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Wikileaks — short on intelligence

Maybe Wikileaks has come to the cynical conclusion that in the contemporary media environment the headline is more important than the story.

CIA Red Cell Memorandum on United States “exporting terrorism”

That sounds like damning material. Plans to insert US-trained terrorists into Iran or Venezuela perhaps? Is Wikileaks exposing yet more dirty secrets from the CIA’s ugly history?

No.

Indeed, if we are to define a leak as the revelation of confidential information in which the public has a compelling interest — information that must be published as a matter of conscience — then the latest offering from Wikileaks hardly qualifies being described as a leak. Indeed, the US intelligence community may actually regard the release of such a report as something that overall enhances their public image.

This Red Cell report has a couple of interesting details — confirmation that there are those in the US government who understand that Jewish terrorism has played a significant role in triggering Palestinian terrorism, and (reading between the lines) that CIA officers engaged in kidnapping can be perceived as American terrorists — but the overarching topic here is not a secret acknowledgment that the US government has been involved in promoting and exporting terrorism.

If Wikileaks wants to provide the best public service it is capable of, it needs to focus attention on improving its image. It has made the medium more important than the message as though we should be more interested in Wikileaks than the leaks. Instead of the brand “Wikileaks” signalling the release of important information, it now signals a theatrical drama in which Julian Assange demands a spotlight while he is supposedly jousting with the dark forces of government. Is that what he and his cohorts want to be known as? A band of attention seekers?

by Paul Woodward on August 26, 2010

http://warincontext.org/2010/08/26/wikileaks-short-on-intelligence/

Comments

People are passing judgement too quickly on Wikileaks. There are still thousands of documents yet to be released, and the 70,000 that are already available for perusal haven't yet been fully evaluated. There may be some merit in Joe Blow's jealousy theory. It seems to me that some alternative news outlets are jilted by the attention Wikileaks is getting from the mainstream, but paranoia could just as easily create the same impression.

I'm ambivalent about Assange and Wikileaks, but there's no doubt that the Collateral Murder footage was a major embarrassment to the Obama administration and not a good look for the U.S. war effort in the Middle East. Any reasonable warm-blooded observer should be as outraged as I was to see it, even if it isn't surprising. But Wikileaks detractors will say that was just the bait, a limited hangout operation to establish credibility. Maybe, maybe not.

The real issue here is the whistleblower issue. Regardless of the quality of the information, the importance of this lies in how it all plays out for Assange, Wikileaks and his sources. If Assange is jailed for example, or scared into revealing his sources under threat of imprisonment, it'll send a strong, unambiguous message to other potential whistleblowers to shut the fuck up. If it plays out that way there'll be one more reason to suspect that Wikileaks was a counter-intelligence operation. But if it doesn't play out that way, it will embolden other insiders and people of conscience to come out with what they know, which is clearly in our interests.

So far half of the blogosphere and the anti-war scene at large is playing accomplice to the vilification of Wikileaks in the public consciousness, which is disappointing. In the absense of any solid evidence that Wikileaks is not what it seems, surely it's better to simply watch quietly and wait to see what unfolds, rather than bitch about the unremarkable nature of the information, which can only be as sensitive as the security clearance of its source. It shouldn't be a surprise that most of these documents are pretty ho-hum. They're over there fighting the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and chasing terrorists that don't actually exist, and the average squad commander is hardly likely to report accurately on how many unarmed civilians his unit has murdered that day. Reports of that nature that actually make it back to the Pentagon are likely to be even lower.

One undeniable effect Wikileaks has had is to steal the spotlight from the struggling, credibility-deficient mainstream media. If I were the enemy I'd try to restore confidence in the establishment media, not expedite its demise. And there's nothing suspicious about Assange giving the MSM first dibs on the documents; anyone in his position would do the same thing, for obvious reasons. So while Wikileaks does arguably fit the profile of a COINTEL operation, there are inconvenient factors that disqualify it from being a textbook example.

And the idea that Wikileaks can somehow "focus attention on improving its image" is asinine, especially coming from someone who is clearly trying to tarnish it. Whatever 'image' Wikileaks has is the product of the media and analysts like Paul Woodward, not Julian Assange. Noteworthy is the odd enthusiasm of some like Aletho News, who seize the opportunity to post whatever they can find that's critical of Wikileaks -- even if it tells us nothing at all.

The stupidest commentary on Wikileaks I've seen was written by Gordon Duff: Wikileaks is Israel, Like We All Didn't Know. Well erm, I didn't know, and so far no-one has been able to tell me why that is apparently so obvious.

