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U.S. Urges Allies to Crack Down on WikiLeaks

by Philip Shenon Info

Philip Shenon
 

BS Top - Shenon Wiki Crackdown Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds up a copy of the Guardian newspaper during a press conference at the Frontline Club in central London, July 26, 2010. (Photo: Andrew Winning / Reuters) The Obama administration has asked Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allies to consider criminal charges against Julian Assange for his Afghan war leaks. Philip Shenon reports.

The Obama administration is pressing Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allied Western governments to consider opening criminal investigations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to severely limit his nomadic travels across international borders, American officials say.

Officials tell The Daily Beast that the U.S. effort reflects a growing belief that WikiLeaks and organizations like it threaten grave damage to American national security, as well as a growing suspicion in Washington that Assange has damaged his own standing with foreign governments and organizations that might otherwise be sympathetic to his anti-censorship cause.

“It’s amazing how Assange has overplayed his hand,” a Defense Department official marveled. “Now, he’s alienating the sort of people who you’d normally think would be his biggest supporters.”

American officials confirmed last month that the Justice Department was weighing a range of criminal charges against Assange and others as a result of the massive leaking of classified U.S. military reports from the war in Afghanistan, including potential violations of the Espionage Act by Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst in Iraq accused of providing the documents to WikiLeaks.

Now, the officials say, they want other foreign governments to consider the same sorts of criminal charges.

“It’s not just our troops that are put in jeopardy by this leaking,” said an American diplomatic official who is involved in responding to the aftermath of the release of more than 70,000 Afghanistan war logs—and WikiLeaks’ threat to reveal 15,000 more of the classified reports.

“It’s U.K. troops, it’s German troops, it’s Australian troops—all of the NATO troops and foreign forces working together in Afghanistan,” he said. Their governments, he said, should follow the lead of the Justice Department and “review whether the actions of WikiLeaks could constitute crimes under their own national-security laws.”

Last month, a prominent pro-military group in Australia suggested that Assange may have violated Australian law through the release of the Afghan war logs, given the threat the leak may have posed to the lives of Australian troops serving in the NATO-led force.

The Obama administration was heartened by the call this week by Amnesty International and four other human-rights groups for WikiLeaks to be far more careful in editing classified material from the war in Afghanistan to be sure that its public release does not endanger innocent Afghans who may be identified in the documents.

The initial document dump by WikiLeaks last month is reported to have disclosed the names of hundreds of Afghan civilians who have cooperated with NATO forces; the Taliban has threatened to hunt down the civilians named in the documents, a threat that human-rights organizations say WikiLeaks should take seriously.

Philip Shenon: WikiLeaks’ Cry for Help

Philip Shenon: The Scramble to Save Informants
“It’s amazing how Assange has overplayed his hand,” a Defense Department official marveled. “Now, he’s alienating the sort of people who you’d normally think would be his biggest supporters.”

The joint letter by the five groups, first revealed by The Wall Street Journal, was met by a tart response from Assange, who communicates with the outside world largely through the social-networking Internet tool Twitter.

August 10, 2010 | 7:16am
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This comment has been removed by The Daily Beast's editors.

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8:02 am, Aug 10, 2010

JohnnyRocksIt

Wow. Our armed forces have mistakenly killed who knows how many Afgan civilians, tried to cover it up when we mistakenly killed Pat Tillman, tried to cover it up when they smoked a couple of journalists and Assange is the "killer"?

Assange made his own grave mistake when he released the names of Afgan civilians who have helped us. I'm not excusing that, I agree that he has over-played his hand.

However, countering the military's preference to hide the truth when things go wrong is a worthwhile endeavor. We the people have a right to know, a need to know, what impact our military has on the people who we are supposed to be helping -- the good (helping Bibi), the bad (turning civilians against us with collateral damage) and the ugly (covering up the Tillman fratricide).

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9:04 am, Aug 10, 2010

MadCharles

The guy has killed US soldiers in the name of Bush hating.

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9:38 am, Aug 10, 2010

silas1898

Right. Shoot the messenger. The US/NATO has no business trying to conquer Central Asia. It's been a fools errand for 1000 years and Bush the Dumber just waded into that mess. Israel is so proud (and lucky)

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10:10 am, Aug 10, 2010

Europeandesigner

..unfortunately the murder of Pat Tillman was NO "mistake".. he wrote friends & relatives that the "war is a farce, that he is there to GUARD the Opium fields & after his return to the US will become an Activist against the war.."
Pat wrote his own death sentence.. & was murdered in COLD blood.. DISGUSTING!
The wording for the world to see? "Pat Tillman was ambushed by the Taliban.."
I am sorry, but I do NOT believe the Taliban killed the 10 aid-workers.. The serial liar Usuper Kenyan Barry Soetoro, aka Barack Hussein Obama needs a reason to stay in Afghanistan!
If America wouldn't have so many Cowards this liar would not be in the Oval Office.. even the Judges are scared witless!

