WikiLeaks Releases Confidential U.S. Diplomacy Cables

Isaak Kifle

Vary rarely does something happen that creates an international buzz overnight. But around the end of November, WikiLeaks did just that. Starting on Sunday, November 28, the web-based media organization began releasing U.S. diplomatic cables on their website for the public to see. Diplomatic cables are confidential telegrams sent between government officials and agencies concerning diplomatic missions with foreign governments. WikiLeaks has amassed a total of over 250,000 cables dating from the ‘60s to last February and has been releasing them in increments since Sunday, at a rate the website has claimed would leave them releasing new information for months to come.

While not all of the information has warranted notice or discussion, some of the cables have received more notice than others. One of the most famous cables reveal that many Middle Eastern leaders are more concerned with Iran’s nuclear program than previously thought or admitted. Another reveals that U.S. and South Korean officials have discussed the possibility of uniting the two Koreas in the event that North Korea collapses due to its various economic and political problems.

The Obama administration, states another, has offered incentives and various bribes to other countries to take prisoners out of Guantanamo and into their own prisoners, for the purpose of closing the prison. Among the other big revelations include Afghan Vice President Ahmed Zia Massoud taking $52 million from the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. working to remove enriched uranium from Pakistani nuclear reactors that could be used to build nuclear devices, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton ordering U.S. diplomats to obtain more information on their countries, the state department labeling Qatar the worst country in its region in terms of counterterrorism efforts, a closer and more friendly relationship between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi than previously known, and Syria continuing to provide extremist organization Hezbollah with arms, despite Syrian President Bashar Assad promising to cease from doing so. Various other cables reveal embarrassing comments made by U.S. officials about foreign leaders, such as President Hamid Karzai being “driven by paranoia” and French President Nicolas Sarkozy as, among other things, “thin-skinned and authoritarian”.

WikiLeaks, whose slogan is “We Open Governments”, has a history of releasing documents and revealing information considered classified by many governments, including documents on both the Afghan and Iraq Wars just earlier this year. The organization is staffed by political dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and technology experts from several countries. Australian journalist, Julian Assange, is the founder, editor-in-chief, and spokesman for the organization. Assange has become an extremely divisive figure, with some hailing him as a hero for exposing a great deal of the government’s secret actions while others regard him as an international traitor for possibly putting officials’ lives in danger.

One thing is certain, with multiple governments concerned or outraged at the leaks, WikiLeaks has succeeded in opening a conversation the entire world has become a part of.