Monday, July 26, 2010

Wikileaks Blows Afghan War Wide Open

Holy hell, they did it.

There has been a lot of talk over the last few months about the thousands of documents that Wikileaks (and its founder/owner, Julian Assange) was sitting on about the Afghanistan war. That's one of the reasons why many had thought that Julian was going to get "disappeared" or at the very least arrested; the U.S. government would NOT want this leaked.

Well, get ready, because it's out. Not all of it, mind you. A lot of the documents have been withheld in order to prevent people from getting hurt. Once that's no longer an issue, they will be released too. Eventually it will all be published, assuming Wikileaks gets the change.

Assange explains his motivations in an interview on the Guardian website. He makes it clear that he knows what this means, and what sort of position this puts him in. He said "if journalism is good it is controversial by its nature. It is the role of journalism to take on powerful abuses; and when powerful abuses are taken on, there is always a back-reaction...this shows the true nature of this war." No doubt.

It doesn't look good, either. These are still early days and there are a LOT of documents to get through, but the news is grim, according to the Guardian's War Log analysis. The Afghanistan police and army are shooting at each other. The shadowy American special forces in "Task Force 373" are moving through the country assassinating Taliban targets, as well as killing civilian men, women and children—and even Afghan police officers—who stand in their way. Friendly fire deaths are rife.

(The Guardian, given early access to the logs, is doing impressive work in analyzing them.)

This is a major, major story. This is probably the greatest intelligence leak in history, or at least since the Soviets opened up the Russian diplomatic files. It cements Wikileaks as one of the most important organizations in the world right now. It means that investigative journalism is not dead in the age of the Internet. And, most importantly, it means that we should all keep a VERY close eye on what's going on with Julian.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I fear for his life.

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