25
Nov

By Professor Ibrahim Al-Marashi

The contents revealed in October 2010 from an archive of secrets US military documents from Iraq are astonishing, but civilian deaths, the use of torture, and Iranian involvement in Iraq have already been covered by journalists, many of whom lost their lives in that country to make such news public. Rather it is the process of how these documents became public that heralds a new age in the flow of information. 

 One of the aspects of globalization is the technological revolution in communications which obliterates time and space, and aggravates the ability of the state to control information within its border or globally.  Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the independent organization WikiLeaks, used Sweden as a base, in addition to a network of servers around the world to instantaneously release these documents to a global audience.  In this case, the American superpower was unable to prevent this super-empowered Australian from releasing the documents.  Nevertheless, the globalization of intelligence does not mean that the state is irrelevant.  Assange lived in Sweden due to its broad press freedoms but was denied a residence permit and has joined the ranks of global nomads.

 I have personally experienced this phenomenon of the globalization of intelligence.  When the academic Glen Rangwala of Cambridge University noticed that a British intelligence dossier he found off the Internet was similar to an article that I had written on Iraq that was also published on the Internet, he was able to send me an email from the UK which I read in California in the early morning.  A couple of seconds later, I was able to respond that I had no role in the drafting of the UK intelligence dossier.  An announcement on Rangwala’s website, and a couple of further emails led to the story breaking on London’s Channel 4 news, becoming headlines in countries ranging from South Africa to India.  All of this happened within 24 hours.  Read more…

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