Raise A Glass to Wikileaks 125


The Guardian CIF has radically shortened and buried in a panel a piece I wrote for them – at their request – on Wikileaks.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/nov/29/us-embassy-cables-middle-east

Here is the original:

The well paid securitocracy have been out in force in the media, attacking wikileaks and repeating their well worn mantras.

These leaks will claim innocent lives, and will damage national security. They will encourage Islamic terrorism. Government secrecy is essential to keep us all safe. In fact, this action by Wikileaks is so cataclysmic, I shall be astonished if we are not all killed in our beds tonight.

Except that we heard exactly the same things months ago when Wikileaks released the Iraq war documents and then the Afghan war documents, and nobody has been able to point to a concrete example of any of these bloodurdling consequences.

As these are diplomatic telegrams, we have also had a number of pro-secrecy arguments being trotted out. These are arguments with which I was wearily familiar in over twenty years as a British diplomat, six of them in the Senior Management Structure of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

It is seriously argued that Ambassadors will not in future give candid advice, if that advice might become public. In the last twelve hours I have heard this remarkable proposition put forward on five different television networks, without anybody challenging it.

Put it another way. The best advice is advice you would not be prepared to defend in public. Really? Why? In today’s globalised world, the Embassy is not a unique source of expertise. Often expatriate, academic and commercial organisations are a lot better informed. The best policy advice is not advice which is shielded from peer review.

What of course the establishment mean is that Ambassadors should be free to recommend things which the general public would view with deep opprobrium, without any danger of being found out. But should they really be allowed to do that, in a democracy?

I have never understood why it is felt that behaviours which would be considered reprehensible in private or even commercial life ?” like lying, or saying one thing to one person and the opposite to another person ?” should be considered acceptable, or even praiseworthy, in diplomacy.

When Ambassador to Uzbekistan, I was rebuked by the then head of the Diplomatic Service for reporting to London by unclassified email the details of dreadful human rights abuses by the Uzbek government. The FCO were concerned that the Uzbeks, who were intercepting our communications, would discover that I disapproved of their human rights violations. This might endanger the Uzbek alliance with British forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. For the FCO, diplomacy is synonymous with duplicity.

Among British diplomats. this belief that their profession exempts them from the normal constraints of decent behaviour amounts to a cult of Machiavellianism, a pride in their own amorality. It is reinforced by their narrow social origins ?” still in 2010, 80% of British ambassadors went to private schools. As a group, they view themselves as ultra-intelligent Nietzschean supermen, above normal morality. In Tony Blair (Fettes and Oxford), they had both leader and soulmate.

Those who argue that wikileaks are wrong, believe that we should entrust the government with sole control of what the people can and cannot know of what is done in their name. That attitude led to the “Dodgy dossier” of lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Those who posit the potential loss of life from wikileaks’ activities need to set against any such risk the hundreds of thousands of actual dead from the foreign policies of the US and its co-conspirators in the past decade.

Web commenters have noted that the diplomatic cables now released reflect the USA’s political agenda, and there is even a substantial wedge of the blogosphere which suggests that Wikileaks are therefore a CIA front. This is nonsense. Of course the documents reflect the US view ?” they are official US government communications. What they show is something I witnessed personally, that diplomats as a class very seldom tell unpalatable truths to politicians, but rather report and reinforce what their masters want to hear, in the hope of receiving preferment.

There is therefore a huge amount about Iran’s putative nuclear arsenal and an exaggeration of Iran’s warhead delivery capability. But there is nothing about Israel’s massive nuclear arsenal. That is not because wikileaks have censored criticism of Israel. It is because any US diplomat who made an honest and open assessment of Israeli crimes would very quickly be an unemployed ex-diplomat. I don’t want to bang on about my own case, but I wouldn’t wish the things they do to whistleblowers on anybody. .

