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Monday, January 10, 2011

Afghan War Rug diaries... perspective does matter

Wikileaks has given us many surprises over the last few months.   
One was the release of thousands of documents related to the war in Afghanistan.  
In an American military report it was mentioned in brief that 4 Canadian Soldiers were wounded in action and 4 Canadian Soldiers were killed by shrapnel from an American bomb. 

The Invasion of Afghanistan and the Battle of Tora Bora,
the Afghan War Rug diaries... perspective does matter
"As the US government assesses the impact of the wiki leaks revelations on military operations in Afghanistan, the posting of the material online has unveiled another previously unknown incident.
The documents suggests that four Canadian soldiers who died in 2006 were actually killed when a US jet dropped a bomb on a building they were occupying."
Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab reports from Toronto.
Master Corporal Jody Mitic (a sniper who fought in the battle) put it more succinctly. "I was there and our boys were not killed by friendly fire.  Ask anyone from Charlie Company (RCR).  Friendly fire my ass ..." wrote Mitic on Twitter.  
"We were certain, based on the enormous number of soldiers and sailors and airmen and airwomen that we had in that fight, what occurred that day," retired General Rick Hillier said in an interview with CBC News in Ottawa.  According to an incident report filed by the U.S. military unit leaked over the weekend by the website WikiLeaks, four Canadian soldiers were killed and seven others and an interpreter were wounded on Sept. 3, 2006, when a jet dropped a bomb on a building they occupied during the second day of Operation Medusa.
 The released war diary entry was "written by people as first response who don't know what they're talking about and have the facts wrong." Hillier added "When I was a commander on operations, we always had a rule — first reports are wrong, and the second reports are wrong and the third reports are wrong." Hillier said.
"Only after that do you start to get the validity and the truth [to] come out."

 No other wording or reports but simply that entry into the war diary.....
In Canada many people that handle the sensitive levels of information is actually quite low. The confidential (like medical records and other military data) level is held by almost all members.
In the United States alone there are something in the order of 854 000 people with top secret clearance in various roles of government and military agencies.
This level of secrecy has allowed for no oversight and no ability to control the information flow.

"Over 45 government agencies and over 2000 companies support top secret work and research."

So what does all this mean?
In the case of this American diary report it could have been easily quashed the day of the battle by interviewing the troops on the scene and its quite possible that the entry in the war diary would have been changed or amended to what actually happens......
How can security be kept when groups such as Wikileaks dump information onto an unsuspecting populace and a terrified government and diplomatic structure?

If we started looking at information not as a commodity to be sold, bartered or used but as simply information.  If something gets written down, given enough time, that information will be released if not by a friendly agency then by one that means harm.
There are no more blank spots on the map.
Anyone can join dots, make connections, follow trails that lead to a blank area of information and that will lead to an new information flow.  If a government does not want to be embarrassed they simply have to release the information when either its found to be true or when its based on real reports...
Truth only hurts the guilty... that's why soldiers promote the truth.  

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