Thursday, July 29, 2010

Japan's Doves and Hawks!

For how long?

Again! Here is an other mystery of Japanese politics. The continuing business and industrial relation that started between Japan and China 30 years ago when Deng Xiaoping opened the door to foreign capital and transform China economy to the level that we know today... proved to be successful... for China.

Today, there are flocks of Chinese tourists in Tokyo, Nikko, Yokohama, Kyoto, Nara, Nagasaki, and without them the local tourist sector and escorts economy would suffer even more than it already does with hotels half-empty the whole working week and shops who can't afford more than 1 staff.

While I was shopping the other day on Ginza and strolling around the boutiques and luxury shops in the hot weather, I could recognize that 3/4 of the people near me were not speaking Japanese. They all spoke Chinese. Apparently they are the cream of Chinese economy, their noisy enthusiasm and clamors for the simple joy to be a tourist, shopping in a rich neighboring nation such as Japan, was a comfortable vision after all the news I had read last days about the military training of US - South Korea military forces held in Japan sea / East sea and the threat of nuclear fire to strike on Japan's heads. Mine included.

Packets in the hands, running from shops to cafes and restaurants, queuing hours in front of a famous beer house on Ginza, laughing loudly in groups, sitting on the floor and smoking a packet of cigarettes while watching the Japanese rare crowds, except elegant young women and their mothers, the Chinese tourists always seem very comfortable and add a joyful expected touch of Far East exoticism to Tokyo town center. Here too, it looks more and more like any city town centers in the world with same famous brands harbored on top of the high buildings, like in Paris, London, Rome, New York or Shanghai.

The only grumpy ones who do not seem to be happy of such touristic success are the Japanese military industrial lobby and their scholar' s "voices" who see a formidable danger into having these Chinese and what some Japanese right wingers described as PRC advanced 5th column invading, with their bad manners, the archipelago's shopping streets. And all what is hiding behind the Yellow and China Seas. Yes I heard it.

Hey, they are not illegal immigrants! They are tourists!

While young generations of Japanese, Chinese, Koreans go to study same topics in similar universities, wear the same clothes and listen to the same music and rhythms, and look alike more and more, the elder Japanese and right-wing ultra conservatives continue to agitate the old drum of the foreign threats, with the aid of western foreign administrations who are not quite sure either of what is going on exactly in Japan's power headquarters.


"An advisory panel to Prime Minister Naoto Kan has compiled a preliminary report that if implemented would see a more robust military and less reliance on a diminished United States, while marking a sharp departure from the current national security policy. The draft rejects the long-held notion that Japan only needs a bare minimum defense capability and emphasizes a redeployment of Self-Defense Forces members within Japan to meet the nation's most pressing defense needs. The report clearly lays out the threats posed by China and North Korea. It also proposes that Japan strengthen its role in order to deepen the alliance with the United States."


I guess there are a lot of reasons why Japan should build its own defense posture and use its defense industry, build a better sovereign future, get ready in case of any contingency, and adapt the society to the current pattern of this western world that some Japanese people dream so much to mimic.

But I am wondering about tomorrow when I read that Keidanren, the Employers association, has lots of ideas in its "Proposal for the new National Defense Program Guidelines"

And what is to understand when one can read that "Nippon Keidanren, the Japan's largest business lobby, has called for an easing of the restriction, which has prohibited the country's defense industry from joining multinational projects or that Japan is set to allow exports of missile interceptors it is developing jointly with the United States."

By the way, dear readers "attentifs et patentés", I am told that it would involve lots of fresh cooperation in the shipbuilding (understand "military") projects here and there with US and European firms...

I was told the other day that the Cabinet and the MOD of Japan would modify its doctrine and re focus its Ground forces and Navy's strategy more towards the Okinawa and the Southern Seas, but that the planet Japan is divided between

1) its fatal attraction with war building preparation, step by step and little by little, as the excellent Richard J. Samuels***, Cornell Studies in Security Affairs , wrote in "Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia".

2) the choice to go "business as usual" legitimate design which is to live in peace as constitutionally underlined, to tear to shred any remilitarization's plan (and just bring assistance such as PKO or basic protection plans) not to frighten her Asia neighbors.

