Today was the day the U.S. government (rightly) feared as the first batch of over 250,000 diplomatic cables was released and the four major news outlets (and apparently the Atlantic got it’s hands on some of the goods early…) around the world that had a chance to preview the cables were allowed to publish their findings of Cablegate.
New York Times
Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels
(First day of the series.)
The US Diplomatic Leaks: A Superpower’s View of the World
(Full piece to be released in print and to subscribers Monday, with English excerpts also available.)
US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis
Wikileaks : Dans les coulisses de la diplomatie américaine
(No, I still don’t speak French.)
The other night I sat in a movie theater here in Paris and watched Fair Game. I was familiar with the story of Valerie Plame and her husband Joe C. Wilson 4th, but seeing it acted out was pretty bad. Not the acting, but the reality of it all. I sat there watching it in, of all places, France. The only heavyweight to stand up to the Americans and not back the war, the only ones to not kowtow to the mighty U.S. government, the only ones not to get swept up in the propaganda, not only the (wrong) target of much (misplaced) American ire, the but of countless American jokes, the ones to find themselves as one of the “them” in the whole “you are either with us or against us” nonsense. A country so hated that people in America felt it became their patriotic duty to no longer refer to fried potatoe sticks as “french” fries but to rechristen them “freedom fries.” And I sat in the theater thinking that not only the French, but the entire world had justification to hate, despise or look down on us. Not for our freedom but our fucking ignorance. I wanted to apologize to each person on the way out of the theater. I was literally sick to my stomach.
And I can’t help but think that the stuff that shows up on Wikilieaks isn’t anything more than an understandably justifiable as a result of our ego and arrogance. The high and mighty and “we can do no wrong and even if we do we have a bigger and better military and deeper pockets to get ourselves out of anything we might get ourselves into, save for a little bad PR kind of mess” attitude may of gotten us here. No one painted the target on our backs. We did. The idea that we could fly in the face of international treaties and laws, and then have the balls to be incensed when our skirt is pulled up is crazy to me.
Some of the information is going to look bad. And some of it probably is. The reality is that some of the uncovered doings are probably business as usual and is the same stuff that all or most countries engage in. But they haven’t invited worldwide hatred, distrust or scrutiny, so they don’t have to deal with the mess the United States is about to find itself in. I’s a tad ironic that the same government that feels they don’t need a reason to read my emails without a court order because why should I care if I have nothing to hide, feels differently when it comes to their own correspondence. My sponsor recently told me, “if you don’t want people to talk shit about you, don’t give them anything to talk shit about.” I do understand that running a country is slightly different than my at times unmanageable life, but there is probably a reason that no one is talking about all the clandestine activities, espionage, and black sites Canada is up to. They probably aren’t up to too many.
The last major Wikileaks release, the Iraq WarLogs, seemed like it received a fraction of the attention it should of. Maybe we are weathered and worn to the idea of us treating “those people over there” badly. No shocker. And while clearly the government counts on people’s short attention span to be able to weather PR nightmares, you get a sense that this one has Washington a little more scared than usual. Apparently Mrs. Clinton has been working the phones relentlessly with countries around the globe to prepare them. Can you imagine having to make that call? Ouch. Part of the government spin to try and regain control of this is to say it puts people’s lives at risk. Yet when pressed, several government officials were forced to concede they could not name one person who had died as a result of the last leak.
But here, to find out what we are doing and saying and spying on with our friends? Ouch. To cut through the media propaganda about what the government wants us to worry about and see what they are really worried about? In their own words? Ouch. It’s as if someone is getting rid of the smoke and taking down the mirrors they had so craftily constructed. I am just starting to read the articles and contents, and it just doesn’t look good. No matter how you try and slice or justify it. Anyone else doing any reading on this? Thoughts?
NYT’s The Lede is doing Updates on the Reaction to U.S. Diplomatic Cables Released by Wikileaks in real time, which is a pretty good worldwide monitoring of press and government responses to the leak.
It will be interesting to see the rest of the fallout from this. I can’t help but believe this is just more fallout from what the Bush administration set in motion post 9/11. It is going to take the world, generations to clean up the fallout and there’s a chance that we may never recover from it all.
The United States is a young country and clearly does not know or care about world history and a fact about empires. That all come crashing down at some point. It is naive to think we can’t, won’t or it isn’t happening right now in front of our eyes.