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WikiLeaks Releases Flood of Iraq War Files (23rd October, 2010)


 

Hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military documents about the Iraq War have been made public. The confidential material has not been released by U.S. officials, rather it has been leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The site started publishing classified documents related to U.S. operations in Iraq in April. Its latest publishing puts 391,832 files into the public domain. It represents one of the biggest leaks of top-secret files ever. WikiLeaks has made the information available to leading world newspapers. Perhaps the most damaging documents relate to reports that U.S. forces allowed prisoner abuse to take place. Other files document civilian deaths and executions.

WikiLeaks was founded by Chinese dissidents and journalists in 2006. It “publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct”. In 2008, it won Amnesty International’s New Media award. No one knows who provided WikiLeaks with the current documents. An American Army intelligence expert who served in Iraq was charged with improperly downloading huge amounts of classified files, including those made public by WikiLeaks in April. A Pentagon official said of the new leaks: "We strongly condemn the unauthorized disclosure of classified information." He described the reports as "snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane [that do not] bring new understanding to Iraq's past”.


WARM-UPS

1. IRAQ: Walk around the class and talk to other students about Iraq. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

secret / military / confidential / operations / damaging / prisoners / abuse / execution / dissidents / misconduct / documents / intelligence / classified / condemn / tragic

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. SECRETS: What kinds might these people have? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

 

Secrets

A soldier

 

A president

 

A husband/wife

 

A lawyer

 

A religious leader

 

An actor

 

4. IRAQ WAR: Students A strongly believe the Iraq War was a mistake; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. CONFIDENTIAL: What do you never reveal? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the most secretive at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • your age
  • your salary
  • your weight
  • your biggest fear
  • details of past boyfriends / girlfriends
  • your e-mail password
  • your bank card PIN
  • your most embarrassing memory

6. TOP SECRET: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘top secret’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

A website has released a lot of secret information about the Iraq War.

T / F

b.

The website had the permission of the Pentagon.

T / F

c.

The leak is the biggest ever.

T / F

d.

Details of prison torture are those the U.S. will most want kept secret.

T / F

e.

WikiLeaks was created in 2006 by an Australian journalist.

T / F

f.

The WikiLeaks website won an Amnesty International media award.

T / F

g.

The man who leaked the documents is now in prison in the USA.

T / F

h.

U.S. military officials say the leaked documents show nothing new.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

military

a.

nonconformists

2

confidential

b.

in history

3.

represents

c.

mistreatment

4.

ever

d.

signifies

5.

abuse

e.

armed forces

6.

dissidents

f.

dull

7.

misconduct

g.

attack

8.

expert

h.

top secret

9.

condemn

i.

specialist

10.

mundane

j.

wrongdoing

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

thousands of secret U.S.

a.

abuse to take place

2

leaked by the whistleblower

b.

tragic and mundane

3.

classified documents related

c.

military documents

4.

into the public

d.

expert

5.

U.S. forces allowed prisoner

e.

website WikiLeaks

6.

WikiLeaks was founded

f.

to U.S. operations

7.

documents alleging government and

g.

of classified information

8.

An American Army intelligence

h.

domain

9.

the unauthorized disclosure

i.

by Chinese dissidents

10.

snapshots of events, both

j.

corporate misconduct

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Hundreds of thousands of ____________ U.S. military documents about the Iraq War have been made public. The confidential ____________ has not been released by U.S. officials; rather it has been ____________ by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The site started publishing ____________ documents related to U.S. operations in Iraq in April. Its latest publishing puts 391,832 files into the public ____________. It represents one of the biggest leaks of ____________-secret files ever. WikiLeaks has made the information available to leading world newspapers. Perhaps the most ____________ documents relate to reports that U.S. forces allowed prisoner ____________ to take place. Other files document civilian deaths and executions.

 

 

 

damaging
classified
material
top
secret
abuse
leaked
domain

WikiLeaks was ____________ by Chinese dissidents and journalists in 2006. It “publishes and ____________ on leaked documents alleging government and ____________ misconduct”. In 2008, it won Amnesty International’s New Media award. No one knows who provided WikiLeaks with the ____________ documents. An American Army intelligence expert who ____________ in Iraq was charged with improperly downloading huge amounts of classified files, including those made public by WikiLeaks in April. A Pentagon official said of the new leaks: "We strongly ____________ the unauthorized disclosure of classified information." He described the reports as "____________ of events, both ____________ and mundane, [that do not] bring new understanding to Iraq's past”.

 

 

current
snapshots
comments
tragic
served
founded
corporate
condemn

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Hundreds _____________________ U.S. military documents about the Iraq War have been made public. The _____________________ not been released by U.S. officials; rather it has been leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The site _______________________ documents related to U.S. operations in Iraq in April. Its latest publishing puts 391,832 files _____________________. It represents one of the biggest leaks of top-secret files ever. WikiLeaks has made the information _____________________ world newspapers. Perhaps the most damaging documents relate to reports that U.S. forces allowed _____________________ place. Other files document civilian deaths and executions.

