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So Who Else Had Prior Access to Wikileaks’ Iraqi War Data?


Never ending trail this. I suppose there is a definitive source somewhere that lists all of the entities that Wkileaks gave prior access to the Iraqi War Logs.

I refer of course to my post of November 3, 2010: Who Had Prior Access to Wikileaks’ Iraqi War Data?

Thumbing through I guess what is a favourite news source, the Guardian of London (now that the BBC have dumbed down their news pages), I idly clicked on their Wikileaks button. Scanning their list of stories, one datelined Thursday 28 October 2010, caught my eye:

Iraq war logs: media reaction around the world – How the media around the globe have been covering the WikiLeaks revelations, and which parts they are focusing on

It was not the headline in particular that caught my attention, but the reporting team: Martin Chulov in Baghdad, Chris McGreal in Washington, Lars Eriksen in Copenhagen and Tom Kington in Rome.

Rome, Baghdad, Washington looked innocuous enough. But Copenhagen. Copenhagen! Scanning through the article, I reach a section headed Denmark.

Ah. What have we here? Nestled three paragraphs into the article, we have:

“The newspaper (Dagbladet ) is one of a small number of media organisations, including the Guardian, which were given access to almost 400,000 secret US army reports released by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.”

We are back to journalistic arithmetic: “small number of media organisations.” Let’s not count Iraq Body Count, let’s not include OWNI. So we have NYT, Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Dagbladet, BBC, Swedish Television, Channel 4, and Al Jazeera in English.  Oh and BFIJ. I count 9.

Let’s have a look now at the Wikileaks site and see if we can find anything there. There are two areas devoted to the Iraqi War Logs: Diary Dig and War Logs. OWNI designed the War Logs software. Personally, I don’t much care for the interface. The interface suggests online war games and that may be deliberate. It seems to me to depersonalize the tragedy associated with the whole set of Iraq war reports.

Diary Dig I am not familiar with. We may take  a look it later. Digging through the Wikileak web pages, we find  Press Release. Took a few pages to find it for it is not on the menu of every page. The release is long and densely written.  I am going to print it off because it is too long for web viewing.

It is quite unlike any press release I have seen. Six paragraphs of closely typed text followed by about 40 answers to what they refer to as FAQ. I think they mean: “Answers to questions we anticipate being asked.” Let’s skip all of it and go to the bit we are interested in.

The press release in fact mentions only three newspapers. Neither Le Monde or Dagbladet are there, nor is there mention of any of the television stations. Here is the paragraph is full:

“Iraq Body Count – http://www.iraqbodycount.org  Public Interest Lawyers  – http://www.publicinterestlawyers.co.uk  Bureau of Investigative Journalism – http://www.iraqwarlogs.com  The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk  Der Spiegel http://www.spiegel.de  The New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com”

One new name: Public Interest Lawyers cannot be considered a media outlet and their role is mentioned in the previous paragraph to one quoted above.

The next question to ask is this:

How will the release of both the Afghan and Iraqi War documents affect the future conduct of war by the likes of the Americans and their allies?

And an inevitable sister question that has me sick in my stomach to ask:

What addional steps will governments (US and others) take to control the release (and holding of) war zone information?

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