Monday, July 26, 2010

The Globe and Mail, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and Arithmetic

WikiLeaks and the Smoking Gun

"But the Harper government – which initially refused all comment on the 92,000 leaked U.S. and NATO documents posted on the Internet by WikiLeaks – broke its silence Monday night to deny that the deaths had been caused by a mistake by an ally." The Globe and Mail, July 27, 2010

"The friendly fire allegation occurred in a report that was among more than 91,000 documents released Sunday revealing new details about the war in Afghanistan and describing numerous accounts of brutality, corruption, extortion and kidnapping by members of the Afghan police force." - CBC News website, July 26, 2010

"WikiLeaks today released over 75,000 secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan." WikiLeaks website, July 26, 2010

One of the most unsurprising conclusions from the WikiLeaks Afghan document dump is how unsurprising it is. At first glance – I haven’t read all the documents – it paints a picture (the “mosaic effect” beloved by international security services as an abstract ruse for denying information to concerned citizenry) of a mindless war conducted by well-meaning people who have no idea what they’re doing or why.

Meanwhile, two of the most revered institutions in Canadian “news” reporting – the Globe and Mail and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – seem incapable of reading.

If they can’t read the executive summary, or even the reports of the three international newspapers trusted by WikiLeaks to authenticate the documents (The Guardian, Der Spiegel, the New York Times), then why should we believe anything they publish?

To be fair, none of these three revered international institutions seems to be able to count either.