The Mother of all WikiLeaks

SUBHEAD: Official Washington worries the WikiLeak will reveal extremely embarrassing details of US diplomacy and reshape world events. Image above: Close-up photo of Julien Assange, founder of By John Nichols on 26 November 2010 for The Nation - (
Usually, when a WikiLeaks document dump is in the offering, U.S. officials play like it could not possibly matter. "More of the same," "nothing new," "just a repeat of what everyone was already aware of": these have been the standard lines. But not this time. Washington is abuzz with Holiday weekend talk about how officials at the White House, the Department of Defense and the State Department are "holding their breath" in troubled anticipation of an imminent release of thousands of classified documents by the controversial website. WikiLeaks is tweeting that officials in Washington are "hyperventilating again over fears of being held to account.". That's not hype. They really are worried this time. Why so? Because this release of documents could pull back the curtain on how the U.S. practices international diplomacy. To understand why this matters, consider two related realities: 1. Many, if not all, of the U.S. officials who deal on the international stage tend to like secrecy, as it allows them to play by different rules when dealing with countries that are deemed "allies" or "rogues." In other words, despite the blunt official talk about how the "war of terror" is a universal endeavor, the U.S. sometimes casts a blind eye toward -- or even works with -- groups that are identified as practicing terrorism. 2. These powerful players often feel threatened by transparency, as it reveals when they are allow allied states to act like rogue states. This gets especially messy when "friendly" governments are allowed to get away with actions that the U.S. otherwise identifies as being so serious that might justify economic sanctions or even a military response. Understand these facts and you will understand why official Washington is worried by this particular WikiLeak. Reportedly, the next leak -- which could come this weekend -- will include "hundreds of thousands of classified State cables that detail private diplomatic discussions with other governments, potentially compromising discussions with dissidents, and even, reportedly, corruption allegations against foreign governments." Among other things, international press accounts suggest, the new WikiLeak will include a military report revealing that the U.S. officials were aware that the Turkish government allowed its citizens to aid al-Qaeda in Iraq. An additional document will, according to London's Al-Hayat newspaper, reveal that the U.S. aided Kurdish separatist rebels whose group, the PKK, is listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. Turkey is a complex country located at a critical crossroads for the United States. It is no secret that U.S. officials have always applied different sets of rules when dealing with it. The problem is that the public revelation of the differences between U.S. treatment of Turkey and, say, Iran, could be more than embarrassing. It could call into question whether U.S. officials are consistent in their condemnation of terrorism and of countries that condone terrorism. Of course, that's not what State Department officials are saying publicly. They're talking about protecting diplomatic secrecy. "When this confidence is betrayed and ends up on the front pages of newspapers or lead stories on television and radio it has an impact," says spokesperson P.J. Crowley. "We decry what has happened. These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests. They are going to create tension in our relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world. We wish that this would not happen. But we are, obviously, prepared for the possibility that it will." What should U.S. citizens make of such revelations? Don't expect an outcry. Americans will not be shocked to learn that their government is inconsistent in its relations with other countries. We don't yet know what exactly this WikiLeak will reveal. But these sorts of revelations, which so unsettle official Washington, could well improve the domestic debate. No one wants to see the world become a more dangerous place; nor is there anyone who wants to play fast and loose with the safety of U.S. troops, diplomats or innocents abroad. With those provisions, however, a case can certainly be made that transparency brings nuance to the discussion of how the U.S. engages with other countries, and to debates about the standards that are applied with regard to supposedly "terrorist" activity and supposedly "terrorist" groups. A broader consciousness of these realities could make it tougher for the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department to suggest that the United States faces only black-and-white choices, that this country's only options are absolutes, and that America cannot possibly negotiate with countries or groups that engage in actions that the U.S. offically condemns. In other words, this WikiLeak might just make it harder for officials in Washington to "sell" hardline responses, covert actions and military interventions. Washington insiders might be bothered by that prospect. But the citizens of the United States can handle diplomatic reality -- and transparency.

Feign Before The Storm
By Nadim Kobeissi on 26 November 2010 - (
As dawn breaks over the greatest declassification in history, the world awakens to a radiant truth: WikiLeaks is winning. The looming WikiLeaks release, which promises to declassify almost three million documents, has already sent the world’s most prominent governments into a political frenzy. The United States is orchestrating a dozen-stringed political mission, sending diplomats ranging from aides to Norway, to ambassadors to Canada, to Hillary Clinton herself to Australia in order to mitigate a possible relational disaster. The US seems very well aware that the world will not like it quite as much after WikiLeaks exposes its unvarnished truth – according to the Israeli Haaretz, the Americans are “viewing the leak very seriously”, believing it might contain diplomatic cables – internal US communications that detail the real, US opinions on international political matters.

Admittedly, it is interesting to see how all U.S. efforts to mitigate the imminent WikiLeaks crisis have been directed at foreign governments, and not at their own people.

The UK government hasn’t bothered to conceal its panic as well as the United States, recently issuing a class 1 and class 5 that reprehensibly asks the British press to censor “military operations, plans, capabilities” and “security and intelligence special services” that may be contained in the next WikiLeak. The UK government’s blind, censoring fear may be understandable, what with the whistle-blower organization promising to redefine the entire world’s history very, very soon. What is incomprehensible, however, is how the UK is seemingly expecting to circumvent the Internet’s free flow of information with a simple censorship order. Russia is concerned. Italy’s Berlusconi is scared. The United States has already “slammed” the leak with woefully unconvincing arguments, having one ambassador call it an “absolutely awful impediment to [his] business”, which raises the question as to what kind of business it is that transparency is likely to hurt. According to WikiLeaks, this political fiasco began when the New York Times briefed the White House on the contents of the embargoed leak this Monday. WikiLeaks has since predicted to its Twitter followers to watch as “every tinpot dictator in the world briefed prior to release”, and was right: in less than two days, Norway, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Australia and the UK have been briefed by US diplomats over the contents of a leak that may render the world’s superpower internationally red-faced. In what may be a matter of days, or even hours, many are expecting nothing short of a political revolution. Reuters is quoting sources that claim the leak contains corruption allegations that may very well cause an international uproar, calling the leak more revealing than both the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs combined. The more politicians cower, the more the public sits on the edge of its seat, awaiting the next leak from an organization that so far has delivered more unvarnished truth in the last year than all of the world’s governments and press combined.

WikiLeaks is winning at the UN, convincing it and the European Union to launch a full Afghanistan torture investigation, and is losing only with parties that have some, or many, embarrassing truths to cover. But with the people, WikiLeaks is winning all the same – for while lies may blind from the truth, they cannot and do not hold as the truth shines.



Anonymous said...

WikiLeaks: The first release commentaries by US diplomats on world leaders. // Tuesday's release to deal w/ North & South Korea, and Guantánamo Bay // Wednesday's tranche comment on Pakistan & counter-piracy operations in Djibouti. // Thursday will focus on the Canadians & "inferiority complex" // Corruption allegations in Afghanistan on Friday. // Saturday will cover Yemen. // While next Sunday will focus on China.

Anonymous said...

‎"The US Government is finding out what it feels like to go through a nudie-scanner." #cablegate #wikileaks #gaterape #wontfly #optout


Anonymous said...

This site just went up 20 minutes ago:

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