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WikiLeaks targets the Afghanistan conflict; would the Filter block this?

  • 27 July 2010
  • Written by 
  • Published in Security

Following the earlier release of the video "Collateral Murder," WikiLeaks has again raised the ire of the US authorities by making available around 90,000 communications related to the war in Afghanistan.

Collateral Murder put WikiLeaks "on the map."  This video, apparently leaked by Intelligence Analyst Bradley Manning who is currently under arrest in Kuwait facing up to 50 years jail, shows a US Apache helicopter gunship attack on a number of civilians, including journalists, killing many of them.

For some time earlier this year, the WikiLeaks site had been off-the-air while they sought additional operating funding and the release of the Collateral Murder material was amongst the first items they'd publish in 2010.

Since that time, there have been rumours circulating of a cache of 260,000 diplomatic cables that Manning also provided to WikiLeaks, a fact denied by founder Julian Assange, although whether his denials hinge on the fact that there were 259,999 instead of 260,000 (for instance) remains to be seen.

Yesterday's release of approximately 90,000 militarily-derived messages, dubbed The Afghan War Diary 2004 - 2010 paints a very different picture of the progress of the conflict that the authorities would liked us to have believed and will dramatically raise the level of tension between US authorities and Assange.

It has not yet been determined whether these 90,000 messages are part of Manning's 260,000; perhaps we will never know, although Assange has said many times that the WikiLeaks site has regularly been receiving far more leaked information that could practically be published on the site.

Julian Assange, defended publication of the material in the face of US anger; "If journalism is good, it is controversial by its nature."

Many political and news focussed sites have performed an extensive analysis in the material; it is not for this writer to indulge in such investigation, however it is of much greater interest that the Internet has provided the means by which such information can see the light of day and be distributed so widely and so quickly.

We can only be grateful that, should this country implement an Internet Filter (something which is wildly unpopular in the local tech community), the time taken to enact a banning of such material will be considerably longer that the shelf-life of that material. Long live Government inertia.

Of course at the moment, politically sensitive material cannot be granted a "Refused Classification" rating, but such a description is simply playing with words.  The Government chooses that "Refused Classification" means the nastiest of child porn, extreme sex and so on, but no-where does that seem to be defined; it is simply refused classification for any expedient reason.

Assange argues that a free press is reason enough to make this material available; the governments of the world might disagree.


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