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Security The Military United States Politics

Claimed US Military Wikileaks Source Arrested 698

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-a-good-plan dept.
svelemor writes "A 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst was ratted out by a fellow hacker, accused of providing the Collateral Murder video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to Wikileaks. He is currently imprisoned in Kuwait."
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Claimed US Military Wikileaks Source Arrested

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  • Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 07, 2010 @07:55AM (#32482494) Homepage

    I can understand this dude getting in trouble for leaking information and such, but kudos to him for getting the collateral murder video out there in the wild.

  • FREE HIM NOW (Score:0, Insightful)

    by For a Free Internet (1594621) on Monday June 07, 2010 @07:55AM (#32482500)

    He is a hero. Mobilize the power of the international working class -- defeat U.S. imperialism!

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Monday June 07, 2010 @07:57AM (#32482524)

    I can understand this dude getting in trouble for leaking information and such, but kudos to him for getting the collateral murder video out there in the wild.

    If there were any doubts as to the authenticity of these documents and videos, their veracity has now been affirmed.

  • by eagee (1308589) on Monday June 07, 2010 @07:58AM (#32482532)
    Honestly. For standing up for what is right instead of doing what he's told. If there isn't a medal for that, there fucking should be.
  • by Kaleidoscopio (1271290) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:00AM (#32482544)
    I know I would choose to keep quiet, but I'm a coward (even if not anonymous).
    It must have taken a lot of courage to leak all that info.
    Kudos for him, I wish I had that kind of self sacrificing will.
  • *applause* (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PandyBear (1586677) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:02AM (#32482562)
    This lad deserves a medal just for outting the Collateral Murder video alone. Let alone all the other "hundreds of thousands" of classified records (which im very skeptical of. I fail to see how one man can just handover this much info on his own)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:02AM (#32482564)

    He's putting US Citizen's lives in danger by exposing a cover up by the US Military? Now there's some Dubya bush logic!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:03AM (#32482574)

    The only ones getting medals will be those murdering soldier fucks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:05AM (#32482594)

    If US citizens were ever put in danger as a result of this, I think we have the Apache aircrews to extend our thanks to.

  • by kidgenius (704962) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:05AM (#32482596)
    Umm...he released over 250,000 communications memos. Inside those memos there could be a ton of sensitive information outlining troop movements, names of spies, etc. Not to mention that if the foreign governments, agencies or yes, terrorists, have the encrypted versions of these memos, and now have the unencrypted versions, they could find a way to crack our encryption algorithms.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:06AM (#32482614)

    Indeed he does. And the people that threw him into prison should be sent to prison instead.
    What's happening here is outrageous. Prosecuting someone for exposing criminals undermines everything our justice system should stand for. It clearly shows how through and through corrupted the military is.

  • by Higaran (835598) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:16AM (#32482724)
    See, I disagree, if he was a civilian and somehow got ahold of those videos then he could do what ever he wanted with them, and it would be fine by me, but he was part of the militay, and when you join you take a oath to protect the people of the US, and that includes the others serveing with you. This stuff is confidential for a reason, good or bad it need to stay that way for a while, this is no diffrent that getting the plans to say build weapons and post them on the internet. Yes I know that some one could take those plans and make the wepons and hurt our guys out there, but what do you think our enemies think when they see videos like this. It defenitly isn't feer, it anger and thyat will make them more hostile to our guys out in the field. I'm not one for censorship of free speech but this is in NO way free speech. I think this guy should spend YEARS in jail, and no I don't think that is too harsh. In 10 years when this stuff would be declassified and if it went public then, that would have been fine, because everything would have died down, and hopefully we wouldn't still be at war, but not when our guys are still out there every day, risking their lives.
  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sammyF70 (1154563) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:16AM (#32482728) Homepage Journal
    Which is probably why Reuters, which asked for it under the Freedom of Information Act, couldn't get this video until it was leaked. They just lacked the connection to a congresscritter.
  • The flip side (Score:1, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:17AM (#32482734) Homepage

    A lot of the material he leaked was Top Secret. To be classified as Top Secret, the release of that information must cause imminent, serious harm to the United States and/or its allies and assets. Would he have the stones to take personal responsibility when the insurgents find US and Iraqi Government collaborators through that data and start murdering them and their families?

    Of course not. Guys like this virtually never want to be judged by the entire scope of the consequences of their actions. He'll feel smug that he exposed data like that helicopter footage, but when some collaborator's children are raped and murdered because of him, he'll deny that he's culpable for that.

  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:17AM (#32482738) Homepage

    Right...because soldiers would really implicate themselves in something like this.

    Like I said before, it doesn't matter if they did it twice or not...what matters is they did it once.

  • by Paralizer (792155) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:18AM (#32482746) Homepage

    When Manning told Lamo that he leaked a quarter-million classified embassy cables, Lamo contacted the Army, and then met with Army CID investigators and the FBI at a Starbucks near his house in Carmichael, California, where he passed the agents a copy of the chat logs.

    If you're going to do something illegal that you don't want anyone to know you did, perhaps you shouldn't tell people about it on the internet. Whether it was the morally right thing to do or not, leaking it anonymously then bragging you were the source makes no sense and is stupid.

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:20AM (#32482760)

    On my way to the market where I setup a sniper gun and shot 12 random people including 3 children. I shot them 5 or 6 times each I wanted to make sure they died.

    You have to understand though I rode a subway packed with people on the way and I didn't kill any of them. I even bought icecream for a random girl just outside the market. I'm such a nice guy. People just don't understand how nice I am.

    Anyhow luckly after a trial kidgenius was on the jury and sent me home free as a result of my testimony of buying icecream for a girl and not killing a subway full of people.

    Glad that's all over WEW.

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:24AM (#32482794) Homepage Journal

    Yeah.. murderers shouldn't ever be punished.. just think of all the moments of their life that they spent not murdering anyone! It's got to be at least 99.9999%. That's good enough for me!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:26AM (#32482804)

    War-crimes are okay if you commit them for your country. Or if an old, fat man with lots of shiny things tells you it's okay. I'm reminded of a psychological experiment involving shocking test-takers.

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:26AM (#32482810) Homepage

    "And pro-war people aren't? "Iraq has WMDs! Oops, we mean they don't." "If we go to Afghanistan, we can capture and/or kill bin Laden! Oops, I mean we can't."

    Come on. Seriously? You're acusing anti-war folks of being gullible?"

    Both "sides" can be vulnerable to agenda-driven manipulation and can engage in willful ignorance of important context.

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:27AM (#32482818) Homepage

    Yeah, except that same helicopter (same day, before the 17min Collateral Murder vid) crew DIDN'T fire when children and other noncombatants were present

    And that makes firing on a van full of civilians ok exactly how?

  • by Benfea (1365845) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:27AM (#32482820)
    The military all too often makes things secret not because it is sensitive, but because it would generate bad PR. This is not how a democratic government is supposed to function. If you don't like living in a country with a transparent government, you can always move to places like North Korea.
  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:28AM (#32482826)
    Should we toss out every murder conviction based on video evidence because we don't have footage of the murderer for the 25 years he lived before he committed the murder? How much "context" do you need when you see soldiers intentionally targeting civilians?
  • Re:Feh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:28AM (#32482830)

    So, pilots have not shot everybody in sight. They should get a medal! And while you're at it, let's also give this award to Osama bin-Laden, because he haven't killed anyone since the 9/11.

    In fact, I should get one too because I'm not shooting anyone.

  • by kenh (9056) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:28AM (#32482832) Homepage Journal

    Honestly, do you think the government he worked for, swore an oath to defend and protect, and that trusted him to properly handle secret documents should give him an award for violating that trust/oath?

    You can't on one hand call "leakers" brave heroes for risking severe consequences and then act suprised when their actions have those very same consequences.

    History may prove him right or not, but right now his offense is punishable, and he knew it when he did it.

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:28AM (#32482834) Homepage

    Yeah, except that same helicopter (same day, before the 17min Collateral Murder vid) crew DIDN'T fire when children and other noncombatants were present, and a second time when they also couldn't get a positive ID on insurgents.

    And yet no video has ever been released to back up the soldier's claims, despite the fact that this would *clearly* soften the blow for the military.

