Wikileaks As A Mirror On The West

A foreign “subversive” journalist, driven by fevered idealism, publishes reams of leaked internal documents from an Authority that, beneath its carefully positioned mask of civility, honor and justice, views the whole world – of both friend or foe – as its own playground, and engages in the most corrupt and underhanded wheelings and dealing to maintain its lofty pretensions to hegemony. Though the Authority is entirely comfortable with selectively using the material contained therein to legitimize its ideological-imperialist projects to the public, its minions in the Mainstream Media and even its most prominent Archons experience no cognitive dissonance in calling for that accursed fiend, the revealer, to be branded with the number of the Beast that is “terrorist”, and to be henceforth sentenced to eternal imprisonment, or the death penalty, or the most apocalyptic of all, a Perunian thunderstrike from the skies. Now if this were real life as allegory, what would it it refer to?

Perhaps its the Mooslims? Nah, the Islamists aren’t that well organized or articulate. More to the point, they don’t leave extensive paper trails. The Rooskies? But when Russian officials make shady threats, their targets at least tend to be Russian Federation citizens and real traitors. No – as usual, it’s the West and its hypocrisy at its finest.

Now let’s make some things clear, first. As Defense Sec. Robert Gates correctly points out, the real impact of Wikileaks is modest. For instance, one of the ostensible “shocker” cables, revealing the support of the Arab elites for a US strike on Iranian nuclear installations, was well known in geopolitical circles well beforehand (heck, I mentioned this back in August and earlier). Even the impact of these official revelations on the “Arab street” are likely to be minimal, given that (1) polls show a (slight) majority of Arabs in Egypt and Lebanon willing to resort to military force to prevent an Iranian nuke and (2) alleged censorship of Wikileaks in the region.

Nor is Wikileaks – at least as of now – causing major tensions, or repressive attempts at censorship, in countries like Russia. (PLEASE READ: Throwing Down the Gauntlet on Wikileaks & Russia). This is in stark contrast to the claims of the Western MSM in the prelude to Cablegate, e.g. Christian Science Monitor:

Wikileaks ready to drop a bombshell on Russia. But will Russians get to read about it? Wikileaks is about to release documents on Russia, but the tightly-controlled Russian media is unlikely to report them the way Western media attacked the documents about Afghanistan and Iraq.

Which is of course why state news agency RIA and Gazprom-owned Kommersant both reported it on the same day. And as of now, there are literally thousands of results in the Russian news on Cablegate. Way to fail LOL!

Then Simon Shuster writing for TIME took an anonymous FSB comment (to Russian website LifeNews) and ran with it to make all kinds of fantastical insinuations about how the Kremlin would poison Assange or crash the Wikileaks site. Of course the Pentagon’s / CIA’s war against Assange is hardly mentioned (remember the 100-strong anti-Wikileaks unit set up by the Pentagon? The honey trap & rape accusations against Assange in Sweden?), but the funniest quote is this one:

So the most likely Russian reaction, at least at first, would be to undermine the authenticity of the alleged secrets. “That is the main tool, to filter it through the state-controlled mass media, which would discredit WikiLeaks and put into question the reliability of its sources,” says Nikolai Zlobin, director of the Russia and Eurasia Project at the World Security Institute in Washington, D.C. “This would limit any public debate of the leak to the Russian internet forums and news websites, which reach a tiny fraction of the population.”

Guess what, I agree! The only problem is that Russia would just be ripping a page straight out off the Western playbook!

As of now, Russia is surviving the Wikileaks storm in pretty good shape. What have we got so far? The absolutely shocking kompromat on the Kremlin-ideologist-without-an-ideology Surkov, who apparently has an Obama portrait in his office and likes Tupac; Ramzan Kadyrov clumsily dancing with a gold-plated Kalashnikov stuck in his jeans at a Daghestani wedding that might as well be out of a modern day Prisoner of the Caucasus novel; the Russian account of the South Ossetia War is if anything further confirmed, the picture being one of US diplomats willing to believe anything their Georgian intermediaries told them about the evil imperialist Rooskies; oh, and the matter of Russia being a “mafia kleptcracy”, at least as per US diplomats channeling marginal Russian oppositionists.

González said the FSB had two ways to eliminate “OC leaders who do not do what the security services want them to do”. The first was to kill them. The second was to put them in jail to “eliminate them as a competitor for influence”.

