Wikileaks — the amorphorous whistleblower website that published leaked governmental documents — has just released a massive trove of Afghan War documents. The documents, 91,000 in all, are all at least seven months old and don't contain sensitive intelligence info. But they suggest the war has been faltering much more than many mainstream media depictions of it and contain reports of multiple incidents of civilian casualties — mostly unintentional but caused by Nato forces.
Especially these days, news that the war in Afghanistan is not going swimmingly hardly seems shocking. What is unprecedented, however, is the power of a site like WikiLeaks. Following a wikipedia-like model (it's unaffiliated with the encyclopedia), Wikileaks accepts anonymous submissions from around the world, verifies and publishes them. Founded in 2006, it has previously leaked documents from Chinese dissenters and a video of a US helicopter killing Iraqi civilians, released earlier this year.
By virtue of existing on the web in a number of countries, the site has avoided legal trouble thus far (although, there are rumors that the CIA has been giving a hard time to founder Julian Assange). Although the content of the leaks is disheartening, the success of the site seems like a harbinger of govermental transparency — powered by the internet.
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