Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Yes…We Need Leaks! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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We will continue to monitor and analyze the contents of the secret documents leaked from the files of the US Defense Department via the “Wikileaks” website long into the future. Wikileaks is a website that specializes in disclosing secret documents and information.

The 90,000 leaked documents provide details about the war in Afghanistan, exposing deep secrets about what is going on there, as well as revealing the volume of Afghan civilian casualties and other details, perhaps the most significant of which is the confirmation of Iranian and Pakistani support for Taliban militants.

The report informs us of information that we were not aware of over the past nine years, or perhaps information that we overlooked or ignored.

The international media has become absorbed with this dangerous leak, which perhaps paints a dangerous picture of the failed war in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2010.

Today, the US administration, along with the Pakistani, British, German and other governments, are in turmoil over the alleged war crimes committed against Afghan civilians, which were kept secret and not investigated.

Wikileaks also announced that it was in possession of more documents about the war in Afghanistan, but these have yet to be published.

But whether the shortcomings in some of the information was intentional or as a result of negligence, there is one truth that emerges from this and that is the abysmal failures to avoid civilian losses, and the lack of accountability for this. Often those affected by such losses went to the headquarters of the International Forces in Afghanistan only to be put off by vague answers. Following the release of this secret information, doubts have increased about the effectiveness of the US strategy in Afghanistan, and large gaps have appeared in the US – Pakistani alliance.

Along with the political repercussions of this leak of strategic information, there can be no doubt that this website publishing these secret documents has opened something new for the modern media. The ability of websites such as Wikileaks [to reveal secret information] has changed the way that governments around the world operate, as they are now more accountable and transparent with regards to their own public.

Today, any journalist, researcher, or activist possessing secret documents can potentially upload this information into the public sphere, after the website has verified the credibility of its information and sources, with this source remaining a secret. There are also enthusiastic calls for confidential documents to be revealed to condemn governments and administrations, forcing them to review their policies, and increasing transparency in future governmental operations. However some people have pointed to the danger with regards to what Wikileaks decides to publish and what it chooses not to, especially as this website previously published the private emails of US politician Sarah Palin, in what was considered an act of provocation. The controversy surrounding this issue will remain, but the important thing is that the effects of this latest leak will have international proportions with regards to raising levels of awareness, enabling us to monitor the performance of governments and regimes. These governments and regimes – some of whom are democratic – have been involved in hiding information; while others – some of whom are undemocratic – have been hiding behind claims that have been blown apart by these leaks, as is the case with Tehran and Islamabad and their relationship with the Taliban.