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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/27/10

WikiLeaks: Time to Celebrate, Time to Mourn

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If Ellsberg is the most important whistle-blower in U.S. history, Internet activist Assange is probably the most important aider-and-abetter of whistle-blowers using technology that Ellsberg couldn't have imagined as he labored over his now ancient Xerox machine.

Launched less than four years ago with a focus on helping Chinese dissidents, the [donation-supported http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Special:Support] WikiLeaks has continuously posted material embarrassing to business and governments. In April, WikiLeaks posted horrific video of a 2007 U.S. Apache gunship attack in Baghdad that killed a dozen civilians, including two Reuters journalists.

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The video leak led to the jailing of 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning suspected now in the Afghan leak. To its credit, WikiLeaks is raising money for Manning's defense.

This is also a time to mourn.

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Because some things don't seem to change like endless war, based on deceit.

Nearly forty years after the Pentagon Papers were leaked by Democratic military analyst Ellsberg, a Democratic White House seems bent on public deception and cheer leading on behalf of an immoral war that can't be won.

Team Obama decided to escalate the Afghanistan folly, knowing all that the public now has access to thanks to WikiLeaks such as NATO killing of [so many civilians

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/25/afghanistan-civilian-deaths-rules-engagement] ("blue on white" events); Task Force 373, a ["black" special forces unit http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/25/task-force-373-secret-afghanistan-taliban] that sometimes kills kids or Afghan allies as it hunts down insurgents; widespread Afghan animosity toward U.S. forces; allied troops firing on each other ("blue on blue" incidents); a steady increase in Taliban attacks.

All the color-coded [military jargon http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/datablog/2010/jul/25/wikileaks-afghanistan-war-logs-glossary] can't obscure the reality that dishonesty often infects the original incident reports or intervenes soon after, before any public statements are issued. Remember the lies about [Pat Tillman's death http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003680058_pat25.html].

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Jeff Cohen was director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he was an associate professor of journalism. He founded the progressive media watch group FAIR.org in 1986.

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