Erm, isn’t this what security forces anywhere are SUPPOSED to do?? (And I’d note there’s no shortage of historical examples of the CIA working hand in hand with organized crime to reach desired political outcomes in foreign countries, e.g. see Operation GLADIO). And, I mean, sure, it’s no secret to anybody who doesn’t live underneath a rock that there’s lots of shady and rather nasty people in the Russian bureaucracy; but without any names, there’s nothing new and all this diplo gossiping is all rather useless. Former Moscow Mayor Luzhkov is a centroid of corruption? You don’t say… (and perhaps soon to be forgotten with his recent ousting and move into the opposition).

As with Russia, there is – as of now – nothing truly compromising in the US files. Just some uncomfortable moments, and assessments of foreign leaders: e.g. see above, and the characterization of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev as being “Michael (Corleone) on the outside, Sonny on the inside”, and his alleged use of criminal slang. Remember the walkout on Ahmadinejad’s UN speech? Wikileaks reveals that it was an American initiative. The Swedish ambassador was supposed to leave the hall when Ahmadinejad came to the keyword “Holocaust” (and presumably its denial as he is wont to do). But this time Ahmadinejad refrained. So the poor Swede was left in a fluster when Ahmadinejad actually failed to mention the H-word, and could only frantically consult the Americans on what to do next. And so the circus goes on…

But none of this is the real point. Up till now, Wikileaks is just not that big of a game changer. The real point is the reaction to them in the West. And what that reaction says about the erosion of civil liberties in the past decade in the name of the holy “war on terror.” Regrettably, it is at this point that #cablegate is no longer a laughing matter. It becomes a mirror on the degenerating Western political soul.

Now I don’t know about you, but when an adviser to Canadian PM Harper openly calls for the assassination of Julian Assange (with no apparent consequences); when in actions reminiscent of China’s iron grip on its Internet, US politicians presume to demand – and get – American servers to pull Wikileaks; when there is serious consideration at the highest political levels of charging foreigners with treason against the US (a contradiction in terms); when former and potential future US Presidential candidates like Sarah Palin* – not to mention prominent commentators and numberless freepers – call for Assange to be “pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders”, and assassinated without charges, trial or due process; when all this happens, I become concerned about the future sustainability of the liberal political system in the face of the creeping advance of the national security-cum-surveillance state.

I don’t want to be melodramatic, but the right’s reaction to this affair is eerily totalitarian. Dehumanization? Check – see the rape charges, the classic intelligence agency smear against inconvenients everything.

On the issue of the Interpol arrest warrant issued yesterday for Assange’s arrest:  I think it’s deeply irresponsible either to assume his guilt or to assume his innocence until the case plays out.   I genuinely have no opinion of the validity of those allegations, but what I do know — as John Cole notes — is this:  as soon as Scott Ritter began telling the truth about Iraqi WMDs, he was publicly smeared with allegations of sexual improprieties.  As soon as Eliot Spitzer began posing a real threat to Wall Street criminals, a massive and strange federal investigation was launched over nothing more than routine acts of consensual adult prostitution, ending his career (and the threat he posed to oligarchs).  And now, the day after Julian Assange is responsible for one of the largest leaks in history, an arrest warrant issues that sharply curtails his movement and makes his detention highly likely.

If I had to make a guess, I’d say Assange’s impropriety was limited to a one-night stand, in a culture where awkwardly lengthy dating and mating rituals are the apparent norm. Presumably, he failed to “satisfy” the ladies – not due to any lack of his own efforts, if it was a CIA sting – and thus got himself screwed several months later.

After the smear, as chronicled by Glenn Greenwald, comes “the increasingly bloodthirsty two-minute hate session aimed at Julian Assange, also known as the new Osama bin Laden“:

The ringleaders of this hate ritual are advocates of — and in some cases directly responsible for — the world’s deadliest and most lawless actions of the last decade.  And they’re demanding Assange’s imprisonment, or his blood, in service of a Government that has perpetrated all of these abuses and, more so, to preserve a Wall of Secrecy which has enabled them. To accomplish that, they’re actually advocating — somehow with a straight face — the theory that if a single innocent person is harmed by these disclosures, then it proves that Assange and WikiLeaks are evil monsters who deserve the worst fates one can conjure, all while they devote themselves to protecting and defending a secrecy regime that spawns at least as much human suffering and disaster as any single other force in the world.  That is what the secrecy regime of the permanent National Security State has spawned. …

