Wikileaks: Defying the art of war

The attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends...

Hassan Khan October 24, 2010
The war on truth: In an age filled with conspiracy theories and theorists, it is quite comforting to find Julian Assange and the Wikileaks organisation releasing their latest installment of classified war documents which unlike their predecessors, must be addressed by the US government.

The notorious information clearing house released “The Iraq War Logs,”400,000 classified US military documents (the largest such release of classified documents in US history). As was expected, there was a great uproar within the US administration about the release under the pretense that the leaks would be putting American forces and Iraqi civilians at risk, even though the human rights ministry in Baghdad said the logs "did not contain any surprises."

In the words of Julian Assange “the disclosure is about the truth.” I couldn’t concur more with his statement.

There is a bigger question that the logs ask, besides those that the US administration asks about the death of American forces and Iraqi civilians, one that makes them hard to ignore.

It is imperative for not only Iraqis or Americans but for people all over the world to demand freedom of information in a war that has had adverse affects on our lives for almost a decade. For example why is it that the US government never claimed the 15,000 additional deaths reported in the new documents? Or why not report that even modest estimates show some 60 per cent of the total deaths were civilians?

Pakistanis also have the blood of innocent lives on their hands, yet again we failed to question and investigate our own government’s actions. In an earlier release in July, Wikileaks released documents which contained alarming reports of the ‘cynical collusion’ between the ISI and the Taliban. The files linked active and retired ISI officers to some of the conflict's most notorious leaders. According to the reports, in 2007, they also  sent 1,000 motorbikes to use in suicide attacks.

Even though the role of the ISI has long been debated in the Pakistani power structure, the documents only add to the claim that the ‘ISI has long seen the Afghan Taliban as a proxy force, a way to ensure its influence on the other side of the border and keep India’s influence at bay’. Wikileaks has announced 15,000 additional documents to be released for the Afghanistan war and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pakistan highlighted all over it.

A more accessible example to help understanding why these documents should or should not be released is found through an Iraqi schoolteacher Fatima Razak, who mocks the idea of the Wikileaks revelations as she wears the scars of the US occupation on her disfigured face. Every morning she looks in the mirror and relives the horror, when she says a bullet fired by a US soldier sliced through her cheek. Even though she does discredit the service Wikileaks is providing, the truth of her story is in part and parcel of the service Wikileaks is providing not just for one individual but for every Iraqi civilian.
"The attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends... [Wikileaks hopes] to correct some of that attack on the truth".

Julian couldn’t have put it better.
Hassan Khan The writer holds a BA in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a sub-editor at The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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