Exactly what the "market" illustrates nowadays with these hordes of Chinese and other tourists peacefully shopping in Ginza or Yokohama Motomachi.

Indeed! This ought to be one difficult moment to be able to balance political fragile equilibrium between "Japan's Doves and Hawks". Those lately seem to be playing hard games. To them, strongly advised is a little walk around Ginza and other Japan's wonders. They are genuine peace loving attractions for the benefit of both the nation and the individuals' bank deposits.

*** 2 articles about Richard J. Samuels "Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia"

"To demystify Japan's foreign policy behavior: Samuels has done a masterly job of relating Tokyo's grand strategy to international relations theory. Japan's defeat in World War II set the stage for the Japanese to rethink their policies, but the spirit of pacifism and antimilitarism was never as binding as many foreigners thought it was. According to Samuels, the end of the Cold War forced Japanese strategic thinkers to deal with four new threats: the rise of China, a miscreant North Korea, the possibility of abandonment by the United States, and the relative decline of the Japanese economy. One way or another, the Japanese have had to come up with new policies -- and in the process they have also had to form new connections."


"Securing Japan begins by tracing the history of Japan's grand strategy—from the Meiji rulers, who recognized the intimate connection between economic success and military advance, to the Konoye consensus that led to Japan's defeat in World War II and the postwar compact with the United States. Samuels shows how the ideological connections across these wars and agreements help explain today's debate. He then explores Japan's recent strategic choices, arguing that Japan will ultimately strike a balance between national strength and national autonomy, a position that will allow it to exist securely without being either too dependent on the United States or too vulnerable to threats from China. Samuels's insights into Japanese history, society, and politics have been honed over a distinguished career and enriched by interviews with policy-makers and original archival research. Securing Japan is a definitive assessment of Japanese security policy and its implications for the future of East Asia."

"The Japanese government said that 678,000 tourists visited Japan in June 2010, an increase of 59.7% compared to last year. The increase comes mainly from Asian tourists. Tourists from China have seen their number multiplied by 3 to 104,000 and were to visit the country of the rising sun. South Koreans remain in first position (179,400 visitors) to the Taiwanese (113,900). Overall in the first half of 2010, 4.2 million tourists visited Japan in an increase of 35.8% compared to 2009".

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An Intelligent Education & the Thrill of Enterprise: Yokohama Science Frontier School

Time is a precious resource, there's just never enough of it. In education, parents often struggle to meet the demands of work, children and other responsibilities, and finding the right balance is hard and a lot of pressure. In today's competitive world, what school to offer to your kids who want to develop a super and proper education in sciences and in the field of high-technologies? Especially when these kids have Einstein brains alike and that they continually focus on furthering their education...

The Yokohama Science Frontier High School built it!

YSFH: the making of 21st century's Japanese scientists

Inaugurated just 1 year ago in April 2009, the year of the 150th anniversary of the opening of Port of Yokohama, the YSFH, the Yokohama Science Frontier High School, provides education with an emphasis on science and technology. It is the first in Kanagawa Prefecture, and is recognized as a top modernizer of municipal education in Japan.

"Watching tomorrow's sciences"

The YSFH has five distinguished Super Advisors and among them is Dr. Akiyoshi Wada, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, Dr. Masatoshi Koshiba (world known for his research on the Sun which produces neutrinos) Nobel laureate in Physics in 2002 and Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo. 50 associate member universities, corporations and institutions dispatch their professors and researchers to the YSFH as lecturers.

YSFH High School

The school's motto is to "seek knowledge through surprise and awe" and it adds "triggered by "real experience" in the four fields of cutting-edge science and technology: life science, nanotechnology and materials, environment, information and communication.

Kids scientists or scientists who are still kids?

Thinking about the Earth from Yokohama and the development of the child

From environmental problems such as global warming and climate change, to issues such as resources, energy, and food supply, little by little humankind is said to be approaching a critical situation. High expectations are held for science and technology, and human resources with the ability to utilize this knowledge to resolve these global-scale problems and open the way to a bright future. The trump cards for a country such as Japan in particular, with its scarce natural resources, are scientific perspectives and thinking, as well as young people with scientific hearts and minds.