    So, just so I have this straight: I'm supposed to believe the statements of these soldiers, who've already proven to have bad judgment, and to trust that the military, a military that's proven time an again to be very happy to whitewash incidents if it's in their interests, has the video to back up these claims, but has just decided to hold on to it for no good reason?

    Uhuh. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense...

  • Perhaps a hero (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BrendaEM (871664) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:29AM (#32482842) Homepage

    If this person was the only person who helped people murdered make their last testament, then is he not a hero?

    Did he not rise to a greater challenge, to truth and integrity?

    I say. if he can be imprisoned, so can we.

  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:30AM (#32482854)

    So, should we give a get-of-the-jail-free card to anyone who don't shoot children?

    WTF is wrong with you, people? Since when following Geneva conventions is considered anything but normal?

  • What about Lamo? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:33AM (#32482870)

    Lamo says he felt he had no choice but to turn in Manning, but that he's now concerned about the soldier's status and well-being.

    Sure, Manning broke some security regulations. Naughty, but there are extenuating circumstances such as exposing a cover up of war crimes and multiple counts of second degree murder and multiple counts of attempted murder. Lamo admits he is cooperating with a conspiracy to commit murder and is apparently a supporter of war crime activities. But Lamo is worried about Manning's situation? I wonder about Lamo's judgment. Supporting murder and war crimes is perfectly OK if you're at a high level in the US Govt, in fact "we" expect that kind of behavior from our leaders, but Lamo is not at such a level, he's just a punk whom got busted. I'd think Lamo's in a much more precarious legal situation than Manning is in... One thing to violate some paper handling regulations, another to be a quisling.

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:34AM (#32482886) Homepage Journal

    that showed some very UNdamning things that the pilots did, like NOT firing when children/innocents were in the line of fire.

    If I don't stab you on Monday, and I don't stab you on Tuesday, then I stab you on Wednesday, what does it matter what I did on Monday and Tuesday? I still fucking stabbed you. And these soldiers still fucking shot at people trying to remove a wounded journalist from the field. Frankly I think you would have to be some kind of idiot to believe they weren't ordered to do so. Didn't shoot kids, didn't shoot kids, shot journalist. Oh, but I didn't shoot the kids, so it's OK.

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:35AM (#32482890) Homepage

    Why doesn't the military release ALL of the videos that it has? There's probably tons of stuff out there that makes them not look bad. The Army is not in the business of "trying to not look bad".

    LOLFR! Wow, you win a gold star for dumbest comment of the day. "The Army is not in the business of 'trying to not look bad'"... are you fucking *kidding* me? The military practically *invented* propaganda, both at home and in theatre. Christ, have you never studied the world wars? Vietnam? Korea? The military spends an *enormous* amount of time trying to gain and maintain domestic support for its activities abroad.

    Seriously, I don't know if you're a troll, naive, or just incredibly stupid...

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:39AM (#32482932) Homepage

    This stuff is confidential for a reason, good or bad it need to stay that way for a while, this is no diffrent that getting the plans to say build weapons and post them on the internet.

    Bullshit.

    First, there was a story on /. not long ago how *everything* is confidential now - and it's a major problem. Secondly, there are no "safety reasons" why this should be confidential - at most, it was to protect them from their own incompetence.

    and when you join you take a oath to protect the people of the US

    Exactly - the people of the US, not only the military. In this case, the people of the US have the right to be protected from their own army (yes, I know they weren't shooting US civilians, but to me an innocent's life is worth the same, no matter when they're from).

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:41AM (#32482946)

    when you join you take a oath to protect the people of the US, and that includes the others serveing with you.

    No, you take an oath to defend the Constitution. *BIG* difference.

  • Re:Feh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:43AM (#32482972) Homepage

    Yeah, except that same helicopter (same day, before the 17min Collateral Murder vid) crew DIDN'T fire when children and other noncombatants were present, and a second time when they also couldn't get a positive ID on insurgents. YEah, those damn baby-rapists

    And hey, even if they did rape a baby, they'd probably only do it a couple of times, and only to babies that totally deserved it. What, you want them to be saints?

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smash (1351) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:46AM (#32483008) Homepage Journal

    Anti-war folks like to blame the administration for not knowing facts that came to light months or years after the decision to go to war was made.

    Uh. There NEVER was any intel that iraq had WMDs in 2002/2003. That they didn't have them wasn't "new evidence that came to light years later". It was simply knowledge that was confirmed after it was too fuckin' late to not go to war and destroy the country.

    But, we stopped them selling oil in Euros at least (which is one thing Iraq WAS trying to do in 2003, along with Iran now... oh look they're terrorists too now), thus propping up the ailing US dollar.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:48AM (#32483046) Homepage

    But who's call is it, then?

    That's the entire problem, and TBH, I think it's a problem without a solution. The state secret privilege serves a very important role, as I don't think *anyone* could argue that a 100% transparent government is tenable in the face of a concerted enemy.

    However, any mechanism by which the state can hide information from enemy eyes can be abused to hide information from domestic eyes, as well, and so a balance must be struck. And, unfortunately, the only way to counterbalance those who would abuse that privilege is to have whistleblowers break the law in order to expose those abuses.

    So, is it "his call to make"? I think that depends. What if he exposed systemic abuses of civilians in theatre, or some other distasteful facts that the military was covering up? In that case, I'd say it *is* his call to make, and further, I'd say it's his duty as a citizen to expose that information. OTOH, if all he did was release a bunch of documents outlining military operations, then I say he gets what he deserves.

    In the end, it's all about context. And I don't know about you, but I haven't read through those 250,000 documents to determine if any of them are sufficiently egregious to justify his actions.

  • Lucky (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hollovoid (942476) <sean.plantz@gmail.com> on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:51AM (#32483080)
    He is lucky it made it in the news, because he would be MIA pretty quick for leaking that much information. Treason is nothing to mess with! not saying the info shouldent have gotten out, but I cant imagine all of it needed to be leaked and probably contained information on missions that could have jeopardized people ACTUALLY in the field. The video was pretty powerful though, and I can imagine it represents almost any military footage you would find by any country throughout the world. Sadly.
  • by Draek (916851) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:55AM (#32483118)

    If you demand perfection from troops, as in they never make a mistake, never harm an innocent, never cause collateral damage, well you are an idiot.

    If you demand perfection from engineers you're an idiot too, but when one makes a mistake that kills somebody, he *still* goes to jail.

    I'll let you deduce the reasons why for yourself.

  • the human ego (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:55AM (#32483120) Homepage Journal

    the upside is that a healthy ego can help you navigate the missteps, crises and setbacks we experience in life

    the downside is that an overly healthy ego can help create those same missteps, crises and setbacks

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrb (1083577) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:58AM (#32483158)

    Yeah, except that same helicopter (same day, before the 17min Collateral Murder vid) crew DIDN'T fire when children and other noncombatants were present, and a second time when they also couldn't get a positive ID on insurgents.

    Yes, but they did fire on children and other noncombatants at least once without getting a positive ID on insurgents, and it was captured on video. And that is the point. Or are we supposed to give everyone a free pass for doing a bad thing if they do a good thing now and again - to paraphrase your argument - "nobody ever mentions all the black people that the KKK didn't discriminate against, or that time a KKK guy walked past a black man without beating him...".

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:03AM (#32483210) Journal

    You've obviously never lived in a war zone. Where do you go? How do you support your family? You don't just "get the hell out." You don't just pack up and move that easily. This isn't just a one or two week conflict where you can temporarily move to another town or city until things blow over. This war has been going on for nearly eight years!!

    The better question is, why doesn't the US get the hell out? They have no business being there. There are no WMDS there. Wasn't that the whole justification the government gave in attacking Iraq?

  • by davidwr (791652) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:08AM (#32483278) Homepage Journal

    The military all too often makes things secret not because it is sensitive, but because it would generate bad PR.

    The cynic in me says "now now stop being redundant."

    The realist in me says that in most cases of "too much secrecy" there's either some non-obvious-to-the-layman reason to keep things secret or there was a blanket security order on everything that happened at that place and time because it would take too much time and effort to piece through exactly what can be declassified and what can't.

  • Re:Feh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by X.25 (255792) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:09AM (#32483286)

    Yeah, except that same helicopter (same day, before the 17min Collateral Murder vid) crew DIDN'T fire when children and other noncombatants were present, and a second time when they also couldn't get a positive ID on insurgents. YEah, those damn baby-rapists.... http://gawker.com/5513068/the-full-version-of-the-wikileaks-video-is-missing-30-minutes-of-footage [gawker.com]

    Are you a fucking retard, or what?

