This week the website WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of Army documents related to the war in Afghanistan. The documents reveal gruesome facts about civilian deaths as well as U.S. foreign intelligence.
There's been some speculation by bloggers, including John Young of Cryptome.com, that the leak is part of a disinformation operation, and that the documents themselves could even be fake, their release to the press an act of collusion between the government and WikiLeaks. This is because of the fact that the leaked documents are digital files with no signature to prove their authenticity, that they were released immediately to the mainstream media instead of directly to the public on the web, and that their release has been covered extensively by the American press, when in the past the issue of civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq have been downplayed by the mainstream media...even ignored.
So far, there's no evidence yet to prove that the White House or the Pentagon conspired with WikiLeaks to stage the documents' release-- just speculation. One might wonder why the U.S. government would want to do such a thing when the information in the documents paint a grim picture of the war in Afghanistan as a hopeless, bloody waste of money and human life. But when you peel away the hype of the WikiLeaks story the truth is that this realization is not a new one for many Americans who have turned their backs to the mainstream media and are getting their news from the Internet and other sources. Even people who don't follow the news closely know that the Afghan War is in its ninth year with no end in sight and that soldiers are continuing to die in it. Every week local newspapers around America feature stories of young men and women from their areas who were killed in action.
It could be that the White House is looking for a quick resolution to the fighting and to cut a deal with the Taliban, allowing them to slowly conquer the country again during a U.S. draw-down, "forced" by public outrage over the leak and the continuing bloodshed, while still allowing the U.S. to exploit the treasure trove of natural resources there. Indeed, the U.S. already pays off the Taliban through private contractors not to attack trucking convoys. Reducing troops while maintaining a grip on Afghanistan's untouched wealth would allow the U.S. to keep the spoils of war while at the same focusing its military resources on the next target-- Iran.
Already Fox News has exploited the WikiLeaks documents to further vilify Iran, pointing out that the documents indicate the U.S. belief that Iran is arming theTaliban insurgency. This adds another layer to Fox's steady stream of propaganda that has flowed over the years advocating for an attack on the country, and stands as the second reason why some believe the leak was staged.
President Ahmadinejad of Iran has denied the charges that his government supports Taliban insurgents.
Prior to Ahmadinejad's coming to power, while the U.S. planned the invasion of Afghanistan, Iran helped organize the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. Though the U.S. has downplayed Iran's role in the early days of the war, U.S.soldiers and officials have conceded that Iranian forces were present with the Afghan rebels in 2001. In his 2006 article, "How Neocons Sabotaged Iran's Help on al-Qaeda" author Gareth Porter wrote:
"After the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. officials responsible for preparing for war in Afghanistan needed Iran's help to unseat the Taliban and establish a stable government in Kabul. Iran had organized resistance by the Northern Alliance and had provided arms and funding at a time when the United States had been unwilling to do so."
The article quotes Flynt Leverett-- senior director for Middle East affairs in the National Security Council at the time-- who said that State Department and NSC officials met secretly with Iranian diplomats in October, 2001 to discuss "how to effectively unseat the Taliban and once the Taliban was gone, how to stand up an Afghan government."
The State Department's policy planning staff wrote a paper in November 2001 recommending that the U.S. pursue more formal cooperation with Iran in fighting al-Qaeda. Yet collaboration with Iran in Afghanistan would have involved equal sharing of information about al-Qaeda between the two countries, and since the Bush administration had already decided to include Iran on its "axis of evil" hit-list by then, the U.S. turned its back on the idea.
As Neocons use the WikiLeaks story of Iranian efforts to hamper the U.S. occupation of its neighbor in order to push their agenda, no doubt they will overlook the fact that in 2007 the CIA received presidential approval to mount a covert operation to destabilize Iran's government. It's even less likely that they'll mention that Iran's democratically elected government was overthrown by the CIA and replaced by the heavy-handed Shah-- a U.S. puppet-- when it wanted to nationalize its oil fields back in 1953.
Such facts aren't convenient for a U.S. government trying to seize the moral high ground while biding its time for the right moment to launch another unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation.