Raw Story, June 18, 2010

Update: Wikileaks “confirms” it has video of US massacre in Afghanistan

Shenon asserted last week that the Pentagon is "desperately" searching for the founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks...

The whistleblower website that posted video of a US Army helicopter firing on unarmed civilians and killing two Reuters employees is ready to do it again, its founder says. (A screenshot of the clip appears at right; video available at this link.)


Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange says he has obtained video of a US "massacre" that took place in Afghanistan in 2009.

The British newspaper The Telegraph claimed that the site had a copy of video from the attack in April.

"The clip will show previously classified footage from US warplanes that had been tapped to bomb Taliban positions in Farah province, Afghanistan last year," the paper said. "The Afghan government said at the time that the strikes by F-18 and B1 planes near Garani killed 147 civilians. An independent Afghan inquiry later put the toll at 86."

Former New York Times investigative reporter Philip Shenon reports:

While denying again that WikiLeaks has the State Department cables, Assange acknowledges in the email today that he is in custody of the May 2009 video that shows the airstrike on the Afghan village of Garani, believed to be the most lethal combat strike in Afghanistan—in terms of civilian deaths—since the United States invaded the country in 2001. Assange writes that “we are still working on” preparations for release of the video of “the Garani massacre.”

The State Department and Pentagon did not immediately comment on Assange’s email message.

American officials have acknowledged in the past that they are concerned about the release of the Garani video, fearing that it could undermine public support for the American military campaign in Afghanistan both in that country and in the United States. Pentagon officials were outraged by WikiLeaks’ release of the Baghdad video this spring.

Shenon asserted last week that the Pentagon is "desperately" searching for the founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks, out of concern he is about to publish classified US State Department cables.

Curiously, the piece cites an American diplomat as saying their chief concern is the leak of communications "prepared by diplomats and State Department officials throughout the Middle East, regarding the workings of Arab governments and their leaders."

The concern over US communications about Arab governments seems slightly surprising in lieu of the fact the cables also "contained information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq," which would, in theory, be of greater concern to Pentagon bosses running US war efforts.

Authorities are said to be seeking Wikilieaks founder Julian Assange, who allegedly came into possession of secret US cables after they were leaked by a 22-year-old Army intelligence officer. The Army specialist, Bradley Manning, was recently arrested and is being held in Kuwait.

Manning reportedly told authorities that he'd leaked reams of State Department communiques.

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