Wikileaks: From Iraq Video To Afghanistan War Documents
Wikileaks.Org: Has A History Of Releasing Classified Documents And Video
The release of thousands of documents relating to the war in Afghanistan by the independent website WikiLeaks is raising questions of national security, the leaking of classified documents and questions surrounding "data journalism."
First, WikiLeaks is being blasted by the White House for threatening "national security" in what is thought to be the largest leak in the history of the United States military.
Roughly, 90,000 classified reports between 2004-2009 were released by WikiLeaks to a number of media organizations including the New York Times, The Guardian Newspaper, the German magazine, Der Spiegel. WikiLeaks also posted the classified documents on its own website, wikileaks.org.
The documents provide a blow-by-blow view of the war and reveal, among other things, that the Taliban has used portable, heat-seeking, ground-to-air missiles to bring down US helicopters, which the military had not previously revealed; that US military and intelligence personnel widely suspect that Pakistan’s intelligence agency is cooperating with Afghan militants to plan attacks; and that a secret contingent of US special forces operates outside the coalition command structure in Afghanistan with the goal of killing or capturing top Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, counters that argument by saying the lifeblood of a democracy is transparency and valid data. This runs counter to "source-based journalism" which is ultimately relies on humans and human motivation.
The 90-thousands documents provide a broad and penetrating insight into the war in Afghanistan. In an interview with the Guardian's Stephen Moss, Assange said verification is critical to making journalists and journalism more trustworthy.
"Journalism should be more like science," he tells me in the restaurant. "As far as possible, facts should be verifiable. If journalists want long-term credibility for their profession, they have to go in that direction. Have more respect for readers." He likes the idea of a 2,000-word article backed by 25,000 words of source material, and says there is no reason why you can't provide that on the internet.
Another question which is tough to answer is how? How does Wikileaks get this classified information where such established organizations like the New York Times, CNN and so on, now need WikiLeaks to help them do there job?
Consider this, WikiLeaks has just 5 full time staff and a small army of part-timers, supporters and donors.
Increasingly it looks like the mainstream media is relying on newer platforms to do the serious work of journalism