In this latest WikiLeaks release — probably the least informative of them all, at least so far — we learned a great deal as well.  Juan Cole today details the 10 most important revelations about the Middle East.  Scott Horton examines the revelation that the State Department pressured and bullied Germany out of criminally investigating the CIA’s kidnapping of one of their citizens who turned out to be completely innocent.  … British officials, while pretending to conduct a sweeping investigation into the Iraq War, were privately pledging to protect Bush officials from embarrassing disclosures.  Hillary Clinton’s State Department ordered U.N. diplomats to collect passwords, emails, and biometric data in order to spy on top U.N. officials and others, likely in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961 (see Articles 27 and 30; and, believe me, I know:  it’s just “law,” nothing any Serious person believes should constrain our great leaders).

And there’s no shortage of that freeper and neocon carrion awaiting the feeding frenzy with baited breath.

First we have the group demanding that Julian Assange be murdered without any charges, trial or due process.  There was Sarah Palin on on Twitter illiterately accusing WikiLeaks — a stateless group run by an Australian citizen — of “treason”; she thereafter took to her Facebook page to object that Julian Assange was “not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders” (she also lied by stating that he has “blood on his hands”:  a claim which even the Pentagon admits is untrue).  Townhall’s John Hawkins has a column this morningentitled “5 Reasons The CIA Should Have Already Killed Julian Assange.”  That Assange should be treated as a “traitor” and murdered with no due process has been strongly suggested if not outright urged by the likes ofMarc ThiessenSeth Lipsky (with Jeffrey Goldberg posting Lipsky’s column and also illiterately accusing Assange of “treason”), Jonah GoldbergRep. Pete King, and, today, The Wall Street Journal.

The way in which so many political commentators so routinely and casually call for the eradication of human beings without a shred of due process is nothing short of demented.  Recall Palin/McCain adviserMichael Goldfarb’s recent complaint that the CIA failed to kill Ahmed Ghailani when he was in custody, or Glenn Reynolds’ morning demand — in between sips of coffee — that North Korea be destroyed with nuclear weapons (“I say nuke ‘em. And not with just a few bombs”).  Without exception, all of these people cheered on the attack on Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent human beings, yet their thirst for slaughter is literally insatiable.  After a decade’s worth of American invasions, bombings, occupations, checkpoint shootings, drone attacks, assassinations and civilian slaughter, the notion that the U.S. Government can and should murder whomever it wants is more frequent and unrestrained than ever.

Those who demand that the U.S. Government take people’s lives with no oversight or due process as though they’re advocating changes in tax policy or mid-level personnel moves — eradicate him!, they bellow from their seats in the Colosseum — are just morally deranged barbarians.  There’s just no other accurate way to put it. These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves “pro-life” and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life.  ….

It didn’t have to be this way. The ultimate significance of Wikileaks is limited: it gives the peons a glimpse into high diplomacy (and underlines the US need for greater information control in this sphere); as Craig Willy points out, it enables a convergence of history and political science, and hence a “contemporary history” (the same point is made by Timothy Garton Ash); and it underlines the rather colonialist, entitlement-ridden, and frequently culturally challenged (just consult the Moscow cables in which diplomats repeat the MSM journalists on Russia virtually verbatim) mindset of the US diplomatic corps. But little of it is can be considered truly malevolent**.

No, what’s really damning about this affair is the elite’s uniform propaganda against an organ committed to finding and leaking their darkest and most sordid secrets. The compliance of the “exceptional” and “constitutional-loving” Western sheeple in further promoting their already abysmal ignorance. And funniest of all, the Fourth Estate’s own screeds against government openness and unaccountability: “uncritically passing on one government claim after the next — without any contradiction, challenge, or scrutiny”, and their sole complaint being that the glorious State isn’t restrictive enough. As I wrote about the Western MSM years back:

Control is all about imposing your view of reality on the minds of others. Since overt political persecution is no longer widely accepted, the elites have resorted to fighting wars over hearts and minds. Western media manipulation is not readily noticeable, since if that were the case the simulation’s plausibility would fall apart immediately (as was the case in the Soviet Union)…This makes them far more insidious and dangerous to freedom than any repressive dictatorship; for in the latter one knows one is a slave, while too many Westerners continue to be believe they are free, whereas in fact they are also slaves, like the rest of us.

It’s truer than ever, as Westerners shun or smash the last mirrors available to them, and Orwell continues spinning in his grave.

