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Old 12-16-2010, 10:19 PM   #341
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With 250,000+ cables to sort through, it's worth pointing out it's highly likely that no one group has seen them all. What we've read so far is what newspapers are finding by slowly digging their way through the pile.

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US officials had evidence of widespread torture by Indian police and security forces and were secretly briefed by Red Cross staff about the systematic abuse of detainees in Kashmir, according to leaked diplomatic cables released tonight.

The dispatches, obtained by website WikiLeaks, reveal that US diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees.

Other cables show that as recently as 2007 American diplomats were concerned about widespread human rights abuses by Indian security forces, who they said relied on torture for confessions.

The revelations will be intensely embarrassing for Delhi, which takes pride in its status as the world's biggest democracy, and come at a time of heightened sensitivity in Kashmir after renewed protests and violence this year.

Other cables released tonight reveal that:

• The Dalai Lama has told US officials that combating climate change is more urgent than finding a political solution in Tibet, which "can wait five to 10 years".

• Rahul Gandhi, the crown prince of Indian politics, believes Hindu extremists pose a greater threat to his country than Muslim militants, according to the American ambassador to India.

• Five doctors were coerced by the Sri Lankan government to recant on casualty figures they gave to journalists in the last months of island's brutal civil war.

The most highly charged dispatch is likely to be an April 2005 cable from the US embassy in Delhi which reports that the ICRC had become frustrated with the Indian government which, they said, had not acted to halt the "continued ill-treatment of detainees".

The embassy reported the ICRC concluded that India "condones torture" and that the torture victims were civilians as militants were routinely killed.

The ICRC has a long-standing policy of engaging directly with governments and avoiding the media, so the briefing remained secret.

An insurgency pitting separatist and Islamist militants – many supported by Pakistan – against security services raged in Kashmir throughout the 1990s and into the early years of this decade.

It claimed tens of thousands of lives, including large numbers of civilians who were targeted by both militants and security forces.

The ICRC staff told the US diplomats they had made 177 visits to detention centres in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India between 2002 and 2004, and had met 1,491 detainees. They had been able to interview 1,296 privately.

In 852 cases, the detainees reported ill-treatment, the ICRC said. A total of 171 described being beaten and 681 said they had been subjected to one or more of six forms of torture.

These included 498 on which electricity had been used, 381 who had been suspended from the ceiling, 294 who had muscles crushed in their legs by prison personnel sitting on a bar placed across their thighs, 181 whose legs had been stretched by being "split 180 degrees", 234 tortured with water and 302 "sexual" cases, the ICRC were reported to have told the Americans.

"Numbers add up to more than 681, as many detainees were subjected to more than one form of IT [ill-treatment]," the cable said.

The ICRC said all branches of the Indian security forces used these forms of ill-treatment and torture, adding: "The abuse always takes place in the presence of officers and ... detainees were rarely militants (they are routinely killed), but persons connected to or believed to have information about the insurgency".

The cable said the situation in Kashmir was "much better" as security forces no longer roused entire villages in the middle of the night and detained inhabitants indiscriminately, and there was "more openness from medical doctors and the police."

Ten years ago, the ICRC said there were some 300 detention centres, but there are now "a lot fewer". The organisation had never however gained access to the "Cargo Building", the most notorious detention centre, in Srinagar.

The abuse continued, they said, because "security forces need promotions," while for militants, "the insurgency has become a business".

In the same cable, American diplomats approvingly quoted media reports that India's army chief, Lieutenant-General Joginder Jaswant Singh, had "put human rights issues at the centre of an [recent] conference of army commanders".

The ICRC said a "bright spot" was that it had been able to conduct 300 sessions sensitising junior officers from the security forces to human rights.

The cables reveal a careful US policy of pressure in Kashmir, while maintaining a strictly neutral stance.

Two years after the cable on torture was sent, US diplomats in India argued strongly against granting a visa request from the government of India on behalf of a member of the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly who was invited to a conference organised by a think-tank in America.

Usman Abdul Majid, a cable marked secret said, "is a leader of the pro-GOI [government of India] Ikhwan-ul-Musilmeen paramilitary group, which ... is notorious for its use of torture, extra-judicial killing, rape, and extortion of Kashmiri civilians suspected of harbouring or facilitating terrorists."

The diplomats admitted that denying Majid's application might have some repercussions with Indian officials, "especially those from India's Intelligence Bureau who have been close to his case" but said it was essential to preserve a balanced approach to the Kashmir issue following the prior refusal of a visa to the leading separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The cable notes that officials are "unable to verify with evidence the claims against Majid".

US diplomats repeatedly refer to human rights abuses by security and law enforcement agencies within India. In a cable from February 2006, officials reported that "terrorism investigations and court cases tend to rely upon confessions, many of which are obtained under duress if not beatings, threats, or, in some cases, torture".

