Those of our readers in public service will be delighted to hear of a new project designed especially for you: Wikileaks. The short version is explained on the site’s homepage:
Have documents the world needs to see? We protect your identity while maximizing political impact.
The site’s page on how the submissions process works elaborates thus:
Wikileaks accepts classified, censored or otherwise restricted material of political, diplomatic or ethical significance. Wikileaks does not accept rumor, opinion or other kinds of first hand reporting or material that is already publicly available.
All staff who deal with sources are accredited journalists or lawyers. All submissions establish a journalist-source relationship. Online submissions are routed via Sweden and Belgium which have first rate journalist-source shield laws. Wikileaks records no source identifying information and there are a number of submission mechanisms available to deal with even the most sensitive national security information.
Wikileaks has a history breaking major stories (in the Guardian, New York Times, CNN, Reuters, etc), protecting sources (no source has ever been exposed) and press freedoms (all censorship attempts, from the Pentagon to London law firms have failed).
So, the $64 trillion question: have they had any good dirt? Well, here are a few examples. Make up your own mind as to the quality of the leak – and indeed whether the information should have been leaked in the first place…
- A classified US report intelligence report on the battle for Fallujah in 2004, which is said to “show the U.S. military believes it lost control over information about what was happening in the town, leading to political pressure that ended its April 2004 offensive with control being handed to Sunni insurgents”. The report itself says, “The outcome of a purely military contest in Fallujah was always a foregone conclusion — coalition victory. But Fallujah was not simply a military action, it was a political and informational battle. … The effects of media coverage, enemy information operations, and the fragility of the political environment conspired to force a halt to U.S. military operations”;
- The full ‘Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedure’ (large pdf), which apparently directly contradicts the US’s stated claim that “even though the [Guantanamo] detainees are not entitled to POW privileges, they will be provided many POW privileges as a matter of policy… The International Committee of the Red Cross has visited and will continue to be able to visit the detainees privately”. Documents leaked to Wikileak reveal that some detainees are classified as being permitted “No Access: No contact of any kind with ICRC. This includes delivery of ICRC mail.”; and
- A 2,000 page breakdown of the entire US order of battle in Iraq, detailing full equipment registers for all US units in Iraq, as well as detainee operations and, apparently, demonstration that “the US has almost certainly violated the Chemical Weapons Convention”
Still, given the site’s cloak-and-dagger role, you’d have thought that they might have come up with something a bit more, well, subtle as a URL for the page where it all happens than ‘https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Special:Leak‘. Mmm, that wouldn’t stand out at all on your browsing history.