Today’s publication in the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel of leaked US military documents – over 90,000 reports – relating to Afghanistan have raised anger in the US government who have accused Wikileaks of putting the lives of US army personnel at risk.
The leaked documents reveal details of numerous incidents of Afghan civilians being killed that went unreported at the time including killings by UK forces.
The news that US/UK governments have been lying to us about the true extent of civilian deaths in Afghanistan will not come as much of a surprise to many.
Just look at the official reaction to the news last Friday that as many as 45 Afghan civilians were killed by a US helicopter attack in Regey village in Helmand province:
“Nato’s initial investigation found no evidence, but a BBC journalist visiting Regey village spoke to several people who said they had seen the incident.”
So, NATO’s ‘initial investigation’ found no evidence of the massacre, despite their being numerous eyewitnesses to the killings who have now been interviewed by multiple news organisations.
The Wikileaks episode underlines the important shift in recent years in the balance of power in the age of the internet regarding information dissemination away from governments.
Update: The Daily Telegraph website has a very useful list of the Top Ten Greatest Scoops to date by Wikileaks.