A year later a brief for the visiting acting coordinator for counter-terrorism, Frank Urbancic, described India's police and security forces as "overworked and hampered by bad ... practices, including the widespread use of torture in interrogations.".
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:21 AM   #342
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There's a very good reason why both the ICRC's own statutes and the Geneva Conventions require it to deal confidentially and directly with governments--not the media--when intervening on behalf of detainees.
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:38 AM   #343
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There's a very good reason why both the ICRC's own statutes and the Geneva Conventions require it to deal confidentially and directly with governments--not the media--when intervening on behalf of detainees.
When/do they usually publicize these sorts of reports at a later date?
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:03 AM   #344
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No. By international law, they can't even be compelled to testify in international criminal tribunals. They do regularly issue news releases offering overall views of the human rights situation in particular countries and regions they work in, but not specifics on violations of human rights law they encounter when visiting detainees. As a last resort, if being denied access altogether, then they might choose to expose some specifics.

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It's the people we are trying to help who may suffer most when our confidential findings wind up in the public domain.

If this happens, the authorities could stop us from visiting certain people or places, making it impossible for us to help them. It can take a very long time to build back trust and regain access.

In the meantime, it's the people who look to the ICRC for protection and assistance, including detainees, displaced groups and families torn apart by war, who bear the brunt of our absence.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:09 AM   #345
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Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
Would you prefer if reporters never uncovered Watergate?
Definitely.


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Not everything that is secret deserves to be so.
True, but wikileaks has no right to decide what deserves to be secret. These are matters of national security, and not about some journalists wet dream.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:13 AM   #346
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you had to expect that answer, diemen.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:16 AM   #347
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Your question to me was irrelevant. First, it's not on me to confirm anything or not, second you ignore the context. My statement was, for the third time, that the accusation of wikileaks, and Assange more specifically, have no regard for the lives of people is false due to the fact that they are taking steps to prevent potentially dangerous information from being released. If indeed it happens that these steps prove not sufficient, then that is certainly of relevance, and would be reason for wikileaks, as well as the media involved, to overthink their policies of publication.
The issue of whether or not any life has been endangered is certainly far more relevant than defending wikileaks on whether they have attempted to take any so called precautions to prevent someone from being injured. How would you like it if wikileaks published any and all private information about you, your family, friends etc?

Publishing classified US military information is at best helping the Taliban and Al Quada, so why do it?
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:23 AM   #348
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the united states should be funding those wars. they were entirely bush administration led.
The operation in Afghanistan has been a NATO operation since it started.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:28 AM   #349
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3.4 million US Citizens had access to this material, it's hardly super top secret. If anyone had wanted to get access to it really badly, they'd have been able to find someone unscrupulous enough to give them it. In fact I'd imagine most of other countries intelligence forces already knew everything that's been posted. If anything the main crux of this whole story, is the complete and utter lack of information security in the US federal and military communication.

If Wikileaks point was to put the US military in danger then I doubt they'd have redacted as much has they have.
I doubt that many people had access to even minimally classified material. I don't think anyone ever said that it was super top secret, but the fact that there are people working for the US government in foreign countries that may now be exposed, or that the location of certain US instilations or movements or procedures in transporting people, supplies, etc has now been made available to the Taliban and Al Quada is not a laughing matter.
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:47 AM   #350
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I doubt that many people had access to even minimally classified material. I don't think anyone ever said that it was super top secret, but the fact that there are people working for the US government in foreign countries that may now be exposed, or that the location of certain US instilations or movements or procedures in transporting people, supplies, etc has now been made available to the Taliban and Al Quada is not a laughing matter.
Although the US hasn't yet started officially keeping track, FAS thinks there were around 2.5 million people with security clearances for confidential material as of 2009. It's not 3.4 million, but does that really help anyone sleep easier at night?

From the recent Washington Post series Top Secret America, we know that an estimated 854,000 people have top secret clearances. (The articles mention that's 1.5 times the population of Washington D.C.)

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Wiki-sourced, so there's some wiggle room on the numbers, but 31% is an awful large unknown. Probably the crew of our secret moon base/Stargate program.
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:11 AM   #351
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It's more about the ongoing misrepresentation in the media of the accusers' claims, and being dismissive of the women making the claims. Maybe that's not the type of thing that adam4bono was talking about, but it's what sprung to my mind because I had just read about it.

Here's a link to a site discussing it, with a link to also watch the video of Moore on Assange.

Michael Moore Calls Assange Rape Case "Hooey"

On Moore's website, he says: "Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." "

Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange | MichaelMoore.com

So ... what? Never, ever believe the women who are accusing Assange of rape? Great.

I don't know if Assange is guilty. But there's no need to belittle the women making the accusations or be dismissive of them. But I suppose the topic of rape culture and rape apologists is an entirely different topic for an entirely different thread.

Anyway. I know most people in here are more interested in talking about WikiLeaks rather than the accusations, so I'll shut up. (For now. )
cori, from what i've seen in the Brit press - i will read MM's comments later (i'm meant to be working right now), although i hear he offered to stand surety for Assange's bail this week - i don't think the general view is about being dismissive of rape victims' claims as that would be unethical and irresponsible, but think people are concerned about the "honeytrap" side of things and the lack of evidence provided in this particular case; it is claimed that if he is extradited to Sweden to be interviewed re. these allegations, he will then be in a jurisdiction where it will be easier for him to be extradited to the US if indictment charges are brought... which is basically why some think it is a stitch-up...
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:32 AM   #352
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Originally Posted by adam4bono View Post
The issue of whether or not any life has been endangered is certainly far more relevant than defending wikileaks on whether they have attempted to take any so called precautions to prevent someone from being injured. How would you like it if wikileaks published any and all private information about you, your family, friends etc?

