Afghan War Logs: what did we learn?

(11AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

The subject title is the one from a Guardian report one of the participants in the Wikileaks document dump and explanations of.

In this first blockquote, and if in the U.S., think of all that you’ve read or especially heard since the three outlets, the Guardian where this comes from being one, helped bring out what the online Wikileaks had obtained and posted simultaneously.


One disappointed paper deliberately provided the Taliban with a to-do list: it drew their attention to specific Wikileaks documents they might inspect in order to take reprisals. The low point was perhaps reached by Channel 4 News, which respectfully quoted a “spokesman” for the bearded murderers, as he uttered promises of revenge on alleged informants. It felt like PR for the Taliban.

Now to the cut and suggestion you click the link for more.

The Afghan War Logs were unique collaboration between newspapers and a ‘stateless’ website. What did we learn from them?


2 August 2010 The Afghan war logs story has proved to be a global journalistic phenomenon. The Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel last week made history by simultaneously releasing stories about this huge classified US military archive.

The logs hold 92,000 field reports, many of them ugly and grim. The three papers mined revelations about the cruel toll on civilians in the nine-year conflict, and about futile firefights which have cost the lives of so many western soldiers.

The media trio did this work while WikiLeaks, a hitherto little-known organisation, simultaneously posted virtually the entire raw archive online, holding back only a small number of files which it thought might endanger local informants.

The project appeared to take the Pentagon by surprise. As the revelations swamped the world’s headlines, calls grew for investigations into the civilian killings. There were diplomatic storms over allegations of Pakistan backing for the Taliban. Damage control efforts by the White House did not improve until the weekend. We then saw the spectacle of generals, with gallons of innocent civilian blood on their hands, orating that WikiLeaks had potentially failed to do enough to protect local Afghans.

Some media organisations, who had not got the story themselves, then joined in. One disappointed paper deliberately provided the Taliban with a to-do list: it drew their attention to specific Wikileaks documents they might inspect in order to take reprisals. The low point was perhaps reached by Channel 4 News, which respectfully quoted a “spokesman” for the bearded murderers, as he uttered promises of revenge on alleged informants. It felt like PR for the Taliban. Continued

Now to the journalism aspect, as shown in that first cut, we find this from the Jakarta Post online: {my bolding]

Personal Technology: A pale white man shows us what journalism is

08/02/2010 Is the Internet replacing journalism?

It’s a question that popped up as I gazed at the blurred, distorted web-stream of a press conference from London by the founder of WikiLeaks, a website designed to “protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public”.

On the podium there’s Julian Assange. You can’t make a guy like this up. White haired, articulate and defensive, aloof and grungy, specific and then sweepingly angry. Fascinating. In a world of people obsessed by the shininess of their iPhones, Assange is either a throwback to the past or a gulf of fresh air.

WikiLeaks, which has been around for a few years but has, with the release of mounds of classified data about the Afghan War, come center stage.

Assange doesn’t mince his words. He shrugs off questions he doesn’t like by pointing his face elsewhere and saying “I don’t find that question interesting.” He berates journalists for not doing their job – never something to endear an interviewee to the writer.

But in some ways he’s right. We haven’t been doing our job. We’ve not chased down enough stories, put enough bad guys behind bars (celebrities don’t really count.) His broadsides may be more blunderbuss than surgical strike, but he does have a point. Journalism is a funny game. And it’s changing.

Asked why he chose to work with three major news outlets to release the Afghan data, he said it was the only way to get heard. He pointed out that he’d put out masses of interesting leaks on spending on the Afghan war previously and hardly a single journalist had picked it up. Continued

Here in the States the talking heads and most of the print didn’t talk much about what the contents were they were squarely focused on the so called leaking and informing, as that first cut shows, just what the Taliban, remember now the soldiers are no longer fighting the main purpose of the occupation, al Qaeda, and haven’t been since the focuss went on invading Iraq raising the hatred levels in that whole region, might want or need to know.

What was learned, didn’t teach me anything I already didn’t know, a Country will cheer on Invasions and Wars of Choice, then constantly condemn those occupied as well as others similar to, not as the small groups but the whole, the fear has taken hold and they must All be condemned, in words and actions looking very similar to what these smaller groups of do and say. It also, already known, showed how the concerns of sending others into War and then ignoring the Sacrifice owed as they return, isn’t and never is on the minds of those who don’t serve nor do they want to be bothered with the realities of those Wars, especially many so called journalist!!

2 comments

  1. did a piece a few days ago on how the cause of the feminist movement was the fact that Holly Golightly was a prostitute in Breakfast at Tiffanies, because being a prostitute is liberating somehow.

    And I thought

    Wow, no wonder the ‘jounalists’ at the NYT are so liberated.  

    They’re all whores.

    • Edger on August 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    in it’s broad sweeping condemnation of “journalists” as: “We haven’t been doing our job. We’ve not chased down enough stories, put enough bad guys behind bars

    The Unseen Lies: Journalism As Propaganda,  John Pilger, August 8, 2007:

    As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called “professional journalism” was invented. To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appear respectable, pillars of the establishment-objective, impartial, balanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalist. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media and with the great corporations, and the whole thing was, as Robert McChesney put it so well, “entirely bogus”.

    For what the public did not know was that in order to be professional, journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by official sources, and that has not changed. Go through the New York Times on any day, and check the sources of the main political stories-domestic and foreign-you’ll find they’re dominated by government and other established interests. That is the essence of professional journalism.

    One of my favorite stories about the Cold War concerns a group of Russian journalists who were touring the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by the host for their impressions. “I have to tell you,” said the spokesman, “that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV day after day that all the opinions on all the vital issues are the same. To get that result in our country we send journalists to the gulag. We even tear out their fingernails. Here you don’t have to do any of that. What is the secret?”

    What is the secret? It is a question seldom asked in newsrooms, in media colleges, in journalism journals, and yet the answer to that question is critical to the lives of millions of people. On August 24 (2006) the New York Times declared this in an editorial: “If we had known then what we know now the invasion if Iraq would have been stopped by a popular outcry.” This amazing admission was saying, in effect, that journalists had betrayed the public by not doing their job and by accepting and amplifying and echoing the lies of Bush and his gang, instead of challenging them and exposing them. What the Times didn’t say was that had that paper and the rest of the media exposed the lies, up to a million people might be alive today.

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