The Yokohama Science Frontier High School is located within the Yokohama Science Frontier area, a research and development base on Yokohama’s waterfront. The first school in Japan to actually incorporate the word "science" in its name, the Yokohama Science Frontier High School aims to cultivate human beings with scientific capabilities and high aspirations who will be active not only in Yokohama but on the global stage.

Classes of 35 units per week are provided: First and second-year students study a common curriculum.
Science and Mathematics subjects are reinforced, with all students taking 29 units or more of Science and Mathematics and 3 or more Science subjects. For the Science and Mathematics course, students are required to study 25 units of Science and Mathematics subjects and 3 Science for Science and Mathematics subjects.

VDO - What is so special to study at YSFH? I asked 1 of the kids scientists

Click the arrow to watch Raphael 's comments

Currently, the second year after the school opened, a total of 472 students, first and second graders, are studying at the YSFH. It was the most competitive municipal high school in the prefecture for the entrance exam in FY2009.

A lab' like a real research center

From April 2010, the YSFH reached the level of a "Super Science High School". What does it mean? The school's focus is on its education on science and mathematics to boost global human resource in science and technology and this is given by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

"We emphasize on experiments and practical training"

"Science" is an academic field that requires one to look closely
at things and then think about them logically and methodically
from square one. It provides guidelines for solving a diverse range
of problems in both natural sciences and social sciences fields.
Herein also lies the magnificence of flying the “skies of
intellectual inquiry,” using the engine of wisdom and the fuel of
knowledge. The tremendous usefulness of scientific thinking is
demonstrated by the fact that, although there are few people who
switch from social to natural science, there is an active flow of
human resources from natural sciences to social sciences.
Not only science but all academic fields are enjoyable if the
knowledge resonates in the hearts and minds of students as they
learn. Necessary for this resonance are genuine experience of
experiments and fieldwork, admiration for great historical figures
and one’s elders, candid discussion between friends and
colleagues, lofty vision and a broad perspective, and time to think
things through thoroughly. In just such a “truth-seeking”
atmosphere, talking informally with students and teachers alike, I
hope to build up a high school where the thrill of enterprise can
be enjoyed."

Akiyoshi Wada, Super Advisor at the
Yokohama Science Frontier High School


-Yokohama Science Frontier High School

-Report realized with the Foreign Press Center © 2010

䷡ Reporter's Notes

Monday, July 26, 2010

Khmer Rouge Trials, 35 years after "Year Zero!"

Is the sentence meaningful enough?

Tuol Sleng genocide museum Phnom Penh

"What is significant today is the role played by the UN in pushing forward the genocidal tribunal for crimes against humanity and bringing to trial the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge," 35 years after "Year Zero" *

And 35 is the exact sentence of the tribunal to Duch. 35 years in prison for his role in the deaths of at least 14,000 people as the Cambodian regime's chief torturer three decades ago. Kaing Guek Eav, better known as "Duch", was found guilty of murder and torture, and crimes against humanity as chief of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison. Prosecutors had sought a maximum penalty of 40 years for 67-year-old Duch. The court gave him 35 years but said he will serve only 30 of those years because he was found to have been held illegally for five years by the Cambodian military.

As some other few, well versed in Asian affairs, and with good sources, I monitored the Khmer Rouge atrocities of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 while I studied at College in France, then as a journalist; and RTL France [I'm RTL Group's correspondent in Japan] broadcasted my first ever news-report aired in my career in France. It was in the 80's and it was the interview of Cambodian refugees I followed in their jungle ordeal from Cambodia torn war region until Khao-I-Dang Refugees camp, near Aranyaprathet, on the Thai Cambodia border, under the control of the Thai army Colonel Kity.

This broadcast is very vivid in my mind as it was aired for RTL FRANCE's "Journal Inattendu" of Henri MARQUE with Francoise CHANDERNAGOR as the studio guest-invitee on this day. France heard at that time the testimony of the victims (of the Khmer Rouges) who had lost everything and asked help to France, to the "foreign and rich nations for those Cambodians who had endured the worst and lost everything." Some time after I talked with movie director Claude Lelouch about the destiny of the Cambodian people.

