Wikileaks creates diplomatic crisis

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  • #1
BobG
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US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis

Looking at the stories coming out as a result of the Wikileaks, I tend to wonder whether this is a good thing or bad thing. So much of the frank talk of diplomacy happens out sight that having that talk exposed hinders the real work being done. On the other hand, wouldn't it be better for N Korea and Iran to know how the world feels about them?

To be honest, I think they already know. I think the Wikileaks make the official press releases by various governments just a little harder to believe.

Regardless, it certainly is an interesting inside look at world diplomacy.

I think Clinton will have to resign as Secretary of State. I think a few other diplomats in other nations will have to resign. It won't have anything to do with the job they did, since those types of frank discussions have to take place. Some people will have to resign so everybody can save face and resume doing what they were doing before the cables were made public.

Supposedly, Russia's diplomatic communications will be the next nation to have it's diplomatic discussions spilled out into the public domain. That ought to be interesting. Not only do I wonder if Wikileaks will survive, I wonder if Assange will survive. I wonder if there's any government officials in the world that would mourn him if he doesn't.
 

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  • #2
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There is no crisis, it's just a PR embarrassment. There is zero conversation about Secretary Clinton resigning, nor is it likely that any US diplomat will resign as a result of a cable they authored being leaked. Most of the cables aren't attributed to a single author anyways due to the nature of the cabling system.

In the larger picture, why would they resign anyways? They haven't done anything wrong.
 
  • #3
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They've known about this "release date" for a while - apparently there is more. I'm not sure if this story includes the 250,000 pages already released or not?
http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1934361/wikileaks_mum_on_release_date_of_documents/

"The US Pentagon said last week it was going through Iraq war documents trying to prepare for the potential fallout from the expected release of 400,000 secret military files by WikiLeaks.

However, WikiLeaks spokesman, Kristinn Hrafnsson, said later that the website would not release the documents on the Iraq war on Monday, but would publish them “very soon.” "


Behind the scenes gossip and personal opinion is one thing - let's hope the personal safety of even a single person is not at risk.
 
  • #4
Hepth
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Thats old news WhoWee. Correct me if I'm wrong but that article is about the Iraq War Logs that WERE release in October.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War_Logs" [Broken]
 
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  • #5
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Thats old news WhoWee. Correct me if I'm wrong but that article is about the Iraq War Logs that WERE release in October.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War_Logs" [Broken]
400,000 pages? I read something earlier about 10 to 15,000 new pages?
You're probably correct, I haven't been following that closely.

The whole thing sounds surreal. It makes you wonder what really happened when traffic was routed through China recently.
 
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  • #6
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400,000 pages? I read something earlier about 10 to 15,000 new pages?
You're probably correct, I haven't been following that closely.

The whole thing sounds surreal. It makes you wonder what really happened when traffic was routed through China recently.
It would be pretty bizarre if China re-routed .mil and .gov traffic for the purposes of releasing information like this

Also, there have been sources identified for at least large portions of the total leaks, for example

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20012999-281.html

Bradley Manning was charged last month with leaking sensitive information and illegally obtaining "more than 150,000 diplomatic cables" from the State Department. A Web site, bradleymanning.org, has been set up in his defense, and Wikileaks has helped to raise funds for his defense.
 
  • #7
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US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis

...

Supposedly, Russia's diplomatic communications will be the next nation to have it's diplomatic discussions spilled out into the public domain. That ought to be interesting. Not only do I wonder if Wikileaks will survive, I wonder if Assange will survive. I wonder if there's any government officials in the world that would mourn him if he doesn't.
I had bit higher or maybe different expectations from these high profile diplomats or people who were writing these cables; using words like alpha-dog, "spoke cockily" is bit unprofessional.
 
  • #8
russ_watters
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There is no crisis, it's just a PR embarrassment.
It isn't even much of that for the US. Governments around the world are announcing support for the US and/or condemnation for Wikileaks. It seems they overplayed their hand.
France Monday became the latest country to criticise the release of secret US diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks site, calling it an ‘an attack on state sovereignty’.

Government spokesman Francois Baroin said, however, that US-French relations would not be affected by the disclosures.
http://www.indiatalkies.com/2010/11/france-condemns-wikileaks-publication.html [Broken]

If anything, it validates many of the concerns the US has for "rogue" states and affirms we are responsibly acting as the world leader we are. Case-in-point, Iran:
The documents show that Iran is not a threat simply because the U.S. says it is, Gibbs said -- "It is obvious that countries throughout the world, countries in North America, countries in Europe, countries in the Middle East, all understand the threat that a nuclear Iran poses."

