Wikileaks — obvious, yet still dangerous, stuff spread by wicked people and useful idiots *UPDATED*

I haven’t had time (nor do I have the will) to pay close attention to the myriad revelations in the Wikileaks documents.  My overall sense, though, is that, fact-wise, there is nothing new here — or, at least, nothing new to those of us paying attention.  All of us at Bookworm Room have known that Saudi Arabia is terrified of a nuclear Iran, and I’ve posited for years that this fear would drive the non-nuclearized Arab nations closer to Israel.  For all their huffery and puffery, the Arabs have always known that Israel will not use the bomb unless provoked, whereas they fully understand that a nuclear Iran is a truly armed and dangerous rogue nation.

Speaking of rogue nations, we have also known that China has happily provided nuclear technology to any bad actor willing to pay for it.  Nothing new here.  Move along.  Don’t crowd the sidewalk.

The fact that the Wikileaks material is factually uninteresting, though, doesn’t change its spectacular capacity for being damaging.  Max Boot, I think, puts it as well as anyone can, in a post telling titled “Journalism that knows no shame“:

One can understand if the editors of the New York Times, Guardian, and Der Spiegel have no respect for the secrecy needed to wage war successfully — especially unpopular wars like those in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are, after all, the sorts of people who, over a few drinks, would no doubt tell you that diplomacy is far preferable to war-making. But it seems that they have no respect for the secrecy that must accompany successful diplomacy either. That, at least, is the only conclusion I can draw from their decision to once again collaborate with an accused rapist to publicize a giant batch of stolen State Department cables gathered by his disreputable organization, WikiLeaks.

I risk sounding like a stuffy, striped-pants diplomat myself if I say that the conduct of all concerned is reprehensible and beneath contempt. But that’s what it is, especially because the news value of the leaks is once again negligible. As with the previous releases of military reports, the WikiLeaks files only fill in details about what has generally already been known. Those details have the potential to cause acute embarrassment — or even end the lives of — those who have communicated with American soldiers or officials, but they do little to help the general public to understand what’s going on.

I urge you to read the whole thing.

In a way, these leaks give new meaning to Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase, “the banality of evil.”  She was talking about the horrible ordinariness of the Nazis, who clung to their middle class lives even as they engaged in unparalleled atrocities.  These leaks are a different banal evil:  even though the information released is known (Saudi fear of Iran) or stupid (e.g., Qaddafi’s blond nurse), making it mostly banal, the profound damage that results from these leaks (the deaths, the national humiliations, the destruction of necessary diplomatic ignorance) is profoundly evil.

I join with others in wondering why Assange is still alive.  I’m willing to bet, though, that now that it’s not just the Americans being humiliated, Assange’s days are numbered.

By the way, if you want more information about the leak’s contents and the security implications (worldwide) arising from the leaks, as well as links to good articles on the subject, you can’t do better than Melissa Clouthier’s post.

UPDATE:  A reminder that the newspapers aren’t utterly without morals or decency.  While they don’t want to exercise it when national security is at issue, they were happy to exercise it when climate change fraud was under legitimate attack.

UPDATE II:  Two excellent articles from Barry Rubin about Wikileaks.  As always, his optimism — allied with actual facts and sound analysis — is a useful antidote to the gloom and doom that characterizes most other writing on just about any subject.  Check out Spengler too.

UPDATE II:  Another “check it out” is Omri Ceren’s post on Israel and Iran as seen through the Wikileaks — and just how wrong the Obama administration was.  (As if that’s a big surprise.)

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  • BrianE

    One of the leaks, I read, is the Saudi request that we take out Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    All I can say is what a bunch of wimps the Arabs are.

    Seriously, I would say the world is a more dangerous place today.

    Thanks, Wikileaks.

  • Danny Lemieux

    1. Declare Assange to be a non-uniformed combatant enemy of the United States.
    2. Find a cage for Assange at Guantanamo.
    3. Declare Spiegel and the NYT to be terrorist front organizations.
    4. Freeze their assets.

