Sunday, July 25, 2010

Afghanistan - The War Logs

On July 25, 2010, working in conjunction with the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel, WikiLeaks released 77,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan.

The New York Times played down the importance of the information contained with documents.

“The archive is clearly an incomplete record of the war,” said the New York Times. “It is missing many references to seminal events and does not include more highly classified information.”

Nonetheless, according to the Times, the documents might have some sort of effect on the prosecution of the war, as the disclosure came at a critical time in the war, when several U.S. officials were questioning the current policy. Some worried that the disclosure might damage support for the war. Others believed the administration could use the event to pressure the Pakistani government to cooperate more fully with America, as information contained within the documents said that Pakistan had supported the Afghan insurgency.

Based on what the Times reported, one might get the impression that America controlled WikiLeaks and had tried use them to put pressure on Pakistan and Afghanistan. Perhaps America released the information to scare Afghanistan into believing America might withdraw its forces at an inopportune time. Perhaps America released the information to convince the public that they should not provide Pakistan with development assistance funds.

On the day the Guardian published its articles on the WikiLeaks documents, the newspaper also published an interview with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

“Assange volunteered that Wikileaks was in possession of several million files, which amounted to an untold history of American government activity around the world, disclosing numerous important and controversial activities,” said the Guardian. “They were putting the finishing touches to an accessible version of the data which they were preparing to post immediately on the internet in order to pre-empt any attempt to censor it.”

I assume Assange was referring to Cablegate. However, according to the WikiLeaks website, that collection of files only contains 251,287 documents. It seems that WikiLeaks is withholding the vast majority of its documents for some reason.

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