‘Afghan War Diary’ — Wikileaks massive disclosure of secret documents

First the story. As Joe reported this morning, the organization Wikileaks has acquired nearly 100,000 secret documents related to the Afghan war, and is in the process of releasing them. The archive is called “Afghan War Diary” and the description is here:

WikiLeaks today released over 75,000 secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan.

The Afghan War Diary [is] an extraordinary secret compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The reports describe the majority of lethal military actions involving the United States military. . . .

The Diary is available on the web and can be viewed in chronological order and by by over 100 categories assigned by the US Forces . . .

We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually, in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.

The Wikileaks War Diary document collection page is rich, a valuable resource and entry point to the documents themselves. Citizen reporters, or just casual readers, dig in.

It appears that three news orgsThe Guardian, Der Spiegel, and The New York Times — got early releases of the archive so they could prepare articles simultaneous with the release. Click the link for any of the papers above to see the landing page for their coverage. All three are calling the documents “The War Logs” and it appears their work on them will be on-going.

For a place to start, I’d choose The Guardian. They’re covering multiple angles immediately, including interviews with Wikileaks head Julian Assange.

Now the meta-story, the part I want to focus on here. People are going to have to make sense of the multiple angles I alluded to — not just the thousands of “collateral” children and adults, but the double-dealing that Joe’s story pointed to, and the three-sided drug trade the leak stories haven’t touched on yet. (Yes, we’re one of the sides.)

If it weren’t already obvious, our situation in Afghanistan is like a three-cornered hat (ignoring India for a moment). Each corner — including the U.S. — is dealing both as friends and as enemies with the other two, simultaneously. It’s a six-way transaction. This means that each side is financing and supporting its enemies, thinking it will have the upper hand when the whole is summed. The Great Game.

So watch carefully the reaction to the story. I expect the White House reaction: “Bad, wiki, bad!”

But watch the press. Note which news-blond(e)s trash Wikileaks. (I’m looking at you, Chuck Todd; prove me wrong.) Those that do — list them as unreliable. They’re part of the War Sales Team. Operatives.

I’ll have more. This exposes a whole layer of analysis about why we’re there. It’s like that moment when one side in a marriage accidentally tells the truth, and everything falls into place.

So with the Afghan War. (Hint: We never needed to topple the government to capture Bin Laden.)

Operationally yours,


Update: I’ve adjusted some of the links above.

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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