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10:42 am, Aug 10, 2010

MekhongKurt

In other words, Europeandesigner, in fact you have no interest in the Wkilileaks story but used that as an excuse to worm into some fantasy about Pat Tillman THEN to move to the REAL prize, repeating crap about President Obama that even most of his most radical opponents, such as Angle, the lady running to replace Harry Reid, have said is untrue crap.

In other words, you're trolling. No surprise there; trolls are like germs; they proliferate everywhere.

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12:12 am, Sep 6, 2010

samgyupsal

That's what he's doing you dumbass. How do you catch somebody like him? You make him unwelcome in different countries, which is what this article is about.

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9:07 am, Aug 10, 2010

Europeandesigner

"Killer?" They ought not let you use the computer in the Psych-ward..

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10:51 am, Aug 10, 2010

ROOSTERTLC

MAAAD CHAAARLES,
THE MADRES ARE DOOMED !!!

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12:54 pm, Aug 10, 2010

jessieabby

Maybe you should show him how it's done.

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2:56 pm, Aug 10, 2010

SpaceOdessy2001

MadCharles, I do not know what your educational level is, but I'll bet whatever it is you are one of the many who either can not wrap your mind around the idea that your government can be deceitful, and that on very many occasions it has lied to the American people about a great many things, including this war. Or, you are bewildered by just what has happend with the release of these documents about the Afghanistan War and that there really is a threat to the well being of our troops and civilians. Or, you are just another in a long line of American jingoists and ultra-nationalists who believe in our country "right or wrong!" This is Vietnam all over again. And my slogan then was "My country when right to be kept right; when wrong to be made right!" And how many times have I quoted Thomas Jefferson: "I fear for my country when I consider that God is just!" I suspicion that Assange is our modern day Daniel Ellsberg. Would I bet my life on it? NO! But I am so convinced that in our time corporate America and the industrial-complex and the plutocracy of our country are leading us down the path to hell. And the one thing non of them want is for the truth to show relative their machinations and deceits. "The enemy I see," to quote Bob Dylan, "wears a cloak of decency." Just one final note, how many times must we be reminded of Eisenhower's prophetic warning to beware of the military-industrial complex. Again, we are very frequently meeting with the enemy, and he is us.! With all due respect.

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6:28 pm, Aug 10, 2010

PrincessButtercup

I don't know how in the world the soldier was able to take all those thousands of documents. He's only what, a PFC? And the military has disabled almost all thumb drives on government computers.

Freakish. Terrible lapse in OPSEC.

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7:57 pm, Aug 10, 2010

dalelama

Putting President Potato Head in charge of national data security was the real crime in this saga. Impeachment charges should be brought up against President Urkle immediately for allowing this data to be released. It seems under the Messiah our national security is as safe as our oil rigs and border. What a national disgrace he and Michelle "Take Your Vacation at the Gulf But I Will Hang Out With Eurotrash" Obama are.

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8:51 am, Aug 10, 2010

JohnnyRocksIt

Congratulations. That is the dumbest, most off-topic post I've seen posted on TBD, and that is saying a lot.

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9:11 am, Aug 10, 2010

MadCharles

taxfree, Hang in there. More to come

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9:39 am, Aug 10, 2010

beatrixmcg

But colorful.

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12:40 pm, Aug 10, 2010

Illusioned1

He gets his news from Glen Beck, what do you want from the poor soul :)

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1:07 pm, Aug 10, 2010

dalelama

Not at all, it was our affirmative action President's administration that allowed the highly sensitive data to be leaked.

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4:14 pm, Aug 10, 2010

Illusioned1

dalelama

No, no, no. Military is very separate from the state, even above it, in certain matters. The security of these files was TERRIBLE. The Army let this happen.

But the problem is not - who's fault it is - but rather - why are we fed bullshit for supper by all the news networks. Why aren't they doing their work?

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5:57 pm, Aug 10, 2010

MekhongKurt

dalelama, you either have to present evidence, or keep your wildly . . . um, let's say "imaginative" CRAP to yourself. Your saying something isn't exactly the same thing as the Ten Commandments engraved in stone, except in your own mind.

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12:16 am, Sep 6, 2010

guodwoh

Agree with JohnnyRocksIt about dalelama (????)! Just superfluous name calling whilst slurping your morning coffee is not informative posting.

