that the brain-frazzling nightmare of these wars is being down-sized and pocket managed into presentable form by these leaks.

    The fact that the bankers stole the entire wealth of the UK and the US is rendered bearable by being told it costs us 120 million quid a day to pay the interest on the loan to stop us going bankrupt.

    Don’t let’s prosecute politicians or bankers. Let’s all just go and play golf. Oh, it’s raining. Oh, well, maybe the people who got killed didn’t notice it was us who did it anyway.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Good, Craig, well done. I salute you. I do hope that it’s all a real blow against the corporate military machine.

    Forgive me, though, for in the spirit of robust debate, I shall be Devil’s Advocate for a moment.

    Let’s see what this batch of leaks reveals (or does not reveal, or perhaps again tells us what we already knew but with a particular slant/modulation/etiolation on the knowledge we thought we had).

    1) anno, Alfred, thanks for pointing out what are extremely important points. It is indeed the world that is insane.

    2) “Blame the democratic system.” anno

    No, anno, blame the lack of REAL democracy (we need more of the real thing, not the sham we’ve got at the moment) and blame the endemic, systemic and bottomless greed of the plutocrats and the economic system which they run for their own benefit.

    The key question, it seems, is this (and it is one which has been debated on these boards over the last couple of months): Is the entire Wikileaks machine a genuine whistleblowing, derobing-the-naked-emperor enterprise, or is it yet another candy-floss engine, a super-spin cycle producer of elaborate confectionery to give to the restless children?

    Who funds Wikileaks? Does anyone know? Is there foundation funding involved…? Is the supernova known as George Soros anywhere within five trillion light-years of Wikileaks? Let us see.

    But first, let us examine the ‘leaks’…

  • dreoilin

    Alfred makes good points. As for the, “generally accepted civilian death toll of around 100,000”, I don’t think the IBC figures are as widely accepted as you might think (other than in the US where Bush gave them his blessing, if I recall). However, the UK/US did a good job of squelching belief in the Lancet study, and the ORB study was barely reported. Not reported at all in the US. I did find it disturbing to see IBC up there beside Assange.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, Alfred, your post also reminded me of Albright’s utterly shameful, nay that’s too weak a word – murderous, racist and psychopathic would be more appropriate – statement that the deaths from sanctions of a million Iraqi children would be “worth it” (she was asked whether it was worth it and she said, “We think it is”, or words to that effect). This – regardless of Saddam Hussein’s own psychopathy, etc., etc. – was a rare unmasking of the truth about the hyper-psychopaths who run OUR countries. It still makes my blood boil to think of it. I hope she has a long and happy retirement and that then, if there is a Hell, she has a place reserved in it, somewhere in the ninth layer.

    But there probably isn’t (a Hell). So she and her lot are victorious and celebrated, as liars and murderers always have been, throughout history. Power screams through the barrel of a cannon. Mao – another psychopath – was right about that, of course. It pays to be a mass murderer, it seems. Homo Erectus.

    The hard rain never stopped falling.

    But people like Craig give one hope in the midst of darkness.

  • writerman

    Well done, Craig. You obviously aren’t some nutter, because the average nutter isn’t lucky enough to have such a beautiful wife. Beautiful women, I find, are a wonderful compensation when one looks at the dire state of the world.

  • Ed Davies

    I think there’s a mix-up here between excess deaths resulting from the invasion (likely many hundreds of thousands) and the number of deaths directly caused by the violence (seemingly somewhere between twenty and a hundred thousand). The difference is the large number of indirect deaths due to lack of medical care, clean water, power, etc.

  • writerman

    The US imperial system… is vast and complex. It isn’t a monolith, or a beast with only one head. It’s more like the Hydra, and this is expecially true now, when the empire is crumbling and cracking before one’s eyes.

    Different, and often mutally antagonistic spheres of influence and power are pusuing their own agendas. Rather like the US Army uses Bob Woodward as a channel and instrument to express their views, it’s not hard to imagine that elements in the military, or the intelligence community, are using Wikileaks in the same fashion, for cover, deniability, and credibility.

    Not all members of the US ruling elite are enamoured with the current course the empire is following, a course towards military defeat and bankruptcy. The problem is the most rightwing and ignorant elements in the ‘ruling class’ otherwise known as the military/industrial complex, are driving the empire into the ground, or off the edge of a cliff.

    The big problem is how to change course before it’s too late and too much damage has been done.

    Wikileaks serves the purpose of pulling aside the propaganda curtain and revealing the rotting corpse behind it, like Banquo at Macbeth’s feast.