It is is no surprise that US diplomats are complicit in spying on senior UN staff. The British do it too, and a very brave woman, Katherine Gunn, was sacked for trying to stop it. While the cables released so far contain nothing that will shock informed observers, one real impact will be the information available to the arab peoples on how far they are betrayed by their US puppet leaders.

The government of Yemen has been actively colluding with the US in lying – including to its own parliament ?” that US drone attacks that have killed many civilians, were the work of the Yemeni air force. The King of Saudi Arabia shows no concern over the behaviour of Israel or the fate of the Palestinians, but strongly urges the bombing of Iran. It is not only, or primarily, in the Western world that we need to know more about what is done in our name. Wikileaks have struck a great blow against the USA’s informal empire.

The people discomfited by these leaks are people who deserve to be discomfited. Truth helps the people against rapacious elites ?” everywhere.


125 thoughts on “Raise A Glass to Wikileaks

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  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Personally I would throw the contents of the glass in the faces of the smart but dumb ‘psyops’ group that decided to manipulate Wikileaks after the Iraq video was leaked by a not so dumb intelligence analyst incensed by stupid and arrogant American miltary in Iraq. This latest release is an affront to Craig and a cloaked warning to the diplomat service and US/allied embassies world-wide to keep their secrets well,who thinks whistle-blowing toA “Funny thing about rat poison. After a while the rats learn to eat the food and leave the poison behind.”

    Wikileaks has been expertly manipulated so that and information has been filtered and then ‘leaked’ thru main stream media

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Personally I would throw the contents of the glass in the faces of the smart but dumb ‘psyops’ group, sat picking their noses since the height of the Iraq war and now tasked to manipulate Wikileaks after the Iraq journalists slaughter video was leaked by a not so dumb intelligence analyst incensed by a stupid and arrogant American military engaged in the Iraq genocide.

    This latest release is an affront to Craig and a cloaked warning to the diplomat service and US/allied embassies world-wide to keep their secrets well, secret.

    Really – without sounding too pompous, are we that gullible?

    I looked at one record:

    cablegate.wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07BERLIN242.html

    The content was known in 2006 and reported here:

    secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Protokoll_Befragung_Bundesinnenminister_a.D._Otto_Schily_zum_Fall_El_Masri%2C_2006

    The arrest and torture was deemed to be a mistake at the time when the name el-Masri, a German was confused with al-Masri a suspected terrorist – a case of ‘erroneous rendition’ – Heads-up people the intelligence services are laughing their bloated heads off!!

    The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said the WikiLeaks disclosures will make it harder for American diplomats to be honest in their assessments of political situations abroad and will inspire more caution among foreign leaders when they are dealing with U.S. officials.

    BOLLOCKS – BOLLOCKS – BOLLOCKS

    “Funny thing about rat poison. After a while the rats learn to eat the food and leave the poison behind.”

  • Harunobu

    Extremely excellent piece.

    Do we want to live in a world formed by a carpet of private and government tyrannies or do we want to live in an actual democracy?

  • Alfred

    “Now should be Craigs time, they (the media) should also accept him as a mediator between Julian and a panicking world of scoundrels.”

    “I also would like Julian to finish the job, he must need some rest and a holiday, should he ever be able to sit still for more than a day.”

    I’m confused now. Which of these two, Assange or Murray, is Jesus returned with warnings of Iranian nukes and Osama devilish tricks in Pakistan.

    Perhaps Kingofwelshnoir can set us straight. Or Craig? By what marks are we to recognize you as the annointed in whose unsupported word all must have faith.

  • Roderick Russell

    One of the Wikileaks disclosures is an American diplomatic note stating that Jim Judd, former head of Canada’s Intelligence agency CSIS, admitted (or boasted) that the spy agency was “vigorously harassing” known Hezbollah members in Canada. Apparently Mr. Judd does not understand that in Canada one is supposed to charge those who the authorities believe are law breakers; not arbitrarily torture them instead.

