What happens when everyone can read about some leaked classified documents, but can’t actually get to the source – yet? The traffic keeps building for everyone involved.
Look at this traffic-chart: The strategy to release the documents only in a trickle over the next months, seems to work wonders compared to last time wikileak had something to share. The demand is huge – it looks like a 2000% increase in just a few days. We’re three days into the release of Cablegate-documents, and wikileaks has released only 505 out of more than 250.000 cables.
The five newspapers with prior access to all the documents will therefore stay in the lead on this story for a long time – and they might even get permanent traffic-increase out of it. Look at the graph with data from Alexa: The Guardian doubled their daily reach these late days in November. Not bad – considering Guardian only serves trinkets of the trickles with headers of the cables and edited-down versions of the actual bodytext for ‘obvious security reasons’ …
Not bad either, for wikileaks’ Julian Assange to have these five influential papers as ‘allies’, as we get closer to a showdown between wikileaks vs the governments? New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Spigel.
Anyway. When I was finally able to get through to Wikileaks.org myself, I started to read some unedited bodytext to be able to form an opinion about it. I must say it is very interesting to read – I randomly selected a cable called 10paris170, and enjoyed to get the real deal: – content which hasn’t been through the spindoctors and political analysts before being served.
Where else would you read the like of this from a meeting between US Secretary of Defence (secdef) and his french counterpart Herve Morin taking place Feb 8th 2010:
‘SecDef observed that Russian democracy has disappeared and the government was an oligarchy run by the security services.’
Or when the French Secretary voices his strong objections against the Missile Defence:
¶6. (S/NF) Morin, having expressed strong reservations to new U.S. and NATO missile defense (MD) plans at the NATO ministerial in Istanbul (reftel), said he wanted to explain how France sees MD and raise some questions. First, he believes that the shift from Theater Missile Defense (TMD) to defense of populations and territory will give publics a false sense of security, since the sword was ultimately stronger than the shield. For France, security came from strong defense and deterrence. Second, Morin asked what threat the system aims to counter. Nuclear states or rogue states? Third, Morin asked about funding and how European countries would participate in command and control (C2) decisions. Morin summarized his own personal opposition to MD by asserting that the U.S. and Europe have differing mentalities on defense spending. He said the U.S. has true resiliency with “infinite” means, while in Europe defense spending has collapsed in every country but the UK and France. As a result, any development needing common funding will dilute the already weak European defenses. Morin concluded by stating that it was folly to assume that MD would give us added security.
This is some serious objections to a MD-system, – a system which was just agreed upon in Lisbon last week.
Maybe because the cable has a note attached to it:
(NOTE: Following the meetings, Morin’s critical comments on Missile Defense were disavowed by senior officials at the MoD and the MFA, who said that his views were his own and that the U.S. should essentially “erase” what he had just said. END NOTE.)
Is that how the French democracy works?
I certainly see a lot of fuel for journalistic questioning in the months and even years to come based on this material.
Oh – I originally started out this article wanting to discuss the visualizations done after the Cablegate, but frankly – when your main focus as a visual journalist becomes some obscure statistics ie. the origins of the cables as animated beautiful circles on a map, then I think you’ve somehow missed the mark.