Cambodian kids at Khao-I-Dang Refugee Camps, Thai Cambodia border, 80s'

Prior to decide for the career of an Asia based Foreign Correspondent, which is to live and work as a journalist in the Far East, I had returned on many occasions to South East Asia region to report and also to join humanitarian effort for the Cambodian and Laotian handicapped populations, especially to help the small villages victimized by bombs (booby traps, land mines) and by hazardous bio-chemical substances left by guerillas and combatting military forces.

I often reported on Cambodia and other regional guerillas on various assignments for the French Broadcasting national corporation. Refugees, guerillas, armies such as the Vietnamese, the Sihanoukists, the Son Sann group, with the Khmers Rouges and I’ve been waiting 35 years for monday’s verdict of the first Khmer Rouge trial.

First Trial of a Khmer Rouge leader

Now this United Nations backed tribunal was the first trial of a major figure in the murderous Khmer Rouge regime (the Kampuchea Démocratique as said by the KR then) since it was toppled 30 years ago. Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, admitted in an eight-month trial last year to overseeing the torture and killing of more than 14,000 people in a prison from which only a handful of people emerged alive. He is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as premeditated murder and torture as chief of a monstrous killing machine that has come to symbolize a regime responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979.

Duch is among five aging and infirm senior cadres facing various charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. They include ex-president Khieu Samphan, former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith, a former Shakespeare scholar, and "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, Pol Pot's right hand man.


All four received additional charges of genocide in December, prompting concerns among experts that the court could become even more bogged down. "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, the French-educated architect of the ultra-Maoist movement, died in 1998 and there are fears his surviving allies will die of old age before they face trial.

Many Cambodians have expressed frustration over the slow pace of bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to justice and fear the complex nature and politicization of the cases will mean many will never go to trial. Many former Khmer Rouge members have been reintegrated into Cambodian society and the civil service and top levels of provincial and national government. Allegations of political interference in the court have been made and Cambodia's government has been in no hurry to speed up the hearings. The United Nations has appointed a special expert it hopes can address issues of political meddling and corruption. Long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, himself a former Khmer Rouge guerrilla who says he defected to the Khmer Rouge's eventual conqueror, Vietnam, has warned of a potential civil war if the court indicts more suspects. Finance Minister Keat Chhon has also admitted his Khmer Rouge past and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has long been accused of involvement, which he denies.

Sentence is not severe enough according to opinions. Comments today July 26 2010 from participants at Liveblog of Duch Verdict Pronouncement, quotes:

11:30 Regarding the sentence, Under Cambodian law, convicted criminals become eligible for early release after having served 2/3 of their sentence. This means that if the 19 year figure I mentioned above is correct, Duch will then be eligible for release in 12.5 years. Thus, it is *not* guaranteed that Duch will die in prison.

11:31 I'm told that many people here, particularly Cambodians, are confused about the extent of time that Duch will remain imprisoned, perhaps due to the Khmai language in the summary. Perhaps some will be disappointed.

11:49 How is the verdict received by people present?

11:51 Some of the civil parties seem unsatisfied with the judgment. And, like I said earlier, many of the Cambodians filing out seem satisfied with the sentence, but may not know that the effective length of imprisonment will be much less than 35 years.

1:53 Did Duch continue, after hearing the verdict and the closing of the proceedings, his usual practice of turning to the audience and sampeah-ing, or pressing his hands together and slightly bowing, them?

11:57 I could not accept the verdict.It is simple sentence to convict the criminal against human live.It is lighter conviction than the normal crime.....

About the Khmer Rouge regime and the significance of this trial

I found an interesting story on Asian Age about the Khmer Rouge Trials written by Shankari Sundararaman, associate professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the School of International Studies, JNU, in India. Quotes:

"Reports of the genocide within Cambodia first emerged because of refugee accounts. The stories contained tales of forced labour in agricultural lands, an agrarian style model that was brutally enforced, and mass execution of people suspected to be loyal to the former government that assisted the United States’ war efforts in Vietnam..." Her story here:

* "Year Zero" is a reference to the book written "Cambodge année zéro" by François Ponchaud, in French, quotes:

