Wikileaks raises eyebrows yet again
Since Wednesday when media outlets reported Wikileaks‘s intention to release thousands of US State Department cabled and diplomatic documents, a fresh wave of reports on the documents slated to be published on late Sunday made headlines across the world.
1. What will the contents of the documents exactly reveal?
2. Where and how has Wikileaks obtained the papers?
3. What is the purpose of releasing the documents?
4. What currents are behind Wikileaks and what goals do they pursue?
5. Will the publication of the documents help shed light on the “concealment policy” in diplomacy?
To answer the first question, one can say the leaked information published in Western media shows that the documents will include details of US foreign relations with other countries.
The Wikileaks website possesses roughly three million documents in different forms which belong to American embassies across the globe, says a French website.
The papers made available to Wikileaks include analyses of repots on official and unofficial meetings of American authorities with officials of other countries as well as different memos.
The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, El Pais and Le Monde are to publish their primary analyses of the documents possessed by Wikileaks as of 20:30 Paris time Sunday, the same French website reported.
Between 500 to 1,000 secret papers to be released by Wikileaks directly concern France and its foreign relations, according to the same source.
Part of the documents also relates to claims of Turkey’s assistance to al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq and Washington’s backing for PKK rebels.
Holed up in border regions along the Iraqi frontier, the PKK terrorists have taken up arms against the central Turkish government. This comes as Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has flatly denied offering any support or help to the al-Qaeda terrorist group, announcing Ankara and Washington also share the same view on PKK rebels.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due in Turkey later this week for a four-day visit. In the meantime, the documents are said to be making claims of financial corruption among politicians in Russia, Afghanistan and other Central Asian nations, which will incontrovertibly bring about fresh scandals for the US government.
Some governments seem to be speculating on the consequences of this document’s release. As in its previous revelations, Wikileaks handed over the papers to certain publications and TV networks, including Al-Jazeera, Le Monde, The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian.
The confidential papers have been prepared to be used exclusively by the US governments. That is why the US State Department has already warned about the repercussions of Wikileaks revelations, announcing the publication of the papers would jeopardize the US and its allies.
The London-based Daily Mirror newspaper reported on Saturday that the publication of confidential documents concerning Britain will cause panic. The David Cameron administration has called on British media outlets not to further endanger national security by leaking secret information. British media have agreed not to publish some sensitive documents and papers regarding the UK’s military or intelligence operations, says a British official. Part of the sensitive issues which will probably be included in Wikileaks revelations concern confidential matters on the Middle East, Iran and Afghanistan.
To respond to the second question, one may come up with different theories. Some analysts believe the revelation of such secrets are because of the differences within the ruling elite in the US, and in fact is regarded as “intra-state revenge.” Analysts believe US Army intelligence expert Bradley Manning is the alleged whistleblower. He was apprehended in May 2010 after Wikileaks released a video of US air raids in Baghdad.
The footage shows an American chopper attacking and killing a number of Iraqi civilians in Iraq in 2007. Manning is currently being held in a prison near Washington. If he is found guilty of involvement in the Wikileaks revelations, he will face a heavy jail sentence.
Some hold the counterview that Wikileaks revelations have been a pre-planned measure aimed at pressuring other countries mentioned in the American documents. The view holds that the disclosure of the secrets is the price the US Democratic Party has paid to drive out Republicans, and, when it comes to foreign policy, charge rival countries with accusations that stem from the political perceptions of US officials who are now feeding these very same perceptions to the mass media and audience in the form of documents.
Even if the Obama administration is behind the leak or the Wikileaks website as it claims was able to obtain the documents using intergovernmental conflicts, the real winners will be the nations because they will become more aware of Washington’s schemes worldwide.
I wish to add that it is very unlikely that the White House may be involved in these disclosures, as they have only tainted its already bad name.
Last October, Wikileaks disclosed a considerable number of US army documents on the Iraq war. The leak, the largest leak of classified military documents in history, released up to 400,000 documents of Army field reports. The reports show that US officials did nothing to prevent the torture of prisoners by foreign forces stationed in the country.
The question posed by political pundits is why do the American army officials on the one hand dismiss the documents as unimportant and on the other hand take a strong line against the website?
The Americans wish to disregard the information given by Wikileaks in order to prevent a full blown crisis, while at the same time magnify information regarding other countries against US policies — such as Iran– for their own political gain.
One can only speculate about the main reason behind the disclosures.
Wikileaks has been founded by Australian hacker Julian Paul Assange and in 2010 was introduced to the world by utilizing anti-war movements in Europe, the United States and Canada.
For those, who believe that according to a Persian saying “a knife never cuts its own handle”, accepting that Wikileaks is an independent information center is quite difficult. The founders of the website have tried to demonstrate that they are independent from the mainstream US power structure by diversifying their disclosures.
Even for those in favor of conspiracy theories, the large amount of disclosed documents and the subsequent media feeding frenzy creates serious doubts. Above all, the publication of these documents in media outlets such as Al-Jazeera, Le Monde, The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian create an alliance between the left and the moderate rights in the minds of the world.
The truth is that the media approach nowadays has influenced and transformed traditional political equations.
When the US government declares that these disclosures have compromised national security and put some people at risk, it is not because they fear the consequences of such leaks. They fear that their diplomats in foreign countries may have to be more cautious, as operating under the media glare and in a crystal clear situation may prove to be quite difficult.
Weather independent or not, Wikileaks has a decisive influence on international relations and the overt and covert diplomacy between nations. A good diplomat does not do what he says, he rather acts based on what he does not say.
In a transparent environment, diplomats should receive new training on how to negotiate in a way that if their communications are disclosed; their national security is not endangered.
Finally, today’s media have been delegated a great deal of responsibility in comparison to the past decades, as politicians are not eager to inform people of issues they do not want to be disclosed. This is why the 21st century is considered the most difficult era for the media.