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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wikileaks Releases Largest Classified Military Leaks In History

Part #2- Examples Of Progressive Liberal Wikileak 'Fawners.

Part #3 "The Obama Administrations Utter Failure To Stop Wikileaks"

Part #4 "Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Wanted By Interpol For 'Sex Crimes'"

Major newspapers throughout the world released the first wave of information from the largest U.S. Military leak in history, which they obtained from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has also put the some odd 250,000 leaked cables on the Wikileaks site, despite the site having gone dark and made inaccessible earlier today from supposed DOS attacks.

Wikileaks is believed to have illegally obtained these cables from a former intelligence analyst, 22 year-old Bradley Manning, who has been held in solitary confinement awaiting court martial. He has been charged with charged with unauthorized downloads of classified material while serving on an army base outside Baghdad.

More on that at The Guardian.

The White House appealed to Wikileaks not to release these documents, stating it would put countless lives at risk and jeopardize relations with our allies, but to no avail, Assange was determined to released the secret cables.

The letter from State Department legal adviser Harold Koh was released as U.S. diplomats around the world are scrambling to warn foreign governments about what might be in the secret documents that are believed to contain highly sensitive assessments about world leaders, their policies and America's attempts to lobby them.

In the letter, Koh said the publication of some 250,000 secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, which is expected on Sunday, will "place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals," "place at risk on-going military operations," and "place at risk on-going cooperation between countries."

"They were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action," he said. Koh said WikiLeaks should not publish the documents, return them to the U.S. government and destroy any copies it may have in its possession or in computer databases.

The State Department said Koh's message was a response to a letter received on Friday by the U.S. ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman, from Assange and his lawyer, Jennifer Robinson. The department said that letter asked for information "regarding individuals who may be 'at significant risk of harm' because of" the release of the documents.

"Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals," Koh wrote in reply. "You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger."

He said the U.S government would not deal with WikiLeaks at all in determining what may or may not released.

"We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. government classified materials," wrote Koh, who is considered to be one of the world's top experts in international law and was reportedly considered for a seat on the Supreme Court.

WikiLeaks is expected to post the documents online on Sunday and Koh said the U.S. government had been told that The New York Times, the British newspaper the Guardian and the German news magazine Der Spiegel had prior access to them.

The release of Koh's letter comes as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top U.S. officials are reaching out to numerous countries about the expected WikiLeaks release.

Clinton spoke to leaders in China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France and Afghanistan on Friday, according to State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. Canada, Denmark, Norway and Poland have also been warned.

The cables are thought to include candid assessments of foreign leaders and governments and could erode trust in the U.S. as a diplomatic partner.

The White House has released a statement on this issue.

The text of the White House press secretary's statement on the WikiLeaks release:

We anticipate the release of what are claimed to be several hundred thousand classified State Department cables on Sunday night that detail private diplomatic discussions with foreign governments.

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 US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.

To be clear - 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. These documents also may include named individuals who in many cases live and work under oppressive regimes and who are trying to create more open and free societies.

President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal. By releasing stolen and classified documents, Wikileaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.

Via Wikileaks, we see the introduction that prefaces the release of these documents.

Wikileaks began on Sunday November 28th publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into US Government foreign activities.

The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February this year, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret.

The embassy cables will be released in stages over the next few months. The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice.

The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in "client states"; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

Every American schoolchild is taught that George Washington – the country’s first President – could not tell a lie. If the administrations of his successors lived up to the same principle, today’s document flood would be a mere embarrassment. Instead, the US Government has been warning governments -- even the most corrupt -- around the world about the coming leaks and is bracing itself for the exposures.

The full set consists of 251,287 documents, comprising 261,276,536 words (seven times the size of "The Iraq War Logs", the world's previously largest classified information release).

The cables cover from 28th December 1966 to 28th February 2010 and originate from 274 embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions.

Links to the first wave of reports from The Guardian can be found on one page, titled "The US Embassy Cables."

Headlines there include, so far;

"Editor's note: publishing the cables", "Siprnet: America's secret network", "Saudi Arabia urges US attack on Iran", "'Different world' fear over nuclear Iran", "Arab states scorn 'evil' Iran", "Briton teaches US how to talk to Iran."

Spiegel Online has also published their first wave, which includes, "A Superpower's View of the World", "Foreign Policy Meltdown: Leaked Cables Reveal True US Worldview", "The Germany Dispatches: Internal Source Kept US Informed of Merkel Coalition Negotiations", "Orders from Clinton: US Diplomats Told to Spy on Other Countries at United Nations", "Tribune of Anatolia': Diplomatic Cables Reveal US Doubts about Turkey's Government", "WikiLeaks FAQ: What Do the Diplomatic Cables Really Tell Us?".

New York Times, another one of the major five publications that had prior access to the illegally leaked documents, headlines with "Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels."