  • nahab

    Isn’t it amazing that the most evil country in the world, the oppressor of all, can’t arrange an “accident” for this little creep? You know, one of those accidents that sound a little too fantastic to believe, like the guy who fell down an open elevator shaft some time ago. You know, the kind that gives warning that we will defend our interests and make people think twice, but not obvious enough to give any traction for an investigation. When you consider that the government’s number 1 job is to protect our people and our interests, and factor in the potential damage this creep has caused internationally, it’s almost immoral NOT to take care of him.
    Failing that, I think it’s time the government made it it’s business to find out EVERYTHING about Assange and everyone who works for or with him. I mean EVERYTHING from home address/phone number, medical/legal information, credit card numbers, pant size, EVERYTHING of him and everyone he knows. Once that information is gathered, it should then be published in a search-able format on the net. Not only would that let us see how “free” Assange thinks information should be when it’s his secrets being exposed – but how easy do you think it would be for him to find people to work with him if they know that their every secret will be exposed to the world?

  • Ymarsakar

    If it was the Russians, it’d be pretty fast. But since it is the Saudis, they like to work indirectly so it’ll be awhile before a fatway or what not gets crafted.
    Btw, Book, I can easily understand why you have to close you eyes when seeing the news. If this is the kind of stuff you normally read, of course you’d become negative and unbalanced.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    What is really interesting here is that an Army private in military intelligence could get access to not only classified military communications but also State Dept. communications.
    I think that the real story here is how badly managed the protection of our national security secrets have been. This reminds me of the wildly irresponsible Clinton-era declassification of information and technologies that then fell in the hands of the Chinese (super-fast computer technology, missile nose-cone technology, stealth technology, etc.) and other enemies of the U.S. Now, these technologies have been applied to massive upgrades in Chinese weapons technologies.
    I don’t know if it has been confirmed, but there are reports that the perp is a homosexual who perpetrated this massive disclosure because his gay lover broke up with him. If so, a) how did someone so unstable ever get in the Army and b) how did they ever get a Top Security Clearance? Is this a story worth examining?
    If it is found that this perp’s access to all this classified data was on account of Obama administration policies regarding political correctness (remember, this happened after the Ft. Hood murders) and the management of government secrets, we may be only be seeing the very tippy top of a very big and damaging iceberg in a collision course with history.

  • Libby

    In addition to wondering why Julian Assange is still alive (really, if spy movies teach us anything it’s that the US Black Ops can and will take out anyone it chooses), I wonder where all the outrage is from the organizations like the NYT that were so upset about Valerie Plame’s identity being leaked. Remember all of the column inches devoted to the political and moral significance of “outing” an undercover operative?
    Unfortunately, the press has been building up to this moment for so long with the drip-drip-drip of information about the US covert anti-terror activities during the Bush administration – and rewarding itself with Pulitzer prizes, etc. – that they don’t recognize it for the treason that it is.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ha! Great point, Libby! All in a lather about the supposed revelation of Valerie Plame as an intelligence operative but the first to press when it comes to revealing America’s state secrets. They really are pukes!
    You’re not related to Scooter, are you?


    You must have been reading my mind. I took a quick view of Huffpo and Kos to see if they would be raving lunatic mad (okay that’s a ridiculous thing to say). What I meant to say, what is the lunatic fringe had to say about wikileaks.
    To be honest, I had dental surgery today and between the xanex to get me there and the novacaine .. and the two Aleve, I just took – I don’t think I have the skill to read, retain, rant properly. I do believe, that JA (perfect initials don’t ya think for the jackass) has a large network of ‘spill’ workers and  well beyond PFC Manning. I think Julian is still breathing for that very reason.

  • Libby

    Thanks, Danny. And, I’m not related to Scooter – it’s just a nickname for Elizabeth,
    I had one other, not completely unrelated thought: If 3 million people had access to this supposedly secure information, and it was so easy to steal, do we have any reason to believe that the government will be able to protect our medical records from curious journalists, political operatives, or identity thieves?

  • Zhombre

    I like Danny’s idea @ #2.  Drop a Predator on Assange.  And I find the urgency of the various regimes in the ME to bombing Iran no surprise; they are Arabs and Sunni and the Iranians are Persian and Shiite; it’s strictly a matter of the power politics of the region; they can let the US and/or Israel do their dirty work and then damn both the U.S. and Israel for having done so; same reason wealthy Saudis fund AQ, to divert their dangerous and unruly internal elements to external targets (see Lee Smith’s The Dark Horse: Power, Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations).

  • Ymarsakar

    I have a better idea than a Predator drone targeted on Assange. We should just kidnap Assange, then make a jihadi look alike execution vid, cut his head off, and send the video to Al jazeera claiming that Allah wasn’t appeased by Assange’s words.

