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Archive for Monday, November 29, 2010

Documents posted by WikiLeaks reveal candid look at international diplomacy

November 29, 2010

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— Hundreds of thousands of State Department documents leaked Sunday revealed a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy, divulging candid comments from world leaders and detailing occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea.

The classified diplomatic cables released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and reported on by news organizations in the United States and Europe provided often unflattering assessments of foreign leaders, ranging from U.S. allies such as Germany and Italy to other nations like Libya, Iran and Afghanistan.

The cables also contained new revelations about long-simmering nuclear trouble spots, detailing U.S., Israeli and Arab world fears of Iran’s growing nuclear program, American concerns about Pakistan’s atomic arsenal and U.S. discussions about a united Korean peninsula as a long-term solution to North Korean aggression.

There are also American memos encouraging U.S. diplomats at the United Nations to collect detailed data about the U.N. secretary general, his team and foreign diplomats — going beyond what is considered the normal run of information-gathering expected in diplomatic circles.

None of the revelations is particularly explosive, but their publication could prove problematic for the officials concerned. And the massive release of material intended for diplomatic eyes only is sure to ruffle feathers in foreign capitals, a certainty that prompted U.S. diplomats to scramble in recent days to shore up relations with key allies in advance of the disclosures.

The documents published by The New York Times, France’s Le Monde, Britain’s Guardian newspaper, German magazine Der Spiegel and others laid out the behind-the-scenes conduct of Washington’s international relations, shrouded in public by platitudes, smiles and handshakes at photo sessions among senior officials.

The White House immediately condemned the release of the WikiLeaks documents, saying “such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.”

It also noted that “by its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information. It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions.”

“Nevertheless, these cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world,” the White House said.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley played down the spying allegations. “Our diplomats are just that, diplomats,” he said. “They collect information that shapes our policies and actions. This is what diplomats, from our country and other countries, have done for hundreds of years.”

Comments

heygary 3 years, 8 months ago

PFC Manning should be put in front of a firing squad ... and DoJ should go after WikiLeaks with everything it has!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Yea, we really don't need to know what your government is doing, do we? I'm with you Gary-- ignorance is bliss.

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Liberty275 3 years, 8 months ago

We certainly didn't need to know about the backroom deals when they were shoving mandatory corporate health insurance down every gainfully employed American's throat, did we?

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mbulicz 3 years, 8 months ago

Isn't it a shame that we have to rely on intelligence leaks to reveal what our government is up to, just because mainstream media is too occupied with Lindsay Lohan and Twitter?

WikiLeaks is the closest thing we have to real journalism anymore.

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Liberty275 3 years, 8 months ago

Isn't it a shame that Iran has to rely on intelligence leaks to reveal what our government is up to.

Fixed that for you.

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geekin_topekan 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Olly North could have filled them in. You know, selling missiles to Iran to fund the Cartels, Ooops, Contras. he was in the loop.

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mbulicz 3 years, 8 months ago

War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

Likewise.

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Liberty275 3 years, 8 months ago

"War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength."

Wow, you can quote socialist pablum. I am so impressed I might just give you a gold star. Would you like a nice gold star?

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oldbaldguy 3 years, 8 months ago

Back in the day, people kept secrets. I do not understand how this cable traffic was released without someone knowing about it. There are somethings that should never see the light of day for valid reasons. Sources will not work with you if they anticipate their names showing up on CNN, Fox or the New York Times. It is all well and good to hold forth on exposing government communications as a blow for liberty. Reality is much different.

I wonder what the Russians or Chinese would do to Mr. Aussange if it was their cables being released to the world? I know what they would do to the person who released it. Old Cold War Spook

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