Carlos Mendoza

“Traitors of the U.S.”? “C.I.A. agents”?

Some thoughts about Wikileaks 

By December, 2010, an internet site known as Wikileaks had made headlines and was under attack by the U.S. government and many commentators in the mainstream media because it had published video film material recorded in Iraq and a large number of cables sent by the U.S. secretary of State as well as by U.S. diplomats abroad. The material published was of considerable public interest. Why? Because, taken as a whole and in context, it provided evidence of U.S. war crimes as well as U.S. clandestine “fact gathering” or espionage that didn’t even shy away from recruiting informers among the personnel of allied governments. 

The fact that the internet site of Wikileaks was shut down in the U.S. and  the other, rather revealing fact that its ability to rely on donations transferred via PayPal was obstructed are undisputed. What mainstream commentators, by and large if not across the board, chose to be silent about is that obviously either undue and unconstitutional pressure was exerted, in order to attain reactions, by the two companies or corporations in question, that ran contrary to their main goal, i.e. to do business and make a profit. Or such undue pressure wasn’t even necessary because these U.S. corporations knew what they were expected to do, without being explicitly told: and if that’s the case, this should be cause to even greater concern because it implies to what scandalous degree patterns of behavior worthy of an extremely authoritarian if not dictatorial regime have been internalized.

As to the role of Wikileak, several hypotheses have been offered. It is too early to form a conclusive opinion. One hypothesis floated very early on was that Wikileaks is, in reality, a mouthpiece of the C.I.A. destined to further U.S. psy-war efforts.

In view of the outrage displayed by U.S. authorities after the publication of the Iraq videos and the cables, and given that Mr. Assange, and even more Mr. Manning (who has been remanded in custody because he is regarded as the likely leak of the videos) are in serious trouble, we should be careful not to indulge in such speculation easily. 

Daniel Ellsberg, who showed great courage in the 1970s, at a time when it was so obviously necessary to publish the secret documents known as the Pentagon papers, has compared the publication of the leaked cables by Wikileaks with the publication of the papers he exposed to the U.S. public. In the context of the Vietnam war, the government had lied and deceived the public. The Gulf of Tonking incident, for instance, had never happened. This alleged North Vietnamese attack, in international waters, on a U.S. warship nevertheless had served as a expedient pretext for carrying the war to North Vietnam, which the U.S. government intended to “bomb back to the stone age.” Both Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky agree that, in spite of (and also, one may assume, because) of their often trivial and even ridiculously naïve character, the questions posed by the secretary of state and the “facts” supplied by informers linked to U.S. diplomatic personnel overseas and transmitted by the latter to superiors in Washington reveal a lot about U.S. diplomacy and the underlying motivations. They enable the American public and concerned citizens in much of today’s world  to know something they have every right and in fact, a duty to know.

As for the videos recorded in Iraq, the matter is quite clear. They should oblige U.S. courts immediately to take action against the perpetrators of these war crimes and against those superiors who are, it seems, guilty of aiding and abetting such acts, and who have been concerned above all to cover up the truth. This includes high-ranking military personnel, but the buck stops ultimately in the White House. If U.S. courts fail to open proceedings, the tapes should be given immediately to the International Court in The Hague, which will be required by its statutes to remand Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. George W. Bush Junior, and others in custody for further questioning. A legally justified, but very theoretical assumption, given the readiness of the U.S. superpower to break the law. The most recent war on Iraq, as such, was not only justified by lies, as even Mr. Blair candidly admitted post festum (along the tune of – yes, we knew, there were no weapons of mass destruction, but it was a good thing to destroy that regime anyway). It was described both by the secretary general of the United Nations, at the time, and by a number of members of the European Parliament, as “an illegal war.”  It is a  fact the mainstream press and many politicians prefer to forget. But it is good to compare the indifference of law-breakers in top government positions when it’s merely an illegal war leading to a few hundred thousand direct and indirect casualties with their outrage when “publication of military secrets” (in the case of the videos) and “data theft” is alleged to have been committed: Incidentally, acts that, in one case, PROVE WAR CRIMES carried out in the aftermath of the illegal war and condoned as well as camouflaged by those who started the illegal war. In the other case, an often unethical, hegemonial, arm-twisting foreign policy that does not shy away from illegal acts has been exposed.

So it is indeed strange that the present U.S. administration IS CRYING FOUL AND POINTING ITS FINGERS AT WIKILEAKS when it has, up to now, studiously refrained from having the department of justice start proceedings against  a number of high-ranking defendants – among them the former president, who was embraced so cordially by Mr. Obama when the one moved out of the White House and the other moved in, keeping in office the former president’s secretary of illegal war.