    The fact they haven't killed one bunch of civilians doesn't justify them killing another bunch of civilians.

    Did you even listen to the comms? Do you have a brain, or it got eaten up by video games?

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TiberiusMonkey (1603977) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:13AM (#32483336)

    Both "sides" can be vulnerable to agenda-driven manipulation and can engage in willful ignorance of important context.

    And only one of those sides started a war based on that agenda driven manipulation. Which isn't to say wilful ignorance of any sort is fine, just that this time at least, there have been dire consequences.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:20AM (#32483414)

    If you think there has ever been a war where civilians didn't get killed, you are kidding only yourself. So if you say that no civilian deaths are every ok at all, then that is to say that no war is ever ok at all, including a war of defense. If you are ever ok with a war, well then civilian deaths WILL be a part of it. The military can and should (and does) work to minimize it but mistakes happen, collateral damage happens.

    This is clearly true, but in the terms of the 'collateral murder' video, it is totally off-topic. Nothing in that video is collateral, it is direct and intentional. To stay on topic you'd need to say...

    If you think there has ever been a war where civilians didn't get murdered, you are kidding only yourself.

    If you were confused as to what all the controversy was up until now, that ought to clear it up.

    Also remember the issue of the war being just and the actions of soldiers are separate matters. If you feel this unjust and the costs are not worth it, your beef is with the civilian government. They set the mission for the military, the military just carries it out.

    This is almost completely true. However, citizen soldiers are expected to retain a shred of humanity at all times. Others in the past have claimed that they were 'just following orders' and it didn't work out so well for them either. And I'm not just talking about the obvious, but also the rape camps in Bosnia, Japanese internment, torture, abductions, and dozens of other examples of shameful behavior and even atrocities committed by sanctioned military personnel. The point here isn't that all soldiers are monsters. Clearly this is not the case. The point is that when monsters are discovered amongst the ranks they need to be removed before (more) senseless violence occurs. The men in the 'collateral murder' video are (or were) an example of this. They lost their ability to evaluate targets and gave in to the urge to get a higher score than the other helicopters in the unit.

    This is never acceptable.

    Now, you are correct in that it is and will always be a failure of command. And as members of a democracy, this discourse actually is a function of the civilian government. We're congregating and discussing our political views.

    If you feel this unjust and the costs are not worth it, your beef is with the civilian government.

    One final point, there is only ONE government, and it is entirely civilian. The military is not some sort of aristocracy that is immune to the will of the people. It answers to the executive branch, which answers to us. So telling civilians that they aren't in a position of authority to deal with issues like this is a symptom of the problem, rather than any actual fact.

  • by dave420 (699308) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:20AM (#32483418)
    There's the difference between civilians being killed when the enemy tanks near their house draw fire, and civilians being killed because a helicopter gunner is woefully under-trained. Can't you tell the difference?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:22AM (#32483442)

    I assume you will be happy to provide your tax ${CURRENCY} to help those who "get the hell out" (or "refugees" as they are commonly known) to get the hell out of there and claim benefits (a they don't speak English they won't be able to work) in your country if you are part of the coalition that invaded their territory, then?

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:22AM (#32483444)

    They're civilians in a war zone. Why are they sticking around in a war zone? They should be a) getting the hell out, or b) assisting in taking down the insurgents to reclaim their home, at their own risk.

    That's actually false. This was during 'the surge'.

    1) It wasn't in some kind of DMZ. This was a populated city.

    2) It hadn't been evacuated. The military operation was counting on 'smoking out' insurgents, rather than tipping them off.

    3) If the choice is 'refugee or death', is it then okay for military forces to fire indiscriminately? Is that all it takes, for it to be possible to become a refugee?

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:24AM (#32483460)

    It doesn't need to 'make it okay', it needs to refute the accusation that these were cowboy soldiers willy-nilly shooting innocent civilians. Once we discard that notion, we can get down to the real business of discussing the actions in the context of combat.

  • How ironic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:26AM (#32483480) Homepage

    You talk about transparency and democracy, but you blithely dismiss the fact that the asshole who "declassified" this data violated the laws and policies established by his own democratically elected government and the bureaucracy that the same democratically elected government put in place to prosecute this war. Furthermore, when he thought he found criminal conduct, he had an alphabet soup of agencies that could independently investigate and prosecute the people he turned in. The FBI, Army CID and DoD Inspector General, to name a few.

    Did he contact agents from any of them? No. Did he even contact a member of Congress to try to hold an official investigation? No.

    He decided that he and he alone was the authority to make that call.

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrNaz (730548) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:29AM (#32483512) Homepage

    If you accept that wars, by necessity must be dirty, and that one side should do what it must to win, then the September 11 attacks come into a whole new focus. That was just one side striking out the only way they could. Had they an industrial economy, a seat at the UN and a decent counterintelligence machine, I'm sure their objections to the US's economic and military adventures in their region would have been voiced differently.

    Don't ever justify what is wrong. It's one hell of a slippery slope.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:30AM (#32483522) Homepage

    In the end, it's all about context. And I don't know about you, but I haven't read through those 250,000 documents to determine if any of them are sufficiently egregious to justify his actions.

    I would sooner believe that every member of Congress memorized Obamacare from top to bottom than believe that a typical 22 year old enlistee would read 250,000 documents before pulling a stunt like this...

  • by chrb (1083577) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:32AM (#32483554)

    Regardless of whether or not Lamo is liable, no hacker will ever again trust him as their "go-to" journalist. OTOH, this will massively increase his profile, and he will be well paid for writing this story for various newspapers around the world. So maybe it is worth it for him.

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:39AM (#32483642)

    Yeah, but only one side has a body count.

  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:39AM (#32483650)

    It's a lot easier to be an armchair general from the comfort of your home or work desk. It's quite another to be prone with your face ground into the dirt and bullets wizzing over your head. Mistakes happen and people die and the means is not always just or well thought out. I really think it's telling of U.S. society in that we are so eager to condemn based on evidence taken out of context. I think if there's any judging to do, it should be done by war vets, or their peers. People who have been through the experience of legalized murder; people who have been in conflict and forced to kill on command rather than value or principle.

  • Re:Feh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlackBloq (702158) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:42AM (#32483674)
    How do you know this? Who showed you? I am sure you could share this information with me!? So you haven't seen this footage where the pilot doesn't shoot? You read it? Or what? Come on we don't know what the fuck happened! For all we know in that half an hour, there was clown party that came along and had a gay wedding with dancing camels. Until I see it, all I know is that I don't know. And if you really want to stir the paranoid pot... that type of footage would be fairly easy to render entirely fake, but have it look completely real. No global illumination needed so, an easy render. I would use the real equipment for the radio voices in the air, copying flight so any trace background rotor sounds would make sense and match up in scene. Would be fucked if that was your house and you where like cowering in the basement and you hear that shit going on outside and then you go outside and keep finding bodyparts for weeks. You seen those guys take hits, AC130 can leave a smudge that was a human. Who knows how wide the spat would be. Imagine picking a human ear or eye out of your eaves trough.
  • by hedwards (940851) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:42AM (#32483676)
    That was when we were still respecting the Nuremberg trials. These days we're scared shitless and are willing to overlook the obvious war crimes because all of a sudden it's convenient to do so. Never mind that the people giving the criminal orders have never been tried.
  • by Zantac69 (1331461) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:43AM (#32483684) Journal
    How did this get an "insightful" mod? The hele-gunner was not "woefully under-trained" - simply "under trained." Proper training would have upped the body count to 90% kill rate.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:44AM (#32483698)

    Then don't sell it as a clean war. The whole "smart weapons make a war clean" drivel is bullshit. That's the beef I have with this whole crappot that's cooking down in the middle east now. We get told that our boys are there to make the place safer, we go there to protect and bring them peace and justice, we don't shoot civilians and we only defend ourselves when those bad, bad terr'ists want to keep us from bringing those poor people freedom and democracy.

    Right? Ain't that what we're being told time and again? And that these people are so incredibly happy that we're there, that we kicked that madman Saddam out and that we're now protecting them from becoming the next terrorist slaves?

