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Private 9/11 Text Messages Published by Whistle-Blower Web Site

Wikileaks normally deals in sensitive information from whistle-blowers inside governments and companies. But its latest project, a collection of pager and text messages sent on the morning of September 11, 2001, crosses from simple news dissemination and political activism to a work of art.

Starting the morning of November 25, at 3 a.m., Wikileaks began "broadcasting" over 500,000 messages corresponding to the time they were sent on that tragic day. The messages, many from government officials and members of the NYPD, are presented as raw data, including time-stamps, carrier info, and status messages. The cold presentation, and unsettling invasiveness of the deeply private messages, play tug of war with the content of the actual communications.

As the day progresses, the messages paint an absolutely heart-wrenching account of one of the most important days in modern American history. Early texts (Morning! Hope all is well. All fine here. Miss you, love you, have a great day. Love, Dawn) give way to all-caps messages pleading with loved ones to call home, business instructions (Mgrs - If you have any representatives personally impacted by this, pls call ASAP. Thx Linda S) rumors about the attacks (WTC HAS BEEN HIT BY AN AIRPLANE AND A BOMB or the terrifying mike - call the office - kelly wants to make sure they are evacuating you guys from your building - even though you are not in the building that was attacked), and proclamations of despair (This is the end of the world as we know it... or LORRANE PLEASE CALL MOMMY . I AM VERY NEVOUS. I NEED TO KNOW IF EVERYTHING IS OKAY). Mixed in are status updates and messages from local devices: a server trying to get back online, MTA transportation updates, and even spam messaging.

The messages were likely collected by a government agency or a carrier, and reveal how susceptible our daily communications are to interception -- even at the highest levels of government. The archive even includes reassurances from Secret Service agents that "Twinkle and Turq," code names for the Bush daughters, were safe.

Wikileaks states that "the archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time" and hopes it "will lead to a more nuanced understanding of the event," but what they stumbled upon is a stunning work of digital art and heartbreaking, unfiltered reportage. [From: Wikileaks, Via Boing Boing]

Tags: 911, art, data, privacy, September 11, September11, texts, top, Wikileaks