"Again," Gibbs added, "not because we said it was a threat, but because they recognize, either for regional stability or overall global stability, that dealing with their pursuit of a nuclear weapons program is of grave concern not just to us, but also to them."

That also means the United States is essential to dealing with Iran and other international challenges, Gibbs said.
http://content.usatoday.com/communi...nt-damage-us-foreign-policy----look-at-iran/1
 
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  • #9
CRGreathouse
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I had bit higher or maybe different expectations from these high profile diplomats or people who were writing these cables; using words like alpha-dog, "spoke cockily" is bit unprofessional.
I think they feel fairly free to speak their mind when writing Secret diplomatic cables.
 
  • #10
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It isn't even much of that for the US. Governments around the world are announcing support for the US and/or condemnation for Wikileaks. It seems they overplayed their hand.
http://www.indiatalkies.com/2010/11/france-condemns-wikileaks-publication.html [Broken]

If anything, it validates many of the concerns the US has for "rogue" states and affirms we are responsibly acting as the world leader we are. Case-in-point, Iran: http://content.usatoday.com/communi...nt-damage-us-foreign-policy----look-at-iran/1
Currently, seems like only Ecuador and Venezuela bought Wikileaks stuff. Ecuador is willing to provide unconditional citizenship to the Wikileaks founder while Hugo Chavez is asking Hilary Clinton to resign.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11874911
Ecuador offers Wikileaks founder Assange residency

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez praised Wikileaks and called on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resign following the latest Wikileaks revelations.
 
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  • #11
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I think they feel fairly free to speak their mind when writing Secret diplomatic cables.
But these documents are expected to be used by different American government officials?
 
  • #12
CRGreathouse
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But these documents are expected to be used by different American government officials?
Sure. And since they're private (not now, as it turns out of course) they can feel free to speak their mind.

I imagine that most of the messages remain fairly formal and only the few exceptional ones have been mentioned in this regard.
 
  • #13
Borek
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Content of these messages shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Otto von Bismarck is often credited with saying "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." (doesn't matter if he really said it or not). Obviously the same can be said about politics.

I have a very mixed feelings. On one side - sure, it is good to watch the hands of politicians. On the other side - do you remember Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy? About 100 people died. Documents published now can result in similar protests. Does Assange think about it, about possible casualties? Or is he completely blinded by his own perception of his "mission"?
 
  • #14
Borg
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I also have some mixed feelings about this but, only with respect to Iran and North Korea. These two countries have needed to see what the world (not just the US) really thinks of their behavior for a long time. This is the only possible good that I've seen in any of this. If those had been the only leaks, there might have been some support for Assange. But, as it stands, he looks more like the spoiled child described in one of his leaked cables. My guess is that it's only a matter of time before he ends up in prison.
 
  • #15
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I think they feel fairly free to speak their mind when writing Secret diplomatic cables.
But these documents are expected to be used by different American government officials?
I imagine that most of the messages remain fairly formal and only the few exceptional ones have been mentioned in this regard.
Reporting cables are expected to be frank, to the point, and offer an honest assessment of the subject from the view of the reporter. If slightly colorful language or euphanisms get the point across, pretty much anything goes.
 
  • #16
BobG
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There is no crisis, it's just a PR embarrassment. There is zero conversation about Secretary Clinton resigning, nor is it likely that any US diplomat will resign as a result of a cable they authored being leaked. Most of the cables aren't attributed to a single author anyways due to the nature of the cabling system.

In the larger picture, why would they resign anyways? They haven't done anything wrong.
Different nations, different cultures. We're not conducting diplomacy with other Americans, so how Americans feel about it isn't an accurate guage. In some cases, this will come down to respect. I'm very interested to see how this handled, not just by the US, but by other countries, as well.

It reminds me of the joint appearance Bush and Blair did together when a reporter asked Bush if Blair was his pet poodle and Bush initially seemed at a loss for words. Blair defused the atmosphere created by that question when he turned to Bush and asked him not to answer "yes" to that question. I imagine US-UK negotiations would have been a little more difficult if Bush had gave an answer like, "The US has political capital and we intend to use it. You're either with us, which Blair is, or against us."

Openness and honesty isn't always the way to get things done. Sometimes the honesty can only come with closedness. So it isn't a question of whether anyone did anything wrong by saying the things in the memos. It's a question of whether anyone's credibility is destroyed by dealing with someone that said bad things about them (including government officials from countries with very different cultures from the US).
 
  • #17
fss
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Different nations, different cultures. We're not conducting diplomacy with other Americans, so how Americans feel about it isn't an accurate guage.
If you're talking about officials resigning, then "how Americans feel" (specifically the executives who appointed or commissioned those officials/officers in question) is the only meaningful factor in the process.

