Afghanistan! Wkileaks REVEALS the second unnamed “country X”
WikiLeaks cannot be complicit in the censorship of victim state X. The country in question is Afghanistan.
The Intercept stated that the US government asserted that the publication of this name might lead to a ’rise in violence’. Such claims were also used by the administration of Barack Obama to refuse to release further photos of torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
While one might seriously question the moral exceptionalism which would deny another nation and its people the right to react to a mass rights infringement in a manner of its own choosing, such claims of risk by the US government have in any event consistently fallen short.
WikiLeaks has years of experience with such false or overstated claims made by US officials in their attempts to delay or deny publication.
In 2010, the US State Department falsely claimed that WikiLeaks’ release of diplomatic cables would “place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals.” The Pentagon also repeatedly made such false claims.
To this day we are not aware of any evidence provided by any government agency that any of our eight million publications have resulted in harm to life.
In 2013 US officials admitted under oath that they had been unable to find any such evidence. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted that the US government’s reaction to our publications had been “significantly overwrought”.
The United States government’s claims to the media lack credibility. Not only has it not bothered to contact WikiLeaks pre-publication in this matter, it has been aware of the material obtained by Edward Snowden for almost a year. Almost every office in Washington DC has specifically been aware of the material relating to the censored victim country since at least March 18, 2014, when the Washington Post issued a front page story on the subject (with the identity of Afghanistan censored). It is the US government’s “responsibility” to protect its assets. It has had an egregious amount of time to do so. Given the above we believe any ongoing perceived risks to be fanciful or willfully embraced by the US goverment. But we also reject the implication that it is the role of the international press to protect US assets from arrest for the mass infringement of the rights of another nation’s people.
We know from previous reporting that the National Security Agency’s mass interception system is a key component in the United States’ drone targeting program. The US drone targeting program has killed thousands of people and hundreds of women and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia in violation of international law. The censorship of a victim state’s identity directly assists the killing of innocent people.
Although, for reasons of source protection we cannot disclose how, WikiLeaks has confirmed that the identity of victim state is Afghanistan. This can also be independently verified through forensic scrutiny of imperfectly applied censorship on related documents released to date and correlations with other NSA programs
Both the Washington Post and The Intercept stated that they had censored the name of the victim country at the request of the US government.
The tool the NSA is using to do this is called Somalget, which Greenwald said could “vacuum up and store the actual content of every conversation.”
The Somalget programme records actual conversations before storing them for up to 30 days, when the agency wipes them from their records.
Unlike other programs which simply collect the metadata of phone calls – source, destination and time but not content of conversations – Somalget allows NSA agents to effectively go back in time to listen to conversations.
Documents leaked by Edward Snowden to Greenwald said:
“[W]e buffer certain calls that MAY be of foreign intelligence value for a sufficient period to permit a well-informed decision on whether to retrieve and return specific audio content.”
The documents also claim that the use of the Somalget program in the Bahamas and Afghanistan “has led to the discovery of international narcotics traffickers and special-interest alien smugglers.
Details of the NSA’s actions in Afghanistan had already been revealed in previous leaks. In a book written by German newspaper Der Spiegel about the Snowden leaks it reported that using a program called Acid Wash, the NSA was collecting between 30 and 40 million telephony metadata records per day in the country.
WikiLeaks reveals Afghanistan is second country where NSA records all mobile phone calls hours after saying it would delay announcement, group identifies ‘Country X’
The Washington Post and The Intercept said the name of the country should not be revealed for fear it would “lead to deaths”.
In its reports, which revealed the Bahamas as one of “two or more” countries targeted by the NSA’s powerful Somalget programme, they hid it under “Country X”.
But Assange, who called the programme an “ongoing crime of mass espionage”, opposed the alleged “censorship”, which he said was made at the request of the US government.
“We do not believe it is the place of media to ‘aid and abet’ a state in escaping detection and prosecution for a serious crime against a population,” Assange said.
“By denying an entire population the knowledge of its own victimization, this act of censorship denies each individual in that country the opportunity to seek an effective remedy, whether in international courts, or elsewhere,” he said.
Wikileaks has followed through on its promise to reveal the second country where the US government is monitoring all phones, revealing that all phone calls in Afghanistan are being monitored by the NSA’s hugely powerful Somalget tool.
Sources: https://wikileaks.org/WikiLeaks-statement-on-the-mass.html , http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/wikileaks-reveals-afghanastan-second-country-having-all-phone-calls-monitored-by-nsa-1449682 , http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1518580/wikileaks-reveals-afghanistan-second-country-having-all-mobile-phone