A Skeptic’s View: Why Wiki Leaks Embarrass Pakistan And Not Israel
Where Are Rest Of Wikileaks Cables? | Why They Are Being Censored? | Why No Scandal Yet Involving American Allies? | Wiki Leaks More Questions than Answers.
Wikileaks does not make the material it receives available directly to the public. They are first censored by New York Times and several other prominent newspapers. Only 623 documents out of alleged 250,000 have appeared in public. The public needs to ask: Where are the remaining documents? Why the censorship? And why the selective release, assailing Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia and others and largely leaving out US allies? If newspapers will release censored cables, Mr. Assange should take up a job at NYT.
PAUL WOLF | Friday | 2 December 2010
WASHINGTON, DC—For the last four days, newspaper headlines around the globe have covered a cornucopia of diplomatic scandals, resulting from the “leaking” of some 250,000 cables of the US State Department to the New York Times and several other newspapers. In case there is anyone left on the planet who hasn’t heard of this, the cables were leaked to the media by “wikileaks,” a mysterious non-governmental organization which purports to publish classified documents while guaranteeing anonymity to the providers.
The scandals covered a variety of topics of interest to the American public and government, from China’s interest in the re-unification of Korea, to Iran’s purchase of missiles from North Korea, to Pakistani General Kayani wondering whether the US would support him in a military coup. (1) Oddly enough, there are no scandals of any significance involving Israel or any other American ally.
The reason for this appears to lie in the editorial process of the world’s newspapers ‘of record.’
Despite public perceptions, Wikileaks does not make the material it receives available directly to the public. It sends the documents to newspapers, which decide what news is fit to print. As of this writing, Dec 2, 2010, four days after the New York Times and other newspapers began publishing scores of articles; Wikileaks has only posted 623 of the 250,000 documents they claim to have released to their website. (2) Neither the New York Times, the Guardian or the other newspapers apparently in possession of these materials have published them either.
Worse, these 623 ‘leaks’ were apparently cleared by the State Department itself. According to noted American civil rights attorney Michael Ratner, “In the recent disclosure, Wikileaks has only posted cables that were reviewed by the news organisations and in some cases redacted. The news organisations showed them to the Pentagon and agreed to some of the government’s suggested redactions.” (3)
Wikileaks’ reluctance to post the materials to the internet probably results from a combination of factors. First and foremost, they have been threatened with prosecution in the US – although this author believes that is no more than a bluff – and accused of having “blood on their hands” already, despite the fact that even after several months, they haven’t yet released the scandalous “Afghan war logs” documents which, among other things, accused the Pakistani ISI of running a suicide bomber network in Kabul, and former DG ISI Hamid Gul of being the ISI’s liaison to the Taliban.
(4) Pakistan is left with no way to defend against these accusations, since it does not even know the nature of the sources, although Afghan intelligence (led by Amrullah Saleh) is suspected. And apparently, Wikileaks’ priority is to put more materials into the hands of the NY Times, rather than putting them on the internet.
It’s not a matter of resources. There are dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of people who would gladly volunteer to post this material to their websites. One of them is John Young, who really is what Mr. Assange, spokesman for Wikileaks, pretends to be. For the past 14 years, Young has posted the most remarkable materials to his site, including personal information and photographs of the homes of CIA officials. (5) Young joined Wikileaks when it formed, but in January of 2007, left the organization, claiming it was a CIA front. While this author does not join him in making that accusation, it is noteworthy that the person who has actually done what Wikileaks claims to do, not only thinks Wikileaks is fake, but is a disinformation campaign.
Julian Assange will likely be arrested on rape charges any day now, for incidents that allegedly occurred on a speaking tour he did in Sweden. Assange claims that the women are part of a Pentagon “dirty tricks campaign” to discredit him. There are continual media reports that he is living a kind of underground fugitive existence. And now reports that the Wikileaks website is being hacked to the point that the mundane Afghanistan documents they did post online are no longer there. This is all an overreaction to what Wikileaks has actually done, which is act as an intermediary between persons unknown in the government, and the ever-compliant news media. The Wikileaks paranoia comes across as self-serving and insincere.
The solution to all this, of course, is quite simple. Wikileaks should hand over the goods to someone who will actually post them to the internet. Then we would at least have a fair process wherein people of different political ideologies could put whatever spins they wanted on them. Failing that, Assange should just take a job at the New York Times and stop being such a poser.
Mr. Wolf is a human rights attorney based in Washington DC. Description of his work as an anti-war lawyer is available on his website, www.paulwolf.org.