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9:58 am, Aug 10, 2010

taxfree

Which killer?

America's purported "Defense Secretary"?

Perhaps your twitting about the idiot American "General" who claims to enjoy killing "some" people?

However, if you are deeming Mr. Assange a "murderer", you shall, most likely, keep on supporting a society that, lost to its infection by the madness of greed, seeks to use your sort as "Tools and Fools" who will never DARE join such as "The Tax Refusal" and thereby give your "life" some meaning.

Thank you.

To a safer, saner and more caring world.

To Duty.

Daniel J. Lavigne, Founder
International Humanity House (IHH)

http://www.taxrefusal.com
http://www.StopYourEngines.com

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9:15 am, Aug 10, 2010

Themezas

The allied government did not realize the risk their soldiers run under US leadership, till the documents appeared. I am under the impression that our allies will not give a gold medal to Wiki Leaky as a signal of appreciation, BUT, will take note of the meaning of being a USA allied in a nonsense war. Too many cover up, deception and lack of respect for other lives. Fallujah, Colin Power cooked arguments at the UN, Bush crocodrile tears accusing Sadam, etc etc. Our boys will think twice before joining efforts with the army, with a leadership guided by the army manufaturers and not by the security of our country ,is not an incentive to adhere solidly or being loyal to a cuasi-mercenary army. And all paid by us, the tax payers. No, the allied will take note and will not follow Hillary and her boss.

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9:15 am, Aug 10, 2010

whk2004

So you want hundreds of our allies to die just so you can prove a point?

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11:58 am, Aug 10, 2010

André Rebentisch

Verbal sabber-rattling in the US, lack of awareness and concern among allied nations with troops in Afghanistan. "Through diplomatic and military channels, the Obama administration is hoping to convince Britain, Germany, and Australia, among other allied governments..."

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10:40 am, Aug 10, 2010

MixedContent

I wonder how many of the people currently screaming for Assange's head were bothered at all when Dick Cheney intentionally blew the cover of Valerie Plame's entire covert network of nuclear-proliferation informants. I see that Cheney is still a free man.

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10:40 am, Aug 10, 2010

maddymappo

I was. I do not think anyone has the right to "out" people and endanger agents.

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11:09 am, Aug 10, 2010

Themezas

MixedContent, you are right!, Valery Pame was sold to punnish her husband, not only Bush and associated but Novak the journalist that wanted score the last point of his life (he died later, amen). Exemples are many and are countless, the extrange is that Obama during his campaign , he and his crew hammered over cover ups and made us believe that HE WAS DIFFERENT. today , we know that the magic of white house change the most formidable figther and convert him in the puppet of wall stree, arms producers and the army, I just came from voting few minutes ago, I could not believe that may picks were just independents and Reps and Dems were not elegibles by a former Obama defrender. ..................................

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11:16 am, Aug 10, 2010

jessieabby

Weak argument: Two wrongs don't make a right.

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2:57 pm, Aug 10, 2010

wareagle82

mixed,

Cheney had nothing to do with Valerie Plame, who sent her husband to Nigeria to try and prove a point. Her "outing" was done by Richard Armitage, which probably explains Cheney's freedom. That this small, easily found fact has to be continually explained to you is fairly solid evidence that you offer nothing more than talking points that fit your preconceived notions. Try a bit of research now and again; you might learn something and not sound so uninformed.

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3:18 pm, Aug 10, 2010

dalelama

C'mon wareagle82 when did facts ever get in the way of a liberal's fantasies?

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4:12 pm, Aug 10, 2010

politicolnews

Wikileaks is truth in journalism, sadly this the same truth is lacking in the Obama administration.

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10:42 am, Aug 10, 2010

maddymappo

@politicolnews: There are other virtues besides "truth" such as honor, sagacilty, integrity, love, and humility. Wikileaks has shown none of the above. What they did was egocentric and helped no one and nothing. They just made a bad situation much worse.

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12:16 pm, Aug 10, 2010

maddymappo

I truly wish the comments were less political and more event specific orientated. Left of Right does not matter. What matters is that no matter how "right" or "left" this punk's view is of our military involvement, he has betrayed people who are putting their lives on the line, and likely will cause many deaths and give these forces information about how we operate that they did not know. I do not think one single person has been swayed as their opinion on the war by this dislosure of secret documentation. This was a selfish egocentric manuever to bring public attention to himself. This action will not bring the war to a close and will only if anything prolong it and cause even more than unnecessary suffering. It is a shameful act.

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11:08 am, Aug 10, 2010

silas1898

Such Drama!!

