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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 @08:55AM (#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.

    • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:57AM (#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.

      • Re:Feh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:10AM (#32482652) Homepage

        There was never any doubt about the authenticity of the videos - the military admitted they were real. What they argued was that the videos didn't show the context in which there had been combat nearby.

        Now, how nearby combat affects whether you can shoot at people retrieving the wounded without violating the Geneva Conventions is a different question. What is very clear, though, is that this is a small taste of what the Iraq War really looks like, and that some soldiers under the sort of combat pressure end up thinking along the lines of "Anyone who runs is an insurgent. Anyone who doesn't run is a well-disciplined insurgent."

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by kidgenius (704962)
          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]
          • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:20AM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Myopic (18616)

              You did an excellent job of perfectly paralleling the situation in your hypothetical. No person could ever find any fault in your comparison. It is unassailable.

          • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

            by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:27AM (#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?

            • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Myopic (18616) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:24AM (#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.

              • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

                by SETIGuy (33768) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:33AM (#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.

          • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:28AM (#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...

            • Re:Feh (Score:4, Interesting)

              by linzeal (197905) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:56AM (#32483132) Homepage Journal
              With the IDF and the US military attempting old timey propaganda in a twitter/Flickr/YouTube/WikiLeaks world it really makes you wonder if they even care any more so long as the (middle aged)+ who watch TV for all their news don't catch on. The IDF manipulated an audio recording to make it appear as if captains were shouting antisemitic obscenities, 15 minutes after they posted it, it was revealed as a fake online; but CNN and Foxnews were reporting on it the whole weekend. When I tell my mom stuff like this, she says she does not believe me because FoxNews wouldn't report it if it were fake.
          • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

            by chrb (1083577) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:58AM (#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:4, Informative)

            by copponex (13876) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:51AM (#32483818) Homepage

            YEah, those damn baby-rapists...

            No one said they raped babies. But their presence has caused the deaths of tens of thousand of Iraqi children, mostly due to destroyed infrastructure. It's forced millions of professional Iraqis out of their own country, forced many to live near pools of raw sewage, forced many Iraqi women to become prostitutes to provide for their family, and has created the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda that did not exist before we invaded.

            It's a fucking brutal mess that could have been avoided. The video is just proof of how many people die when Americans make mistakes. I'd bet my last dollar that a hundred times more people have died because of American "collateral damage" in the Iraq war than died on 9/11.

            PS The last two generations of my family served. I chose not to because fighting for the US Military has nothing to do with defending the United States.

          • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:04AM (#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:5, Informative)

          by chrb (1083577) on Monday June 07, 2010 @10:14AM (#32483348)

          Now, how nearby combat affects whether you can shoot at people retrieving the wounded without violating the Geneva Conventions is a different question.

          Article 50 [deoxy.org] of the Geneva Convention defines a "civilian", and makes it clear that there is a presumption of innocence on the part of civilians - a solder is not allowed to "assume" that an unidentified person is an enemy combatant and then fire upon them:

          "Article 50: Definition of Civilians and Civilian Population

          1. A civilian is any person who does not belong to one of the categories of persons referred to in Article 4 A 111, lIl, (31 and 161 of the Third Convention and in Article 43 of this Protocol. In case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian.
          2. The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians.
          3. The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character."

          It is the soldiers job to clearly identify that a target is a combatant before opening fire. If the soldier is unclear as to whether or not a target is a combatant, then that person is to be treated as a civilian: "In case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian.". The presence of combatants within a civilian population does not excuse firing on civilians: "The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character." The rules are very clear on this issue.

          One of the important distinctions is that this was an occupying military force battling internal resistance fighters. It was not a war between nation states. Under the Geneva Conventions, an occupying force has the absolute responsibility of providing for the basic needs of the people under its control, including food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, and the maintenance of law and order. It is not supposed to kill them. Under the conventions, in an actual battle with soldiers of an opposing nation state, a commander has a duty to protect civilian life, even if it comes at the cost of exposing his troops to greater danger. The commander/soldier must be able to justify any military action that results in the loss of civilian life as being "reasonable" and "unavoidable" in the context of the military target. Hence, a soldier could not slaughter a million civilians in order to kill 100 enemy, but if the enemy had one civilian amongst them, then the killing of that civilian as a side effect of killing the enemy may be justifiable. But this is a completely different matter to that of killing civilians because you "presume" them to be combatants due to their presence in an occupied city. Baghdad is one of the most populous cities on the planet - ranked 22nd with a density of 9,250 per square kilometer. Within a few hundred meters of this incident there are thousands of people living. The men in the street could have been anyone - there was no attempt made to identify them as being combatants or civilians, and therefore the laws of war state that they must be treated as civilians.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I watched the full video.

          Thoughts:
          1. The adage that aerial forces cannot take or hold terrain remains true.
          2. Higher resolution cameras or operating at closer range could have changed the outcome of this.

    • Re:Feh (Score:5, Informative)

      by kidgenius (704962) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:01AM (#32482558)
      Yeah, kudos for doing a self-edit on the video before releasing it to Wikileaks (who did another self edit) that could put the military into a worse light than they would've been with the missing footage in there. In the missing footage, we know that the helicopter pilots DID NOT fire TWICE when there were civilians/children in harms way. Seeing that might change the thoughts slightly on the pieces of video that were seen...
      • Re:Feh (Score:5, Funny)

        by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@NospaM.gmail.com> on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:05AM (#32482592)

        I'm sure the military will start releasing unedited footage so that everybody can get a fair and balanced picture.

