Almost 400,000 classified US documents about the war in Iraq were recently released by WikiLeaks, an international organization that publishes anonymous submissions. The “intimate details” of the conflict were made public in an effort to reveal the truth about the conflict, according to BBC.
The documents suggest evidence of torture was ignored, and detailed the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians, as well as Iran’s cooperation with Iraq.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed at a news conference over the weekend that the release by his organization of 391,000 classified documents on the war in Iraq was intended to “correct some of the attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war and which has continued after the war.”
Iraq’s PM said the release amounted to political interference in his country. A statement from Nouri al-Maliki’s office accused Wikileaks of trying to sabotage his bid to form a new government by stoking up anger “against national parties and leaders, especially against the prime minister”.
At the same time, according to the Washington Post, the mass documents leak, like a dump of documents on Afghanistan in the summer, mainly demonstrates that the truth about Iraq already has been told. The cases of abuse were widely reported before.
So, one might start asking why Wikileaks had to publish the classified documents.
“Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal unethical behaviour in their own governments and corporations,” reads a statement on Wikileaks’ website.
The site was created and launched in 2006 by journalists, mathematicians, start-up company technologists, among other categories of individuals from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa. These founders have however not been formally identified. Wikileaks is run by The Sunshine Press. The publisher is an international non-profit organization funded by human rights campaigners,investigative journalists, technologists, lawyers and the general public.
Since 2007 Wikileaks is represented by Julian Assange, who has often been referred to as the founder of the website, although Assange describes himself as a cryptographer and member of the advisory board.
Wikileaks claims that the oppressive regimes in Asia and the former Soviet bloc are the main targets of the organization; but so far they have predominantly published data affecting only the NATO and U.S. foreign policies. This probably could be explained by the growing dissatisfaction of the global community with the war policies in Afghanistan, Iraq and recent events in Pakistan.
It should be also noted that on December 24 2009, Wikileaks announced that it was experiencing a shortage of funds. Wikileaks stated on its website that it would resume full operation once the operational costs were covered. The website saw this as a kind of strike “to ensure that everyone who is involved stops normal work and actually spends time raising revenue”. While it was initially hoped that funds could be secured by January 6, 2010, it was only on February 3, 2010 that Wikileaks announced that its minimum fundraising goal had been achieved. It means the organization found some sponsors.
The famous theoretical physicist, philosopher and author, Albert Einstein once said: “Question everything.” Maybe it is the time to question the ulterior motives of some organizations including Wikileaks.
While not holding anything against Wikileaks, the recent release of classified documents in Iraq, could just be that Wikileaks is dancing to the tunes of its sponsors who may not be making profits out of the situation in Iraq.
* Anna Varfolomeeva is an international reporter at M4 Media