* I left the message “I support Sarah’s righteous demand to hunt down Assange in close cooperation with our North Korean allies” at Sarah Palin’s Facebook Page. It was a reference to a recent gaffe of hers (or more likely a demonstration of political cluelessness). A few hours later, I discovered that my comment had been removed and censored, and that I was also blocked from making further comments on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page

** I must also stress that these cables are far from the most highly classified secrets. The real juicy bits can only be accessed by the President and a dozen others, but the chances of them ever being Wikileaked are really, really low.

EDIT: This article has been translated into Russian at Inosmi.Ru (Wikileaks как зеркальное отображение Запада); almost as if to prove my point here! 😉


  1. The impact is apparently modest if one considers it as short term reaction
    It will be stronger for future developments and if crossed with national events
    True that Arabs very well knew about their leaders position on Iran, and they suspected as well that the Israeli most recent massacre of Palestinians had occurred with their placet, but now is on papers and the denial of prince al Faisal is quite useless
    They now have the confirmation that Arab rulers are not much interested to solve the Palestinian issue
    If some governments do not start or complete the roads of reforms and democracy, people will be starting to be angry and Iran will be just an excuse for revolt
    There is also Yemen From there can start a popular rebellion which will run to the South of Oman and Saudi Arabia up to Lebanon
    Or in Italy for example, we had a suspect that Putin’s daughters visits were not just for a tour of Berlusconi houses, but having it on papers that all the deals with Gaddafi and Gazprom filled his pocket, that will have an impact on next elections which will likely, as of now, be in few months
    We all probably had too many expectations on these papers .

    • Giuseppe Flavio says:

      Re. Italy I disagree. You know, the average Berlusconi voter is such that even if almighty God appears to him and says that Berlusconi is corrupt, he would reply “Oh God, don’t believe commie’s lies”.
      On the other hand the anti-Berlusconi crowd believe anything bad about him, no matter how absurd or preposterous. According to the cables, the accusation you mention was the hypothesis of the Georgian ambassador in Rome and has been made by a PD (center-left) politician. Both of them have their obvious agenda in doing this, and that a PD politician accuses Berlusconi of being corrupt is hardly new.

  2. Hi, Anatoly, great (but also scary) post. I like the artwork at the beginning. Is that supposed to be Beowulf? Or maybe “Grim Hagen” from the Niebelungenlied (holding up the head of Julian Assange). I personally regard Julian as an international hero. It’s not his fault that these diplomats were over-chatty and didn’t secure their e-mails. And seriously, even idiots like me know how to encrypt their e-mails. I am pretty sure the rape charges against him were trumped up. By the power of Orwell’s ghost, I hope Julian found a good place to hide, because these imperialist flying monkeys really will try to kill him!

    • It’s Perun, the Slavic thunder god. I think his war of lightnings against the hapless serpent Veles below. I think it’s a great metaphor for the global US drone strikes against the ones called terrorists. I photoshopped in the Wikileaks logo and Assange’s dismembered head.

      The problem with the cables was that literally hundreds of thousands of people apparently had access to them, most in the military. It you have such a large pool, a few traitors are almost inevitable. I’m certain that countries like Russia and China had access to these communications well before Wikileaks blasted open the lid for all the world to see.

      I agree with you that rape is highly unlikely. Probably a honey trap operation by intelligence, with the smearing and “mopping up” to be done through perfectly legal – and necessary – channels. Namely, Interpol; the extradition treaties; and the Swedish justice system.

  3. nickname101 says:

    i would also like to congratulate you on another top class and well reasoned post.
    The level of hypocrisy we’re witnessing is shocking to say the least, its seems that the media is now expected to protect power from embarrassment and that ‘leaks’ put lives in danger not the war crimes that become exposed.I also note that the days of them (Russians, Chinese, Arabs etc) agaist us (Western nations) are fading, we are now in an age where some one from the “West” can receive enemy figure treatment, and i feel that Assange is the first of many anglophone entities that will gain mainstream notoriety for perceived “betrayals”, i think there will be more of this type of actor , this fixation towards Assange has made him a role model to some, regardless of how few, wavering westerners handling sensitive information

  4. It is absolutely amazing to me that there are these “will they get to see it?” articles all over the U.S. mainstream media which are thinly veiled critiques of Arab countries, Russia, China, etc., etc., even as Wikileaks has been unavailable in Europe and the U.S. for long stretches of time thanks to DOS attacks and the U.S. government pressuring Amazon to stop hosting Wikileaks on its servers. Not to mention that American politicians and commentators are falling over themselves to declare Assange a terrorist and calling for his assasination. This is a gross hypocrisy.