      • Re:Feh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by somersault (912633) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:24AM (#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!

      • Re:Feh (Score:4, Funny)

        by vlm (69642) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:39AM (#32482924)

        In the missing footage, we know that the helicopter pilots DID NOT fire TWICE when there were civilians/children in harms way.

        Not exactly Matlock's moment of glory here. You honestly think OJ's best defense strategy would have been to find two women to testify that he had not (yet) chopped them up? Seriously, dude?

      • Re:Feh (Score:5, Funny)

        by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:47AM (#32483024) Homepage
        Well, 30mm rounds are pretty expensive. You want to be sure to get them in a good cluster, and preferably lying down already, before you open up on them.
    • Re:Feh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by couchslug (175151) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:06AM (#32482608)

      What a dumbass.

      There are ways, such as Congressional investigations, to out that sort of stuff. Plastering it on the web works but isn't exactly brilliant.

      Example:
      Find Congresscritter(s) with adequate security clearance and appropriate record of stirring shit. Give them a detailed verbal brief including the docs and their location. Have THEIR legal eagles work out a procedure for accessing the material.

      • Re:Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sammyF70 (1154563) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:16AM (#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.
      • Re:Feh (Score:5, Informative)

        by LizardKing (5245) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:17AM (#32482730)

        There are ways, such as Congressional investigations, to out that sort of stuff.

        Sadly, I don't think there are that many people of the same calibre as Morris Udall (he was the congressman who took up an accusation of US soldiers massacring civilians in Vietnam - twenty nine other recipients of the same accusation ignored it).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:56AM (#32482508)
    Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake? Children's ice cream!...You know when fluoridation began?...1946. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works. I first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love...Yes, a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence. I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women...women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake...but I do deny them my essence.
  • by eagee (1308589) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:58AM (#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 kenh (9056) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:28AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jvkjvk (102057)

        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

  • by Paralizer (792155) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:18AM (#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.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday June 07, 2010 @09:35AM (#32482896)

    The first scandal is the usual shit the government does, make a mistake and then cover it up. We've seen a lot of those in this war. We know this stuff happens all the time but the proof of it always hits me in the gut.

    The second scandal is that the government is so poor at covering this stuff up that a junior guy like this is able to find the info and disseminate it without any difficulty. Absolutely piss-poor security. Perversely, I expect and demand a modicum of competence to go along with the amoral and evil. I feel insulted when I find out I'm getting screwed over by Mayberry Machiavellis.

  • by CHK6 (583097) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:24AM (#32484212)
    Internal intelligence 101: NEVER TALK ABOUT IT! What does this fool go off and do, brag about it to pad his ego to an ex-hacker! What an idiot. If you don't want to get caught, shut the hell up. This kid is just plain old forest gump stupid with a messed up sense of patriotism. At first speculation was Chinese hackers got a hold of the video. Nope, a snot nosed punk that had direct access to the goodies stole it. Heck, he didn't have to exploit anything in hacker fashion or use social manipulation. He just walked in, copied it to disc, and then walked out.

    I'm ashamed with our military security. That's down right pitiful. The instance his user id made a write to a disc alarms should have gone off. I'm surprised that they even have CDRW drives or any external ports on them at all!
  • by DarthVain (724186) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:54AM (#32484652)

    If WW2 showed us anything, it was people are capable of atrocities if ordered to do so. Read the book "Ordinary Men" (I think that was what it was called). Almost to a man, the excuse will be "I was ordered to do so, I was doing my duty".

    If we took anything away from that war that was positive it was even within a strict command structure, one does not have to follow orders he believes to be illegal. I think you can also extend that to information. If you know of something that went on that you felt was illegal, I think you are OBLIGATED to report that information. I have no idea if this guy tried to use the usual channels of communication to report this incident, but I don't think it is a bit stretch that if he did, that the proof would "disappear" and he would be "reassigned". He may have felt he had NO choice but take the action he did, in good conscience.

    Now, it is also reasonable to say if you refuse what you think is an illegal order, or release information in the way he did, there will be a price to pay. There would certainly be an military court decision, that would say one way or another, if you made the right choice. Likely regardless your life as a military professional would be over no matter what, a sad, but likely true outcome.

    However even with that, years later when shit might be going down, you can say with some self respect, that you did no follow that order you believed to be wrong, or that you tried to let people know the truth at your own personal cost. "I was just following orders" is a horrible thing to say, though even I can have some empathy when the outcome was they would be shot for not following orders.

    Anyway as someone who isn't in the military, I am glad someone like that was in it, and I think he thought he was doing the right thing. He will be judged one way or another, and likely we don't have all the facts, but I would hope that if nothing untoward complicates the issue that the military court will absolve him, maybe even give him a medal (and then likely discharge him). I also think that as much as this is bad PR for the Army, it is also potential good PR. As I don't think anyone is too surprised that this sort illegal action or accident took place, however I know I would feel more comfortable, and confident knowing that there are good people within the Army that are also trying to do the right thing.

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