Posted on EIDEARD … July 26, 2010
A whistle-blower website has published what it says are more than 90,000 United States military and diplomatic reports about Afghanistan filed between 2004 and January of this year.
The first-hand accounts are the military’s own raw data on the war, including numbers killed, casualties, threat reports and the like, according to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.org, which published the material Sunday.
Here’s the link. When I prepared this post, last night, their servers were pretty much swamped.
“It is the total history of the Afghan war from 2004 to 2010, with some important exceptions — U.S. Special Forces, CIA activity and most of the activity of other non-U.S. groups,” Assange said…
The significance lies in “all of these people being killed in the small events that we haven’t heard about that numerically eclipse the big casualty events. It’s the boy killed by a shell that missed a target,” he told CNN.
“What we haven’t seen previously is all those individual deaths,” he said. “We’ve seen just the number and like Stalin said, ‘One man’s death is a tragedy, a million dead is a statistic.’ So, we’ve seen the statistic.”
The website held back about 15,000 documents from Afghanistan to protect individuals who informed on the Taliban, he said.
The news-as-entertainment crowd, liberal or conservative – it matters not, will probably panic over this. As will their mirror-image peers in Congress.
The culture of government which has adopted the practice of classifying information as “secret” because it is embarrassing, damning or otherwise a potentially negative force upon the body politic – demands severe penalties for revelations. Our representatives in Washington DC have had this cowardly habit for decades.
The easier it becomes to collect data, the easier it is to lose control of it.
When the Russian warship Moskva told the Ukrainian border guards on Snake Island to surrender, the soldiers told the ship to go fuck itself. Two months later, the border guards are still alive, the Moskva is at the bottom of the Black Sea, and the moment of resistance has been turned into a painting that has become a popular meme. It’s even become a stamp that’s selling for outrageous prices on secondary markets like eBay.
“Russian warship, go fuck yourself,” turned into a popular phrase moments after the Ukrainian Roman Hrybov transmitted it to the Moskva. On March 1, the Ukrainian postal service announced a competition to design a stamp based on the phrase. Boris Groh’s painting of a Ukrainian soldier flipping the bird to a distant Moskva won after being put to a vote on Instagram and Facebook.
The Ukrainian post office turned the painting into a stamp and issued the first run of them on April 13. The next day, the Moskva sank after being struck by a Neptune anti-ship missile fired by Ukraine.
The stamp is now a collector’s item.
Culture wars are a helluva lot more fun than the ones using weapons of mass destruction.
Bandung Conference 1955
War is an ugly part of the human experience. Everything about it is hideous. War is most obviously the act of invasion and the brutality that goes along with its operations. No war is precise; every war hurts civilians. Each act of bombardment sends a neurological shudder through a society.
World War II demonstrated this ugliness in the Holocaust and in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From Hiroshima and the Holocaust rose two mighty movements, one for peace and against the perils of further nuclear attacks, and the other for an end to the divisions of humanity and for a nonalignment from these divisions. The Stockholm Appeal of 1950, signed by 300 million people, called for an absolute ban on nuclear weapons. Five years later, 29 countries from Africa and Asia, representing 54 percent of the world’s population, gathered in Bandung, Indonesia, to sign a 10-point pledge against war and for the “promotion of mutual interests and cooperation.” The Bandung Spirit was for peace and for nonalignment, for the peoples of the world to put their efforts into building a process to eradicate history’s burdens (illiteracy, ill health, hunger) by using their social wealth. Why spend money on nuclear weapons when money should be spent on classrooms and hospitals?
Despite the major gains of many of the new nations that had emerged out of colonialism, the overwhelming force of the older colonial powers prevented the Bandung Spirit from defining human history. Instead, the civilization of war prevailed. This civilization of war is revealed in the massive waste of human wealth in the production of armed forces—sufficient to destroy hundreds of planets—and the use of these armed forces as the first instinct to settle disputes. Since the 1950s, the battlefield of these ambitions has not been in Europe or in North America, but rather it has been in Africa, Asia, and Latin America—areas of the world where old colonial sensibilities believe that human life is less important. This international division of humanity—which says that a war in Yemen is normal, whereas a war in Ukraine is horrific—defines our time. There are 40 wars taking place across the globe; there needs to be political will to fight to end each of these, not just those that are taking place within Europe. The Ukrainian flag is ubiquitous in the West; what are the colors of the Yemeni flag, of the Saharawi flag, and of the Somali flag?
Indeed! The sentiment in the last sentence of the 2nd pqragraph has guided my political life for over 60 years. Meaningful as ever. “Why spend money on nuclear weapons when money should be spent on classrooms and hospitals?”