(Politico) WikiLeaks target: American power

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first victims of the leaked cables released Sunday was anyone who shared secrets with American diplomats, especially Arab leaders who saw their private security deals - and their insistence that those deals be kept from their people - published online with undiplomatic bluntness.

But the main effect of the many details of American diplomacy revealed in the thousands of documents obtained and released by WikiLeaks was to deepen the damage to their intended targets: U.S. foreign policy, prestige, and power.

"The impression is of the world's superpower roaming helpless in a world in which nobody behaves as bidden," wrote Sir Simon Jenkins in the left-leaning Guardian, one of the publications that were given the documents.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign Relations

10 Comments
Posted November 29, 2010 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. BlueOntario wrote:

People should be careful what they ask for. They may soon find they get it, in spades.

November 29, 8:55 am | [comment link]
2. Larry Morse wrote:

Where do all these leaks come from?  Does anyone know?  L

November 29, 10:03 am | [comment link]
3. evan miller wrote:

WikiLeaks should be treated like a hostlie foreign power and all of the resources at the government’s disposal should be used to target it for destruction.

November 29, 11:14 am | [comment link]
4. Branford wrote:

Larry Morse, the Wikileaks docs from this summer on Iraq and Afghanistan at least (I’m not sure about the recent State Dept leaks) came from Bradley Manning, a disgruntled army intelligence specialist who wanted to disgrace the Army. He is now under arrest and being charged under the U.S. Military Code - he dumped over 150,000 digital emails and docs.

November 29, 12:19 pm | [comment link]
5. Branford wrote:

Good article at the Guardian here:

An innocuous-looking memory stick, no longer than a couple of fingernails, came into the hands of a Guardian reporter earlier this year. The device is so small it will hang easily on a keyring. But its contents will send shockwaves through the world’s chancelleries and deliver what one official described as “an epic blow” to US diplomacy.

The 1.6 gigabytes of text files on the memory stick ran to millions of words: the contents of more than 250,000 leaked state department cables, sent from, or to, US embassies around the world. . .

The US military believes it knows where the leak originated. A soldier, Bradley Manning, 22, has been held in solitary confinement for the last seven months and is facing a court martial in the new year. The former intelligence analyst is charged with unauthorised downloads of classified material while serving on an army base outside Baghdad. He is suspected of taking copies not only of the state department archive, but also of video of an Apache helicopter crew gunning down civilians in Baghdad, and hundreds of thousands of daily war logs from military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was childishly easy, according to the published chatlog of a conversation Manning had with a fellow-hacker. “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labelled with something like ‘Lady Gaga’ … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing ... [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga’s Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history.” He said that he “had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months”.

Manning told his correspondent Adrian Lamo, who subsequently denounced him to the authorities: “Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public ... Everywhere there’s a US post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. Worldwide anarchy in CSV format ... It’s beautiful, and horrifying.” . .

November 29, 12:28 pm | [comment link]
6. justinmartyr wrote:

Thank God for Wikileaks. The sin that comprises “Rah-rah America” is finally being exposed to the light. The blood of innocents spilled without so much as an apology has cried out and has been heard.

November 29, 3:24 pm | [comment link]
7. evan miller wrote:

Get a grip, Justin.

November 29, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
8. Andrew717 wrote:

You mean the blood of the innocents whose family members aided US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan who will now be targeted?

November 29, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
9. BlueOntario wrote:

justinmartyr, the replacement for what has amounted to Pax Americana may not be as benign with “the blood of innocents” as that nation you point your finger at.

November 29, 8:13 pm | [comment link]
10. Sarah wrote:

I’m afraid this is—so far—so much sturm und drang.  Frankly, I haven’t noticed anything leaked from the diplomats that we didn’t already know *in spades* anyway.  Surprise surprise—Saudi Arabia wishes we would invade Iran!  Heh . . .

Manning certainly has a grandly inflated sense of what he’s done—I suppose that’s fine.  I mean—anyone could go “dump and leak” all the emails from one’s workplace too. 

I think the media cares—a lot—and certainly I feel for any sources whose security has been compromised.

But as far as anything being “embarrassing” from the diplomats—I have to smile.

November 29, 8:17 pm | [comment link]
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