WikiLeaks was founded by Chinese _______________________ in 2006. It “publishes and comments on leaked documents _____________________ corporate misconduct”. In 2008, it won Amnesty International’s New Media award. No _____________________ WikiLeaks with the current documents. An American Army intelligence expert who served in Iraq was charged with improperly downloading _____________________ classified files, including those made public by WikiLeaks in April. A Pentagon official said of the new leaks: "We _____________________ unauthorized disclosure of classified information." He described the reports as "snapshots of events, _____________________, [that do not] bring new understanding to Iraq's past”.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘top’ and ‘secret’.

top

secret

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • made
  • rather
  • related
  • puts
  • ever
  • abuse
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • current
  • served
  • strongly
  • tragic

STUDENT IRAQ SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about Iraq in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

IRAQ DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the words ‘Iraq War’?

c)

What do you think of the release of the documents?

d)

How safe are military secrets and documents?

e)

Do you think the WikiLeaks website should be banned?

f)

How embarrassing is the leak for the U.S. military?

g)

How interested are you in news of the Iraq War?

h)

Do you think the Iraq War was a mistake?

i)

Is the Iraq War over?

j)

Will people go to court as a result of the information in the leaked documents?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What do you remember about the Iraq War?

c)

Is Iraq a better country now than it was before the war?

d)

Is WikiLeaks doing the right thing?

e)

What do you think should happen to the American Army intelligence expert who leaked the documents in April?

f)

What will happen in Iraq when all U.S. troops finally pull out?

g)

What can the U.S. military do to better protect its secrets?

h)

What secret conversations might America’s war time leaders have had?

i)

What secrets would you like to know about the Iraq War?

j)

What questions would you like to ask the whistleblower?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military documents about the Iraq War have been (1) ____ public. The confidential material has not been released by U.S. officials; (2) ____ it has been leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The site started publishing classified documents related (3) ____ U.S. operations in Iraq in April. Its latest publishing puts 391,832 files into the public (4) ____. It represents one of the biggest leaks of top-secret files ever. WikiLeaks has made the information available to (5) ____ world newspapers. Perhaps the most damaging documents relate to reports that U.S. forces allowed prisoner abuse to (6) ____ place. Other files document civilian deaths and executions.

WikiLeaks was founded by Chinese dissidents and journalists in 2006. It “publishes and comments (7) ____ leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct”. In 2008, it won Amnesty International’s New Media award. No one knows who (8) ____ WikiLeaks with the current documents. An American Army intelligence expert who (9) ____ in Iraq was charged with improperly downloading huge amounts of classified files, including those made public by WikiLeaks in April. A Pentagon official said (10) ____ the new leaks: "We strongly condemn the unauthorized disclosure of classified information." He described the reports (11) ____ "snapshots of events, both (12) ____ and mundane, [that do not] bring new understanding to Iraq's past”.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

told

(b)

given

(c)

gone

(d)

made

2.

(a)

prefer

(b)

rather

(c)

somewhat

(d)

slightly

3.

(a)

to

(b)

at

(c)

by

(d)

in

4.

(a)

remain

(b)

remains

(c)

domain

(d)

domains

5.

(a)

lead

(b)

leader

(c)

leading

(d)

leadership

6.

(a)

make

(b)

take

(c)

fake

(d)

sake

7.

(a)

on

(b)

in

(c)

at

(d)

by

8.

(a)

delivered

(b)

gave

(c)

gifted

(d)

provided

9.

(a)

saved

(b)

served

(c)

sieved

(d)

surfed

10.

(a)

by

(b)

from

(c)

on

(d)

of

11.

(a)

has

(b)

was

(c)

as

(d)

so

12.

(a)

tragic

(b)

tragedy

(c)

tragically

(d)

trigonometry

WRITING

Write about the Iraq War for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about the WikiLeaks website. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. IRAQ: Make a poster about the Iraq War. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. LEAKED: Write a magazine article about the leaked documents. Include imaginary interviews with the whistleblower and a top Pentagon official.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the whistleblower. Ask him/her three questions about the leak. Give him/her three of your opinions on the leak. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

F

c.

F

d.

T

e.

F

f.

T

g.

F

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

military

a.

armed forces

2

confidential

b.

top secret

3.

represents

c.

signifies

4.

ever

d.

in history

5.

abuse

e.

mistreatment

6.

dissidents

f.

nonconformists

7.

misconduct

g.

wrongdoing

8.

expert

h.

specialist

9.

condemn

i.

attack

10.

mundane

j.

dull

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

thousands of secret U.S.

a.

military documents

2

leaked by the whistleblower

b.

website WikiLeaks

3.

classified documents related

c.

to U.S. operations

4.

into the public

d.

domain

5.

U.S. forces allowed prisoner

e.

abuse to take place

6.

WikiLeaks was founded

f.

by Chinese dissidents

7.

documents alleging government and

g.

corporate misconduct

8.

An American Army intelligence

h.

expert

9.

the unauthorized disclosure

i.

of classified information

10.

snapshots of events, both

j.

tragic and mundane

GAP FILL:

WikiLeaks releases flood of Iraq War files

Hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military documents about the Iraq War have been made public. The confidential material has not been released by U.S. officials; rather it has been leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The site started publishing classified documents related to U.S. operations in Iraq in April. Its latest publishing puts 391,832 files into the public domain. It represents one of the biggest leaks of top-secret files ever. WikiLeaks has made the information available to leading world newspapers. Perhaps the most damaging documents relate to reports that U.S. forces allowed prisoner abuse to take place. Other files document civilian deaths and executions.

WikiLeaks was founded by Chinese dissidents and journalists in 2006. It “publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct”. In 2008, it won Amnesty International’s New Media award. No one knows who provided WikiLeaks with the current documents. An American Army intelligence expert who served in Iraq was charged with improperly downloading huge amounts of classified files, including those made public by WikiLeaks in April. A Pentagon official said of the new leaks: "We strongly condemn the unauthorized disclosure of classified information." He described the reports as "snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, [that do not] bring new understanding to Iraq's past”.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - b

3 - a

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - a

8 - d

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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