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Smith played down the effects on Australia of the latest Iraq documents leak, saying we have no military personnel serving in Iraq. “I do have a certain restlessness here. Cleg, the United Nations and several human rights organisations called on the US to investigate claims that it condoned torture and perpetrated war crimes. “So, therefore, the danger is, in that respect, less. The British Ministry of Defence on the weekend warned the WikiLeaks documents could endanger British forces but the country’s deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has since said the allegations of killing, torture and abuse in Iraq were “extremely serious” and “needed to be looked at”. It still does potentially give people an insight into the way in which we do operations and does potentially put people at risk who have assisted us in the past,” he said. I find it a bit hard to be confident that they have not put someone at risk or perhaps exposed some sort of operational procedures,” he said, adding he could have walked out of the ONA in 2003 with “a brief case full of incriminating documents” but chose not to. Despite US officials condemning WikiLeaks for both the Afghanistan and Iraq leaks, a US Department of Defense investigation into the Afghan documents found there were no “sensitive intelligence sources and methods compromised by the disclosure”. A defence taskforce will pore through the leaks and investigate the implications for Australia, Defence Minister Stephen Smith said on Sunday. It delayed the release after criticisms that informants named in the documents could face retaliation. This week General George Casey, who was in charge of US force in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, said the US did not “turn a blind eye” to torture in Iraq and all soldiers were instructed to report any allegations of abuse. “I think even if you’re a whistleblower you do have an obligation not to be reckless, to not put lives at risk, to not disclose genuine secrets, to not disclose operational capabilities or technical capabilities.”

Another prominent whistleblower, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, has praised Assange and attended a press conference alongside him this week. He said the same taskforce investigated the previous Afghanistan leaks and concluded that while a few of the 77,000 US military files mentioned Australian operations, the leaks caused no damage. CNN reported that there had not been a single case of Afghans needing protection or to be moved because of the leak. WikiLeaks has promised to release a further 15,000 documents shortly relating to the war in Afghanistan.

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Photo: AP Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks at a press conference following the release of the Iraq documents.

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Photo: AP An Iraqi policeman shows his bruises, allegedly caused by torturers, as he is treated at Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad, Iraq. But Wilkie, speaking on the 7pm Project last night, said while WikiLeaks had an important role to play in outing official misconduct, it should not be reckless and put people at risk. He said he found it “fascinating” that the Iraqi government had labelled the leaked documents a fabrication while the US government hasn’t. “In our release of these 400,000 documents about the Iraq war, the intimate detail of that war from the U.S. WikiLeaks’ Australian founder Julian Assange, who in July released another huge war documents cache relating to the Afghanistan war,said this week his goal was to seek out the truth. perspective, we hope to correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war and which has continued on since the war officially concluded,” he said.

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Independent MP and prominent whistleblower Andrew Wilkie says WikiLeaks may have crossed the line when it released 400,000 classified US military documents relating to the Iraq war. The say the documents identify about 300 Iraqis who worked with the US military and these people could be endangered by their exposure. The US Defence Department and the Pentagon have strongly condemned the unauthorised release of the documents, saying it posed a risk to US national security and relations with Iraq. The online whistleblower site’s document dump over the weekend revealed that US officials failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder in Iraq. The leaks also indicate that the number of Iraqi civilians killed is 15,000 more than the US revealed during the Bush administration.

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Photo: Gary Schafer Independent Andrew Wilkie wipes away tears after concluding his anti Afghanistan war speech. “I’m a whistleblower myself, I support whistleblowers, I support the role WikiLeaks has generally to publicise official misconduct, but if they have crossed the line and if they are genuinely putting people at risk then I think that’s unacceptable.”

Wilkie said he believed it would have been “very difficult” for WikiLeaks to comb through the war logs to ensure that there was no material that could endanger innocent people. “I have a high level of confidence that this is fair dinkum material,” said Wilkie, a former army officer and intelligence analyst who resigned from his position at the Office of National Assessments (ONA) in 2003 over concerns that the Howard government invaded Iraq for political purposes.
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How to protect whistleblowers
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Independent MP Andrew Wilkie talks to Tim Lester about the need to have a law to protect sources who secretly give information to journalists.

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