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December 1, 2011 | by James Arger

From the frontlines

The Vanity of Learning by John Dawson Watson

There’s something magical about a newsroom. The way that, even during the slow hours of the night, there remains a palpable vibration in the air, as if the accumulated tension of innumerable deadlines still resonated within its walls. This is the place where the news is made, where bustling bodies move to the beat of the world, where history is reported for the very first time. Some journalists prefer the thrill of being out in the field, of being part of those defining moments — whatever the risks they might face.

I understand the appeal, and at times I’ve felt the same myself. But I still find an oddly comforting sense of purpose in the atmosphere of a newsroom. Typewriters and chain-smoking reporters may have been replaced by computers and BlackBerry-addicted social networkers, 24-hour news TV channels may have taken the place of radio broadcasts, but newsrooms don’t really change. And in a way, I miss it more than I thought I would.

There is no newsroom for Warmongers, inc. There is just my office, a small place I rent a couple of blocks from where I live. There’s nothing magical there — just a very functional set-up, with a printer and a phone and Internet access, and a small coffee-maker that makes a surprisingly acceptable cup of coffee. There are no editorial meetings either — only regular exchanges with winterm_te, ranging from mindless technical stuff to deciding which documents we’ll make available next. All in all, it’s a very small-scale operation, but in this new age of communication, you don’t need much more to make yourself heard.

A few weeks ago, when winterm_te and I started working through the documents we had been handed, we thought we would take time to sort and organize the files, to make the whole thing more accessible to our readers. It turned out we had hugely underestimated the amount of work that this would require. Instead of well-organized archives, we had to wade through corrupted files, damaged documents, partial listings and the odd crypted folder. While this was to be expected, considering the source of this material, we eventually realized spending time on sorting things out was a luxury we didn’t have. And in the end, maybe that’s for the best — to leave things as they are, in whatever state they might be.

Of course, that means that the whole thing might appear a little overwhelming. There are a lot of documents, and with each update the list will grow longer. As much as possible, we tried to keep it manageable — by indicating country of origin and media type, and providing basic filtering and search tools. Last but not least, we also opened different forums: specific forums for the leaked files themselves, but also general ones for sharing theories and opinions, for trading discoveries and conjecture. Only by collaborating will we be able to bring out the truth — and expose those who pull the strings in the shadows.

To those who have been visiting us in the last couple of days, know that I am often around to answer your questions and explain how you can help. Again, do not hesitate to post in the forums or comment on the files. And if you are only joining us now — welcome to Warmongers, inc.
Welcome to the real world.

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December 1, 2011

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