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Wikileaks Releases Giant Trove of Secret US Documents on Afghan War

BY Micah L. Sifry | Sunday, July 25 2010

After several weeks of speculation, the supranational transparency site Wikileaks has released 92,000 leaked documents pertaining to the US war in Afghanistan, triggering huge stories in the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, who were each given advance access to the material.

If you didn't think technology was changing politics, perhaps now you'll reconsider?

People the world over will be sifting through the released documents for some time, but this is clearly a huge coup for Wikileaks and its co-founder Julian Assange, who has been talking for some time of having obtained significant new material. Let's hope that in the coming days the ensuing conversation is more about what the documents do or don't show, and not about whether they should have been leaked.

The release of what Wikileaks is calling The War Logs also suggests that the site may well be sitting on a much larger and equally explosive trove of material covering US foreign policy in the Middle East, as suggested by Wired magazine's reporting of the Bradley Manning case.

The documents paint a grim picture of the war from 2004 through the end of 2009, though the early reports from the Times and the Guardian interestingly emphasize very different angles on their meaning. The Times' lead report on the War Logs focuses on indications that the Pakistani ISI secret intelligence arm has been colluding with the Taliban, while the Guardian zeroes in on numerous reports of civilian casualties at the hands of US and allied forces.

These two wordles, first of the Guardian's main story and then of the Times, shows how differently the two papers have chosen to interpret the documents.