    CSIS is also “vigorously harassing” completely innocent citizens in Canada – click on my signature to view. They are bullies using a no-touch torture technique that was developed by the former Communist East German secret police, the Stasi, to persecute dissidents. The Stasi called it Zerzetsen; CSIS calls it “D & D” (disrupt and diffuse).

    Well done Wikileaks !!!! Hopefully there will be a great deal more disclosure about any criminal behavior by intelligence agencies in Canada and the UK. Either you believe in Democracy and Rule of Law, or like CSIS and the Stasi you don’t.

  • Jaded.

    After a lot of thought I believe, but can’t be sure, that Assange is genuine. I am still disappointed that Wikileaks published some of the crap that actually supports the U.S. propaganda machine though. Namely, the material which bolsters the drive to destabilise and dominate Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. No need for revelations about 9/11, as Fox News (aganeda) has heroically taken up the cause. Ha ha ha. 😉

  • nobody

    If only we’d had wikileaks in 2003. Then it could have informed us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and links to al qaeda, and that the Pentagon had recordings of Baath party members threatening to destroy Israel.

    Anyway we’ve got it now and hopefully it should assist in the noble effort to nuke Iran, invade Yemen, and otherwise deal with sundry other countries on Oded Yinon’s shit-list.

    PS For those who’ve never heard of Oded Yinon google ‘oded yinon strategy for israel’.

  • dreoilin

    If Assange is not genuine, why would he be about to expose a load of internal documents from an American bank in the New Year? In an interview with Andy Greenberg at Forbes.com (blogs) he says

    “You could call it the ecosystem of corruption. But it’s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest. The way they talk about it.”

    I can’t quite see how this would help in nuking Iran, invading Yemen etc etc. He’s hardly going to publish individual account details.

  • Walter Schnaffs

    Three reasons to suspect Wikileaks. It has no criticism of Israel. Assange does not question the official 9/11 nonsense fable. He believes that Osama bin Laden is still alive (he died in December 2001). Al Quaida is an invention of several ‘intelligence’ agencies. Some US commentators refer to it as Al-CIA-da. I believe it means ‘The toilet’. That should scare the enemies of Islam.

  • CheebaCow

    If people are going to claim that WL is an inside job, I’m afraid that links to the AlexJonesChannel and Michael Rivero just don’t cut the mustard. Both are hardly what you would call credible sources, and even the most left wing academic would laugh at these.

    The most common complaint is that the leaked material doesn’t fit peoples ideological framework. Instead of re-evaluating their position in light of new info, the reaction is instead to declare that it’s a CIA job. I think Craig sums it up best when he writes:

    “Of course the documents reflect the US view ?” they are official US government communications. What they show is something I witnessed personally, that diplomats as a class very seldom tell unpalatable truths to politicians”

    I don’t know why people expect US diplomats to send each other messages congratulating each other on committing massive war crimes. Of course the correspondence is going to try and normalise their own behaviour as much as possible. Also it seems that most of the leaks are fairly low level clearance stuff, so they are the most likely to be relatively innocuous.

    If this is a CIA job why do the documents say that Iran has NOT been helping the Afghan resistance? Why do the documents say that an Israel can’t attack Iran without drawing the US into the conflict? Furthermore the documents say that an Israeli attack wouldn’t even be effective.

    I’m not denying the possibility that WL is a CIA job, I’m just saying that the case presented thus far is hardly convincing. In fact the logic used to discredit WL could be applied against any western dissident group and hold up just as well. Personally I think the fact that both the left/right, authoritarians and libertarians are attacking WL increases its credibility.

    BTW I think that all those attacking WL are CIA attempting to discredit a valuable dissident resource. ***tongue firmly in cheek***

  • Vronsky

    “Where’s Tony Opmoc these days?”

    tony_opmoc v 1.0 has been withdrawn and will shortly be replaced by v 1.1. The new release has additional functionality over v 1.0, allowing random quotation from previous posts, occasionally correct punctuation and a generally more ‘realistic’ feel. The problem with the recursive insertion of CR characters will be dealt with in v 2.0.