    Take a moment to ponder this: You're living in a country with a loonie as the dictator. He's far from a benevolent dictator and you're kinda suffering from his quirks and whims, but you adjust to it, somehow. Then suddenly people come from some sort of promised land, where everything is wonderful. You don't know really a lot about this country, but everyone who talks about it (hushed, of course, since, well, they once were your buddies back when you had that war with your neighbor, but since they became some sort of enemy for your dictator... but most people still consider them pretty cool guys and they know that they're insanely strong and well armed) knows that these people know what they do. They have gone to other places too and usually it went well for them. And somehow also for the places they went to, so they gotta be really cool. Somehow. Ok, they invaded your country, but, be honest, the people from the promised land just kicked the loonie from his seat, what side would you root for.

    But somehow these guys ain't what you expected. You know, you kinda expected them to come, put a cool government like their own in charge and go again. Just like they did before. But they don't go. And you're far from having that sort of 'free' government they enjoy. Instead, their awsome firepower circles above you and drives through your streets, they stop you for no appearant reason and search you, treat you like some sort of criminal. Ok, there are some people who still fight them, so it's kinda understandable... but you never did anything against them! Hey, you really liked the idea that they come and kick out that dictator. But now, everything took a turn for the worse. Instead of knowing that you can't do or say this or that, you could now suddenly get shot! Suddenly one of their awsome firepower machines opens fire at you and you're dead. It happened to your uncle Franky. Your cousin Bill is missing now, they said those guys took him 'cause he happened to hang with the wrong people. He was just there to smoke some pot, but they didn't believe him.

    How long 'til you stop thinking these people are really cool?

    How long 'til you start fighting them?

  • Re:No charge (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mother_reincarnated (1099781) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:44AM (#32483702)

    FFS This isn't "Informative" it's being a "Troll."

    This perp is in the military- there is absolutely no need for the "2006 military commission act." He VOLUNTARILY put himself under the UCMJ.

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:45AM (#32483710)

    Soldiers lie to JAG, under orders, on a fairly regular basis. Look up the case of the Seals who face punishment for just this same thing because they didn't all maintain the same lie.

    Likewise JAG lies to the press.

    So what, exactly, is gained by the insight of your statement?

  • by Courageous (228506) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:46AM (#32483736)

    If you think there has ever been a war where civilians didn't get murdered, you are kidding only yourself.

    As an aside, I believe that the above is also literally true, unfortunately. One of the reasons that war should be avoided unless absolutely required is that murder, rape, and other terrible crimes will almost certainly occur on both sides, no matter how much you hope they wouldn't.

    C//

  • by jvkjvk (102057) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:48AM (#32483768)

    Honestly, do you think the government he worked for, swore an oath to defend and protect, and that trusted him to properly handle secret documents should give him an award for violating that trust/oath?

    Honestly, do you think he swore an oath to protect the Government? No, he swore an Oath the defend the Constitution. Too many people seem to convenielty forget that.

    Yes, I do think perhaps We should give him a medal. It appears to me that these images were kept secret to avoid causing discomfort to the ruling political class. This is an abrogation of Our trust as a people. It takes Honour and Courage to go against one of the most powerful systems on the planet to do what you feel is right.

    In my mind he violated the 'trust' of a small set of narrow interests whose are using these method (stamp secret on any uncomfortable issues) to decieve the People. Which appears unconsionable and likely illegal (although good luck with that).

    So, to summmarize: Hi is not breaking his Oath. The people who supresed these documents and videos are breaking their Oath.

    You can't on one hand call "leakers" brave heroes for risking severe consequences and then act suprised when their actions have those very same consequences.

    History may prove him right or not, but right now his offense is punishable, and he knew it when he did it.

    I'm not suprised the government has chosen this path - but that doesn't mean I can't speak out against it and proponents of more of the same such as yourself.

    We don't want to wait for "history" to prove him right or not. All that means is he will serve as a negative example so that other people think twice about shedding light on any abuses that may be happening. Not exactly my idea of 'better government'.

    Too much of what has been declared off limits to the American People is simply so that we won't get riled up and either put a stop to something that is currently happening or punish the people who did it.

    Regards.

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silentcoder (1241496) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:49AM (#32483792) Homepage

    >Anti-war folks like to blame the administration for not knowing facts that came to light months or years after the decision to go to war was made.

    If only that were true... we have proof that the Bush administration actively MANUFACTURED A cause for war. We have the records of meetings between the CIA and MI5 where the CIA request (and MI5 agrees) to cook intel to make it look like there is a solid case that Iraq has WMD's...
    True the records of these meetings only came out a long time after the war started - it came to light later. But that's the EVIDENCE of the lie coming to light later - I think saying those who TOLD the lie couldn't know about it before-hand is a bit silly ?

    It's clear from said records that the CIA agents in that meeting were there under ORDERS from then President Bush. He had tasked them to find him an excuse for an invasion - or create one if they couldn't- and they were meeting with MI5 to request their help in that act of fiction.

    The MI5 agents and the commanders who approved it were prosecuted and punished. It was a major scandal in Britain and frontpage news for weeks... nobody on the US side was punished - and nobody even thought of maybe IMPEACHING the president who MANUFACTURED FALSE INTELLIGENCE to excuse a war that the vast majority of the population did NOT support (evidence: two years into the Iraq war Mister Bush's approval ratings not only hit his personal all-time low, but the lowest of any president in the ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES). I kid you not... Bush managed to remain president unimpeached and unchallenged while he was LESS liked than Abraham Lincoln in the South the day before the civil war started !

    This in the country that impeached one president for spying on his political enemies and another for getting a blowjob... you know somehow I think (and I always thought Clinton was a bit of a so-so president) but all politicians lie... personally I'd choose the guy who lies about a blowjob over the guy who lies to start a war any day.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:50AM (#32483800)

    Now while you can argue that this (and many other good reasons) means we should stop waging a war in Iraq, you should not vilify soldiers who make mistakes. Demanding perfect from them is no more realistic than demanding perfection anywhere else. You are not perfect, I am not perfect, they are not perfect.

    You could argue this, but it would be off-topic. The video doesn't depict accidental 'collateral damage'. It demonstrates a will to fire on those people and a number of falsehoods being relayed to command to get clearance. They wanted to kill those people, more than they wanted to do the right thing, and the video depicts the result.

    The topic can't be used to hang every soldier everywhere, as you're suggesting it might. But this was clearly an example of what not to do. Apologizing for it by cloaking it in a fog of war is basically requesting that it happen in the future.

    Well the combatants in Iraq don't obey those rules. In fact they go out of their way to try and blend in as civilians, they do things like use ambulances for strikes.

    All of this makes the job harder, but it doesn't make the excuses flow more easily. Not in a civilized society.

    We're supposed to be over there making their lives better, remember? How can we do that if we make a game out of killing them?

  • by Thundersnatch (671481) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:58AM (#32483892) Journal

    While I like the idea on a visceral level, the "only veterans can judge" thing could never work in practice. There would be far too much room for abuse and collusion, just like the "blue line of silence" shown by police officials towards internal corruption. This is the real world, and not Starship Troopers. A jury of randomly selected ordinary citizens is shown the evidence, and determine if a supposed crime was an accident, negligence, or willful action. That's the system, and it needs to be applied here.

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:04AM (#32483982)

    Read the Geneva Convention(s) - it is specifically prohibited to fire on civilians who are attempting to help the wounded, even if the wounded are enemy combatants (legal or not). Furthermore, anyone who is not armed and not otherwise recognizable as a combatant must be assumed to be a civilian. Note that this prohibition is specifically mentioned in the conventions beyond the generic "care must be taken not to harm civilians" language found elsewhere, so you can assume the folks who agreed on the conventions thought this point warranted special attention.

