As an independent journalist focused on obtaining the unbiased and unwashed truth about corruption, I viewed WikiLeaks with a great deal of admiration – anticipating that the world of black projects and extreme government secrecy was finally coming to an abrupt end.
However, what events early in Wikileaks’s life revealed, and what the latest release of Guantanamo files confirm, is that Wikileak’s founder Julian Assange appears more interested in framing the discussion around the release of documents, rather than the actual release of information itself.
Assange Cherry-Picks Media Outlets
When I first heard about the release of hundreds of classified military files about Guantanamo detainees and suspected al Qaeda operatives, I was excited to have a look at them myself – to see not only what they reveal about Guantanamo, but also about the current activities of al Qaeda and its supporters.
If you don’t know exactly where to go to view the files themselves, you’re not alone. You’ll experience a bit of a run-around as each organization wants you to use it’s own site to access WikiLeaks information.
I went from the UK’s Telegraph, to the Guardian, to the Washington Post, and finally to CNN.
Skimming each article and reading each of them mention the “hundreds of files released by WikiLeaks,” not a single one provided a link back to the WikiLeaks website where people could read through some of the files themselves.
Instead, most major news organization appeared to select certain types of detainee files and describing the contents without providing direct, easy access to the files.
Wikileaks Careful Selection of Media Outlets
I was also surprised to read CNN’s account of the release on Monday, when CNN correspondent Tim Lister wrote:
“The secret documents have been made available to several news organizations, including the New York Times and the Washington Post — and some have been published by WikiLeaks, an organization that facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information.
CNN was not among the news organizations granted early access to the latest files.”
I suddenly found myself more interested in this particular release tactic than I was in the Guantanamo files themselves.
Why would Assange carefully select particular news organizations like the New York Times and the Washington Post, but not one of the most well-balanced and well-respected news organizations in the world – CNN?
The New York Times and the Washington Post have always been accused of having a very liberal slant. A 2007 Rasmussen Reports survey showed that 40 percent of respondents described the Times as a liberal newspaper. It found the same to be true of the Washington Post (20 percent described it as liberal, versus 11 percent as conservative).
That is not to say there is anything wrong with a liberal perspective, but a release weighted to news organizations with that slant identifies a troubling bias at WikiLeaks.
I can only wager a guess that Assange was hoping to frame the discussion of the released documents with his preferred anti-military and anti-U.S. slant – the holding of “innocent” detainees.
Guantanamo Files Reveal Dangerous and Violent al Qaeda Operatives
Instead of suffering through the same runaround with the mainstream news media, I suggest that you go straight to the source, click on one of the release dates (additional files will be released daily) and pick through some of the released documents yourself, such as this one:
…about Zohair Mohammed Said from Yemen, who swore an oath to Bin Laden (the guy that masterminded the murder of thousands of innocent civilians around the world), served as a suicide operative in one “aborted component” of the 9/11 attacks, and fought in Afghanistan against US and Coalition forces.
Or maybe this one, about Sanad Yislam al-Kazimi of Yemen,
…who admitted serving as Bin Laden’s bodyguard, was trained at the al-Qaeda run al-Faruq training camp in explosives, and took part in al-Qaeda planning to fly an aircraft into a U.S. Navy sea port.
Or, let’s continue randomly clicking on names, and go with this one,
about Mohd Farik Bin Amin, who swore allegience to Bin Ladin, trained as a suicide operative for Khalid Shaykh Mohammed’s west coast Airline attack plot, trained in an al-Qaeda camp in explosives and bombs, and even helped to fund and case out targets in Thailand and Cambodia for future terrorist attacks there.
I randomly picked three names, and discovered three very high risk individuals that you probably won’t read about in other news accounts. These are three guys that would like to see you dead, if you live in a democracy, or you are non-Muslim.
Military Institutes Regular Review Process
Another fact that these documents reveal is that detainees undergo an extensive process of review for potential release, based upon their risk category. Each report rates the likelihood that the individual will return to working with al-Qaeda in its planned attacks against the United States and other nations.
Each of the highest risk individuals (of which there are many listed in these files), have a file that contains the following statement as part of “Reasons for Continued Detention”
“If released without rehabilitation, close supervision, and means to successfully reintegrate into his society as a law abiding citizen, it is assessed detainee would probably seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities. Since transfer to JTF-GTMO, detainee has appeared to be cooperative during interviews but may also have been withholding information and employing counter interrogation techniques.”
Counter interrogation techniques are usually identified by military interviewers when known and confirmed information conflicts with what the detainee is telling them – essentially revealing that the detainee is lying.
Even though some of the files do identify individuals held at Guantanamo who turned out to be innocent, the fact remains that the large majority really are dangerous al-Qaeda operatives that seek to murder innocent civilians using all means necessary.
Finding a way to filter out the innocent detainees from the dangerous ones in a more expedient way is certainly an important discussion to have, but demonizing the entire Gitmo operation is irresponsible. And it appears that most of the news media have already jumped on that bandwagon.
The truth is that based on these released documents, it appears that the folks that run Guantanamo, despite some monumental failures and a whole lot of struggle (and some infighting) are working their absolute hardest to ensure that the bad guys aren’t running free and planning out additional attacks against innocent civilians.Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com