By now, most are aware of the massive international intelligence leak that has catapulted the already infamous Julian Assange of wikileaks.org to new heights of notoriety. Releasing a selection of documents gathered through a single leak from Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old intelligence analyst who was formerly working in Iraq, Assange has demonstrated with stunning clarity that he is unafraid to throw rocks at the metaphorical wasps' nest.
Earlier in 2010, wikileaks unveiled a series of war documents that outlined casualties and operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq by the United States and its allies. These documents, colloquially known as the War Logs, revealed controversial and troubling information that shook many politicians and military officials into intense rebuttal. Many called the release a significant threat to the lives of serving soldiers, with Robert Gates calling the website "morally guilty for putting lives at risk."
With this release, which Assange has claimed to be only a fraction of the total information obtained from Manning, wikileaks has assured its position in international politics. Officials can shout and rage as much as they wish, but there is no doubt that they are all now fearful of this man and his little website. The power of information, for all forces regardless of orientation, has once again been demonstrated on a grand scale.
The backlash has grown quickly and is becoming fierce. The latest documents have outlined diplomatic relationships in gory detail never before recognized and has dealt significant damage to the interactions of national figures. Many pundits have claimed that much of the information was well understood within the diplomatic community and will not come as a shock to those in the know, but the exposure of the information to the general public will surely bruise egos. Examples of this harsh language include calling the President of Afghanistan "paranoid" and "extremely weak," and the French Prime Minister "thin-skinned" and "authoritarian."
Beyond the concerns of diplomatic insult, the documents have also revealed the depth and breadth of United States espionage, including conscripting diplomats into gathering information on their host countries and local officials. It has revealed a number of interesting and disconcerting points about the international arena, including an assertion that the January 2010 Google hacking incident was a deliberate attack by the Chinese authorities and is part of a wide campaign of computer malfeasance directed at the United States and its allies.