New York Times also provides a note to readers, "The Decision to Publish Diplomatic Documents".

There is a firestorm of headlines appearing before I can finish reading the one before, over at Memeorandum, so check them all out.

This is one time I have to agree with the Obama administration, publishing these cables was reckless and showed no regard for human life, nor intelligence gathering capabilities for any country to combat terrorism.

When you jeopardize the very lives of people that put those lives on the line to protect you, whatever country you are in, it is not for the good of the public or the public's right to know, it is selfish grandstanding and it has endangered each and every one of us, in America and all around the globe.

None of this information will destroy the US or any other country, but with tensions high around the world, economically and with wars being waged, nuclear standoffs and sanctions, chaos in the Middle East, and everything else going on in today's world, it simply wasn't something we needed to add to the list.


Hot Air has a linkfest of reading on this as well.

Update: One of the questions before the leak was whether there’d be any real news here or whether, like the war leaks, it’d fall into the “confirmation of stuff most people suspected anyway” category. Here’s an example of real news and an illustration of my point about how the leak will make war more, not less, likely. Given the fragility of the situation in North Korea, is now the moment to make bombshell public accusations against them?


Other cables reveal King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urging the U.S. to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, which does fall into the “stuff everyone suspected” category but isn’t going to help Sunni/Shiite relations, especially if things come to a head in Lebanon over the findings of the Hariri tribunal. Among others urging action: Jordan, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi.

Power Line makes a good point here about the law:

Manning should never see the outside of a federal penitentiary, but how about Wikileaks and the newspapers that have published the diplomatic cables? From a quick look, it appears to me that the criminal statute most likely to apply is 18 U.S.C. Sec. 793(e), which provides:

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it...Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Do the diplomatic cables "relate to the national defense"? Some of them certainly seem to. So a criminal prosecution of those involved in the leaks who are within federal jurisdiction (e.g., the New York Times) may be possible.

Moe Lane at RedState:

And I will also note that, while I will happily ding President Obama for both his wrong actions and for not living up to his own side’s previously-established standards of behavior, this line of attack by Wikileaks is made up of pure garbage designed to weaken both my country and my government. The President needs his ambassadors to know what he wants; they need to be able to tell him what he can get. So it’s stupid to not be blunt and forthright in private about matters that require a softer public touch. It’s even more stupid for Wikileaks to keep publicly attacking the USA like this.

Because when the backlash comes, it’s going to splatter.

The Agonist:

Two questions and then I'll leave you to your handwringing about how all secrets should come out. That if you don't have anything to hide, blah, blah blah.

Do you support closing GITMO? Well, Wikileaks has screwed that up:

Bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees, cables from diplomats recounted. The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”

And how about the goal of keeping fissile material out of rogue hands? Well, Wikileaks screwed that up too:

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. In May 2009, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, “if the local media got word of the fuel removal, ‘they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,’ he argued.”

It's fine and well to sit on your high horse and talk *tsk* *tsk* about bribery and ethics and morals but the disclosure of these cables will harm your interests. Let me put it this way: do you want to see the US invade Yemen? How can the disclosure of President Saleh of Yemen lying to his own people (and laughing about it) do us any good? How will it do the cause of peace any good at all when it will more than likely destabilize Yemen further and subsequently add momentum to the "do something crowd" in the Beltway? Do you think a Yemen post-Saleh will be less inclined to radical Islam? Do you honestly think these disclosures are going to stop that? This is just one example.

Crooks and Liars quotes politicians, from both sides of the aisle:

"Leaking the material is deplorable," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News' Chris Wallace Sunday. "I agree with the Pentagon's assessment that the people at WikiLeaks could have blood on their hands."

"I don't know what the cables may say but it's just a -- we're at war. I mean the world is getting dangerous by the day and the people who do this are really low on the food chain as far as I'm concerned. If you can prosecute them, let's try."

Sen. Clair McCaskill (D-MO) agreed. "Lindsey's right," she said. "The people who are leaking these documents need to a gut check about their patriotism and I think they're enjoying the attention they're getting but, frankly, it's coming at a very high price in terms of protecting our men and women in uniform."

"I hope that we can figure out where this is coming from and go after them with the force of law," McCaskill said.

Defintely head over to Mere Rhetoric and read the piece titled "Wikileaks – Anti-Israel Foreign Policy Experts Got Saudi Arabia, Other Arab Countries 100% Backward On Iran Attack."

For more discussion and headlines on this latest idiocy from Wikileaks, click here and keep scrolling and clicking, scrolling and clicking.

Part #2- Examples Of Progressive Liberal Wikileak 'Fawners.

Part #3 "The Obama Administrations Utter Failure To Stop Wikileaks"

Part #4 "Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Wanted By Interpol For 'Sex Crimes'"