"Cambodge année zéro" est le 1er livre écrit sur la tragédie vécue par le peuple khmer. c'est le 1er qui décrit le calvaire des cambodgiens sous le régime de pol pot. le 17 avril 1975 les khmer rouge "libèrent" phnom penh. pour tout un tas de raisons ils décident d'évacuer la capitale, dont la population dépasse les 2 millions, et ce sans aucune organisation. tout le monde doit partir, y compris les vieillards, les enfants, les malades. c'est le début d'une tragédie qui durera 44 mois. pour les khmer rouge toutes les personnes habitants la ville sont "contaminés" par le virus de l'"impérialisme", il faut donc les "rééduquer". à la campagne. le peuple est alors séparé en 2 communautés distinctes. "le peuple nouveau" (citadins), "le peuple ancien" (ruraux). le peuple nouveau est considéré comme "impur", c'est un peuple d'esclaves qui doit se rééduquer; c'est ce peuple là qui sera martyrisé... le curé sait de quoi il parle. il parle et écrit le khmer. tous les jours il écoute radio pnohm penh et comprend ce qu'il se passe. son livre dénonce le génocide qui débute, il explique pourquoi le régime khmer rouge est un régime criminel. tout ce qui a été écrit ici sera corroboré par les faits. on estime que entre 1.5 et 2 millions de personnes sont mortes sous le régime khmer rouge. dont les 3/4 victimes de maladies, de faim, d'épuisement, de désespoir.

"Cambodge année zéro" by François Ponchaud

Khao-I-Dang, one of the camp jungle's hospitals, 80s'

Who were these Khmer Rouge of "The Paris Student Group"?

Quotes: "During the 1950s, Khmer students in Paris organized their own communist movement, which had little, if any, connection to the hard-pressed party in their homeland. From their ranks came the men and women who returned home and took command of the party apparatus during the 1960s, led an effective insurgency against Lon Nol from 1968 until 1975, and established the regime of Democratic Kampuchea.

Pol Pot, who rose to the leadership of the communist movement in the 1960s, was born in 1928 (some sources say in 1925) in Kampong Thum Province, northeast of Phnom Penh. He attended a technical high school in the capital and then went to Paris in 1949 to study radio electronics (other sources say he attended a school for printers and typesetters and also studied civil engineering). Described by one source as a "determined, rather plodding organizer," he failed to obtain a degree, but, according to the Jesuit priest, Father François Ponchaud, he acquired a taste for the classics of French literature as well as for the writings of Marx.

Another member of the Paris student group was Ieng Sary. He was a Chinese-Khmer born in 1930 in South Vietnam. He attended the elite Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh before beginning courses in commerce and politics at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (more widely known as Sciences Po) in France. Khieu Samphan, considered "one of the most brilliant intellects of his generation," was born in 1931 and specialized in economics and politics during his time in Paris[citation needed]. In talent he was rivaled by Hou Yuon, born in 1930, who was described as being "of truly astounding physical and intellectual strength,[citation needed]" and who studied economics and law. Son Sen, born in 1930, studied education and literature; Hu Nim, born in 1932, studied law.

These men were perhaps the most educated leaders in the history of Asian communism. Two of them, Khieu Samphan and Hou Yuon, earned doctorates from the University of Paris; Hu Nim obtained his degree from the University of Phnom Penh in 1965. In retrospect, it seems unlikely that these talented members of the elite, sent to France on government scholarships, could launch the bloodiest and most radical revolution in modern Asian history. Most came from landowner or civil servant families. Pol Pot and Hou Yuon may have been related to the royal family. An older sister of Pol Pot had been a concubine at the court of King Monivong. Three of the Paris group forged a bond that survived years of revolutionary struggle and intraparty strife, Pol Pot and Ieng Sary married Khieu Ponnary and Khieu Thirith (also known as Ieng Thirith), purportedly relatives of Khieu Samphan. These two well-educated women also played a central role in the regime of Democratic Kampuchea.

