They call it government-by-news-leak. It is the first solid and clearly discernable effect of the digital age on statecraft, governance, diplomacy and politics. Whistleblowers have always had a profound influence on the workings of governments, specially in democracies; one of them did, in fact, cause a US President to give up his office in disgrace. But it is the openness of the internet and the creation of platforms that make it easy to do some effective outing. You know a force to be reckoned with has truly arrived when the US Secretary of State is beseeching it not to do its job lest American soldiers face reprisals. That did not deter Wikileaks, though. It is out with its latest bombshell, this time on Iraq. The data is believed to have been posted on the site by a military intelligence analyst privy to the information. The litany of war crimes includes details of torture and failure of the US army to investigate the same.

But its not all bad news for the US. Which is what makes the conspiracy theorists smell something rotten, the way they did in the Afghanistan leaks. The silver lining to the US PR fiasco could be the reports detailing Iranian involvement in the Iraq insurgency. The possibility that Wikileaks has unwittingly helped the US army was something the conspiracy theorists propounded when the Afghan War Diaries were released as well. Their argument: it is a vilification of the Pakistani intelligence agencies at the expense of getting some American torture stories out. Similarly, an indictment of Iran in the current report. Though the cloak and dagger world of military espionage leaves nothing out of the realm of possibilities, at the face value, it does appear feathers have been ruffled in the West.

Instead of gloating in the shame of the US, perhaps we need whistleblowers of our own here in Pakistan. There is no shortage of stories to be told, not just in the military but all around.