    What this means is that unless the aircrew saw the men attempting to help the wounded reporters pick up the reporters "weapons", they where not allowed to engage them. I would think that if the aircrew had seen the men pick up weapons, they would have mentioned this fact when requesting permission to engage - but they didn't. Considering that when this was discussed on the blog of a retired U.S. Army colonel, said colonel was not aware that civilians attempting to help wounded enemy combatants do not lose their protected status as civilians, I conclude that the U.S. Army does a very sloppy job of teaching its soldiers what is and what isn't permissible under the Geneva Conventions, and the aircrew simply didn't know that they weren't allowed to open fire. Of course in law ignorance is no defense, so IMO the aircrew is guilty of a manslaughter. Note that the initial engagement of the reporters was probably legal, as the reporters where in close proximity to actual insurgents, telling a camera from an RPG could be tricky in a combat situation, and the Geneva Conventions only demands that reasonable steps be taken to prevent harm to civilians.

      regardless of whether their status as civilians is in question or not. Note that the status of the wounded is also irrelevant. This means that unless the aircrew saw the men attempting to help the wounded "insurgents" (I accept that the aircrew had a legitimate reason to believe the reporters where insurgents and thus legitimately opened fire on them) pick up the "insurgents" weapons, they where specifically prohibited from firing on them. Since the aircrew didn't mention seeing the men pick up weapons when they requested permission to engage, I assume they didn't see anything of the sort. Since even a (retired) U.S. colonel was not aware that the Geneva convention does not allow soldiers to engage civilians

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:15AM (#32484090)

    The Army is not in the business of "trying to not look bad". They are in the business of fighting a war.

    Go with the times, will ya? Your ideal of the army's duty has been outdated since WW2. Back then, the US fought their last "real" war. And, lo and behold, they won. Why? Because they fought a war!

    Since then, politicians tried to keep the war "limited", to make war a less dramatic and horrible experience. Especially for the people at home. Today the problem of the US isn't to unleash enough firepower to obliterate their enemies. There's hardly a country or even an alliance on this planet that could defend against the firepower the US can raise. There will never be another D-Day with thousands of US soldiers being mowed down by enemy guns.

    The problem for the US today is that it gets increasingly hard to "sell" war at home. Also, there's more money in waging war than in winning it. War is business. And even the old saying that war is only good for your economy when someone else is waging it has been turned upside down. Granted, it's not good for the US economy, only for a handful of companies profiting from the bloodshed, but let's not be picky here. Also, it's not the point now.

    The problem is you could not easily convince the people at home if you just waltzed in and killed everything and everyone around. Not to mention that you'd have quite a bit of a problem with your international prestige. Nobody likes a bully. So we're doing about the worst we can do: "Limited" war. Which is about the most painful, most severe and most devastating kind of war you can do to a country.

    First and foremost, the more "limited" your war is, the longer it runs. The longer a war runs, the longer it takes for the country to recover from it. During the war you cannot rebuild. During the war your people are less inclined to rebuild since, well, why bother, tomorrow it's shot to pieces again anyway. And don't even try to convince a foreign investor to come.

    The "cleanest" war is one that is fought hard, fast and ended quickly. No matter the suffering, no matter the destruction. If you want to keep war "humane", keep it short. Prolonging it is about the worst thing you can do to a country where you fight.

  • by Skreems (598317) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:15AM (#32484096) Homepage

    If you think there has ever been a war where civilians didn't get killed, you are kidding only yourself.

    That's really the problem. See, a lot of people in the USA were against going to war in Iraq. Not only is it NOT a defensive war (something I would be okay with in any circumstance except where my own govt. was as psychotic as North Korea, say) but it was sold on a total lie (WMDs). Well, when that didn't pan out, the justification for the war morphed into, "well, he was a really bad guy. Plus we'll be welcomed as liberators!" And when that didn't pan out, because surprisingly enough not everyone welcomes having their country decimated and thrown into near civil war, it morphed again into "We'll only kill the bad guys, so it's fine."

    Everyone who was against the war anyway still knew this was false, but it's enough to shift the tone of the national debate. If you've got a military leader on one side of the table saying, "we have high technology, and will only kill bad guys," it's hard to say you think they should stop anyway. Either you're questioning the effectiveness of the military, which will automatically bias some people against you, or you're saying they shouldn't even kill bad guys, which will bias even more.

    This kind of documentation is vital simply to remind each and every person in the country that, as you said, there is never a war where civilians don't get killed. Not just because we forget, but because our leaders were, for a while, actively trying to convince us otherwise.

  • by radtea (464814) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:17AM (#32484124)

    That could probably be construed as putting the lives of many soldiers in danger.

    So since you're so concerned about the lives of American soldiers you must absolutely HATE George W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Chenney and Colin Powell for putting so many American soldiers in danger, right?

    Just as a matter of interest, could you point me to where you've ranted and raved against them for putting so many American soldiers in danger during the illegal and unnecessary invasion and occupation of Iraq?

    Unless you can point me to that, I'm afraid I'm going to be skeptical about your purported concern. If you think it's ok for GW Bush and Co to put the lives of American soldiers in danger for no readily apparent reason, but not ok for some random guy who is trying to expose wrong-doing and hold the government to account, then you really don't care about the lives of American soldiers: you're just a shill for the organs of the state.

  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:20AM (#32484152) Journal
    Please cite your own relative level of training and experience, and how you would have done a better job than the gunner in discerning the difference between civilians and insurgents dressed as civilians. Bear in mind that a) some members of the group were visibly armed with small arms, and b) they were approaching a US position on the ground.

    For extra credit, discuss the gunner's proven unwillingness to fire on targets which he could positively discern were civilians [gawker.com]. (credit for finding this goes to kidgenius)
  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:20AM (#32484168) Homepage Journal

    "Is it me or is it patently DUMB to wear a bright, red "shoot here for best effect" aiming mark?"
    That is kind of the idea. If you have the RED CROSS you are not armed and are a none combatant.
    AKA you freaking stand out so nobody shoots at you.
    Just how else would you do it? I know you wear cameo so you blend but look just like any other personal. Just how would you know not to shoot at them?

  • by dave420 (699308) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:24AM (#32484210)
    He couldn't even tell the difference between a tripod and an AK-47. He didn't even know that Iraqi citizens were allowed to have AK-47s (without being shot at). You can hear the difference between what they can see on the camera, and what they report. One AK-47 instantly becomes 6, and an indistinguishable shape becomes an RPG. So yeah, he was woefully under-trained. None of those folks should have been killed. They weren't firing on anyone, and didn't appear to have anything illegal on them. The call for clearance came before any RPG was ever seen (if there was one), so basically your lovely "hele-gunner" wanted to attack people who were doing nothing illegal. I somehow doubt you'd be fine if a local policeman shot one of your loved ones in the face for doing nothing. Double standards, much?
  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:25AM (#32484228) Homepage Journal

    that showed some very UNdamning things that the pilots did, like NOT firing when children/innocents were in the line of fire.

    If I don't stab you on Monday, and I don't stab you on Tuesday, then I stab you on Wednesday, what does it matter what I did on Monday and Tuesday? I still fucking stabbed you.

    That depends on why you stabbed me on Wednesday. And if the accusation against you is that you stab everyone in sight whether it's justifiable or not, then the fact that you didn't stab me when you saw me on Monday or Tuesday may be very important.

    And these soldiers still fucking shot at people trying to remove a wounded journalist from the field. Frankly I think you would have to be some kind of idiot to believe they weren't ordered to do so. Didn't shoot kids, didn't shoot kids, shot journalist. Oh, but I didn't shoot the kids, so it's OK.

    The soldiers had no way of knowing he was a journalist. He was with a group of men carrying AKs and at least one RPG near an area where there was recent fighting between ground forces and insurgents. The reasonable conclusion is that all of the armed men are insurgents, and that he's one one them.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:30AM (#32484300) Homepage

    It may not be enough to end wars unfortunately, but it's going to change the way the military does business.

    It already has. Now the military routinely classifies things that would reduce the public's desire to go to war, such as the bodies of dead soldiers returning from Iraq. It also ensures that embedded reporters report only the stories they want (anything else would endanger operational security).

    See, the lesson that a lot of military guys learned from Vietnam wasn't "Never get involved in a land war in Asia.", but instead learned "Never let the public know what's actually involved in fighting a war."

  • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SETIGuy (33768) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:33AM (#32484338) Homepage

    Given that the intelligence analyst who allegedly leaked the video chose to risk spending time in a military prison by leaking it, I'd guess that the video was not typical. If he'd seen any more damning video, he would have released that. I'd guess he thought it was unusual to kill that many unarmed civilians because there might have been an RPG in the vicinity. I'd also guess he's disappointed that no action has been taken since he released it.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:34AM (#32484350)

    It doesn't even help a bit if the human firing it is the same scared shitless guy who sees in every tube of more than two feet length an RPG. He only hits the guy carrying home his new toilet pipes far more exactly.