Of course there's nothing in the documents about Israel. As Duff himself has acknowledged, Jews started the Iraq war -- they're not fighting it.

@COZ

Shall we wait with rapt attention for Wikileaks to expose that there is no Al-Qaida operation in Afghanistan?

Do you suppose that their selected "intelligence" will reveal that the US/Mossad have been conducting false flag terror ops within Pakistan?

Eh?

I thought so.

All this blather about "jealousy" is simply a way for the faithful to wallow in the hope quagmire.

Be critical. Think for yourself. And always be suspicious of MSM creations.

Every tidbit of disinfo released by Wikileaks has already been pushed by the MSM, thus Wikileaks enhances MSM credibility.

The fact that Democracy Now, Kieth Olberman and their ilk have put so much attention on Wikileaks should tell us all we need to know.

Wikileaks is nothing more than Judith Miller in drag. The snuff show was candy for the supremacists.

??????

Shall we wait with rapt attention for Wikileaks to expose that there is no Al-Qaida operation in Afghanistan?

Wikileaks doesn't need to -- the CIA has already admitted it.

Do you suppose that their selected "intelligence" will reveal that the US/Mossad have been conducting false flag terror ops within Pakistan?

That's pretty sensitive "intelligence", man. I mean, really. How many people do you imagine are privy to that kind of information? It would be on a need to know basis, so only the perpetrators, I would think. A Pentagon desk clerk is hardly going to have access to it.

Be critical. Think for yourself. And always be suspicious of MSM creations.

I'm suspending judgement, watching with interest, keeping an open mind and playing devil's advocate for Wikileaks on this thread in the context of its conclusive dismissal by people like yourself, who, you'll have to admit, have no evidence for statements like this:

The snuff show was candy for the supremacists.

I say maybe, maybe not. You say definitely, even in the absense of evidence. Who is being more rational?

I'm not cheerleading for Wikileaks. You won't see anything on my blog about Wikileaks, one way or the other. You, on the other hand, have decided you already know all you need to know. That's not critical thinking -- it's a leap of logic and textbook conspiracy theory.

@ COZ,

The facts are the facts COZ.

Wikileaks DID release warmongering propaganda aimed at expanding the wars to Pakistan and Iran.

That's not my opinion. That is simply the content of what Wikileaks delivered to the NYT and the Guardian.

What's done is done. Wikileaks stands guilty as charged. No question about it.

Our job is to expose the propagandists for the warmongering skuzzbuckets that they are. Having an "open mind" about Judith Miller went nowhere either.

??????

Wikileaks DID release warmongering propaganda aimed at expanding the wars to Pakistan and Iran.

Can you give me a link for that? Particularly on Iran.

It won't surprise me to see reports from the military saying that resistance is particularly strong across the Pakistani border. That's probably true, even if a lot of it has been manufactured. The Taliban has already told us directly that it's not responsible for attacks in civilian areas and that foreign intelligence agencies are behind those, but there does exist a legitimate armed resistance in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. Do you deny that? People don't just sit there passively when you bomb and occupy their countries. So U.S. reports about suicide bombers over the border, submitted by military personnel that don't know what is manufactured terror and what isn't, will not mean much to me.

Wikileaks DID release warmongering propaganda aimed at expanding the wars to Pakistan and Iran.

That's not my opinion. That is simply the content of what Wikileaks delivered to the NYT and the Guardian.

What's done is done. Wikileaks stands guilty as charged. No question about it.

You say Wikileaks is "guilty as charged", but there are three possible scenarios:

1. Wikileaks is a counter-intelligence operation and Assange is a CIA asset.

2. Wikileaks is not a counter-intelligence operation, but Assange is being spoon-fed watered-down and/or falsified documents from CIA or Pentagon sources that are designed to facilitate and legitimise the Middle East war agenda (includes the possibility that the Collateral Murder source may have been legit, and the COINTEL source with 90,000 'bombshell' documents may have taken the stage shortly thereafter).

3. Wikileaks is not a COINTEL operation and Assange's sources are legitimate whistleblowers with no evil agenda.

You need to prove to me that scenario #1 is true and that scenario #2 is false, but I'd be happy enough if you could convince me that it's not #3. What I require is evidence for your assertions (and so should you). I have no emotional stake in any of these scenarios, and since I haven't come out for or against Wikileaks, I have no dog in the race, unlike yourself. All I'm interested in is the truth, so don't misconstrue my interest in evidence as support for Wikileaks.