  • CheebaCow

    Vronsky:

    Hahaha, I just realised that Tony is the new Mark V Shaney (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_V_Shaney).

  • juniper

    Yo Brits!

    Yo Prinze Andy sure gotta lotta front ain’t He? Awl ar ambassdos sayin’ He jussa bout got hissa head up hissa Royal arsehole wid rite Royal arrogans an roodness!

    Who ever herd bout a Royal prinz what frontin’ for arms companies likka BAE?

    Din’ yo Ed Winsor rep for der Venezian Vickers Arms Co? I blieve He did sho’nuff!

    Hell when Ed and Missus Simson visited der Bosferous in 1936 ol’Attaturk put on a Venezian Regatta in dare honor! Dey was celebratin’ yo’Prinz Ed gettin’ de contract fo’ Vickers ta re-fortify de Dardanels.

    Vickers woz also settin’ up de hevy arment installashuns in Yugoslavea bout dat time too. Yo Ed wen down dare ta check dem out too.

    Yo Ed woz plannin’ fo war alredy anna so woz our FDR. Dey met one time roun’ 1940 offa de Bahamas on a cruzer talkin bout Eleuthra islan’ bein’ leesed by yo Royal Navy to US for wen war get started.

    Hell Iz jussa dum Negra from down St Lou an’ I no mo’ bout yo’ history than yu do!

    Ain’t youz even worked out yet dat yo Royals up to dare necks in arms and drugs anna fomentin wars all over?

    Anna dem Saudis youz allus sweetnin’ up wid cat-house favors ta get ’em buy yo arms-well ain’t yawl ‘ware dey jussa bunch postate Bagdadi Juze?

    Holy shit-yo’ Brits jussa bout dum as dey get boy!

  • juniper

    I jussa seen one ma black sisters on BBC Brakefass sayin’ bout how imbarass de US iz rite now bout dem Wicked Leeks!

    She sayin’ ain’t no wurrys bout ‘ol Obama gown get awl riled up anna start bomin’ Iran jussa yet.

    Min’ yu dis same sista wossa tellin’ us back in 911 times dat ‘ol Captin Colin Pow wossa gon’ mek shore ol Dunbya gown keepa hissa cool after dem NY Towers come down.

    Jussa look yawl how dat dun turn out!

    Well wid ol Colin turnin up at de UN wid dem fials a anfrax an stuff sayin we goota go down onna Bagdad anna Saddam anna tare dat dam statu down quick!

    Hell Bonny sister yu shore dun sum dead-on forcasting afore now,ain’t ya gal?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Ah, Jaded, hello. How are you, these frozen, northern days?

    The question is, is Wikileaks riding the longship, and steering the wind of truth onto the blasted face of US imperialism, or are they in its lee?

    I admit that I truly don’t know. Best, perhaps, to take the information (at least as much as one human can apprehend) in the manner in which one takes all information – as forming a part of a complex, five-dimensional landscape. The fifth dimension? No, not The Byrds’ groundbreaking album and not Kenny Rogers’s pop psychedelic group, but the iron dialectic of lies and truth.

    Let us, then, sail on.

  • nobody

    Hullo Dreolin,

    Late reply but never mind. Have you read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold? You really must. And when you do see if you can spot yourself in there. As a theoretical character, that is. I’ll help you out – you will be that East German saying, ‘But Mundt can’t be a spy because… (insert vaguely-convincing-but-otherwise-meaningless-reason-here)’.

    Appearing convincing is sine qua non territory for spooks mate. And Assange has you convinced does he?

    And all on account of him saying he’s going to out some banks? Wow. Fans of small potatoes the world over rejoice. I look forward to the media being all over that in the precise way they utterly ignored the fact that the bank owned by Executive Director of the CIA, AB Buzzy Krongard, made millions in put options during 911.

    As per usual bombshells are turned into squibs, and squibs are made into big, big headlines.

    Everyone raise your glass to the big, big headlines!