Publishing classified US military information is at best helping the Taliban and Al Quada, so why do it?
Your attempts at making it more compelling because making it more personal seem to get more desperate. Wikileaks is not publishing that kind of info at all, so what's the point?

This "aiding the enemy" argument often times is all too easily applied to keep everything secret. Like the article about the Espionage Act already pointed out, governments know that any war is brutal and best kept from the public eye, because support may quickly fade if people started to see the side-effects of any war.
The cables concerning the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq are no more recent than 2007, and containing information that does not help the Taliban nor al Quaeda to gain any valuable insights they haven't already had before.
On the other hand, a military that's kept under some amount of public scrutiny finds it less easy to commit war crimes or to go dirty.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:08 AM   #353
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Definitely.
Wow.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:36 AM   #354
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Your attempts at making it more compelling because making it more personal seem to get more desperate. Wikileaks is not publishing that kind of info at all, so what's the point?
1. The Principle is the same.

2. National Security information is vastly more important and sensitive in the grand scheme of things than your private information. Although I don't think it would be right, I would not loose any sleep if Assange published your private information online.


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This "aiding the enemy" argument often times is all too easily applied to keep everything secret. Like the article about the Espionage Act already pointed out, governments know that any war is brutal and best kept from the public eye, because support may quickly fade if people started to see the side-effects of any war.
You think its right to steal sensitive, private, classified information about a war, based on the mere presumption of "war crimes"?

There are logical reasons why the US military keeps certain information private, classified. Its for the security of the people who are serving, friends and allies, and the security of the nation. Wikileaks has no right to expose something that involves the security of the citizens of the United States.

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The cables concerning the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq are no more recent than 2007, and containing information that does not help the Taliban nor al Quaeda to gain any valuable insights they haven't already had before.
On the other hand, a military that's kept under some amount of public scrutiny finds it less easy to commit war crimes or to go dirty
It wouldn't matter if it was information from before both wars started. It is classified and private. If the information is already available to the public at large why is Wikileaks releasing the information? The United States Military and United States State Department do not consider the leaks to be harmless as you claim.

Wikileaks are not experts in warfare and national security and are unlikely to have the ability to accurately determine what the Taliban and Al Quada could learn from such leaks in every case. That is why the information needs to remain classified. Safety and security first. Save the journalism porn for another topic that does not involve security and peoples lives.

The only war crime here if any is the potential aid that is being brought to terrorist organizations. The information is private, classified and wikileaks has no right to make it available to terrorist seeking to murder members of the military forces of the coalition, civilians members, and innocent women and children.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:40 AM   #355
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Wow.
The damage caused by this specific crime pales in comparison to the damage caused to the nation by exposing it.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:45 AM   #356
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Although the US hasn't yet started officially keeping track, FAS thinks there were around 2.5 million people with security clearances for confidential material as of 2009. It's not 3.4 million, but does that really help anyone sleep easier at night?

From the recent Washington Post series Top Secret America, we know that an estimated 854,000 people have top secret clearances. (The articles mention that's 1.5 times the population of Washington D.C.)

Graph time:



Wiki-sourced, so there's some wiggle room on the numbers, but 31% is an awful large unknown. Probably the crew of our secret moon base/Stargate program.
You have to realize that everyone that has access to classified information does not have equal access or the same access as everyone else. There are different levels of security clearance. At least that is how it is supposed to work. The more sensitive the information, the smaller the number of people who have access to it.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:55 AM   #357
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The damage caused by this specific crime pales in comparison to the damage caused to the nation by exposing it.
I could not disagree more. Letting corrupt politicians believe that as long as they keep things secret they are immune from the law of the land is an incredibly dangerous idea, and our country was and is far better off having suffered whatever momentary loss of status it suffered in exchange for not completely abandoning the core principle that those who govern are expected to do so legally and must be held to account when they don't.
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:28 PM   #358
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here's a Newsnight interview with Julian Assange after being granted bail last night:

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Old 12-17-2010, 12:31 PM   #359
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Originally Posted by adam4bono View Post
The damage caused by this specific crime pales in comparison to the damage caused to the nation by exposing it.
I have a hard believing anyone truly believes this...
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:27 PM   #360
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You think its right to steal sensitive, private, classified information about a war, based on the mere presumption of "war crimes"?
You appear to be unfamiliar with the details and motivations of the various actors in this whole case. Bradley Manning is not a Wikileaks employee.

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The damage caused by this specific crime [Watergate] pales in comparison to the damage caused to the nation by exposing it.
A truly authoritarian mindset.

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You have to realize that everyone that has access to classified information does not have equal access or the same access as everyone else. There are different levels of security clearance. At least that is how it is supposed to work. The more sensitive the information, the smaller the number of people who have access to it.
Yes, I was already aware of that distinction.
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