    Besides, there are no "intended targets" in an asymmetric war. There are no fixed installations, no enemy factories, no enemy gas refineries, not even fixed enemy SAM sites in a war where your enemy is fighting with low tech equipment and has no identifyable "own" infrastructure. What do you want to precision bomb? The home of your terrorist? Let's assume for a brief moment that you can even find out where a terrorist lives. What now? Bomb the house he's in? You'd maybe hit him (provided he's home), plus everyone else living there. And probably a few people around that place too. Which will serve nothing but to piss off everyone who liked those people and instead of one terrorist (which you may or may not have hit in the first place) you have probably created a dozen more that had friends who died pointlessly in your attack and now want revenge.

    Your weapons can be as smart as they can be, unless they can distinguish between terrorists and "normal" people (and if they can, they're heaps smarter than the soldiers and the politicians that stuffed them into the crap in the first place together) all their smartness is pointless. You are not fighting an enemy that you can precision bomb.

  • Re:Feh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:35AM (#32484360)

    Really. Can you please point me to somewhere that un-edited video is? I mean, if according to "sworn statements of the pilots involved in the attack" they where being so nice guys and protecting innocents has they claim ... then only if for a matter of PR, the USA army would have shown all the footage to "put it in context

    Well wrong, guess what, there is no complete video to be seen, the US army doesn't present one, and there are actually some people, like you, that are trusting the word of some US army combatants that you just see firing over a civilian van trying to provide assistance to wounded people, when they say that minutes before they where protecting some other civilians.

    Except that the video posted to Wikileaks, by definition, skirted all official channels, declassification, approval, and everything else a civil, sane, modern military should be going through. Posting said full version would be a major pain in the ass, paperwork-wise, or would be rushed out the door without enough thought and cause MORE problems due to unforseen consequences (giving away positions, giving away procedures, etc, etc). Sure, it COULD be done, but would it be worth it?

    And before you say it would be, let me just remind you...

    I mean, if according to "sworn statements of the pilots involved in the attack" they where being so nice guys and protecting innocents has they claim [...]"

    Well wrong, guess what, there is no complete video to be seen, the US army doesn't present one, and there are actually some people, like you, that are trusting the word of some US army combatants that you just see firing over a civilian van trying to provide assistance to wounded people, when they say that minutes before they where protecting some other civilians.

    See the highlighted parts of your post? Contrary to popular belief, the military aren't a bunch of backwards morons who couldn't understand modern society if it came up and smacked them in the heads. They've seen attitudes like yours for decades. They know how this game is played far better than you do. You wouldn't believe them even if they DID release the full video. They know that if they went through the trouble of declassifying it and running it through official channels, once you did see it, you'd go straight for the "flaws" and the "inconsistencies" present in the video, whether or not they actually exist. Heck, they know fully well you most likely wouldn't even watch the video. Remember the article on Slashdot a week or so ago about people with unassailable opinions being presented with evidence against them, and coming out of the experience with said opinions strengthened? That's you, in a nutshell.

    So please, try to get a bigger picture view of this, or at least a bigger picture than being trained by video games and feel-good movies that 100% perfect, absolutely morally superior wars are trivially attainable, and that every second of the war should be broadcast on-demand for armchair general analysis like yours.

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:39AM (#32484422)

    It's easy to tell the difference between a tripod and an assault rifle from your desk when you can freeze the image and look at it closely.

    Now do that in a moving helicopter when you are dealing with a dozen other things, lights flashing around you, noises, the ever present danger of being shot out of the sky.

    "The great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar difficulty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not infrequently—like the effect of a fog or moonshine—gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:49AM (#32484580)

    Have you read what treasonous is? Manning's work is NOT treason. The activities shown by that video is treason. Government for the people by the people, and protecting against enemies foreign and domestic are REQUIREMENTS of someone signing up to military or government life. therefore releasing it is the PATRIOTIC thing to do.

    "he continued on, planning to give an outsider unfettered access to potentially sensitive information "

    given the amount of information that is set to Top Secret (ACTA negotiations, WMD documents, et al) that should never had been, the TS designation is bullshit. That something released is "potentially sensitive" shows that even you think it's BS. If it's Top Secret, there should be NO "potentially" about it.

  • by the_fat_kid (1094399) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:49AM (#32484584)

    I wish that I could Mod you more than +5.
    how about (+10 the goddamn truth)?

    "Also remember the issue of the war being just and the actions of soldiers are separate matters. If you feel this unjust and the costs are not worth it, your beef is with the civilian government. They set the mission for the military, the military just carries it out."

    Part of "setting the mission" is being a party to and bound by the terms of the geneva (and others) convention.
    If the boy's in the helicopter or the brass higher up can show me an order from the civilian government that states "kill everyone, let god sort them out" I would be happy to see the creator set to prison TOO. It does not forgive their actions. Not even a little.

  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by silanea (1241518) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:04AM (#32484812)

    The gunner didn't know he was firing on civilians. He thought he was firing on insurgents.

    Oh, right. Unarmed people carrying off a wounded person. How incredibly insurgent. The impertinence!

    Besides, re-read my post: I did not place the blame solely or even specifically on the gunner. Someone screwed up the intel and told someone else to go ahead and shoot, and that someone was only too happy and eager to oblige. Many people fucked this up together. That does not make it a purely random, unavoidable accident.

  • Re:Feh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:20AM (#32485056)

    "it needs to refute the accusation that these were cowboy soldiers willy-nilly shooting innocent civilians"

    Except it doesn't.

    Just because you're recklessly killing civilians doesn't mean you do it 100% of the time. So they didn't do it early? So what? Are we sure they didn't do it again later? The next day? Last month?

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Monday June 07, 2010 @12:06PM (#32485716)

    The men in the 'collateral murder' video are (or were) an example of this. They lost their ability to evaluate targets and gave in to the urge to get a higher score than the other helicopters in the unit.

    First of all, the use of the word, "murder". here seems to make the users sound very unintelligent. Given the use of the word, EVERY deployed military personal who has pulled a trigger is a murdered. That's bullshit as its use has very specific connotations. Thusly, users as such scream to the world they are unable to properly filter facts or employ logic. In other words, idiots.

    As for their "loss of ability to evaluate targets", that too sounds extremely unintelligent. The reality is, you've lost the ability (assuming you ever had the ability - which is extremely unlikely given the surrounding remarks) to make judgment calls about military targets. Likely because you're parroting ignorance rather than attempt to make use of things known as facts.

    The reality is:
      o Most enemy targets (almost all) do not wear uniforms - this means the G.V. doesn't actually protect them. In fact, it condemns them.
      o Most enemy targets in theater, immediately attempt to insert/remove targets and/or weaponry from an engagement before they can be captured so they can they claim massive civilian causalities.
      o The original "targets" acted EXACTLY like local insurgents - which are not provided protection by the G.V..
      o Contrary to the massive amounts of misinformation put forward put massive level of ignorance, they did appear to be a legitimate threat. At best, they were blending in with those were absolutely did satisfy the requirements for legitimate targets. And as such, are legitimate collator targets.
      o Contrary to the ignorance spewed forth, you may take military targets from the scene for medical assistance - assuming you are properly marked. These people were not and in fact matched the M.O. of other illegal insurgents. So we have an established pattern set forth by seemingly legitimate targets.
      o The various doctrines and conventions allow for the death of these people. They are actually allowed to be summarily executed on the spot. Meaning, we have legitimate targets being targeted and people coming to the rescue of legitimate targets who follow stardard operating procedures of those who have established M.O.s of other legitimate targets - none of whom are protected by the G.C..

    In short, the uproar is by a large group of ignorant people who don't know their asshole from their elbow. Does that make what happened any better? NO! Does that suddenly make the cries for the heads of people doing their legal job legitimate?! No, absolutely not! It only means those crying for heads are all the more ignorant and disassociated from not only reality in general, but from the reality of modern war in general. Thusly validating they are fools at best.

    At worst, this the the tragedy of war. At best, it soldiers doing their job who absolutely understand the realities of the world their country is demanding they operate. To condemn them is to condemn war and especially the piece of shits they fight. Nothing more, nothing less. And anyone who says otherwise, is an ignorant fool - unless they have proof the soldiers knowing were not engaging legitimate targets; aka willing committing murder.