  • paul

    If Assange were truly leaking stuff the US didnt WANT seen, he would not be walking around a free man. The CIA have kidnapped people from all over the world for far less in the past.

    Either knowingly or unknowingly he is peddling US propaganda (mixed in with insignificant titbits to mask the poison).

  • Alfred

    Paul,

    Canadian lawyer and journalist Ezra Levant argues in an article published in yesterday’s Toroto Sun that Assange should indeed be targeted for assassination:

    “He’s not anti-war. He’s on the other side.

    Assange published the names of Afghan human rights activists and others who have co-operated with the U.S. ?” giving out names of villages and GPS coordinates.

    That’s not journalism. That’s not whistleblowing. That’s setting up “deadly revenge attacks,” says Reporters Without Borders.

    Zabihullah Mujahid is grateful. He’s a Taliban spokesman who says “we know how to punish them.”

    Assange published details about technology used to stop improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from being detonated. WikiLeaks calls roadside bombs a “rebel investment,” proudly pointing out for every dollar spent by the terrorists, the U.S. and Canada have to spend a thousand to defend against them. So Assange published those anti-IED details online.”

    http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/ezra_levant/2010/11/29/16364691.html

  • Alfred

    It is interesting to note that although Assange falsely implies in this video to have broken the Climategate story:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W17dW_aJEwU

    there is no reference to Climategate anywhere on the Wikileaks.org home page or any search function or index whereby one might find any information about the climategate emails on that sight. So, Clark, it seems to me that Assange’s claim is totally nuts.

  • Horace Simpson

    Wikileaks is a propaganda front. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. seized the domain names of some 70 websites for copyright infringement, without warrants, court orders, or court hearings before a judge. The DHS used their authority to grab websites on the basis they are perceived threats.

    If WikiLeaks is really exposing dangerous classified diplomatic cables that are a threat to the United States, why didn’t DHS seize the WikiLeaks domain? Assange was dropping hints of a major leak to come. If WikiLeaks was a real whistleblower, DHS could shut them down by grabbing their domain name just as easily as it shut down the copyright violators. They didn’t.

    WikiLeaks is a fake whistleblower, an attempt to repackage old ABCNNBBCBS lies in a new form that the public will swallow.

    There is no other possible explanation for DHS not to seize the domain as a real threat, especially since Assange was not shy about dropping hints as to what was to come!

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  • Clark

    Alfred, I’m not certain, but I’m fairly sure that I remember seeing the Climategate e-mails on the WikiLeaks site. However, it would have been some time ago, before the site shut down, when you could still browse all their leaks. I don’t know where to find them now, but the same is true for most WikiLeaks articles.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20101201/twl-wikileaks-online-after-amazon-pulls-3fd0ae9.html

    Senator Joe Lieberman, that doyen of unbiased political altruism? That Joe Lieberman? Lieberman is the enemy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Ian Bell of The Herald has penned a good article on the Wikileaks matter, entitled, ‘The Greatest Revelation is How Widely Known are the Secrets’, but The Herald’s internal search facility has always been frustratingly poor and so even though it was published on 1st Dec 2010, I am unable to locate it now on the web.

    So here’s a different link:

    heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/hacker-behind-leaks-is-former-bullying-victim-1.1071976

    Interesting. Well, he’s getting his own back now. Hague’s comment about being one of “Thatcher’s children” reminded me for a wishful moment of the story of Medea.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medea

    But then I was reminded of Craig’s whistleblowing in relation to the actual boiling alive of people by our wonderful ‘War on Terror’ allies in the state of Uzbekistan and to the maxim that the reality is always worse than the fiction.

  • keith williams

    Well said Mr. Murray!

    Am I correct in saying that the current ‘charges’ against Mr. Assange for sexual misconduct are similar to those you faced from the F.O. following your whistleblowing on events in Uzbekhistan? How strange!

    Keep up your excellent web-site:it is a breath of clean fresh air among the putrid solicitous nature of the mainstream media.

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