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After a long break, leaks and other depressing fare

April 11, 2010

This last week a video of a US helicopter ripping through two Reuters reporters with machine guns while the pilots bantered like 13-year olds playing Halo was released. In honor of bad news, I’ve posted a couple interesting stories mostly related to the leaking of information (either about the helicopter attack, the organization that leaked the video, or the revelation that the Bush administration knew that most Guantanamo detainees were innocent) and the virtual training that our armed services use, and the ramifications of this training.

Collateral Murder: Here is the video, from the information source/whistleblower/paranoid revolutionary site Wikileaks. NSFW or children. Definitely not safe for children. It’s long, but watch the whole video. It is important for the American public to realize what regime change, surges, and cleaning up insurgents can look like.

The War on Wikileaks and Why it Matters by Glenn Greenwald (Salon): This article would be fascinating even if it wasn’t directly related to the above-linked video of Reuters reporters being shot by an American helicopter. Julian Assange, Wikileaks editor, is an original character (I would not be surprised if there is a movie about this eventually). Beyond an interesting profile and a few odd stories of intelligence agencies trying to stop Wikileaks, this article is important because it points to state and corporate secrecy that has allowed Guantanamo Bay, the financial collapse of Iceland, and all manner of other tragedies and muck-ups to slip by the voting, stockholding, buying public. A question which is not asked, but perhaps should have been: Whether or not we can trust our governments or businesses to tell us what we need to know, can we trust an unelected, rogue individual and his website to determine what should and shouldn’t be classified information?

Meet the Sims…And Shoot Them by P.W. Singer (Foreign Policy): There are a lot of video games involved in training our (and other countries’) soldiers. You should probably know about this.

George W. Bush ‘Knew Guantanamo Prisoners were Innocent’ by Tim Reid (Times Online): According to information given Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aid to Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State, and published  in the Times “George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror.” Oops. Wilkerson “signed the declaration in support of Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese man who was held at Guantánamo Bay from March 2003 until December 2007. Mr Hamad claims that he was tortured by US agents while in custody and yesterday filed a damages action against a list of American officials.” Go get em, Lawrence.

Michael Jackson in Saudi Arabia: Ok, I lied, not everything is depressing today. Watch this three times, and get in a tickle fight with your roommate. Everything will be ok.

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