Intelligence Agencies Allegedly Going to Extremes to Suppress Video Confirming Pentagon Massacre Cover-up
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Editor's Note: Wikileaks has released the video as promised with this note:
WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded. For further information please visit the special project website www.collateralmurder.com.
On April 5, online truth and transparency advocate WikiLeaks.org plans to release at the National Press Club what it alleges is a video confirming a Pentagon cover-up of a wartime massacre of civilians and journalists committed under the leadership of General David Petraeus.
In a recent editorial that was later scrubbed, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed WikiLeaks is under fire from American and international intelligence agencies angered by his site's oversharing of the global village's dark political and financial secrets, and that they are responding with harassment, surveillance, unnecessary detention and worse.
"We've become used to the level of security service interest in us and have established procedures to ignore that interest," Assange wrote in the editorial. "But the increase in surveillance activities this last month, in a time when we are barely publishing due to fundraising, are excessive."
As constitutional lawyer and Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald wrote in a recent column, "A volunteer, a minor, who works with WikiLeaks was detained in Iceland last week and questioned extensively about an incriminating video WikiLeaks possesses relating to the actions of the U.S. military. During the course of the interrogation, the WikiLeaks volunteer was not only asked questions about the video based on non-public knowledge about its contents ( i.e., information which only the U.S. military would have), but was also shown surveillance photos of Assange exiting a recent WikiLeaks meeting regarding the imminent posting of documents concerning the Pentagon."
WikiLeaks, administered by the Sunshine Press, an Amnesty International award-winning non-profit comprised of self-described "human rights campaigners, investigative journalists, technologists and the general public," has been whacking the powers-that-be's beehive since going live in 2007, and racking up as many legal challenges and enemies as journalism scoops and truth-seeking loyalists. But with its April 5 video, it evidently has raised the stakes.
"If anything happens to us, you know why," WikiLeaks warned on its Twitter feed. "It is our Apr 5 film. And you know who is responsible."
But this is not the 20th century, where classified information dissemination was a clumsy, clunky affair transmitted through bought-off print and television conglomerates.
"It certainly isn't surprising that entities affected by materials disclosed on WikiLeaks would explore ways to try to stop such disclosures," Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney at the digital-rights stalwart Electronic Frontier Foundation, explained to AlterNet. "That WikiLeaks continues to operate effectively underscores the difficulty of stopping such an operation in the age of the Internet which, from WikiLeaks' point of view, is the entire point."
Which doesn't mean that the powers-that-be threatened by WikiLeaks' persistent outings are going to just give up. WikiLeaks' exposure of military and financial carnage is encouraging, especially for a media landscape populated more and more by talk-radio shock-doctrinists like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
"I don't have any evidence that Assange or anyone associated with WikiLeaks is in danger," Salon's Glenn Greenwald told AlterNet, after speaking with Assange. "But the CIA and Pentagon are vastly powerful entities that operate almost entirely in the dark. They have a long, sordid and well-documented history of targeting anyone who they perceive to be undermining their interests, and -- as they themselves acknowledge -- WikiLeaks qualifies. I think it would be foolish in the extreme not to take those threats seriously."
Indeed, downplaying the severity of real threats while inflating the importance of imagined or, worse yet, created ones has been an escalating obsession of ours in this new, turbulent century. And our chief coping mechanism has worked to the government's advantage, according to Greenwald's column. The official outcry over WikiLeaks is "based in the same rationale...used by all governments to conceal evidence of their wrongdoing: we need to suppress our activities for your own good. WikiLeaks is devoted to subverting that mentality and, relatively speaking, has been quite successful in doing so. For that reason, numerous governments and private groups would like to see them destroyed."