    Sometimes reality has to rear it’s head and break through the shitwall that surrounds us and obscures so much from view and understanding. An empire where the elite actually seems to believe the basic tenets of its own mythology and propaganda… is both decadent and doomed. Knowing the difference between what’s real and what isn’t, is of crucial importance.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, that’s what Michael Moore argues wrt The Financial Times and the Wall St Journal, for example. The various ‘goldbug’ sites are other examples.

  • anon

    now i do question these leaks?? are they really leaks or are they managed leaks for some ulterior purposes?? Craig….any suggestions

  • crab

    The warnings that wikileaks is an intellegnece front is coming from Cryptome.org – they have considerable experience and reputation, having been the unfunded equivalent of wikileaks… since 1996. They do not seem to be nutters.

    I have to be open minded. I dont like they way people are interpeting this latest leak at face value, and dont see any guidance as to its veracity coming from Julian/Wikileaks.

    >Today, Wikileaks “leaked” information that suggests there are Iranian training “hit squads” waging a “shadow war” proxy against the U.S.

    http://cryptome.org/0002/wikileaks-feed.htm

  • Ruth

    I think they’re managed leaks. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be given such prominence in ‘state’ newspapers.

    If the leaks gave information that wasn’t in the public domain, I might change my mind.

    Surely, we have all known for a while that the US and UK forces tortured people in Iraq, that mercenary companies shoot at will. And now the leaks tell us the troops turned a blind eye to torture.

    The US and UK elite live in absolute fear that one day someone is going to make public definitive evidence that will incriminate them maybe for 9/11, maybe 7/7. Who knows what else they’ve been up to. If the obvious place people would go to make these leaks is owned by the elite, then the elite are protected and the leaker in grave danger.

  • Alfred

    “Well done, Craig. You obviously aren’t some nutter…”

    Is that what they call damning with faint praise!

    “I think there’s a mix-up here between excess deaths resulting from the invasion (likely many hundreds of thousands) and the number of deaths directly caused by the violence ”

    Well does it matter much whether you die of cholera due to a busted water purification system that Bechtel failed to fix after three years and three billion dollars, or a bullet between the eyes while going about your lawful business?

    “The US imperial system… is vast and complex. It isn’t a monolith, or a beast with only one head. …Different, and often mutally antagonistic spheres of influence and power are pusuing their own agendas …”

    It has been suggested that Daniel Ellsberg, author of the Pentagon Papers leak was acting for the CIA to divert blame for the failure of the murderous Operation Phoenix (Vietnam War), in which Ellsberg had been an enthusiastic participant, from the CIA the the US Army.

    “Wikileaks serves the purpose of pulling aside the propaganda curtain and revealing the rotting corpse behind it …”

    A nation with thousands of nukes and means to deliver them, a corpse? Some corpse.

    And where’s the revelation. So far Wikileaks has managed to provide the MSM a basis on which to minimize US war crimes, while inculpating Pakistan and Iran as enemies of the empire. Oh, and they brought Osama back from the grave.

    “The US and UK elite live in absolute fear that one day someone is going to make public definitive evidence that will incriminate them maybe for 9/11, maybe 7/7.”

    I don’t see how exposure could occur. The oligarchy control the media, which means they control what nearly everyone thinks they know about, for example, the 400,000 documents just leaked by five-million-dollar man, Julian Assange.

    What someone on the Internet may reveal doesn’t really matter. For example, how many people will read the following item from the J7/7 inquest blog:

    http://tiny.cc/6awew

    “The Curious Case of the Jag at Luton railway station”

    Looks like CCTV evidence has been thoroughly tampered with. (The UK police are partial to Jags, aren’t they? The security services too, I bet.) But you won’t read about that in the Gruniard, der Spiegel (established as an organ of MI6 following the occupation of Germany) or the NYTimes.

  • Ruth

    ‘How many people will read the following item from the J7/7 inquest blog:

    http://tiny.cc/6awew

    “The Curious Case of the Jag at Luton railway station”

    Alfred, a hell of a lot now. Thanks for posting it.

  • grant

    Nadira said it just looked like some nutter had got up from the audience to give Julian a present. Oh well.

    Got to larf out loud at this,

  • CheebaCow

    A lot of people accuse WL of being a front. It’s quite possible, but so far I haven’t actually heard one good reason to think they are a front. Every accusation I have heard against WL has largely been innuendo. I recommend people check out this short piece on WL and Julian Assange (eztv.it/ep/22512/sbs-dateline-inside-wikileaks-dvb-x264-aac-mvgroup/). The download link is in the top left corner. BTW SBS Dateline is probably my favourite TV journalism.

