Some Of What We’ve Learned Via WikiLeaks; Should It Be In The Public Domain?

Posted by | November 29, 2010 10:49 | Filed under: Top Stories

One of the most startling revelations from the WikiLeaks dump is that the U.S. secretly bombed terrorist camps in Yemen, but agreed with Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh (right) that he would claim the bombs were theirs, not ours. According to a January, 2010 cable:

Saleh lamented the use of cruise missiles that are “not very accurate” and welcomed the use of aircraft-deployed precision-guided bombs instead. “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Saleh said, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Alimi to joke that he had just “lied” by telling Parliament that the bombs in Arhab, Abyan, and Shebwa were American-made but deployed by the ROYG.(Republic of Yemen Government)

TPM has more revelations:

Almost every middle eastern country wanted us to bomb Iran.

The Saudis, the Bahrainis and even Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were all similarly inclined, as has been widely reported — El Pais reported that Mubarak’s hatred for Iran was called “visceral” and the New York Times reported the existence of cables referring to the Saudi king’s “frequent exhortations” to engage in military action against Iran. The Bahrainis, too, are said to be keen to see Iran’s nuclear program halted, and King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa is said to have blamed problems in Iraq and Afghanistan on the Iranian government — and both Kuwaiti and Yemeni officials reportedly told U.S. diplomats similar things about Iranian involvement in fomenting dissent in their own countries.

U.S. diplomats were ordered to spy on their foreign counterparts.

…ordering Foreign Service officers to assemble dossiers on their counterparts that would clearly allow U.S. intelligence to do more than compile their cell phone numbers. Le Monde reported that U.S. diplomats were encouraged to find and report “names, titles and other contained information on their business cards; numbers of landlines, of cellular phones, of pagers and fax; phone books and lists d’ emails; passwords Internet and Intranet; credit card numbers; card numbers of frequent flier programs; work hours…”

Iran obtained long-range missiles from North Korea.

Though the New York Times noted that there was publicly available information that North Korea had sold Iran components for such a weapon, the U.S. government believes that North Korea in fact sold the full missiles to Iran and that the missiles could easily allow Iran to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) capable of striking not just Israel, Germany or Russia… but of striking at Western Europe or even the United States.

Nothing contained in the leaks rises to the level of the Iran Contra scandal.

Although their contents are often startling and troubling, the cables are unlikely to gratify conspiracy theorists. They do not contain evidence of assassination plots, CIA bribery or such criminal enterprises as the Iran-Contra scandal in the Reagan years, when anti-Nicaraguan guerrillas were covertly financed.

One reason may be that America’s most sensitive “top secret” and above foreign intelligence files cannot be accessed from Siprnet, the defence department network involved.

The U.S. military believes it knows the source of the leaks.

A soldier, Bradley Manning (pictured with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange), 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.”

He added: “Information should be free. It belongs in the public domain.”

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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