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Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks "Bombshells" Confirm What We Already Know

Having spent much of the past 24 hours going through the State Department documents released by Wikileaks I can honestly say the most amazing revelation is the lack of revelations in the documents. Not that it isn't shocking to see some of these reports in black and white, but most of the Wikileaks "bombshells" are simply confirmation of news reports discussed here, the other "Big" sites, on my blog The Lid, or other sites,  many times before. Here are some examples of the "old news"
  • Arab states see Iran as a danger:  The revelation that Israel is not the only nation in the Middle East suggesting that the "head of the snake" be cut off is nothing close to new. Even the fact that other nations in the Middle East want nuclear technology because Iran has been closing in on the nuclear weapons are have been discussed before. I would also note that the James Baker meme (subscribed to by Obama and Hillary Clinton) that solving the Iran problem is linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was totally destroyed by the Wikileaks release. There was not one mention of "linkage" by an Arab state in the released cables.
  • North Korea is supplying missiles to Iran: Iran obtained 19 of the missiles from North Korea, according to a cable dated Feb. 24 of this year. Again this is old news. We also know that North Korea built a nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert.
  • Bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison: In June 2009 when we sent the Uyghur prisoners to Bermuda, the story was that we gave Bermuda extra "aid" to accept the prisoners. So why is the revelation news?
  • China has been hacking into American Computer Systems. This story was big news three weeks ago.

  • Syria has been supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has amassed a huge stockpile since its 2006 war with Israel. There have been hundreds of articles on this topic during the last four years, including Israeli complaints to the UN.
  • Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government, Joe Biden, The SCHMOTUS has publicly discussed this issue.
  • American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea. Folks if our government hasn't been having these discussions they would be more incompetent than we already think.
  • A dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: Since 2007, the United States has mounted a highly secret effort so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that American officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device. Since 2007 we have been reading about the danger of Pakistani nuclear fuel, bombs getting in the wrong hands and the US trying to grab hold of them.
  • "Red Crescent" Ambulances being used as a terrorist tool. Israel has been attacking these ambulances shipping weapons and terrorists, they have even provided video of this practice (of course now that there is proof from another source, the UN will find ways to condemn Israel).
  • Iran was using repeated attempts to resolve the nuclear issue through diplomacy to "play for time" and evade sanctions, "while pursuing its strategic objective to obtain a military nuclear capability." OK this one was a surprise, NOT.
So where was the big secret? Even some of the personal tidbits are not surprising,  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is referred to as "Hitler," Afghan President Hamid Karzai is "driven by paranoia," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is an "Alpha Male," while President Dmitry Medvedev is "afraid, hesitant." No surprise there, nor was it shock when we learned Libyan leader Muammar Gaddhafi's travels with a full-time nurse blond bimbo or Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who has been caught by the Italian press going to hookers, loves "wild parties."

The fact that the latest Wikileaks data dump does not contain anything new does not make it acceptable.  The release of  these documents is a crime and we should figure out how to prosecute everyone in that organization to the fullest extent of the law.

The real damage of this document dump is what it does to American foreign policy. The United States looks like a bumbling fool in the eyes of the world. How can we be trusted with secrets or even not so secret opinions.  The Wikileaks people funnel documents to the press at will, and for the sole purpose of damaging U.S. relations with other countries, our war efforts, and our intelligence capability.  These leaks are an attack on the US and we do almost nothing about it. If the Obama Administration took action that would be the surprise.

The only real surprise of the Wikileaks documents is the American reaction.  For months we have been hearing about a computer virus developed and surreptitiously brought to Iran where it has infected and slowed down the Iranian Nuclear program, it seems to me that it would be an easier task to develop one that wrecks the Wikileaks database. Wikileaks has been leaking our classified information for over a year, one would think that stopping them would be a priority.

The reaction of our government is embarrassing.  We are the laughingstock of the world, we look impotent. The United States is supposedly a  superpower whose only response to the Wikileaks disclosure is pathetically,  a sternly worded letter.

The reaction to the Wikileaks Document Dump throughout the blog world has been passionate and diversified. John Hawkins has a summary of the blogisphere reaction here


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