It is also strange that U.S. politicians and commentators in the mainstream media closely linked to the political establishment should clamour about “betrayal,” or “treason” committed by Mr. Assange of Wikileaks when the latter isn’t even a U.S. citizen and thus unable to “betray” the U.S. because the United States aren’t even his country. Or is Australia now a U.S. colony or dependency, perhaps a 52nd state? I always assumed that this honor belonged to such countries as South Korea, Taiwan, or Panama.

Still, the rumors that Wikileak might be some instrument in a psy-war effort are perhaps not entirely unfounded. It is necessary to assess the cables, one by one, in order to form an rational opinion about the function of a given document and why it may have been leaked, by whoever leaked documents to Wikileak. If the person leaking the Iraq videos was undoubtedly a whisteblower, that is to say, an honorable person honoring the demands of his conscience and also, objectively,  fulfilling his duty as defined during the Nuremberg trials, obviously this person can hardly be expected to have been the only source of material from the U.S. that was published by Wikileaks.

The question that we must pose is, Were certain U.S. cables handed to Wikileaks on purpose by government personnel posing as whistleblowers?

Three examples may suffice to outline why such a suspicion is justified:

In the case of a cable seemingly concerned with top government officials in Bolivia, the intention to create distrust among Bolivian leaders can be surmised. Is it the old “divide and rule” scheme that has prompted U.S. diplomats to “leak” SUCH A DOCUMENT among other, obviously genuine but irrelevant documents?
In other words, is “leaking” the document (so it may be published by Wikileaks) part of a psy-war effort targeting a government and a largely indigenous movement that are seen, in the U.S. and by their allies in Bolivia, the old, oligarchic strata,  as dangerous and as “anti-free enterprise”? And above all, as hostile to foreign and especially U.S. economic (thus, corporate) AND geopolitical interests? Reading the cable, the thought is indeed inescapable that this may be a purposeful attack on the popular government. In other words, an attempt to sow distrust among its members and and thus to confuse and weaken the government of the miners, peasants, craftsmen, of people in the so-called informal sector and also the industrial  workers. The spokesmen of a populace, in other words, which in its overwhelming majority has embraced the goal of  self-emancipation and of either gradual or rapid and immediate liberation of Bolivia’s economy from foreign exploitation and from bitter, poverty producing dependence. 

In the case of cables relating to German government officials, two persons, the German head of government, Ms. Merkel and the secretary of State, are described in hardly flattering terms as singularly inept. Clearly it was exceedingly damaging when these cables were made public because it happened at a times when their respective political parties, coalition partners in Berlin, were already losing voter support.

Why should we assume, however, that the present U.S. administration, a presumed ally of Germany’s “elites, ” intended to undermine the position of both the German chancellor and the German secretary of state by “leaking” such cables to Wikileak?
It is possibly to suggest an answer: Ms. Merkel had just snubbed Mr. Obama at the G-20 meeting in Seoul when the latter demanded that Germany reduce its exports to a predetermined percentage of GNP and Ms. Merkel flatly refused. No U.S. administration, no U.S. president and certainly not Mr. Obama, is amused when an underling (ally or not) refuses to turn a cold shoulder to U.S. orders thinly disguised as a proposal or request. 

As for the German secretary of state, he has shown similar single-mindedness when balking at the request to step up German military involvement in the war waged for dubious (or not so dubious but rather selfish geo-political and economic) reasons in Afghanistan, against the poor Afghani people. In addition, he offended a much closer U.S. ally than Germany will ever be:  Israel. During a recent visit to Israel, he was the first high-ranking European politician stubborn enough to coerce the Israeli government not to block his visit of war-devastated and destructively blockaded Gaza. Not even the British lady who poses as foreign secretary of the European Union had succeeded to press the Israeli government hard enough to let her visit Gaza. They flatly refused. It is clear that, no matter what hardly deniable shortcomings the present German secretary of state may have revealed during his political career, it doesn’t come off well in the Obama administration if an “ally” proves to be a noughty underling. So a tit for tat is not unlikely.

