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Wikileaks meets the Grand Wurlitzer

The most recent release of wikileaks docs has provoked all the standard reactions we have come to expect. The punditocracy, both governmental and media, have thrown everything they could think of at them hoping something will stick.

We are told that the docs are an attack on our national security and not just that but the international community. Then we are told often by the same people that they are of no importance, that they are full of mistakes and inaccuracies, that they are essentially gossip, that foreign leaders say even worse and more impolitic things about our leaders.

We are told that Julian Assange and wikileaks could well have blood on their hands. The people who tell us this should know because they have the blood of thousands, both civilians and American soldiers, on theirs, acquired in the prosecution of their endless, meaningless imperial wars. It seems almost superfluous to point out that they have never, despite their best efforts, come up with a single instance with which to accuse Assange.

Instead we are regaled with the usual smears. Assange is an unstable, thrill seeking, attention grabbing, computer hacking, likely rapist. There are mutterings of treason and espionage, although neither apply. So while Assange and wikileaks have done nothing illegal by releasing this material, wikileaks is hit by a denial of service attack and suggestions are made that something (extra-judicial) should be done about Assange.

Then we are told that this could all be a setup, that wikileaks is being duped, that it is being fed targeted info embedded in the wider background of the leaks. The suggestion is that this is being done by foreign players, even though these are American diplomatic cables.

We are also told that because of the document release our government will lose credibility, that those whom Hillary Clinton has set her spies/diplomats on will be reluctant to speak candidly with us, not mind you because she has done this but rather because what they say might someday become public.

We are told that really all the cables show, as with Iran, is that the government is saying the same things in private that it is saying in public. Then as with Afghanistan and Pakistan, we are told the opposite of this.

It is all a monumental exercise in hypocrisy and misdirection. What I see almost no discussion of, especially on the networks, including PBS and cable, is what this says about American foreign policy.

Karzai is completely unreliable and his government is totally corrupt. So why exactly have we made him the indispensable man and his government the focal point of our efforts now extended 4 more years? Why do we continue to rely on such a perfidious, backstabbing "partner" like Pakistan, or its totally corrupt leadership? Nor is it ever explained that Saudi belligerence toward Iran extends only so far and as long as its American, not Saudi, asses that are getting shot at. Nor is anyone raising questions about Honduras. The embassy there communicates that the coup against Zelaya was illegal and unconstitutional in every possible meaningful way, and the Obama Administration? It simply let it slide.

That is the great untold story here. The wikileaks documents raise all kinds of red flags, not just about how American foreign policy is run, but its content. Virtually all the coverage though is on the atmospherics. What little substance there is is coming from the foreign papers that were given the cables: the Guardian, Der Spiegel, El País, and Le Monde.

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Submitted by lambert on

She accepts the empire, no? Spies come with the territory.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

Functionally, I mean. Aren't they Obamas? Or the Foreign Relations Committee? The CIAs? NSAs? The military's? Or DoDs? I'm sure she uses the results, but are they hers to direct? Or is this an argument that the whole foreign and diplomatic service is nothing but spies? (I mean, yeah, I know there's all sorts of spying going on in the diplomatic services of most countries, but I had the impression from Cold War spying that those spies were mostly controlled by others, not State per se. I really am not up on current spy-functions).

I don't quibble with the assignment of Empire to Clinton, but to singling her out above others, equally or more spy-controlling.

Oooo - I just noticed the "new" tags in the far right sidebar! How convenient! Nice addition.

Submitted by Hugh on

Well, two points. First, per reports of the cable, Clinton noted that most US intelligence originated from State. Second, the nature of some of the material, biometric information (fingerprints, DNA samples, for example), passwords, credit card numbers, etc. goes far beyond ordinary data collection and into the world of espionage.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

Hugh,
Calling them "Hillary's Spies" is unfortunate phrasing IMHO is all I'm saying. And the redoubtable Marc Ambinder adds perspective:

In 2009, the CIA updated its requirements and reissued the directive, which went to all members of the intelligence community, joint intelligence centers of combatant commands, and even to selected cleared personnel representing the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce overseas, as the 8,500-word cable itself makes clear. There is some regret in the Obama administration that the 2009 instruction wasn’t more carefully and narrowly tailored, but that’s an issue for the intelligence community to sort out, not Clinton, who, in all likelihood, never saw it. (The State Department won’t comment on the specific contents of any WikiLeaks cable.)
So once State got the order, Michael Owen, the acting State Department intelligence chief, dutifully distributed the instructions with a gloss as to what his shop could use to provide the intelligence community with better information.
"Mad Bitch Beer, Anyone?

Submitted by Hugh on

And that's on its good days. Or as I say, kleptocracy is not a sometime, here and there thing. It is everywhere all the time.

Submitted by lambert on

It's actually The Mighty Wurlitzer.

Lord Eschaton's one-time slogan, "Middle C on the mighty Casio" was a meta-riff on that...