A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Posts tagged ‘Wikileaks’

The Afghan War meets Wikileaks

This week an incredible amount of information on the war in Afghanistan has been “released” through a site known as “Wikileaks.” Wikileaks is a sister to Wikipedia, an online resource that “democratizes” information sharing by making it accessible to anyone willing to put information up on the Internet.

The information is vetted before becoming public, so people cannot post info that is blatantly fictional. For example to claim that Barack Obama is actually from Kenya would not be permitted, too bad FOX news does not have the same ethical approach.

These sites are a grassroots way of getting information out to the public without having to rely on the mainstream media machines to tell the story. The importance of this is evident as soon as you begin to read the leaked documents. These documents provide the fullest picture of the war on the ground that we have ever been provided. A picture that looks into the frustration and concerns of the soldiers, the human rights violations of the people of Afghanistan, and the clear troubles of our relationship with Pakistan.

This is the information we need to be able to understand and collectively support or dissent on this war.  How can we continue to put human lives at risk when we are not permitted to know the fullness of what is happening, what is working and what has become a dangerous and miserable failure.

Check out the story in the link below and take a look at Wikileaks, Truthout, Leftturn, or any alternative news source you prefer. The truth may set us free, but first we need access to it.


Soldier's gun at a lookout point, Afghanistan.

“We humbly ask you what we can do…”

Below is a letter and action from Iraq Veterans Against the War. It is addressing a video of an attack on a neighborhood in Iraq that was posted to Wikileaks.

Wikileaks obtained the video because Reuters Press had filed a Freedom of Information Act request because two of their own reporters were killed in this attack. The government’s explanation to them at the time was that no civilians were involved.

At the bottom of the letter is the video. It is a very disturbing film and yet shows a reality that is inescapable for the people of Iraq.

Equally important, I believe, is the letter written by veterans who were involved in the event. If you have time for only one thing – please read this letter. It is a road map for how to get out of this war and dignify the many victims. If you have time for two things – please click the link at the end and sign their petition.  Peace Liz

From Current and Former Members of the U.S. Military

Peace be with you.

To all of those who were injured or lost loved ones during the July 2007 Baghdad shootings depicted in the “Collateral Murder” Wikileaks video:

We write to you, your family, and your community with awareness that our words and actions can never restore your losses.

We are both soldiers who occupied your neighborhood for 14 months. Ethan McCord pulled your daughter and son from the van, and when doing so, saw the faces of his own children back home. Josh Stieber was in the same company but was not there that day, though he contributed to the your pain, and the pain of your community on many other occasions.

There is no bringing back all that was lost. What we seek is to learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to tell others of our experiences and how the people of the United States need to realize we have done and are doing to you and the people of your country. We humbly ask you what we can do to begin to repair the damage we caused.

We have been speaking to whoever will listen, telling them that what was shown in the Wikileaks video only begins to depict the suffering we have created. From our own experiences, and the experiences of other veterans we have talked to, we know that the acts depicted in this video are everyday occurrences of this war: this is the nature of how U.S.-led wars are carried out in this region.

We acknowledge our part in the deaths and injuries of your loved ones as we tell Americans what we were trained to do and what we carried out in the name of “god and country”. The soldier in the video said that your husband shouldn’t have brought your children to battle, but we are acknowledging our responsibility for bringing the battle to your neighborhood, and to your family. We did unto you what we would not want done to us.

More and more Americans are taking responsibility for what was done in our name. Though we have acted with cold hearts far too many times, we have not forgotten our actions towards you. Our heavy hearts still hold hope that we can restore inside our country the acknowledgment of your humanity, that we were taught to deny.

Our government may ignore you, concerned more with its public image. It has also ignored many veterans who have returned physically injured or mentally troubled by what they saw and did in your country. But the time is long overdue that we say that the value of our nation’s leaders no longer represent us. Our secretary of defense may say the U.S. won’t lose its reputation over this, but we stand and say that our reputation’s importance pales in comparison to our common humanity.

We have asked our fellow veterans and service-members, as well as civilians both in the United States and abroad, to sign in support of this letter, and to offer their names as a testimony to our common humanity, to distance ourselves from the destructive policies of our nation’s leaders, and to extend our hands to you.

With such pain, friendship might be too much to ask. Please accept our apology, our sorrow, our care, and our dedication to change from the inside out. We are doing what we can to speak out against the wars and military policies responsible for what happened to you and your loved ones. Our hearts are open to hearing how we can take any steps to support you through the pain that we have caused.

Solemnly and Sincerely,
Josh Stieber, former specialist, U.S. Army
Ethan McCord, former specialist, U.S. Army

See letter’s signatures

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