Saturday, March 18, 2006

Iraqi Docs Update

The translation continues. Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe reports:

Joseph Shahda of Randolph earns his living as an engineer. But in his spare time, he's an intelligence agent, working to ferret out the truth about the regime of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

When the US government on Thursday began publishing captured Iraqi government documents on the Internet, Shahda eagerly began to translate the files into English and publish them on a conservative website.

''I feel a sense of duty," said Shahda, a native of Lebanon who supports President Bush's decision to invade Iraq. ''I think it's a duty for people who know Arabic to translate the documents."

US officials hope that thousands of other Arabic speakers feel the same. Goaded by Congress, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has begun to release millions of pages of captured files online in an unprecedented effort to harness the Internet to disseminate raw intelligence material. There, anybody with a knowledge of Arabic can download the files and translate them for the world.

It's the same ''open source" principle that drove the successful development of the Internet and of powerful free software like the Linux operating system. Instead of hiring a team of brilliant professionals to analyze Iraqi documents in secret, the open source systems will use hundreds of clever amateurs, who'll publish their work for anyone to analyze and improve upon.

The more intelligent people we can get working on this, the faster the information from Saddam's regime will come pouring out, and the faster MSM heads will reel as their "common knowledge" beocmes debunked.