  5. Craig James Willy has a nice summary of it over at “Letters From Europe”;

    with the analysis, “In short, American diplomats have described foreign leaders in much the same way as traditional media described them.” He’s right, much of the sturm und drang over American leaders having to sweeten up foreign leaders so their feelings won’t be hurt is overhyped exaggeration. The popular press’s speculations were often accurate reflections of what was being said in “secret” by the government. The fact that both were often wrong should be the scary part – if the government is as ignorant as the press, Katie, bar the door.

    If I were a betting man, I’d suggest – as I have elsewhere – that much of the American procession of torches and pitchforks winding its way up to Schloss Assange is to ENHANCE THE CREDIBILITY OF WIKILEAKS rather than to prevent people from reading it. It’s a dandy vehicle for spreading disinformation, and to do so believably, you have to toss in a few pork chops, such as the disclosure that the U.S. government knew in advance Saakashvili would lunge at South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Is that what it really says? I’ve only read about it – we’re not allowed to access Wikileaks on work computers. Similarly, you have to make it hard to get at Wikileaks, using denial-of-service attacks and other such tactics, rather than wringing your hands and pleading, “DON’T READ THIS!!!!” while surreptitiously bringing extra servers online to ensure unrestricted access.

    • I agree with Craig – he’s quoted in this post, and I made a similar point about US diplomats, generally speaking, channeling oppositionists in Moscow instead of gathering information on their own initiative. This is IMO inevitable, since the media sets much of the basic discourse anyway – I can imagine, for instance, that a large number of the Moscow staff take their first cue on Russia from The Economist.

      Mark Adomanis summarized it in rip-roaring fashion in a great series of Tweets: (1) From NYT: In reporting to Washington diplomats often summarized impressions from meetings not with Russian officials, but Western colleagues; (2) The impressions of a largely well-known cadre of Russian journalists, opposition politicians and research institute regulars rounded out; (3) many cables with insights resembling what was published in liberal Russian newspapers and on Web sites; (4) I’m really glad that the US embassy employs dozens (hundreds?) of staff to provide a cliff-notes version of Novaya Gazeta; (5) I have an idea for the Tea Party that will surely save a great deal of money: shutter the US embassy and use Google Translate; (6) “Another cable noted, ‘Stalin’s ghost haunts the Metro.'” What penetrating insight! Thank god for American diplomacy.

      I strongly disagree that Wikileaks or cablegate is some kind of conspiracy to spread pro-US disinformation. Not only is it implausible due to its scale, but by and large it has been an information disaster for the US – e.g. see points 1-9 here. Just to highlight two examples, Hillary Clinton’s instructions to US diplomats to act as spies is in direct contravention of international treaties the US is a party to, and then there’s the horrorfest reported in the NYT about how American policymakers were basically entirely in the wrong about the origins of the S. Ossetia War thanks to official Tbilisi’s mendacity and the laziness and anti-Russian paranoia of its own diplomats.

      And don’t forget that we’ve only yet seen the tip of the iceberg, or around 5-10% of the total material. I’m sure plenty more fun stuff will be coming through the pipelines in the next few days and weeks.

      • Agree. As the scope of this episode becomes more clear from day to day, there is no way this can be interpreted as double-dealing disinformation campaign. This is the real deal, unmitigated disaster for USA. Especially State Department, it shows them up as incompetent hacks. I am surprised myself, because I always assumed that Americans diplomatic corps were the crème de la crème, highly educated cadres who have to speak many languages and pass tough civil service exams. Well, I guess I was wrong, these folks sound like idiots! The Americans will be digging out from this for many years to come. In any European country, the entire government would have to resign after such a fiasco. Julian Assange proves once again that, as a weapon, the pen is mightier than the sword.

    • Konstantin_ts says:

      Mark, as you doubt that the U.S. knew about the impending operation in South Georgia. Ossetia?
      It’s so obvious. Hide an appropriately large-scale military operations by U.S. military advisers. Which were directly in the conflict zone. This is ridiculous.

      In my opinion, the issue here is not that the U.S. knew. And that the U.S. had initiated this action …

      • The west can do no wrong. That is their dogma. If there are victims then that is just collateral damage of the holy war for goodness.

