It is ridiculously rich of the U.S today, to call the release of the Afghan files via Wikileaks, a “criminal act” given the nature of the documents. I wonder what other little gems of terrorism the U.S is hiding. Latin America must have it’s very own building, filled with reports of U.S backed terror operations. Despite the scale of the atrocities in Afghanistan, committed by U.S forces, I guarantee, the “international community” will not condemn the U.S, but will condemn the leak. The “international community“, usually means those who support the U.S. To call the leaks a “criminal act“, from a bunch of malicious criminals, is a little bit rich.
The leak is the biggest in U.S history, and is a political storm waiting to happen. The extent to which the U.S has mislead the public (the documents are from the Bush era, unsurprisingly) should surely result in prosecutions at the very top level of the old regime in Washington? At the very least, it has to be the start of a far more transparent era for U.S foreign policy, which for too long has smashed it’s clenched fist across the World, and condemned anyone who stood in their way.
The log shows:
One man, called Shum Khan was a deaf and dumb man, living in Malekshay. Out of nowhere, a heavily armed U.S truck rolled into his town, at which point he ran away scared. The War Logs reveal:
”ran at the sight of the approaching coalition forces … out of fear and confusion”
The U.S CIA paramilitaries on board the truck, shouted at him to stop. He couldn’t hear them because he was deaf. He was running away from them, so posed no threat. So to deal with the problem, the paramilitaries shot him. He was wounded but survived. Villagers explained the problem to the troops, who then said they were entitled to shoot him under ”escalation of force” provisions of the US rules of engagement, which i’m pretty sure the shot and injured deaf man did not agree to. The log ends with the U.S not treating the man for gunshot wounds, but paying compensation (known as solatia). The log says:
‘Solatia was made in the form of supplies and the Element mission progressed.”
Such nonchalance. Not a care in the World. Shoot a disabled man, give him a bit of food and clothing, and then move on to the next town.
On March 4th 2007, U.S Marines narrowly escaped a road side bomb, just outside of Jalalabad. The Marines ran away, and shot anyone in their path. This included young girls playing in a nearby field, and a few old men walking along the street, hundreds of metres away from the explosion. Nineteen innocent people were killed, and fifty wounded. The Marines in their reported omitted all of the details, other than the bomb attack and the sound of gunfire. An hour later, an investigative team of U.S soldiers came back to the area, to inspect. They tore cameras away from Journalists and photographers, demanding they delete any photos. A reporter for Tolo TV said that an American soldier had told him, of the photos and film he’d taken of the site: “Delete them, or we’ll delete you.” The soldiers lied, the Marines lied, a subsequent investigation that found no wrong doing lied, and only now, three years later, has it emerged that they lied. The Afghan Human Rights Commission then held its own investigation into the shootings and concluded that a 16 year old newlywed carrying grass had been repeatedly shot and killed, followed by a 75 year old man, who was just walking. The findings prompted a US army colonel to say that the shootings were a “terrible, terrible mistake“, and give the families of the victims just $2000 in compensation. The Marines were unhappy with the Colonel for insulting there competence, and so held their own investigation which cleared them of all wrong doing and said that they acted “appropriately”. No charges were brought, and so killing innocent people including young girls and old men, is apparently perfectly fine. Apparently the deaths of innocent Arabs is less important than the careers of a few trigger happy Marines.
The U.S didn’t apologise for the dead children, or the innocent people they have mutilated over the past five years, or the disabled people they’d shot for no reason. Instead, they chose to go on the defensive, and do what America does best; blame someone else:
We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security
What this actually means is:
We strongly condemn anyone who tries to stand in our way of establishing ourselves as the moral authority of the World, regardless of how evil the means are to achieving that end. We blame Castro.
Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, instead of apologising and begging for forgiveness for the atrocities committed by her pathetic excuse for a Country, simply said:
I ask the Secretary of Defence to launch a major investigation and bring the individual or individuals responsible for this to account.
Even in the midst of evidence that their Country is a vile terrorist Nation, the US officials cannot bring themselves around to admitting just how fucking awful they actually are. She is suggesting, indirectly, that leaking important information surrounding cover ups and murders is punishable by criminal charges, yet overseeing, directing and participating in the deaths of hundreds of innocents and the mutilation of hundreds more, is perfectly okay. America never fails to amaze me.
It isn’t surprising. The details are nothing surprising. It is simply a matter of “we told you so”. Those of us who are a little skeptical of everything the U.S tells us, know that the massacre in Fallujah“in 2003 was not going to be an isolated incident. We know that the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have very little to do with protecting the American or British people, and very much to do with securing oil supplies and enriching Arms Companies and Defence contractors. War is a private business now. We know that. So in that respect, the leak does not show us anything we didn’t already know. What it does do however, is show conclusively that the U.S is not the special force for good it attempts to paint itself as, by highlighting individual cases of abuses. These are important documents. Documents that governments like to cover up and claim that releasing them would be a matter of National Security, rather than the fact that they don’t want to embarrass themselves, and maybe face criminal charges. What it shows is that the U.S and Coalition forces have embarked on another Vietnam; an unwinnable war that threatens to get worse, after almost a decade of destruction. Thousands dead. Thousands more mutilated and without homes. An increase of a threat from extremists who now justifiably hate the U.S and allies beyond recognition. And no date for handover or withdrawal. A complete failure. And as the Guardian’s editorial puts it, the war effort and the U.S showed”:
A casual disregard for the lives of innocents. A bus that fails to slow for a foot patrol is raked with gunfire, killing four passengers and wounding 11 others. The documents tell how, in going after a foreign fighter, a special forces unit ended up with seven dead children. The infants were not their immediate priority. A report marked ‘Noforn’ (not for foreign elements of the coalition) suggests their main concern was to conceal the mobile rocket system that had just been used.
Wikileaks is not the enemy in this. Wikileaks has simply done what the Pentagon refuses to do, because it is hugely embarrassing to itself, and its delusions of grandeur. Wikileaks, and whomever leaked the information, should be knighted.
Hopefully, this will get the peace activists out and applying as much pressure as possible on the U.S and coalition forces, to withdraw as soon as possible. Maybe right winged Americans will accept that spending their taxes on a decent healthcare system is a far more justifiable way of using it, than on a war that has left thousands dead for absolutely no reason. Perhaps paying Lockheed Martin, the weapons manufacturer $65mn a day, every day of the year, from the US Treasury isn’t the right way to go about obtaining peace. Maybe accepting that the U.S military machine, and the private defence contractors that benefit from war, are the root of the problem. Hopefully the term “war crimes” will be used, because I’m pretty certain that if an Afghani man shot a deaf American in the middle of New York City, after scaring him and then yelling stop, before shooting him; he wouldn’t get away so lightly.