"Putting their lives on the line!! every second!! every day!! (clutches pearls)

They all willingly signed up for this imperialist adventure for the promise of ca$h now and benefits for life.

Our gold-plated, taxpayer funded military can't defeat a rag tag gang of religious lunatics hanging out in caves. But neither can the Russians.

And the band plays on and we keep buying those $1000 bottles of Champaign waiting for the ephemeral VICTORY!! Woo f**king Hoo!!

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11:37 am, Aug 10, 2010

maddymappo

How sobering. Now I get it. Our soldiers are enlisted not drafted, so their lives are paid for and we do not have an obligation to keep them safe because they are getting rich on the tax payer's dime. Geesh! and to think they do not believe that our human ancestors crossbred with neanderthals.

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1:38 pm, Aug 10, 2010

REATTY

I don't think the innocent Afghan civilians bought into being betrayed for helping us.

Cash now and benefits for life. Not really much cash now and questionable benefits for life when you come home in a body bag or with multiple limb loss or severe head injuries. Do you really think these poor kids would enlist if they had any other alternative in this economy? Get the antifreeze out of your veins.

BTW, champagne, not champaign.

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8:03 am, Aug 13, 2010

Arol Wulf-Zendik

the U.S. government is getting worse and worse. Frightened of any truth entering the conversation. I hope the other governments give them the finger! They deserve it. They are liars and hypocrites and responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people and are constantly revving up for another war. Shameful. They are in the same class as far as any humanity is concerned as Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, any of the worse countries you can think of. Leave Assange alone, he's doing a great job! This government will never win these wars and are causing more heartache and pain as they stay in countries that want the U.S. out.

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11:25 am, Aug 10, 2010

billcale

we are going to end up isolated, i would not compare us to nazi germany , but maybe we are like the old ussr now or like the usa during the cold war, two brutal superpowers marching across the globe, killing and torturing for conquest, and then there was one...and we needed a new boogie man??

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11:50 am, Aug 10, 2010

wareagle82

arol,

here is an experiment for you to consider - go to any of the countries you allege us to be turning into and try doing what you are free to do here. Let me know what should be done with your corpse afterward. That you are okay with the names of informants made public, so that they can be killed, says far more about your humanity that anyone else's.

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3:21 pm, Aug 10, 2010

MekhongKurt

wareagle82, I was just this second considering responding to arol, then I saw your comment. You said it as well or better than I could, so I defer to -- and agree with -- you. BTW, I lived in mainland China several years -- starting in the mid-1980's, so I have some direct experience there to back up my support for your take.

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12:25 am, Sep 6, 2010

billcale

as a moderate democrat with libertarian sympathies may i point out something? this isnt bush doing this you cant blame bush, this is a leftish obama administration calling for rounding up whistle blowers, wikieaks is truth and the truth is there is something terribly wrong with any administration silencing the truth

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11:41 am, Aug 10, 2010

MekhongKurt

billcale, what about the names of the cooperative (with us) Afghans whose names weren't redacted and who are now under threat of death by the Taliban? Without debating whether or not this is truth unmasked -- I'm willing to say it is, for sake of discussion (and because I believe that's likely the case), but it still troubles me that those Afghans' names weren't redacted.

That said, elsewhere I've read wild allegations that Assange *deliberately* didn't redact their names, the theory being that he hoped some of them would indeed get murdered -- and their murders put squarely on the doorstep of the U.S. government. That's conceivable -- but barely; I'd have to have a whole lot of evidence (which babbling wildly in a comments thread most assuredly is not).

Also, billcale, do you agree that sometimes it can be very difficult to distinguish between a person who is a genuine whistle-blower performing a valuable public service and a person who has his or her own secret agenda? In this case, while Assange indeed may have performed a valuable public service by releasing the Pentagon documents, I think it's both safe and fair to say he sure damaged his own cause by failing to redact ALL names (and any other information that might enable the Taliban, al-Qaeda, etc. to indentify individuals they wish to target). If I'm correct -- and I realize there are those with other views -- then I would say he has weakened his own argument of performing a service and opened himself up to charges of being a threat to U.S./NATO security in both Iraq and Afghanistan. How? If, for example, the Taliban capture an Afghan who has cooperated with the U.S. and/or our allies, the Tailban could extract information about some of our troops and other personnel through nifty little interrogation sessions, complete with unimaginable torture, at which the Taliban et al excel. I would probably break were I in that Afghan's position, and I'm not ashamed to admit it (though I wish I could think of myself as a steely-eyed, square-jawed hero, I live with the knowledge that many, maybe most of us, are not).