It's a question of whether anyone's credibility is destroyed by dealing with someone that said bad things about them (including government officials from countries with very different cultures from the US).
Credibility isn't destroyed by reporting things that were mostly general public knowledge in the first place. Oh my gosh, China attacked Google... January called, it wants its news back.
 
  • #18
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Is this spin?

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jul/26/white-house-blasts-wikileaks-media-documents-leak/

"The White House on Monday heaped criticism on government transparency advocate Wikileaks for publishing a huge database of secret field reports from the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

"Besides being against the law, [it] has a potential to be very harmful to those that are in our military, those that are cooperating with our military, and those that are working to keep us safe," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said of the publication."


Is the message here that "transparency" is bad?
 
  • #19
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Robert Gibbs isn't too concerned - apparently?

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-s-spokesman-we-re-not-scared-one-g [Broken]

"On Wednesday, Obama’s spokesman dismissed the leak of diplomatic secrets as no big deal, although others have said it may put American lives in danger.

"We should never be afraid of one guy who plopped down $35 and bought a Web address," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told Fox & Friends. "Our foreign policy is stronger than that; we're a stronger country than that. We're not scared of one guy with one keyboard and a laptop."

Gibbs expressed no anger at the leak. He didn't reveal Obama's reaction, but he did indicate that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks for her boss."
 
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  • #20
Hepth
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Is the message here that "transparency" is bad?
I think that the message is that "complete transparency" is bad. While I understand the need for confidential information to remain confidential, I get the feeling that a large number of papers/cables/etc. in government control are labeled confidential, secret or TS, just because they don't want them in the public forum rather than for reasons of national security.

The gov seems to be saying "Please don't release 400,000 Top Secret documents because two or three of them might actually BE Top Secret."
 
  • #21
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So far I do not think any serious nations in the world have looked negatively or felt American relationships with their countries have been injured over this leak.

I did however find it interesting that nations are most concerned with Iran in the middle-east and don' tparticularly care about Israel/Palestine issues. Made me lol @ the media.
 
  • #22
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The gov seems to be saying "Please don't release 400,000 Top Secret documents because two or three of them might actually BE Top Secret."
"Classified" documents aren't necessarily "Top Secret" documents. The entire BLP model of classification that the government uses encourages over-classification. It could be argued that a good number of the classified documents leaked were over-classified.

None of them were classified TS, either- TS documents aren't found on SIPRNet.
 
  • #23
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So far I do not think any serious nations in the world have looked negatively or felt American relationships with their countries have been injured over this leak.
Agreed. No one but a fool would be "shocked" by this, as most nations are known to spy on most other nations. I found Andrea Mitchell's news presentation on this the other night to be irresponsible and artificially alarming.

On the other hand, the folks at wikileaks are far more irresponsible, jerks at best, needlessly endangering the lives of thousands. They should be shut down under international law and sent to prison. If that's not an option, then I wouldn't bat an eye at a clandestine op to shut them down permanently.

Investigative reporting is one thing. Intentionally leaking secrets which endanger the lives of innocent civilians is quite another.
 
  • #24
Office_Shredder
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On the other hand, the folks at wikileaks are far more irresponsible, jerks at best, needlessly endangering the lives of thousands. They should be shut down under international law and sent to prison. If that's not an option, then I wouldn't bat an eye at a clandestine op to shut them down permanently.

Investigative reporting is one thing. Intentionally leaking secrets which endanger the lives of innocent civilians is quite another.
It's still not clear to me. Whose lives in particular are at risk? People make these generic claims but never provide specifics
 
  • #25
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It's still not clear to me. Whose lives in particular are at risk? People make these generic claims but never provide specifics
Nor will they, and for the same reasons their names, locations, and the specifics of their involvement are classified in the first place: Doing so endangers their lives.

"Secret: This is the second-highest classification. Information is classified secret when its release would cause "serious damage" to national security. Most information that is classified is held at the secret sensitivity." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classified_information_in_the_United_States#Secret"

For a judge's perspective on the leaking of classified information, please review http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2010/03/leak_consequences.html". Pay particular attention to the part where revealing covert identities is illegal under the law.

What do you think happens when a covert agent's identity is revealed? As a minimum, they have to get out, in a hurry. Literally years of effort may be laid to waste. On a more sinister note, they may meet with a quick demise, particularly if they've signed non-disclosure agreements with the country in which they're working. Families are put in jeapordy.

Like the judge said, "...you have to stand up and take the consequences.” I'm all for having each and every member of wikileaks take the consequences under international law for leaking known classified information.

If any are Americans, arrest them and try them for treason.

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=452524".
 
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