    In regards to IBL being the generally accepted death toll, since when? I thought it was only accepted by big media and war supporters. I haven’t heard academics attack the Lancet methodology. Regardless, WL has leaked military documents, and it is no surprise that military docs have an interest in low balling the death toll. How can this be evidence that WL is a front?

    Re torture; Again it is well known that Arab governments are much more likely to torture than western governments. Is it surprising that in a post-Saddam government that torture is a popular tool? Isn’t it common knowledge that the US likes to outsource its torture? Again, military docs would have an interest in downplaying US torture.

    As for Iran, of course Iran is involved in arming certain militias in Iraq. Sunni governed Iraq waged a brutal war against Iran which killed 1M Iranians. Of course Iran is going to arm their Shiite allies in Iraq. Helping the Shiite militias bolsters Iran politically and militarily. This doesn’t make the case that Iran should be invaded, it makes the case that the Iraq war was badly planned because what Iran did was both foreseeable and 100% likely to happen.

    I don’t quite understand all this criticism. A leak of military documents is inherently going to reveal the military perspective on the war. Do you expect US military documents to emphasise the number of civilians killed? To say they love torture more than anyone else or that Iran is their best friend?

    There is a snippet in the above docco that I posted where Assange laughs at a NY Times request asking WL to post the info ahead of time so the NY Times has cover and justification to report the Afghan leaks. The most concrete criticism of WL/Assange that I have seen were some leaked chatlogs between Assange and another WL member. Assange comes across as being a bit of a paranoid douche, but if that is the worst that can be said of WL then I respect them a lot. I guarantee that if I were in a situation even vaguely similar to Assange’s I would be much more paranoid and a much bigger douche.

    I also skimmed the cryptome page. I don’t quite understand the formatting or how I’m supposed to read it. However the criticisms seem to contradict one another. ‘A’ says that WL is forwarding US interests while ‘A2’ says that info is leaked in a way that makes it inaccessible so people don’t actually get the info. These 2 criticisms just don’t make sense. If they are forwarding the US agenda then they wouldn’t want to make it hard to access.

  • Frederic Saga

    Cryptome is more possibly an intelligence front than wikileaks; The Cryptome team ‘expose’ ancient NSA documents from the 50s & 60s. They ‘expose’ NOFORN US documents that they find on open websites (- sort of like a reminder to the classifiers to be more careful). I emailed John Young titbits about a UK story – which went on the site within hours, yet a similar story that I sent was not commented on/republished even tho’ it fitted very well with his brief. The second story was a reasoned BBC comment on some very deep CIA stuff in the 70s. Also when you look for details about “the largest ever non-nuke explosion on earth”, Cryptome hold the line about it being a French fantasy, whilst Israeli experts assure that the Soviet pipeline was indeed sabotaged. smoke/fire/pot/kettle

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “The US and UK elite live in absolute fear that one day someone is going to make public definitive evidence that will incriminate them maybe for 9/11, maybe 7/7.”

    Nope. They have nothing to fear from the tin-foil-hat brigade that inhabits this blog.

    Why have you bought into American right wing fantasies?

  • Frazer

    erm… @anno..shoving electric drills into someone is not really the best way to do things !

  • buch leser

    The released documents show the daily life of the conflict, as U.S. soldiers have experienced it. In addition, it appears from the thousands threat analysis, attack reports and arrest records but also reconstruct exactly how has unfolded, the Islamic brother struggle between Shiites and Sunnis, how society brutalized, such as abductions, executions and torture of detainees routine was. Even activists from neighboring Syria, Iran and Jordan mingled the documents revealed in this war. It is shown again and again. A war benefits no one. Only the people suffer.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    The main thing is, in the end, let’s direct criticism and action against the war machine – in its entirety and at its source – not fall about trying to scry whether nor not so-and-so is genuine and if so, how genuine. Even if absolutely everybody (including me) is a total and utter liar, it doesn’t alter the fact that the USA/UK et al have launched a series of wars for the purposes of the continued enrichment and hegemony of the elites who control our states. That then becomes the major focus. Think: Vietnam. As I wrote earlier, anything you hear in association with those wars, just square it and assume the worst. We know what they were/ are doing and we know why. There is no bottom layer to the Hell which they perpetrate on this earth. None. Once you understand that, all the BS falls away.

  • Ed Davies

    Alfred: “Well does it matter much whether you die of cholera due to a busted water purification system that Bechtel failed to fix after three years and three billion dollars, or a bullet between the eyes while going about your lawful business?”

    No, not much. But if you’re arguing about which is the “right” number then the distinction does matter.

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