Media round up: Wikileaks releases Afghanistan war logs

July 26, 2010

Main coverage

Wikileaks

"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.

"We hope its release will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the war in Afghanistan and provide the raw ingredients necessary to change its course."

The Guardian

"A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency."

Watch the Guardian’s live blog for further developments. Includes a link to a video interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

New York Times

"The documents, made available by an organization called WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders." 

Der Spiegel

"The war logs expose the true scale of the Western military deployment — and the problems beleaguering Germany’s Bundeswehr in the Hindu Kush."

U.S. Response

Statement by National Security Advisor General James Jones:

"The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security…These irresponsible leaks will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan; to defeat our common enemies; and to support the aspirations of the Afghan and Pakistani people."

Reaction from Pakistan

Telegraph report including comments from Pakistan envoy:

"Ambassador Husain Haqqani called the release of the file by web whistleblower site Wikileaks "irresponsible," saying it consisted of "unprocessed" reports from the field.

""The documents circulated by Wikileaks do not reflect the current onground realities," Mr Haqqani said in a statement."

Taliban Tactics

Journalist David Axe looks at an incident from June 2007.

Nothing New?

Kings of War

"So, do these documents tell us something intrinsically new? No.

"But they do provide a mine of rich empirical detail, which will allow campaigners and even enterprising scholars interested in this area to w[e]ave narratives about war-fighting and the civilian experience of war.

"Where the documents show the coalition to have been ‘naive’ (the word the BBC kept using), it might prove to be an opportunity or a point of departure for learning lessons. One would hope that it doesn’t take the repeated actions of this campaigning website to prompt it; and one also has to hope that they haven’t done more harm than good."

Abu Muqawama

"Scoop!"

Wikileaks and the media

"Wikileaks takes new approach in latest release of documents", Washington Post.

"The interaction between "traditional" and "new" media is the most immediately arresting "process" aspect of this event," James Fallows, The Atlantic.

Jay Rosen, Press Think, The "first stateless news organisation"

David Clinch: "The leak itself is the headline"

"Story behind biggest leak in intelligence history", Nick Davies, The Guardian.