Saturday, November 27, 2010

Will WikiLeaks Unravel the American 'Secret Government'?

By Jijo Jacobs

The U.S. Department of State is working overtime sending messages to ally capitals warning the impending release of classified documents by WikiLeaks could harm relations in what is seen as a pre-emptive move of unprecedented scale to neutralize the impact of the unveiling of embarrassing and compromising details about the inner workings of the government apparatus.

After making shattering revelations about the U.S. policy -- and its practice -- in Iraq and Afghanistan, WikiLeaks seems to be targeting this time the core of the U.S. government machinery, especially the subterranean diplomatic channels it employs while cutting deals and enforcing compliance in world capitals.

This knowledge has set off a diplomatic counter-offensive of never-before-seen proportion. The U.S. embassies in allied capitals have been forewarned of the release of documents which could potentially destabilize friendly relations.

The State Department, in an advance fire-fighting mode, has said the consequences of the WikiLeaks bombshell to American interests could be severe as the whistleblower website could reveal instances of allies breaking ranks secretly to pursue policies harmful to each other and squarely contradicting publicly stated stances.

"Without getting into specifics, typical cables describe summaries of meetings, analysis of events in other countries and records of confidential conversations with officials of other governments and with members of civil society. ... They are classified for a very good reason. They contain sensitive information and reveal sources of information that impact our national interests and those of other countries," State Department spokesman P.J.Crowley said.

Researchers have often pointed out the stark contrast between nation states' declared policies -- and the means to achieve them -- and what actually transpires on the ground. The inner workings, the dark secrets and shady deals never see the light of day until they may be declassified years later, severely undermining democratic values of truth and transparency.

Now WikiLeaks is out to run a knife through a mountain of classified documents revealing how the proverbial 'secret government' works its way through cluttered diplomatic channels. And that certainly could be embarrassing to lots of people in many capitals, more so in Washington.

The Pentagon has already warned the U.S. Senate and House Armed Services Committees that the leaks will “touch on an enormous range of very sensitive foreign policy issues.” “We anticipate that the release could negatively impact U.S. foreign relations,” Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Elizabeth King said in an e-mail to the defense committees.


Media speculate that the soon-to-be-leaked cables could contain sensitive talks between government functionaries, diplomats, military top brass and politicians which may show top government players in unflattering light.

According to Sky News foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall, even heads of government will be the target in the leaked documents. "We think that three leaders might be in the firing line, because we know the Americans have criticized (Afghan president) Hamid Karzai, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia."

President Barack Obama's administration will particularly feel the heat as many of the documents to be published relate to the time since he took office. Experts say there could even be cables related to the government's maneuverings to get allies accept Guantanamo detainees as Obama was pressing ahead with the deadline to close the infamous detention camp. Israel's Haartez daily quoted an unnamed senior Israeli official who said the WikiLeaks material includes diplomatic cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world.

Jijo Jacob's story continues here....

Other sources:  WL Central: An unoficial WikiLeaks information resource


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