Blowback

Adnan Gilani

November 29, 2010 | 4 Comments

WikiLeaks has done it again; the infamous whistle blowing site has published 220 of the 251,288 cables it received that were sent by American diplomats, between the end of 1966 and February 2010.

These cables narrate dialogue between diplomats and high-level officials on a wide array of topics relating to American foreign policy initiatives, while some of the cables  reveal well-known facts; others offer substance to certain opinions that have been coined as ‘conspiracy theories’.  

 The apparent source of these cables is Bradley Manning, a former Intelligence Analyst that reportedly boasted about the relative ease of downloading the information onto a CD.

My esteemed colleague Kate, has previously touched on the merits of Wikileaks publishing classified documents that pertain to the war in Iraq; I stated at that juncture I do believe the benefits of enabling access to such information definitely outweighs it costs.

I do not believe there will be a stampede to thoroughly examine each of the cables to ascertain the juicy details of assorted political blunders, but there availability for public consumption is imperative.

An example is the widely held belief regarding the intentions of the U.S. to forge on a war path with Iran; these cables provide a starkly different reality, where certain Arab states (Saudi Arabia) are being depicted as relentlessly putting pressure on the U.S. to engage in military action against Iran.

The U.S. is repeatedly shown to demonstrate resistance for requests on military action towards Iran; while George Bush was limited to engage Iran, given the occurrence of resources being tied up in Iraq, Obama is portrayed as soliciting support to institute a new set of very strict economic sanctions.

Other cables present somewhat of a disturbing reality, the disclosure of the U.N. being subject to surveillance by the U.S. does not bode well for U.N. officials that assumed their conduct was not in the reach of American authorities.  

An interesting reaction to the publication of the cables came from Joseph Lieberman, who has requested that President Obama employ all legal means to shut down WkiLeaks, before it embarks on any future disclosures.

As usual the choir of implicated voices have been doing damage control, but are these efforts enough to reverse the harm of rapports with so called allies?

Will the availability of this information alter the perceptions that the citizenry hold of their rulers?

Only time will be able to convey the consequences of producing such information, as well as the pending distribution of future batches.

Whether you agree or not with the accessibility of this information, WikiLeaks has provided us with substantial means to hold our elected rulers accountable.

Comments

4 Responses to “Blowback”

  1. North
    November 29th, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    I was personally supportive of the initial round of wikileaks. I’m considerably less pleased about this batch. We’ve been combing them so far and haven’t found much in the way of exposure of government misbehavior. Instead these appear to be revealing private details of national diplomatic dialogue that the various actors involved clearly assumed would remain confidential for decades.

    It seems to me, then, that these disclosures will dampen the willingness of the respective countries to speak frankly to each other in private. If that is the case then it would diminish the effectiveness of diplomacy. In that diplomacy is the alternative to war then it seems like these leaks could make armed conflict more likely.

    [Reply]

    Adnan Gilani Reply:

    I agree with your assertion in part regarding the limited effectiveness of diplomacy, as a result of these documents; however, certain cables contain more than just idle banter.

    Certain cables disclose discussions between the U.S. and Israel, in regards to implementing regime change in Iran through various means.

    The insistence to pursue with subversive tactics, in order to fuel the civil unrest of Iran’s minority/sectarian groups reveals the sincerity of the U.S. to peacefully achieve an amicable solution.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/120696

    Such backroom deals do not constitute diplomatic dialogue.

    [Reply]

    North Reply:

    The cables also revealed that the Sunni arab nations were especially and remarkably insistant that the US invade Iran as soon as possible to prevent their aquisition of a nuclear weapon. I can’t imagine that the Arab leaders are very happy to have that out in the light of day.

    [Reply]

  2. stageleft
    November 29th, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

    In the vast majority of cases we will never know if American efforts to reverse the harm of rapports with allies are successful or not – unless of course there is a round of foreign diplomatic correspondence leaks that tell us. The nature of that game is not to speak of such things publicly – Canada has already said it’s no big deal and that’s the stance they (and most other countries) will stand by regardless of what goes on or is said behind closed doors.

    With respect to whether or not the availability of this information alter the perceptions that the citizenry hold of their rulers – no, at least in North America.

    Those who distrust governments will continue to distrust governments and this event will only serve to re-enforce the perceptions they hold; others will shrug and say it’s business as usual in a post 9/11 world – and indeed I heard both views expressed today on talk radio today.

    [Reply]

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