  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by silentcoder (1241496) on Monday June 07, 2010 @12:08PM (#32485750) Homepage

    >You make a lot of claims, but despite numerous searches on my part (on all sorts of wild conspiracy ideas about the Iraq War), I've never found one record anywhere to back any of the claims I've seen, including these. If you have any of that evidence, please, present it. It should be trivial on your part, if it was a front page scandal.

    Honestly I can't remember - but I read it in one of the notable British papers a few years ago (I believe the Guardian but I could be wrong). Maybe if you ignore wild conspiracy theories and search for actual news you may find something ? I wish I could remember the names... it will come to me - and I'll post them.

    >And for the record, my vote for President of the United States would never go to a man who lies to his constituents.

    Aaah, so you don't vote then ?

  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tibman (623933) on Monday June 07, 2010 @12:12PM (#32485806) Homepage

    Before you go handing out Medals of Honor, checkout what other guys had to do to get theirs. It almost always involved dying.

  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cederic (9623) on Monday June 07, 2010 @12:31PM (#32486120) Journal

    Which is why from a certain perspective the WTC attacks were a stunning vision, a marvel of planning and a flawless execution that led to a thing of obscene beauty.

    Me, I'm genuinely in awe.

    Is it wrong? Of course. Is it beautiful? War is often beautiful, from a safe distance.

  • Re:How ironic... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 07, 2010 @12:43PM (#32486288) Journal

    You talk about transparency and democracy, but you blithely dismiss the fact that the asshole who "declassified" this data violated the laws and policies established by his own democratically elected government

    You're begging the question here. If you want him to rely on the system, he has to trust that the system is functioning. If the system is functioning, there should be no inappropriate classified material. If he believes that he has found inappropriately classified material, that's evidence that the system is corrupt, and he cannot rely on it to properly classify material.

    I don't think the people of the US ever intended for Top Secret protections to apply to evidence of murder by servicemen. That would imply that the system is not acting democratically.

    Furthermore, when he thought he found criminal conduct, he had an alphabet soup of agencies that could independently investigate and prosecute the people he turned in. The FBI, Army CID and DoD Inspector General, to name a few.

    And which one of those do you really think would prosecute criminal conduct instead of shooting the messenger? Turning it in to the proper authorities is a great way to ensure that it gets ignored. Give it to the media and it won't get ignored *and* the proper authorities can still prosecute.

    He decided that he and he alone was the authority to make that call.

    He absolutely was. In the end, the only authority that matters is your own conscience. If you have evidence of a murder in your hands, you have to choose whether bringing the murderers to justice is worth breaking the law. That's a tough call to make, and I have a lot more respect for someone who is able to make that call than someone who lets the law act as proxy for his own conscience.

    Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.
    Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849

  • Re:Feh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by u17 (1730558) on Monday June 07, 2010 @01:09PM (#32486610)

    What this means is that unless the aircrew saw the men attempting to help the wounded reporters pick up the reporters "weapons", they where not allowed to engage them. I would think that if the aircrew had seen the men pick up weapons, they would have mentioned this fact when requesting permission to engage - but they didn't.

    Look at the transcript [collateralmurder.com]. At 7:18, the gunner says:

    Bushmaster; Crazyhorse. We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly uh picking up bodies and weapons.

    You can't blame the superior officer for giving permission to engage in these circumstances. But from the video it is clear that the gunner is simply lying. The men who come out of the van go straight to help the wounded crawling man. The gunner's fright and bloodlust must have clouded his vision.

    As for the Geneva convention, it is not clear to me whether it applies in this case. After all, the responsibility is on the insurgents to wear uniforms, so that the Americans can know whom to shoot. It is not their fault that they have a really hard job distinguishing between civilian and combatant.

    This was a complex situation. It is tragic that the gunner had no training and killed the journalists, but he legitimately saw weapons, even if he was in error about cameras being RPGs. He should have been punished for his poor judgement, and continued fighting. However, his firing on the van and killing the civilians in and around it is completely unjustified. He should have been court marshalled and severely punished for such irresponsible behaviour.

    The broader problem is how the soldiers in the video sound completely immature and not up to dealing with the responsibilities of being a member of the army. They seem frightened, unprepared, timid, unable to think critically and rather bloodthirsty. If this is representative of the US military in general, then I'd say they have a serious problem that should be solved on the policymaking level.

    But the gravest problem of all, which everyone seems to be missing, and which WikiLeaks points out with the opening quote, is the lies, doublespeak and cover-ups of the US military/government. If situations such as this are kept secret, there state has no accountability, and democracy, or, taking it further, personal freedom, cannot be upheld.

  • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Monday June 07, 2010 @01:20PM (#32486744) Journal

    So long as "our" generation does not get lobotomized, we just have to wait until the young are old and the old are dead.

    Because, you know, that worked so well for the baby boomers.

    Don't put it off. Do what you can now.

  • Re:Feh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @01:20PM (#32486746)

    So, just so I have this straight: I'm supposed to believe the statements of these soldiers, who've already proven to have bad judgment

    You are a total, blithering idiot, and also someone who doesn't do any in-depth examination.

    After this video came out, I contacted a person I play an online game with who happens to be an apache pilot. (No, they weren't in iraq at the time).

    What they noted:
    1) Don't blow the video up to full screen. Apache pilots get a tiny 4" monitor that's grainy. Gun camera footage viewed after the fact is always clearer than what's in the cockpit.

    2) The video FAILS to show full context.
            a) There had been a recent engagement. My acquaintance could tell this by the presence of the apaches- they were only sent out after contact.
            b) at that time the insurgents were trying to bait an apache in close enough to take it out with an RPG.

    3) It looks like a duck, walks like a duck.
            a) When my acquaintance saw the silhouette of the cameraman, he said "absolutely looks like
            an RPG silhouette".
            b) They also commented that the way the person walked/ducked was just like the guys using RPGs did.

    4) As for the car pulling up and getting shot. He said "Civilians run away from combat, not into it."

    5) My acquaintance's summary: "I'd have played it the same way." (paraphrasing).

    When you actually take the time to understand the context of the video and what the soldiers saw, it's not a couple cowboys murdering civilians, but professional soldiers doing their job and protecting their comrades.

    So until you can bother to actually learn something about the judgement being exercised, STFU.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @02:03PM (#32487410)

    Most enemy targets (almost all) do not wear uniforms - this means the G.V. doesn't actually protect them. In fact, it condemns them.

    True, but this does not in any way affect the protections that civilians enjoy. If you capture an insurgent who's dressed in civilian clothes, you can put him against the nearest wall right there and then. But until you capture him, or otherwise clearly identify him as an insurgent, you have to assume that he is a civilian, with everything that entails.

    Most enemy targets in theater, immediately attempt to insert/remove targets and/or weaponry from an engagement before they can be captured so they can they claim massive civilian causalities.

    True, but see above. What it boils down to is that Geneva Convention are still binding on you even if the other side does not adhere to them. You can engage in reprisals (which are "permitted violations"), but they have to be targeted against those violating the Convention in the first place. You can't just grab a random civilian in the area from the street and shoot him to "show them".

    The original "targets" acted EXACTLY like local insurgents

    Riding in the car on the streets of their own city, with children inside, is "acting EXACTLY like local insurgents"?

    Well, if it's true - which I doubt - then you clearly cannot use this as a way to identify insurgents, as the false positive rate is insane.

    Contrary to the massive amounts of misinformation put forward put massive level of ignorance, they did appear to be a legitimate threat. At best, they were blending in with those were absolutely did satisfy the requirements for legitimate targets. And as such, are legitimate collator targets.

    A person incapacitated by fighting to the point where they are unable to either fight back or retreat is not a legitimate target under the Geneva convention. So, by the time the civilian van arrived to the scene, there were no legitimate targets. In particular, the wounded man that they were trying to help was not a legitimate target.

    I didn't see any "blending in" (what does this even mean?) in the video. I've seen attempts to render first aid to the wounded.

    Contrary to the ignorance spewed forth, you may take military targets from the scene for medical assistance - assuming you are properly marked. These people were not and in fact matched the M.O. of other illegal insurgents. So we have an established pattern set forth by seemingly legitimate targets.

