Monday, January 3, 2011

WIKILEAKS

I've been avoiding the headlines, articles, chatter, about WikiLeaks.

I don't trust "hot" news. Often, what's hot has been made hot by repetition.

WikiLeaks is a Website to visit if you want to find out about behind-the-scenes political and financial doings. The boss or founder or whatever you call him, hacked into the State Department computers and files, and exposed a lot of bad and good things that important diplomats and their associates have said and done.

Approximately 250,000 documents were leaked.

In between "what a mess" comments and opinions from the media, we've been getting juicy blabs about the sexual doings of WikiLeaks main man, Julian Assange. To my eye he appears shifty-eyed -- there's a debauched, flabby, weak look about him -- I can't imagine meeting him at a cocktail party, and making conversation with him.

It's depressing, worrisome -- to hear about possible wrongdoings on the part of people heading major countries, but the nitty-gritty details about Assange and what he did or didn't do in bed, are just plain dreary.

Quite by accident, I came across "Not Dead Yet" -- an article on WikiLeaks in Newsweek. The authors, Christopher Dickey and Andrew Blast, collaborated with Owen Matthews in Moscow, John Barry in Washington, William Underhill in London, R. M. Schneiderman and Mike Giglio in New York.

This thoroughly researched article explained that leaking diplomatic dispatches is a "recognized diplomatic art" that's been done for years. Our ambassadors often share their cables with correspondents in other countries, because a report from a correspondent will get to the secretary of state’s desk faster than an official memo. Leaking a dispatch is also a way of saving face, or stepping back from the brink of a war.

From WikiLeaks, we've learned how Iran's nuclear weapons, and Israel's threats of war, are being handled. We've heard diplomats refer to Russia’s president and prime minister as “Batman and Robin.” We've learned that Defense Secretary, Dr. Robert Gates, formerly a CIA guy himself, has been dealing with China, Russia, Turkey, and Arabian allies privately. Turkish officials were saying that Iran's nuclear ambitions were "gossip," but in private we have been talking with Turkey about a missile shield program on Turkish soil.

A sensitive piece of information that WikiLeaks exposed was our covert CIA program targeting Al Qaeda in Yemen and the negotiations between Yemen's President and General David Petraeus. And more -- much more stuff like this -- that should NOT have been disclosed, has clearly been exposed.

Even so, the huge quantities of pilfered State Department documents show that American diplomats are doing their jobs the way diplomats should, using all the resources, and not deceiving the public.

Authorities from the National Intelligence Council, from Harvard University's Cultural Exchange Department, the Guardian in the U.K., from the New York Times, are praising the people who were writing those cables. “Let’s hear it for the men and women of the U.S. Foreign Service!” says Roger Cohen, long-time foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

The fact is, WikiLeaks documents have shown us what good job our diplomats have been able to do in the last few years, but Assange's work as a hacker has made the job a lot harder for our guys in the future.

Anyhow, the "hot" news has cooled. I'm glad to know more about all this, but please, media guys, let Assange's fifteen minutes of fame die out.

1 comment:

Carola said...

There was a New Yorker article about Assange last year some time that was interesting and revealing. He seems to think of himself as the most important person in the world.

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