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Monday, November 29, 2010

US-vs-Wikileaks-whose-side-are-you-on?

  • Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil.--Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger II : Down to Earth (1991)

 
WASHINGTON: The mother of all leaks has engendered the mother of all debates.

The US government says by putting in public domain about 250,000 documents, nearly half of them classified and secret, Wikileaks is putting at risk lives of innocent individuals, endangering ongoing military and counterterrorism operations and jeopardizing ties between countries who are partners, allies and stakeholders in confronting common challenges.

Wikileaks says the release of the documents "reveals the contradictions between the US's public persona and what it says behind closed doors - and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what's going on behind the scenes."

The cables, Wikileaks maintains, "show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in "client states"; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them."

In sometimes angry and bitter correspondence, the two sides slugged it out in the days and hours before Wikileaks ignored pressures and threats to go ahead with the publication through select print media, causing worldwide convulsions that may reverberate for weeks and months to come.

Amid mounting pressure from Washington to back down from publishing a trove of documents leaked to it by a disgruntled and anarchy-loving US soldier, Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange wrote to the US ambassador in London Louis Susman on 26 November, asking "the United States Government to privately nominate any specific instances (record numbers or names) where it considers the publication of information would put individual persons at significant risk of harm."

Washington's snippy response came the very next day from Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser to the State Department. Ignoring Assange's request for citing cases of risk and endangerment, Koh told him that "Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals."

"You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger," he said, adding, "We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained US. Government classified materials."

Assange's response: "Either there is a risk or there is not. You have chosen to respond in a manner which leads me to conclude that the supposed risks are entirely fanciful and you are instead concerned to suppress evidence of human rights abuse and other criminal behaviour."

The deadlock resulted in Administration officials, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton down, scrambling to get in touch with their counterparts across the world to assure them of Washington's sensitivity to the situation even as Wikileaks parceled out the trove of information to the New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel.

The primary concern in Washington is that many of the US internal deliberations and assessment will be taken as policy. There are also fears that US diplomats, including ambassadors, CIA station chiefs and political counselors, will lose access to sources and trust of their foreign counterparts.

Washington's new ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter led the effort to salvage US credibility, writing in an Op-ed in a Pakistani newspaper that "people of good faith recognise that diplomats' internal reports do not represent a government's official foreign policy. In the United States, they are one element out of many that shape our policies, which are ultimately set by the president and the secretary of state."

But Wikileaks has been unsparing in its critique of US practices. In a preamble to its expose, it taunted the United States, saying, "Every American schoolchild is taught that George Washington - the country's first President - could not tell a lie. If the administrations of his successors lived up to the same principle, today's document flood would be a mere embarrassment."

Instead, it said, "the US Government has been warning governments - even the most corrupt - around the world about the coming leaks and is bracing itself for the exposures."

The embassy cables, it warned, will be released in stages over the next few months, adding. "The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice."

Read more: US vs Wikileaks whose side are you on? - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-vs-Wikileaks-whose-side-are-you-on/articleshow/7010095.cms#ixzz16fogI5Ls

Conspiracy is just another name for coalition--Robert Anton Wilson, The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by Luigi Duccio

1 comment:

  1. The Wikileaks have a danger of understating the scale of deaths and human rights abuses if anything, because they can never be complete.

    Its US drones and other weapons not Assange that lives at risk-- that;s obvious. Its amazing how little free speech is valued in the US. Thy want honour Liu Xioabo but want to silence Assange-- total hypocrisy.

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