The intellectual ferment of Paris must have been a dizzying experience for young Khmers fresh from Phnom Penh or the provinces. A number sought refuge in the dogma of orthodox Marxism-Leninism. At some time between 1949 and 1951, Pol Pot and Ieng Sary joined the French Communist Party, the most tightly disciplined and orthodox Marxist-Leninist of Western Europe's communist movements. In 1951 the two men went to East Berlin to participate in a youth festival. This experience is considered to have been a turning point in their ideological development. Meeting with Khmers who were fighting with the Viet Minh (and whom they subsequently judged to be too subservient to the Vietnamese), they became convinced that only a tightly disciplined party organization and a readiness for armed struggle could achieve revolution. They transformed the Khmer Students' Association (KSA), to which most of the 200 or so Khmer students in Paris belonged, into an organization for nationalist and leftist ideas. Inside the KSA and its successor organizations was a secret organization known as the Cercle Marxiste. The organization was composed of cells of three to six members with most members knowing nothing about the overall structure of the organization. In 1952 Pol Pot, Hou Yuon, Ieng Sary, and other leftists gained notoriety by sending an open letter to Sihanouk calling him the "strangler of infant democracy." A year later, the French authorities closed down the KSA. In 1956, however, Hou Yuon and Khieu Samphan helped to establish a new group, the Khmer Students' Union. Inside, the group was still run by the Cercle Marxiste.

The doctoral dissertations written by Hou Yuon and Khieu Samphan express basic themes that were later to become the cornerstones of the policy adopted by Democratic Kampuchea. The central role of the peasants in national development was espoused by Hou Yuon in his 1955 thesis, The Cambodian Peasants and Their Prospects for Modernization, which challenged the conventional view that urbanization and industrialization are necessary precursors of development. The major argument in Khieu Samphan's 1959 thesis, Cambodia's Economy and Industrial Development, was that the country had to become self-reliant and end its economic dependency on the developed world. In its general contours, Khieu's work reflected the influence of a branch of the "dependency theory" school, which blamed lack of development in the Third World on the economic domination of the industrialized nations. End of quotes.

Khmer Rouges leaders

Sources: Agencies, Asian-Age, R.Yates,
France TV, Radio France, RFI, NHK, RTL, Reporter's Notes.

✍✍✍ An important verdict on a symbolic level!

✍✍✍ Pol Pot, Duch and all Khmer Rouges were not alone in murdering their nationals, helped by major powers during the cold war.

✍✍✍ The guerilla after 79 continued with the support of China and the US supporting the KR and the anti Vietnamese troops while the Boi-Doi military were helped by the USSR-Russia.

✍✍✍ Is the population still under shock?

Exclusive Wikileaks: "Afghan War Diary"! Secret Documents Published in the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel!

Update August 7th: The Pentagon has raised its voice on Thursday against Wikileaks by requiring that the website returns immediately the 15,000 secret military documents on Afghanistan not yet published and remove those already released.

Update August 7th: Le Pentagone a haussé le ton jeudi contre WikiLeaks en exigeant que le site Internet d'information rende immédiatement les 15 000 documents militaires confidentiels sur l'Afghanistan qu'il n'a pas encore publiés et qu'il retire de la toile ceux déjà diffusés.

Tens of thousands of secret American military documents have been leaked disclosing how Nato forces have killed scores of civilians in unreported incidents in Afghanistan. The classified memos also reveal the secret efforts of coalition forces to hunt down and “kill or capture” senior Taliban and al-Qaeda figures. And they document growing evidence that Iran and Pakistan is supporting the insurgency. Although many of the claims in the documents, of which there are more than 90,000, have been aired previously, the leak to the website Wikileaks is highly embarrassing. It was condemned by the White House last night, which said the information could threaten the safety of coalition operations.

"In Disclosing Secret Documents, WikiLeaks Seeks Transparency." The NYT writes: ", the online organization that posted tens of thousands of classified military field reports about the Afghan war on Sunday, says its goal in disclosing secret documents is to reveal “unethical behavior” by governments and corporations."

The Guardian

"The documents revealed a greater amount of violence in Afghanistan than had previously been reported by the military or the media, Julian Assange, Wikileaks organization's co-founder"

The Guardian, one of three news organizations with an advanced look at the documents, summarizes:

A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency. The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and over 1,000 US troops.

The group gave the documents in advance to the New York Times, Germany's Der Spiegel, and the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, which independently confirmed their authenticity. The Guardian called the disclosure a "devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan," saying it reveals how the U.S.-led coalition has killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have risen, and NATO commanders worry that neighboring Pakistan and Iran are aiding the insurgency.