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12:36 am, Sep 6, 2010

abeckman

Assange is a hero! You fools here think you have a clue what's really going on?? Please...

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12:26 pm, Aug 10, 2010

Kno Buddee

According to the information released by WikiLeaks, war crimes are committed daily (or almost daily) by US forces in the Middle east & have been for the past 7 years. Blatant crimes are viewable on film at: collateralmurder.com
Anyone familiar with international law & the geneva conventions - can see that there is no question about it. Terrible, needless, war crimes are being financed by the American people. We have every right to know the truth, and we have a responsibility to pursue Justice. Those who want to cover it all up are criminals who must be brought to justice.

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12:29 pm, Aug 10, 2010

Kno Buddee

According to the information released by WikiLeaks, war crimes are committed daily (or almost daily) by US forces in the Middle east & have been for the past 7 years. Blatant war crimes are viewable on film at: collateralmurder.com as anyone familiar with international law can see, there is no question about it. Terrible, needless, war crimes (women and children being murdered) are being financed by the American people.We have every right to know the truth, and we have a responsibility to pursue Justice. Those who want to cover it all up are criminals who must not be allowed to ignore the rule of law with impunity. The villains in the pentagon, are desperately trying to make the heroes (WhistleBlowers) look like bad guys.

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12:42 pm, Aug 10, 2010

billcale

amen

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11:10 am, Aug 11, 2010

Kno Buddee

According to the information released by WikiLeaks, war crimes are committed daily (or almost daily) by US forces in the Middle east & have been for the past 7 years. Blatant war crimes are viewable on film at: collateralmurder.com as anyone familiar with international law can see, there is no question about it. Terrible, needless, war crimes (women and children being murdered) are being financed by the American people.We have every right to know the truth, and we have a responsibility to pursue Justice. Those who want to cover it all up are criminals who must not be allowed to ignore the rule of law with impunity. The villains in the pentagon, are desperately trying to make the heroes (WhistleBlowers) look like bad guys.

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12:44 pm, Aug 10, 2010

Illusioned1

you forgot all the reports about women and children being raped by soldiers... I hope Assange finds a way to report on that...

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5:54 pm, Aug 10, 2010

ROOSTERTLC

I'LL TELL YOU RIGHT NOW,
BUSH HATING WILL BE HERE UNTIL THE DAY THAT EVIL LITTLE MAN DIES !!!
AS FAR AS WIKILEAKS GOES,
IT IS A VERY GOOD THING THAT THESE PEOPLE EXIST.
WE NEED TRANSPARENCY WHEN IT COMES TO OUR DEFENSE DEPARTMENT.
WE CAN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH OUR MONEY AND OUR PRECIOUS SONS AND DAUGHTERS.
THEN JUST MAYBE OUR COUNTRY WILL COME TO IT'S SENSES AND STOP SUPPORTING ALL WARS !!!
HOW MANY OF OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS DYING AND BEING MAIMED DOES IT TAKE FOR US TO REALIZE THEY ARE DYING FOR THE CORRUPT AND POWERFUL MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX?
WHAT IS UP WITH YOU PEOPLE?
DID YOU ALL PLAY "army" when you were children?
DO YOU CONDONE DEATH ORDERED BY POLITICIANS?
DO YOU THINK THEY ARE GOING TO KILL US OVER HERE?
WELL, YOU ARE GOING TO GET KILLED OVER HERE IF YOU CONTINUE TO ALLOW THE KILLING OF THEM IN THEIR COUNTRIES.
AND WE WILL DESERVE IT !!!
YOU KNOW ALLEGEDLY 19 MEN ATTACKED THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND WHAT DID WE DO? WE BOMED AND KILLED OVER A MILLION INNOCENT HUMAN BEINGS FOR IT.
TALK ABOUT GROSS UNNECESSARY OVERKILL !!!!!
SO I SAY THE MORE WIKILEAKS THE BETTER.
YOU ALL NEED TO GROW UP AND STOP BEING SO ANTAGONISTIC AND CONFRONTATIONAL.
A GOOD MARRIAGE THAT LASTS IS BECAUSE OF FRIENDSHIP AND COMPROMISE.
THAT IS TRUE LOVE.
THAT IS HOW WE SHOULD TREAT THE REST OF THE WORLD.
WHEN WE ERADICATE THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND A FEW OTHER COMPLEXES THAT HAVE REARED THEIR UGLY HEADS THEN AND ONLY THEN CAN WE BEGIN TO HEAL THE WOUNDS OF WAR !!!!!

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12:53 pm, Aug 10, 2010
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