The Archival Counterpoint to WikiLeaks News by Trudy Peterson

Last week, when news erupted of the Iraqi documents WikiLeaks, I posted the news as I heard it from The New York Times.  It’s come to my attention that this was the perfect opportunity to share a paper by former Acting Archivist of the United States, Trudy Huskamp Peterson.  Peterson has suggested that the scavengers of wartime documents are usually opposing military forces, not the press and not the affected citizens.  As an experienced archivist, she outlines in her discussion the laws of war as they apply to records seizure.  This paper serves as a good counterpoint to compare and expand further on the topic of the WikiLeaks from an archival perspective.

Read paper


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  1. #1 by scobra72 on October 29, 2010 - 6:34 pm

    I liked this post simply because it engages a debative context about the Wikileaks story.There are definite issues as to what can be gleaned from the 400,000 (circa) pages in question.However that side of this leak can register as a teaspoon to the tide with not only the leftist objector,but with worldwide human morals as a whole.The concensus seems to place what the U.S. documents show as being between ‘Fog of War’ and systematic human rights abuses under the noses-if not in the hands of- coalition troops.Evidently that opinion is falling much to the side of the latter in world circles.Perhaps had the U.S. countered with indignation at the inherent accusations to match the affront of ‘security exposure’,then International critique would have favoured at least some ‘benefit of the doubt’ balance.
    If the U.S. is seen to further abandon it’s assumed moral governor status,using a skewed, barely recognisable and variable constitution to justify such abandonment,there will be no world peace in our grandchildrens’ lifetime,far less our own.
    The depth of this leak’s implications is profound enough,with corroborative evidence,to go straight to the top of governments,the tried and tested scapegoat or ‘patsy’ route would be epic folly with all things considered.The mainstream media’s tepid approach has been thrown aside by cyberspace affront.
    Musing over Julian Assange’s role or the implications for his organisation,using reference or precedent as cited here by Trudy Peterson,would surely require some kind of measurable context- at least using a constitution which has’nt been contorted and fully ventilated with recent,self-preservational ‘patches’.
    It would appear that America is stumbling with regard to what it should now do,from both sides of this pendulum the stark answer is DO THE RIGHT THING!
    Agenda and counter-agenda play strict bridesmaid to life and death,the perception of Western Civilization and it’s foreseeable future now lies in the balance,if credibility is to be restored -even from within our borders- due process of law,based on everything we have seen and heard,must be applied.One way or the other.

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