Speaking of WikiLeaks, my WIRED colleague Kim Zetter talks to ex-WikiLeaker Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who recently made the stunning disclosure that he destroyed over 3,500 unpublished documents obtained by the anti-secrecy group, allegedly because WikiLeaks couldn't guarantee the security of their sources or the safe handling of the files themselves. WikiLeaks -- which has, to say the least, an acrimonious relationship with Domscheit-Berg says one of those documents is among its most significant: an encrypted video file of the 2009 Garani incident, in which U.S. warplanes allegedly killed about 100 Afghan civilians. Kim:
The latest assertion about the video also does not jibe with the timing of WikiLeaks’ past statements about when it received the video and was working on decrypting it.
The video in question is likely one that WikiLeaks previously claimed it possessed, which showed a May 2009 U.S. air strike near Garani village in Afghanistan. The local government insisted the air strike killed nearly 100 civilians, most of them children. The Pentagon released a report about the incident in 2009, but backed down from a plan to show video of the attack to reporters. ...
WikiLeaks later hinted that year that it planned to release the video, but instead released another video in April 2010 under the title “Collateral Murder.” This video showed a U.S. Apache air strike on civilians in Iraq.
Assange told reporters after the “Collateral Murder” release that his organization still planned to release the Garani video. But the video was apparently contained in an encrypted AES-256 ZIP file, according to statements Manning made to a former hacker, and the organization appeared to be having trouble cracking the military-grade encryption.
Now WikiLeaks is claiming the video was destroyed by Domscheit-Berg.
I have no inside knowledge here. But the Garani video is a big deal, as my boss Noah Shachtman explains in this (WikiLeaks-hyped) piece. David Petraeus once said the (apparently) pilots-eye video would exonerate the U.S. in the bombing incident... only to surprisingly decline to release the video at all, which doesn't exactly make the U.S. look innocent.
A full and open accounting of what happened at Garani has eluded the Afghan and American publics. It's the least they deserve. I don't know if actually releasing an unexpurgated video would amount to the same thing -- I suppose there could be some absent context from the video -- but once Petraeus' own statements suggest that the video is the linchpin, then it's unsurprising that someone would conclude that withholding it is a coverup. And when that person (allegedly!) has access to WikiLeaks, the leak makes a lot of sense.