Wikileaks Gives Secret Afghan War Logs to Newspapers

In what will likely be the most startling news event this year, Wikileaks has obtained secret military files and given them to the New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel, who agreed to coordinate the release of their news stories. These thousands of United States military incident and intelligence reports detail a great many combat actions that have been hitherto unreported, telling a sorry tale of civilian deaths, armed conflict among allies, and mounting chaos in Afghanistan.

The Guardian calls it the biggest intelligence leak in military history.

From my initial examination of the news sites, it seems that each is attempting to tell stories based on aspects of the documents, and, to some extent, are worried still about dealing with material that has been classified as secret.

Nothing in the immediate reports that I could find touches explicitly on Canada or our role in the war.

The Guardian appears to be doing the best job of managing this information. It has created a spreadsheet of 300 “key incidents” and made it available for download. And they’ve created a video that tells you how to read the war logs, about some of which they have already published articles.

The full trove of logs is available online from Wikileaks as “The Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010″ in CSV, SQL, and KML formats. Wikileaks plans to make them available in a more readable format soon. They also plan to release a further 15,000 documents when they are sure their sources won’t be harmed.

UPDATE: I have now managed to download the CSV file of all the logs currently available and find numerous references to “Canada” and “Canadian”, including reports on policy discussions and reports of battle casualties. The CSV file is very large, 77.5 MB, too large, in fact, for my spreadsheet program to digest. Opened in a text application, it contains 10,445,281 words. The downloaded CSV file is compressed into a .7z format file and will need to be expanded by an appropriate application.

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Comments

  1. I tried to use that link to get the whole file but it looks like the site is offline… government interference? anyway you could put it on a server for me to get?

  2. Rich, it seems that at the moment all of Wikileaks is offline. It may be that they’ve been overwhelmed by traffic. There may be other reasons, too, of course.

    I’m afraid Slaw doesn’t have the server space or the bandwidth to make the CSV file available. I’m sure someone else with a few resources will step up to the plate.

  3. Don’t forget about military abbreviations, which might be impeding your search. I noticed one entry about an IED strike with two Canadian Forces fatalities said “2x NATO(CAN) KIA”. This wouldn’t show up in searches. Also, references to “TF Kandahar” are often Canada-related.

  4. Well it looks like it was just because of to much server traffic, I just finished downloading it in html format :) Another thing people might be interested in looking (sort of a smaller war log) is the guardians 300-key incidents spreadsheet file that you can get from their site.