As has been widely reported in recent days, Wikileak’s entire archive of 251,287 US diplomatic cables has been made public due to sloppy data security both by Wikileaks and the Guardian newspaper. Whereas previously both Wikileaks and media outlets had redacted many names in the cables to protect third parties, the new release contains no such redactions.
I’ll admit to being among those who thinks that democratically-elected governments have a perfect right to classify diplomatic communications, and that dumping a quarter of a million legally-classified, illegally-obtained documents into the public domain isn’t really a public service. That being said, they’re all out there now, and I mention the fact because there are quite a few items of interest to researchers on the Palestinian refugee issue. Indeed, a quick search of the archive reveals:
- 384 cables referring to “Palestinian refugee“
- 244 cables referring to Nahr al-Barid
- 894 cables referring to UNRWA
- …and so forth
So far I’ve seen nothing terribly surprising, although there a few tidbits here and there that add to what is already known about certain issues. There is, for example, material on Palestinian refugees in or fleeing Iraq; a reference to the scope of US military assistance to the LAF during the 2007 fighting at Nahr al-Barid (no less than 22 C-17s with military supplies); information on reconstruction at Nahr al-Barid (and on the question of an ISF police station in the camp); and some insight into UNRWA donor politics.
In any case, let’s try crowd-sourcing this: try searching Wikileaks, and if you come across a memo that you think is significant post the details and a link in the comments here on the PRRN blog. We’ll feature anything that is especially interesting or revealing.