I remain suspicious and critical of nearly everything involving Wikileaks, and today’s big global media stunt, the orchestrated release of the “Iraq War Logs”, does little to dissuade my skepticism about them. Leaving aside the issues surrounding the material’s embargo, I can’t help but wonder what strings were attached to the access that selected news organizations around the world received to the messages in question. Will we ever know? I highly doubt it.
I find it extremely interesting that the main focus for the initial coverage of every news outlet (English-language, anyway…) that received advance access to these messages is not only all torture- and abuse-related, but also (very) eerily similar, right down to focusing on many of the same small set of incidents. Additionally, several of the stories I’ve read so far this afternoon have repeated certain identical (and sensationalist) factual mistakes – mistakes which should be very obvious to anyone even remotely familiar with the modern American military. This suggests to me either (extremely unlikely) collusion between the varied media outlets involved, or (much more likely) some overt and biased editorialization on the part of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
I don’t want to particularly downplay the release of these records, though they really aren’t as stupendously groundbreaking as Wikileaks’ backers had promised – nor, indeed, as many are even now making them out to be. Nor am I convinced that the safety or well-being of anyone has been jeopardized by this release.
That said, I think that now more than ever, media outlets the world over need to take a long and careful look at Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and the relationships and agreements made between those two and the various global news organizations who simultaneously “broke” nigh-identical stories this afternoon. To put it bluntly, I smell a lot of rats, and I still think the time is long overdue for the man – Assange – and his organization – Wikileaks – who are so very, very fond of openness and transparency with regards entities (like the United States) whom they vehemently detest, to make some frank disclosures about their funding, operations, and relationships with media and other organizations around the globe.