About 76,900 of the files, which the group calls the "Afghan War Diary", appeared on at around 4 p.m. July 25 2010. Wikileaks says it has delayed the release of an additional 15,000 files to allow names and other sensitive information to be removed.

The New York Times

"It shows not only the severe incidents but the general squalor of war, from the death of individual children to major operations that kill hundreds," Julian Assange.

In a statement, White House national security adviser James Jones criticized the release of the documents, saying the disclosure could put American lives and national security at risk: The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact us about these documents--the United States government learned from news organizations that these documents would be posted. These irresponsible leaks will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan; to defeat our common enemies; and to support the aspirations of the Afghan and Pakistani people.

A video leaked earlier this year, which Wikileaks titled "Collateral Murder," shows a U.S. military helicopter in Iraq destroying a vehicle that was preparing to rush a wounded journalist to a hospital. The Apache pilots appeared to mistake a news crew, who were holding cameras, for armed insurgents. Army intelligence specialist Bradley Manning, the serviceman who allegedly provided the videos to Wikileaks, has been charged with unlawfully divulging classified information and could face a significant prison sentence.

What is behind the disclosure of military documents on Afghan war by Wikileaks, Guardian, New York Times, Der Spiegel?

"The articles published today are based on thousands of United States military incident and intelligence reports — records of engagements, mishaps, intelligence on enemy activity and other events from the war in Afghanistan — that were made public on Sunday on the Internet. The New York Times, The Guardian newspaper in London, and the German magazine Der Spiegel were given access to the material several weeks ago. These reports are used by desk officers in the Pentagon and troops in the field when they make operational plans and prepare briefings on the situation in the war zone. Most of the reports are routine, even mundane, but many add insights, texture and context to a war that has been waged for nearly nine years." The New York Times writes.

Quotes Guardian:
A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.

Their publication comes amid mounting concern that Barack Obama's "surge" strategy is failing and as coalition troops hunt for two US naval personnel captured by the Taliban south of Kabul on Friday.

The war logs also detail:

How a secret "black" unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.

How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.

How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.

How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.

In a statement, the White House said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of "under-resourcing" under Obama's predecessor, saying: "It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009."

The White House also criticised the publication of the files by Wikileaks: "We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the US government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who co-operate with us."

The logs detail, in sometimes harrowing vignettes, the toll on civilians exacted by coalition forces: events termed "blue on white" in military jargon. The logs reveal 144 such incidents.

Quotes of Der Spiegel: In an unprecedented development, close to 92,000 classified documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan have been leaked. SPIEGEL, the New York Times and the Guardian have analyzed the raft of mostly classified documents. The war logs expose the true scale of the Western military deployment -- and the problems beleaguering Germany's Bundeswehr in the Hindu Kush.""

End of Quotes

Sources: Wikileaks, New York Times, Der Spiegel, the Guardian, Telegraph, Cnet, BBC.
✍✍✍ Tens of thousands of secret American military documents have been leaked disclosing how Nato forces have killed scores of civilians in unreported incidents in Afghanistan. At least a real work by media, so much waited for and expected while most of nations see no pictures of the war.

✍✍✍ Is it a leakage, therefore a default within the US authorities? Is it going to cost further damages?

✍✍✍ The only hot spot on the planet is the standoff between the Pentagon and Wikileaks. I expect the worst, ie a man to death. This is a news to follow.

Eng: 𝌐 Asian Gazette : Thank you for your opinions. We believe here that the confidentiality of certain documents must be respected. Laws exist to protect the privacy of individuals, similarly, there are laws to protect top secret documents and confidential defense documents. It is a very serious issue and should be encouraged by the media under the same principle as the Latin proverb: "Primum Non Nocere" : "First do not harm!"

Fr: 𝌐 Asian Gazette: Merci pour vos avis. Nous pensons ici que le caractère confidentiel de certains documents doit être respecté. Des lois existent pour protéger la vie privée des individus, de même, il existe des lois pour protéger les documents top-secret et confidentiel-défense. C'est une affaire très grave. et qui devrait être respectée par les médias selon le même principe : «Primum non nocere»: «D'abord ne pas nuire!"