Friday, February 29, 2008


The Internet is perhaps the most powerful tool ever created by man, and while it serves many good and useful purposes, it is often used in the service of evil. It has been used since nearly the very beginning to transmit pornography and obscene materials. Though also present to some degree in the Internet's early stages, piracy entered the mainstream with the advent of Napster, and today every form of digital media is trafficked illegally online. While these forms of immorality online pose distinct threats to the future of world civilization, they are well-known and commonly dismissed as innocuous.

Now, there is a new, still greatly obscure evil that is emerging on the Internet. One newly unveiled website in particular, instead of offering illegal bootlegs of copyrighted movies and music, is a clearinghouse for leaked sensitive government and corporate documents, including classified U.S. military documents that contain detailed information about our country's operations around the world.

The site is known as Wikileaks, and while I will not provide a link to it, it is easily accessible. It bills itself as "an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis" with servers "distributed over multiple international jurisdictions." So far, they have received over 1.2 million documents from anonymous sources. Once documents are globally disseminated, a community of online researchers analyze them and report various findings.

The site claims its primary interest is exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. While this may sound like an admirable goal, the site's most popular documents are those that expose key information about the U.S. military.

Among the documents made freely available by Wikileaks are:

Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Camp Delta (Guantanamo Bay prison), the primary document for the operation of Guantanamo Bay, including the securing of detainees

U.S. Rules of Engagement for Iraq, a document visibly classified SECRET that contains the consolidated U.S. Forces Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Iraq as of October 2005

Iraq Operation Iraqi Freedom Property List, a 2,000 page document consisting of the names, group structure, and equipment registers of all units in Iraq with Army equipment as of April 2007, also containing information about State Department, Air Force, Navy and Marines units, the Iraqi police and coalition forces from Poland, Denmark, Ukraine, Latvia, Slovakia, Romania, Armenia, Kazakhstan and El Salvador, material that represents nearly the entire order of battle for U.S. forces in Iraq and that is the first public revelation of many of the military units described

Afghanistan Operation Enduring Freedom Property List, a comprehensive list of Army equipment held by the U.S. Army, Marines, Air Force, coalition, and possibly CIA units in Afghanistan as of April 2007

While this issue has attracted very little media attention, the New York Times picked up on Wikileaks' release of the Iraq rules of engagement in this February 4 story. They quote Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, a spokesman for the American military command:

"While we will not comment on whether this is, in fact, an official document, we do consider the deliberate release of what Wikileaks believes to be a classified document is irresponsible and, if valid, could put U.S. military personnel at risk."

He's absolutely right that a rules of engagement document in the hands of the enemy can cost lives. But I'm willing to go farther than to say the release of these documents is merely "irresponsible." It's treason.

1 comment:

mark said...

Chilling! I hope this is not real!