It is clear why the Pentagon went on the offensive against Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, they were afraid of having their missteps and misdeeds revealed to the public.
That said, the argument they used against him – basically that the “indiscriminate” release of these Afghan War documents could possibly reveal the names of individuals who are collaborating with U.S. and NATO forces thus endangering their lives and the lives of their handlers – has enough merit that it was perfect bait for a weak media both looking for the next story to fill their 24 hour news cycle and wanting to curry favor with the military establishment that sees them as part of the problem rather than the solution.
Let’s repeat that. Despite Gates’ ongoing assertion that “the initial assessment in no way discounts the risk to national security” and that “there is still concern Afghans named in the published documents could be retaliated against by the Taliban,” even the DoD and NATO admit that the WikiLeaks release “did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods” and that “there has not been a single case of Afghans needing protection or to be moved because of the leak.” Nonetheless, the accusation that WikiLeaks and Assange have “blood on their hands” was — as intended — trumpeted around the world for weeks without much question or challenge.
It’s been clear from the start that — despite the valid concern that WikiLeaks should have been more vigilant in redacting the names of innocent Afghan civilians — the Pentagon (and its media and pundit servants) were drastically exaggerating the harms, as The Associated Press noted on August 17:
Of course it is not too late for the media to publicly apologize possibly redeeming the credibility of Assange but that would require both a conscience and willingness to look critically at their own actions.