  • Ymarsakar

    This reminds me of the wildly irresponsible Clinton-era declassification of information and technologies that then fell in the hands of the Chinese (super-fast computer technology, missile nose-cone technology, stealth technology, etc.) and other enemies of the U.S. Now, these technologies have been applied to massive upgrades in Chinese weapons technologies.
    Clinton had to get a budget surplus somehow. Selling military secrets was as good as any to boost his own personal bank account.

  • Mike Devx

    Nah.  Assange should die on a highway, of causes that are somewhat unclear.  Of the collapse of some piece of machinery which, while it could happen, is unlikely.  Keep em all guessing and wondering.


    More Aleve and a four hour nap and one question: How would the headlines read if Bush was still the president?


    p.s. Thanks, Book for the link to Omri Ceren’s post, which sparks another question:
    An army of ants…
    A gaggle of geese….
    A school of fish ….
    You get the drift. Now what do we call the group of inept foreign advisers and inept president (other than a den of democrats) who made the King dizzy with dummies?

  • Danny Lemieux

    The incomparable Spengler’s “Obama is a lunatic who thinks he is Obama” is the perfect summation.
    This marks a complete and incomprehensibly dangerous collapse of U.S. foreign policy in the hands of arrogant amateurs.
    I think the Left will soon experience what the world is like with no United States. It won’t be pretty.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Then again, Obama did promise a most transparent administration.
    Little did I realize that he meant transparency to our enemies.

  • BrianE

    I read somewhere speculation some of the leaks came from the white house.
    What better way to get rid of a potential rival. It’s just preparations for the 2012 race. This Slate article sums it up:

    WikiLeaks, Hillary Clinton, and the Smoking Gun
    The leaked cables make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to continue as secretary of state.


    Danny –
    arrogant amateurs (dangerous as well).


    The self-appointed caped crusader, as I suggested post #9, is not working alone. His next crusade – the banks.

    Someone knew where he would be and was November 11th for this two-hour interview in London.

  • BrianE

    After ignoring Obama’s sternly worded letter and releasing the latest documents, the government is making noises like they’re actually going to, you know, investigate.

    Could it be to protect the sources of the state department leaks (assuming it’s someone other than Manning), or could it be this:

    “In a rare, two-hour interview conducted in London on November 11, Assange said that he’s still sitting on a trove of secret documents, about half of which relate to the private sector. And WikiLeaks’ next target will be a major American bank. “It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume,” he said, adding: “For this, there’s only one similar example. It’s like the Enron emails.””

    How much of this trove of documents that you’re sitting on is related to the private sector?
    About fifty percent.
    You’ve been focused on the U.S. military mostly in the last year. Does that mean you have private sector-focused leaks in the works?
    Yes. If you think about it, we have a publishing pipeline that’s increasing linearly, and an exponential number of leaks, so we’re in a position where we have to prioritize our resources so that the biggest impact stuff gets released first.
    So do you have very high impact corporate stuff to release then?
    Yes, but maybe not as high impact…I mean, it could take down a bank or two.

  • BrianE

    Can’t stay ahead of Sadie.


    Can’t stay ahead of Sadie.
    Shhh…don’t tell anyone, but you could if you were running ;
    I am waiting for someone, some agency, somewhere to access his bank records, emails, credit card receipts. It’s not like he’s living in a cave villa in Tora Bora. The fact that it has not been done, after the first dump, is just as questionable as his actions.

  • suek

    >>The fact that it has not been done, after the first dump, is just as questionable as his actions.>>
    Hmmm.  Maybe.  Or maybe it’s just a matter of following him to ascertain all his contacts before bumping him off?  Because _someone_  _is_ going to bump him off – I’d just bet.  Not sure who…but _someone_.  But you need to find out where all the friendly places that offer him a place to go are if you want to eventually shut him down.
    Ecuador has apparently offered him asylum.  “Come into my parlor…”?  Ecuador??? why Ecuador?  why asylum?  Odd.


    maybe it’s just a matter of following him to ascertain all his contacts
    WikiLeaks founders when they started to talk about the need to raise $5 million, they said the only ones that had this kind of money that could do what they were looking to do was the CIA or George Soros. And they complained that the original the initial round of publicity had, quote, affected our delicate negotiations with the Open Society Institute.
    Rest of interview here:

  • Ymarsakar

    So Soros can now claim a few more scalps under his belt. Superficially he can always claim he was ignorant of all the people that were killed by death squads once their names were released by Soros’ dog, Assand.
    This is how the Left works. Try compromising with that.

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