The third case that occasions grave doubts as to the authentic leak quality of certain material published by Wikileaks concerns quite a few of those cables referring, in one way or another, to Iran. Discussing Iran clearly should not be influenced by our stance with regard to non-secular republics. Whether or not we sympathize with considerable (if not overwhelming) influence of Iranian clerics in Iranian politics, we should certainly remember that the U.S. “Christian” right wields a lot of influence in American politics, whereas the Vatican is also represented, even though less obviously and, well, in a more indirect way, by Christian Democratic parties in Europe, though admittedly it is seeing its influence decline, even in Poland, Italy and Spain. But, as I said, the extent “religion” and religious “leaders” are allowed to influence politics is something for the respective population to decide. The campaign of diverse U.S. administrations and Western mainstream media against Iran has very much to do with the fact that the U.S. lost a trusted underling when the Shah regime, which was resorting to more and more brutal repression in the 1960s and 1970s, was finally toppled. Not only had the U.S. government, in league with the British, toppled the democratic government of Mr. Mossadegh soon after WWII when the latter violated British and American economic interests by nationalizing the oil industry. Since their dictatorial quisling, the Shah, was ousted, they have ommitted no chance to hurt the new republican government and seriously wound the Iranian economy. A U.S. government instigated a dictatorial Middle East “buddy,” dear Mr. Rumsfeld’s cherished friend Saddam Hussein, to start war against the Iranian republic. And, as true Macchiavellians, the American political elite and Western, above all American and German corporations, saw to it that antrax and chemical weapons were supplied to their Iraqi “friends” while they did not miss the chance to sell large quantities of modern weapons to the Iranian republic, as well. It was as if they rejoiced to see two countried bleed to death. Of course, both their Iraqi “friends” and their Iranian republican foes were seen with suspicion and suspected of becoming potential regional powers. And, as such, of course, in the long run forces opposed to the West’s neo-colonialist presence in the region. Enough of a reason to engage in games that sacrificed several hundred thousand lives. This brief reminder how the Iraninans fared at the hand of the U.S. should be ample reason to take their security concerns serious. No person in his right mind is happy about nuclear weapons, regardless of whether they are possessed by the U.S., Russia, China, or a few other, minor military powers including Israel. But let’s put this straight: should the Iranian republic really acquire nuclear weapons, it could only employ them if the country or its leadership was prepared to commit suicide as a nation. Their only likely use, if they possessed such weapons, would be as a deterrent. And, as pointed out, historical evidence lets any seasoned observer conclude that a quest to possess such a deterrent is rather understandable.  They have been and still are targets of aggressive U.S. policies. U.S. warships operate in what is called the Persian Gulf and on other maps, the Arabian Gulf. U.S. marines engage in exercises, at the shore of the Emirates. U.S. landing crafts were seen,  and U.S. troops are practicing how to go ashore. But where if not in Iran? Open and veiled threats of war abound. It is understandable that the Iranian government sees certain among the released cables as part of a stepped-up U.S. psy-war operation. Which may be a rational assessment.

If we assume, as we must, that Mr. Assange and the other activists who keep alive Wikileaks are decent and committed and, above all, concerned citizens, we must deduce that in addition to publishing authentic material that reveals the criminal and at the same time, often unspeakably naïve and characteristically mediocre rather than intellectually impressive character of top U.S. political personnel, the platform also happened to publish material that, regardless of its authenticity, harms nations and governments that the so-called U.S. elites intend to harm.

The quest for objectivity and the ethos of investigative journalism, coupled with the commitment to provide a public channel to whistleblowers, are undoubtedly deserving praise. But naïve and in certain ways, politically neutral as the Wikileaks people are, their practice of publishing everything without assessing its function requires us, the readers, to think. Independently. Reading what is published, as critical and awake contemporaries who know what we stand for. But that’s what we need to do anyway, whether it concerns Wikileaks or not. 





Occupy Wall Street!/OccupyYoutube

We Are Change

Chomskyon decentralized solidarity movements

Noam Chomskyon Occupy Wall Street protests 

Z Communications  AND Z mag

M.Albert/Wilpert, "The State 
of the U.S. Left", in: Z Communications (backup copy)

Michael Albert,
Occupy Wall Street Entreaty &
Spanish Anarchists Interview 
(Z Communications, Sept.2011)
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Left Forum

Local to

Nathan Schneider, "From Occupy 
Wall Street to Occupy Everywhere"
(The Nation, Oct. 31, 2011)


Deutschsprachige Web-Seiten

K21 (Stuttgart)

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"people of the world, rise up"
Aufruf von K21 zur Demo am 15.Okt.
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Attac Deutschland

attac Aufruf zur Demo am 15.Okt.2011

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Democracy real YA!

Manifesto of Democracia real YA!

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Athens (Greece) indymedia

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Mavroulis Argyros on the general strike 
(in:, Oct.20, 2011)

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Students in Chile are protesting 
(xinhua net, Oct.20, 2011)

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Al Ahram Weekly

Galal Nassar, "The Arab Spring and the crisis of the elite" 

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Mohamed Azouz, Egypt govt mulls 
raising workers' incentives in bid to thwart labor strikes 

Ahmad Fouad Najem, "Forbidden"

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The Nation

Kucinich, Speech before U.S. Congress, March 31, 2011
(The Nation; April 4, 2011)

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Tom Hayden, "The Defunding 
of the Peace Movement" 

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disarm now

"Former US Attorney General Testifies for Plowshares Activists"

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Justice with Peace
(United for Justice with Peace Coalition)


Support Julian Assange

Forum Social Mundial
Retos anticapitalistas

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