    Geneva Convention gives special protection to marked medical transports and such, but this doesn't mean that everyone else is fair game. In particular, civilians never are, unless 1) they stop being civilians by engaging in hostile acts (which rendering aid to wounded is not), or 2) their deaths are inevitable during an attack on a legitimate military target - e.g. bombings, shellings etc - but where any such casualties are minimized to any extent possible. Note that #2 still does not allow you to directly and intentionally target a civilian even if he is near a legitimate target.

    The various doctrines and conventions allow for the death of these people. They are actually allowed to be summarily executed on the spot.

    Most certainly not. You can only execute someone you've captured to begin with, and you can only do that if a person really is engaging in hostilities without identification etc, i.e. an illegal combatant. But people in the video weren't illegal combatants - they were a neutral party that got (arguably, reasonably) confused for such because of carrying arms etc. If captured, you still have to do an investigation, and only if that determines that captive is an illegal combatant, he is outside of the protection of the Convention. As those guys weren't combatants at all, but civilians, they would be protected as such.

  • Re:Feh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday June 07, 2010 @02:05PM (#32487446) Journal

    They're civilians in a war zone. Why are they sticking around in a war zone?

    Because it's their city, they have home and family in it since they were born there, and they were living there relatively peacefully (definitely more so than they do now!) until you guys came?

  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Monday June 07, 2010 @04:36PM (#32489554) Journal

    I use murder to describe an illegal and/or immoral killing, period.

    Then you fail to understand the situation. What they did was unfortunate but legit.

    Again you are among the many hoping to extend the cloak of non-responsibility to any service person under deployment, anywhere. In your world the 9/11 killers are innocents, too, because they were fighting a war.

    No. This simply proves your bias and/or ignorance. He was very specific about the circumstances in which killing is acceptable, especially regarding the Geneva Convention. You are going way overboard in your attack on him, putting words in his mouth that he clearly did not intend. Intentionally targeting civilians (9/11) is far different from accidentally targeting them (helo crew).

    If you work for an entity, you cannot illegally kill, yes?

    No. See above.

    So without any convention protecting them, they're fair game? Because we didn't sign an agreement with terrorists to behave morally and ethically, we no longer have to? How far does this extend?

    As the enemy, the Geneva Convention does not protect insurgents from helicopter attack. It means that by masquerading as civilians, the insurgents are in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Since the GC seems important to indignant, righteous folks such as yourself, you might want to spread the blame where it belongs, ie, on the insurgents.

    The video at hand displays zero exigent threat to anyone ...

    Listen to the audio, or at least read the captions. The helo was responding to units on the ground taking small arms fire from the direction of this group. In the video, some of the group are armed, one with what appears to be an AK-47, at least one other with an RPG. Note that the man with the RPG is clearly seen early in the film, and is different than the cameraman crouching in the alley. According to the audio, ground teams found a body with a live RPG round under it. These guys were not boy scouts on a hike.

    Even if you surmised all the total destructive power of the weapons that were 'vaporized' in the attack, I'm still not detecting any WMD's.

    What? Are you incoherently suggesting they were attacked because they were carrying WMD's? Or were you creating a pretext to inject the term "WMD's"? If you are implying that no weapons were found, see above re: weapons found. Also, see the GP's point about insurgents removing weapons from the battlefield to create the appearance of "civilian" casualties, specifically for propaganda that people like you eat up like it's gospel. No wonder an unmarked van was targeted.

    I'm not even convinced there was ever any threat here to American personnel, or anyone except those killed.

    Ground troops reported taking fire from that direction. It is possible that the fire they took was from a different group. There is no doubt in my mind, after viewing the film repeatedly, that at least one of the group had an RPG. It is apparent that he was spotted by the helo crew, and it seems that when the cameraman lined up a shot, the helo crew thought that it was the guy with the RPG lining up a shot of a very different kind. On that basis they requested permission to fire, and on that basis it was granted.

    Did you see the range readouts on the weapon's camera? The people

    (I assume you mean the people in the van)

    taking fire weren't even aware they were in jeopardy. The bodies would have been spraying blood before the sound arrived. For Christ's sake, do a tiny bit of research before you use justifications like 'properly marked'.

    Your hyperbole doesn't help your cause. It merely indicates that you are not thinking clearly. If you are in a van in a war zone, and you roll up near some wounded bodies, be aware t

  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Monday June 07, 2010 @05:04PM (#32489852) Journal
    He's saying that armchair quarterbacks like you can't tell the difference between a tripod and an RPG even with the luxury of pausing, rewinding, and replaying the fuzzy gray low-rez images that the pilot and gunner have mere seconds to respond to in real time.

    He's useless. As I said, the guy is woefully under-trained. You seem to agree with me. You are saying the very conditions he's expected to operate in are enough to throw him off track. That's about as pure a definition of "woefully under-trained" as you can hope for.

    No. That is information overload. There is actually a specific military term for it in combat aviation, but for the life of me I can't recall what it is. I think it is "Task Saturation". Training can only do so much to mitigate it.

    No amount of training can up the resolution on that film, and you know fuck-all about what it takes to operate a gunship.

    Unless, of course, you'd like to demonstrate your credentials for all of us here on slashdot.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Monday June 07, 2010 @06:42PM (#32490660) Journal

    Sure, murder's a little harder to prove, but that video demonstrates a fairly explicit lack of effort to minimise civilian casualties.

    You seem to be suffering from the same logic errors that allowed the pilot to justify the shooting in the first place.

    As with most of everything, it's not a one sided issue where you can ascertain after the fact, the motivations or realities of the situation. From the pilot's point of view, which is supported by the audio on the tape, he didn't think the civilians were civilians at all.

    So saying that there was a lack of effort to minimize civilian casualties really doesn't come close to the reality of the situation. The problem is that the civilians involved in the incident were incorrectly identified as hostile insurgents and insurgents attempting to aid their fallen comrades. That was the entire belief structure of the helicopter crew at the time the trigger was pulled so every effort to minimize innocent civilian casualties could have been in place and this could have still happened because they were not thought of as civilians at the time the events took place.

    Now what you are doing here is attempting to conflate this into an impossible position with no answers resembling reality. Of course that is wrong, the answers are there and both the innocent civilians and the gun crew involved share the responsibility of what happened. The gun crew because they made the mistake and misidentified the civilians, the items they were carrying that looked like weapons, and the weapons they actually had. The civilians are just as at fault because they essentially ignored common sense, warnings, and essentially walked up to a guy pumping gasoline and then lit up a smoke. It wouldn't have been much the fault of the guy pumping gas now would it.

    You had civilians that went into a war zone still engaged in combat without letting anyone know they were there. They didn't wear any sort of markings stating they were the press or neutral or not involved in the conflict while being armed (yes, the reporters escort was armed with assault riffles). They didn't let the army know they were going to be there nor did they have any communications device to alert forces of their position. They took equipment that from long distances away, could be mistaken for military weapons, especially when they attempted to conceal their positions when lining up to take a picture of the helicopters which also gave the appearance of them aiming or attempting to aim it at them and those looking at it from a distance stand a very real chance of dieing if it was a RPG. So there is the first mistake, both parties made them, the gun crew asked on the radio if anyone had units or people in the area so notifying the military before going in or periodically stating your position could have very well stopped it here.

    Now the second problem, additional civilians- probably the ride the reporter took to get to the area, rushed in to help them. The gun crew rightly assumed they were rendering aid to the wrongly labeled insurgents who BTW, dress up in civilian cloths and drive civilian vehicles. Again, there was no communications, no markers indicating they were neutral or not a threat, no nothing to distinguish them from what they were incorrectly identified as. There was no red cross/crescent or other internationally recognized symbol of aid that is known to all military's around the world in which they do not shoot at. And with weapons believed to still be at the scene, this also posed a threat to the gun crew.

    So you see, this isn't about civilians as much as it is about recognizing civilians. Had the gun crew knew the RPG was a camera with a long lens, had the gun crew known the press was in the area, has the gun crew seen markings indecating they were journalists of legitimate aid workers, had the gun crew not been engaged in combat operations, and all this still happened, I would be standing right beside you. But given everything that we know, this is a tragic- I repeat, tragic misunderstanding that costs the lives of civilians in a dangerous place. But all the blame cannot be placed on the gun crew for this. It was a joint fuck up, unfortunately, only one party survived to talk about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:38AM (#32508876)

    Counter-insurgency

    Please don't use their propaganda word. The US military is occupying a foreign country, and if anything the people who are fighting against that occupation are a resistance.

To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar

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