  6. Oops! If I had read your twitter feed before commenting (I’m instinctively suspicious of twitter; an Indian medicine man told me it steals your soul, much as digital cameras do), I would have seen that you already endorsed Craig’s work.

  7. I would like to add that recent “cables” give us “other” info as well. Apart from the fact that they do not like the working moral of Putin, they also said that Lushkov was heavily connected with organised crime (which makes Medvedev’s decision to get rid of him even better).

    Now the Americans hold Surkov and Sechin in high regard. Which is quite surprising to me. Vladislav Surkov, is presented in the document as an outstanding tactician, with a well-developed survival instinct, but his influence has lessened over the past time. Telegrams of the diplomats mention the problematic relation of Surkov and the U.S., on one hand, he believes that America is a country of abundance and humanity, but at the same time he criticizes the American stereotypes and internal hostility toward Russia. Lyudmila Alekseeva and Svetlana Gannushkina, tried to initiate his removal from his post as co-chairman of the Russian-American human rights group.

    Sechin is described as an all-powerful official with his real authority stretching far beyond his “formal authority”. It seems that his staff likes Sechin for his courtesy. As far as his personal wealth is concerned one diplomat says: “”I can not imagine where he would (Sechin) spend his money: this guy is always in the office from morning till night.”

    Got this from the Russian media btw.

  8. Tal Sutsa says:

    There have been a few striking things to me in my perusing of the cables that have been leaked so far. First, they’re very well written. The cable covering the Dagestani wedding was quite entertaining and vividly described. I’d give a Buffalo nickel to have been in Makhachkala on that day.

    Secondly, the cables I have read thus far have seemed quite frank and, well, reasonably accurate. The tone is just so different from how the US government communicates externally. I get the sense that the State Department is fully aware of political reality, but they obviously often prefer to act otherwise. Either that, or there is a huge disconnect between the diplomats out and about in the world and those in Foggy Bottom making the policy — which is likely.

    Which, concerning Russia, I would say this — it’s time to consider the possibility that what the FSO guys and gals are saying is somewhat true, but the end result for the majority of people isn’t that bad or any more corrupt in relative terms than most anywhere else. Think of the moral outrage in Russian cities every time the government or developers or whoever tries to tear down houses. But in countless cities across the U.S. hundreds of people are being forced out of their homes in kangaroo foreclosure courts aka “rocket dockets.” Yet there is a whole cross section of society who mock these people as losers getting what they deserve. But when hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan were forced to leave their homes last spring we called it “ethnic cleansing.”

    I love how the foreign service officers sometimes describe local politicians in terms of the movie characters they behave most similarly to. Of course this means that those making the policy back home come to understand foreign leaders in terms of American culture and not as they actually exist in their own society. BBC’s Adam Curtis did a fascinating (as always) piece on how this technique was employed in Afghanistan to disastrous results:

  9. Quote:
    “toss in a few pork chops, such as the disclosure that the U.S. government knew in advance Saakashvili would lunge at South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”

    Actually that’s only a half truth and Spiegel online (english version) spun it into a pro-NATO political cover piece.,1518,732294,00.html

    It’s far more likely that US/NATO plotted the whole thing with Saakashvili merely playing his part and the Georgian populace apparently considered expendable. The US launched a propaganda war, flaked out Medvedev with the Sarko agreement and got political cover for a US/NATO led boycott in 2014 and probably other sanctions as well.

    The whole thing looks like another typical US/NATO psy-info war against Russia and Iran with the Julian Assange character acting as a sort-of Tim McVeigh on the loose type thing.

    If the “documents” had stuck to the anti-US/NATO war posture and the documents few in number I might think this could get some street cred but then the US corporate controlled media would sweep it under the rug pronto and J. Random American would never actually receive the message offline and maybe not online either.

  10. I am still waiting for Litvinenko’s suitcase full of documents incriminating the FSB in staging various acts of terrorism on Russian citizens in the name of pretexts and whatnot to be revealed. The western media endlessly harped about this suitcase and its contents as if they actually existed. Should have been trivial to set up a Wikileaks-like release years ago already.

    It is quite rich for a clown in Harper’s neocon regime to call for the assassination of Assange after Harper went on a tour of Ukraine to brow beat them about Holodomor and not voting for the west’s chosen candidate. The hypocrisy is breathtaking and rabid.

