Clearly the UK has learnt nothing from the recent Wikileaks furore. The British Ministry of Defence has bought and pulped the entire print run of a book that makes embarrassing revelations about the war in Afghanistan. The MOD claim that the book, Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain’s War in Afghanistan, by Toby Harnden, contains information that might endanger national security. But we all know what that means, right? Here’s a taster:
The Guardian has obtained a copy of the book, which includes accounts of how civilians were killed by British forces. It describes a farmer being killed by a Javelin missile at night, how seven civilians, including six children, were killed by a 500lb bomb – an incident described by the Guardian from classified US material passed to WikiLeaks – and how eight civilians, including five children, were killed by a 500lb bomb fired by a French Mirage plane called in by British troops.
The book describes how in the summer of 2009 a British officer was mentoring Afghan troops who captured a six-man Taliban IED team. He later asked an Afghan sergeant major to see the prisoners so they could be tested for explosive residue, and charged, and processed.
The Afghan soldiers described how three of the prisoners were strangled to death as the others watched. The soldiers said the remaining three were shot in both kneecaps and ordered to crawl back to their villages to tell people what would happen to them if they laid IEDs.
Does that damage national security? Or does it just reveal yet again that men with guns are frequently evil and dangerous?
And even though we all knew that the Afghan war is a huge, stinking heap of bullshit, the military can’t bear the thought that we might hear it again. Duh!
I wonder: how long before the book is leaked online? And this whole book-pulping episode will have a Streisand Effect and everyone will want to read it. Ha.
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