The absense of sensitive documents about false flag operations and Mossad meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan is not evidence. Just because something is classified it doesn't mean it will be a revelation, and it doesn't mean it won't be boring. Military personnel are just as clueless and even more indoctrinated than the public at large (according to a documentary I saw yesterday, 70% of troops believed Saddam was involved in 9/11 at the beginning of the 2003 war), so a certain degree of correlation with media propaganda is to be expected. Surely you know that 99.99% of the troops over there sincerely believe they're fighting a "war on terror" against dangerous, freedom-hating ragheads.

I'm not just prattling away for the sake of it, and hopefully I'm not entirely stupid. Blow me away with compelling evidence, even if it's circumstantial, and I'll thank you for it. 

I found this WSJ piece through your website --

Wikileaks Afghan War Reports Bolster Suspicion of Iranian Ties to Extremists

-- which is the kind of circumstantial evidence I'm interested in. The article doesn't link to the reports, and the various claims are easily debunked.

@ COZ

"U.S. reports about suicide bombers over the border, submitted by military personnel that don't know what is manufactured terror and what isn't, will not mean much to me."

Yes, and Judith Miller's annonymous pentagon sourced revelations about Iraq's WMDs didn't mean much to me either. Your point being?

COZ, your third possible scenario "Wikileaks is not a COINTEL operation and Assange's sources are legitimate whistleblowers with no evil agenda" makes no sense at all.

Why would someone without a warmongering agenda cherry pick intelligence reports and select pieces that provide a casus belli against Pakistan and Iran to the NYT?

The worst report was actually in the Guardian not the WSJ. Just as in 2003, they chose the most liberal venue (at that time the NYT) to release the most serious claims. Very astute. Very effective. They even have anti-war.com eating out of their hand.

??????

"U.S. reports about suicide bombers over the border, submitted by military personnel that don't know what is manufactured terror and what isn't, will not mean much to me."

Yes, and Judith Miller's annonymous pentagon sourced revelations about Iraq's WMDs didn't mean much to me either. Your point being?

If false flag terror is being carried out in Pakistan to justify cross-border raids and drone attacks, and leaked military reports document those terror attacks as the work of "al Qaeda" or the Taliban, that will not constitute evidence that the reports have been fabricated. That was my point.

COZ, your third possible scenario "Wikileaks is not a COINTEL operation and Assange's sources are legitimate whistleblowers with no evil agenda" makes no sense at all.

Why would someone without a warmongering agenda cherry pick intelligence reports and select pieces that provide a casus belli against Pakistan and Iran to the NYT?

There are 92,000 documents -- how many of them deal with Pakistan and Iran? That's not a rhetorical question; I haven't spent much time looking into Wikileaks so I don't know. But for the 'cherry-picking' claim to have any substance you'd have to show that information in the leaked documents that benefits the war agenda is disproportionate to the information which harms it. In any case, I definitely agree that Wikileaks should have vetted the documents to ensure that it didn't release anything the media hawks could use to justify expanding the war into Pakistan and Iran.

The worst report was actually in the Guardian not the WSJ. Just as in 2003, they chose the most liberal venue (at that time the NYT) to release the most serious claims.

Are you talking about this? You'd save me a lot of time if you'd just show me what you mean, and it'd be cool if you'd answer my questions unselectively like I answer yours.

I see Obama is starting to use Wikileaks to his political advantage, which fits well with the COINTEL theory.

"There are 92,000 documents -- how many of them deal with Pakistan and Iran?"

Hundreds, whereas there are none that deal with Mossad or RAW. That's cherry picked "information". RAW has a major pesence in Afghanistan.

“Iran is engaged in an extensive covert campaign to arm, finance, train and equip Taliban insurgents, Afghan warlords allied to al-Qaida and suicide bombers fighting to eject British and western forces from Afghanistan.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/25/ieds-improvised-explosive-...

COZ, when the Pentagon Papers were turned over to the NYT, the publisher had commited to publishing them in their entirety, whereas Assange allowed the NYT to utilize Wikileaks pieces as they see fit. That is a vast difference. It allows the NYT to further whatever agenda it has going. Frankly, I can only assume that all of these gatekeeper left operations that are pushing this Wikileaks crap are not so dumb as to not understand all of this.

??????

Pretty damning stuff. Desire to engage in devil's advocacy waning rapidly. Your last paragraph, which I hadn't considered as a good reason to keep the documents out of the hands of the MSM, is pretty strong evidence for scenario #1. Either that, or conclusive evidence that Assange fucked up bigstyle, or is just plain dumb.

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