  11. The scary thing about the reaction to Wikileaks isn’t the bloodlust from the right and the neocons. They would have Assange murdered for his haircut alone, everyone knows their morality is self-serving and not to be taken seriously on an intellectual level, the first sign of trouble they turn into Norman Bates’ mother (ie Sarah Palin). What’s scary is the reaction and rhetoric from the so-called centre, the people who don’t just harp on about western democratic values but who presumably also believe in them. The fact that they are so quick to abandon their values as soon as they are turned against them and without sensing any contradiction is disturbing, it reeks of lack of conviction and faith in their own systemic values. Isn’t Wikileaks a win for globalised postmodern democracy, a one up for truth and transparency, or at the very least an inevitablility? And why is this discussed on a blog, why isn’t this a major topic for mainstream journalism and academia?

    • Excellent points, dino. The only way I would venture an answer to your last question is to posit that Western people, especially Americans, see themselves as innately good and noble. When such a mirror is held up to them, revealing their terrible flaws, they do not recognize the image in the mirror. They cannot face the truth, so, instead of repenting and changing their behavior, they must destroy the mirror!

  12. For me, the basic problem with the cables is that they’re, at a basic level, only the opinions of the people who wrote them, not some collection of truth etched in stone handed down from on high. Just because some diplomat in the U.S. embassy in Moscow or even the ambassador himself thinks Putin had a hand in Litvinenko’s death doesn’t mean that it’s true. The media, despite putting the customary ‘U.S. leaked cables say’ before writing their articles, is clearly treating these documents as factual record of events when they are, in fact, structurally biased towards an American-centric analysis of the events.

    For me, the best use of these documents would be in a history or something similar, in which they could be used to discuss U.S. opinions of the larger events themselves. Right now, they’re not really particularly informative on anything other than the U.S.’s private analysis of those events.

    • Very good points. It’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t the “truth” as such, as the cables are prone to US-centric bias. Nonetheless, while we should take any unsourced rhetoric there with a pinch of salt, some things – like personal impressions of leaders; direct quotes from the other side – are pure gold and can demonstrate many things. E.g. the recent UK Embassy capable where the Tories promise a pro-American regime; this is so cringe-worthily obsequious the US diplomat is concerned about it.

      • That’s an important observation; the cables do contain valuable insight into the opinions of the people conducting U.S. foreign policy and, when properly sourced like you say, are probably just as valid as any other report.

  13. I was reading more in the Russian press yesterday. To my surprise, Rogozin (a man whose opinions I respect) dismissed the leaked cables as some kind of disinformation campaign (presumably a British intelligence operation directed against Russia?) I.e., the classic ploy of throw out a mass of true information, and then hide some false nugget in there? I don’t believe Rogozin is correct, I think he’s just being paranoid. It doesn’t help that Julian Assange is now hiding out in Great Britain. I admit that does look suspicious. However, it was recently revealed that Great Britain earns extra cash by whoring itself out to asylum-seekers: For $1 billion American dollars it will grant asylum to any political persona who needs asylum. Now, as to where Julian can get a billion dollars? Well, that would be an interesting question. I still want to believe in him, however; in the name of “freedom of information” and open sources, etc. But am keeping an open mind, in case he turns out to be some international scoundrel instead of international hero!

    • Assange can travel to Britain fine because he’s a Commonwealth citizen. They don’t have a right to arrest him; I’m sure they’d love to, and extradite him to Sweden, but their one-night-stand-without-a-condom “rape” charges are now so patently risible and politicized that there’s no way it can do it and still come off as being a country with an independent judiciary.

      Buying British asylum is way cheaper than $1bn. IIRC, it’s either a £1mn investment into a UK bank or company, or a £250,000 investment and the creation of two (or four – can’t recall) jobs.

  14. I agree the impact of the entire “Wikileaks Scandal” is limited. Most of the information is obvious and nothing that you couldn’t get from informed journalists. However, I think the main damage that it will cause will be among the public. From a political/IR point of view, the revelations are minor and will only go so far as to force politicians to bluster indignantly a bit.

    However, in the way that the press have blown the situation up (as usual), the less-informed members of the public are going to be susceptible to exaggeration. For example, all my friends and family were talking of Clinton “spying on the UN” when the headline came out plastered over every major news site a few weeks ago. From what I can tell of the details, all she ordered were background checks- digging up the dirt on diplomats that may or may not be used against them, things like mistresses and secret bank accounts. No bugging of conversations, no stealing of documents, no secret assassinations.

