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26 Jul, 2010 16:01

Leaked data on US forces in Afghanistan is outdated – military analyst

One of the biggest leaks in US military history has exposed several cover-ups over the war in Afghanistan, including the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

The whistle-blowing website Wikileaks handed over 90,000 classified documents to British and American newspapers.

Altogether in the reports, there is information on 195 civilians that were killed and 174 wounded.

There are also details of special forces secretly hunting to kill militant leaders without due process or trial.

The revealed documents include information on increased Taliban attacks, as well as NATO fears that Pakistan and Iran are fueling the insurgency. The White House says that although the leaked Pentagon files and field reports were no surprise, they threaten national security.

The director of the American anti-war ANSWER coalition, Brian Becker, says that the US government is twisting the truth.

“The Obama administration’s pronouncement is like an ‘Alice in the Wonderland,’ turning reality upside down,” he said. “They are the ones who are putting American soldiers and Afghans’ lives at risk and taking those lives every day in a war that they know cannot be won. And yet when Wikileaks and people who are whistle blowers tell the truth, then this macabre sort of explanation from the White House is that these people who are telling the truth, exposing lies, are the ones putting the people’s lives in danger. That is so ludicrous, such nonsense.”

Commenting on the Wikileaks report, the US ambassador to Russia John Beyrle says it is unfortunate, but America is still striving for stability in Afghanistan.

RT’s military analyst Evgeny Khrushchev believes that since the data is outdated it can cause no harm to the US forces.

“The whole information that was provided by Wikileaks, more than 90,000 files, dates from 2002 to 2009,” Khrushchev said. “So, there is no way that this information can jeopardize or harm American servicemen in Afghanistan. That’s the key issue.”

“Another point is – what are the political implications of this divulging of data,” the analyst added. “I believe this operational tempo in Afghanistan… whatever is more than one month is already outdated and should be declassified, because it provides main interest not for Al-Qaeda intelligence but for historians. So, let’s put it into perspective. So far, up to this hour, there is no really classified data that has been provided to international media that could jeopardize the operational or strategic intentions of the US,” Khrushchev concluded.

Discussing the topic, RT's Crosstalk host Peter Lavelle said that all of the “leaked” information was available before the reveal.

“All [the US government] says is how gutless and incapable the media has been covering these wars,” Lavelle said. “Most of this information you could have found out yourself if you just try a little bit. Talk to the eyewitnesses… the Internet exists… These stories are out there. The government is confirming to us that we have been lied to about this war and we should listen to people on the ground. And I am not surprised by this. And it shows that mainstream media has been reckless in covering these wars.”

Adding to the discussion, Evgeny Khrushchev said that the Pakistani and US intelligence services are collaborating in Afghanistan.

“The Pakistanis have subcontracted their intelligence services ISI by the CIA, and that’s the whole point,” Khrushchev told. “The whole trouble in Afghanistan regarding the insurgency – the anti Soviet insurgency, the anti-American, anti-anybody insurgency in Afghanistan – has been perpetrated, directed and funded by the US Central Intelligence Agency. They are their partners. The ISI and CIA – they are just in cahoots.”

Afghan Member of Parliament Daoud Sultanzoy believes that some forces are trying to over-politicize the situation.

“It is not a surprise because the material in these documents could be of two natures – some are probably facts and some are just unprocessed raw material, reports of one person or one-sided thoughts,” Sultanzoy told RT. “Everybody is making it bigger than it is, I think. Some of these facts are known to us – Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan, Iran’s involvement in Afghanistan, corruption, the way the Taliban are trained. So I don’t see at as a real surprise, I think somebody is trying to politicize this more than it is.”

According to political analyst Christoph Horstel, the “leak” was orchestrated by interested forces in the US. The subsequent report in The New York Times that accuses Pakistan of double game in this war is alarming, he observed.

“It is very clear that without some kind of tacit OK from US institutions, Wikileaks would not have been able to publish anything,” he said. “It reminds me of the practice of 9/11 when America knew within seconds that this was the bad beardy Osama Bin Laden killing American citizens.”

“What we have here is making use of these leaked documents to make a case that Pakistan is not playing straight in this so-called ‘War against Terror’,” Horstel added. “That is, of course, wrong.”

Jim Brann from the Stop the War coalition in London offered his thoughts on who could be responsible for the documents being leaked.

“In the first place, we have to assume that this is some individual who does not agree with United States’ Afghan policy, and probably wants to expose what has gone on because we know how many wedding parties, for example, have been blown up over the years,” he said.

“It is also possible that this is something that some official within the United States armed forces has leaked,” Brann added. “We had Admiral Mullen saying yesterday that the Pakistan government must do more to locate Osama Bin Laden, for example, and it could be part of that campaign. It is also a campaign waged by Hillary Clinton, who says that somebody in the Pakistan government knows where Osama Bin Laden is.”

Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for British newspaper The Independent, said that the leak story shows that it is the Internet which makes the stories now.

“We have got all these expensive newspapers with huge investigative staff – Washington Post, New York Times in London, in France – and yet, we did not get the story. It was the Internet that got it,” he said. “This, I think, is one of the lessons for us journalists.”