#cablegate No more secrets and lies: Why #wiileaks is right – again!

November 29, 2010

The editorial in The Guardian sums it up for me. Nasty regimes can no longer hide in a fog of secrecy and deceits.

There are things that were not widely known outside a tight circle: the true position on controversial issues of repressive regimes, for instance, or the unguarded remarks of world leaders who imagined they were in safe company. Finally, there are matters which were not known by the wider world – one example being a directive in Hillary Clinton’s name for diplomats to gather personal intelligence, including biometric information and email addresses, on the UN leadership. This was one of a number of “human intelligence directives” sent out by the state department across SIPDIS to diplomats across the world, instructing them to gather such information on a wide variety of people.

The American government — and by this I mean the machinery as well as the political wing — has routinely spied on friends and enemies alike; collaborated with monsters and undermined global confidence in its own and its allies’ right to be taken seriously when ever our leaders talk about democracy and ‘open-government’.

The material itself is fairly predictable; it is the breadth and depth — once again — that makes this latest Wikileaks document dump so important and interesting.

The drilling down will now begin and it is going to be widespread. Jounalists, bloggers and curious individuals  – not to mention the well-organised — all over the world are sifting, sorting, cataloging and analysing documents relating to their own part of the world, or area of interest.

New Zealand PM John Key is — like many other national leaders — attempting to soften the blow by admitting there will be embarrassing material in the documents. Nearly 1500 pieces of information relating to New Zealand are in the stash.

“Naturally there’s communication between Washington and Wellington so (there’s) every chance that there’ll be something released that causes a little bit of embarrassment.”

The documents would be taken out of context, Mr Key said.

Well, naturally, Teflon John would say that, but I’m sure that news outlets around New Zealand and the world are eagerly awaiting the next drops.

I think Wikileak’s strategy of releasing information through its news media partners is very clever. Importantly, it means that the Pentagon, the White House and allied foreign equivalents cannnot escape. They are answering to the news media and they are pitted against the impeccable credentials of a credible and well-organised opposition ource that can expose some dirty linen.

It puts the usually aggressive spin machines into reverse cycle.

Government agencies and political spokesmouths are on the defensive. They are forced to react instantly to the release of Wikileaks’ material. In the face of the documents and the important  contextualisation provided by the news media, spin merchants must respond with ill-prepared and petulant-sounding grabs.

A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”