    From my point of view, Wikileaks will damage International Relations more than it helps it with its “transparency”. Most of this information was probably known (the relevant countries all have intelligence gathering agencies…) and were merely ignoring it. Now, in the face of the light, they’ll have to acknowledge and take offence with the public demanding it. Most of the public will also probably be misled into prejudice against the US (if they weren’t prejudiced already).

    I think the scariest part of the whole thing is that WikiLeaks can’t be stopped. It’s domain name has been stripped, servers shut down, dozens of cyber attacks made on it, but it continues to spread information. What if they get ahold of some scandal that Russia committed against the US, but the US deliberately handled under-the-table to refrain from war, or vice versa? (completely theoretical, of course). Wouldn’t it be better to not know and let it slide than to have public outrage push things into all-out nuclear war. And the leaks wouldn’t be able to be stopped :/

  15. sinotibetan says:

    Some comments.
    1. I am ‘neutral’ about wikileaks’ revelations. I am neither wholly against or for wikileaks. My opinion is that some government documents should remain secrets. Politics, is after all, part truth, part pseudomorality, part deception, …in short its all about power. This was, is and will be true for all governments and rulers. Rulers and subjects – that shall be the case for humankind; these two are enemies in a disturbing truce. Sometimes subjects rebel and become rulers. Other times rulers oppress and subjects become slaves. That shall always be man’s due. I guess I am a little for the Machiavellian ruler. Politics has always been dirty and will(should?) remain so as long as humankind remain as they are, to maintain order. Anyone who ventures into politics, thus, should learn the game how to manipulate the masses to gain power. I never consider the morality of politicians at all when it comes to politics. All politicians are devils to me. I never expect politics(and politicians) to improve human morality nor take seriously any of their so-called ‘moral’ pronouncements. Of course, I agree or disagree with their policies depending on my understanding of morals – but I never deem any of these politicians to have sincere intentions except for the continuance of their grip on power, In that sense(that some state secrets should remain state secrets to maintain order and prevent anarchy), I disagree with wikileaks’ expose. On the other hand, wikileaks bared the truth that America is just as dirty and evil as the rest of the nations. She is no Messiah. She has no moral right to tell others what is right or wrong. She is just as corrupt(or even more corrupt – even more cunningly so than) as other nations she deems ‘pariah’. Every nation deserve their right to forge their own destiny. Wikileaks have put America where it deserves – just as evil, manipulative and corrupt as other nations; she is revealed as the most repugnant hypocrite – for that I applaud wikileaks.
    2. To Anatoly:
    “And there’s no shortage of that freeper and neocon carrion awaiting the feeding frenzy with baited breath.” and similar phrases.
    I certainly agree about the evil of some neocon ideologies(and I being , politically-wise conservative and a social conservative). However, wikileaks have demonstrated that it’s not just the Republicans who have those arrogant, imperialist attitudes, but Democrats also. In other words, the hypocrisy and arrogance cuts across all political elites in America – Republicans and Democrats, ‘neocons’ and ‘non-neocons’. It’s ‘pan-American’ and I think it’s not justified, in your analysis, to single out only the neocons. Sometimes the ‘all-out-say-it-out’ politics of Republicans and neocons(hey…at least you know they hate Russia) might be less dishonest than the smooth-talking democrats who smile by inwardly just as much hate you.


  16. Consider Assange in arrest for rapes is an absurd. People considering this is a disappointment to me.
    Is well known that he is fighting against censorship and surveillance with his denounces from a fairer position, uncomfortable place, putting his own life in risk, in favor of all us, don’t they see?, yes but people like him is been aggrieved in this world, or discriminated or insulted, FBI enemy, their own gov or foreigner. But they really are not their enemy. Assange’s rapes cases of the two women are false, he is not that kind of man, but those who feel attacked by him want to make us believe this, to distract us of the important things that Assange is interested on let us know.
    The strongest Wikileaks man, who is fighting for good things, God knows that. That is, perhaps according with my belief for his defence of the freedom of speech, and his freedom in publishing for the horrific actions against innocents victims in Afghanistan war, or political innocent prisoners defended by Assange in Guantánamo, etc. He is against torture.
    He is making a big sacrifice for the truth for the public. He is a victim, as those that he is defending, a martyr of the justice, a hero for deal heavy important groups all over the world, a courageous man publishing this despite his situation, and many people manifiest their sympathy for Him is in this sense. And those expressions are very little in comparotion with him. Nobody can deny this. To say that he rape two women is a invented story, not condescending with the truth about him.