Julian Assange and the story of the talking cat…

Whilst I think Daniel may be right about Julian Assange being anti American, that doesn’t really speak to whether his revelations were useful or not. These revelations were more interesting than previous tranches, possibly because the involvement of mainstream journalists teed them up better, but also it passingly lifts the skirts on workings of private life of international diplomacy, and turned it into a public affair.

But no one describes the problem better than Henry Farrell, turning to his collection of Saki short stories

Diplomacy, even more than early twentieth century English house-parties, requires hypocrisy. Both diplomats and leaders pretend respect and even affection for regimes that they dislike and leaders whom they despise. When a source can definitively give the lie to these public remonstrations, it is obviously likely to lead to considerable friction (not necessarily because the target did not know he, she or it was detested – but because public expression of this detestation becomes an insult that cannot easily be discounted or ignored.

Still, whilst the elite may well have known many of the details as a matter of course, once again in group news becomes the public property of the uninitiated commons…

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  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Oh I think most of us would have known or assumed a lot of the stuff that is now public knowledge.
    That the Saudis and others want Iran bombed.
    That PDR Korea has supplied rockets.
    That these rockets can reach Vienna.

    One of the few pleasures (and they lessen by the day) of living in a small neutral country is that Im more worried about hearing Nelson McCauslands Lambeg drum than I am about an Iranian rocket. And I can enjoy the leaks safe in the knowledge that no life that I am obliged to care for is endangered by their leaking.
    Yet for all The Guardians pomposity…it is the tittle tattle which is essentially more interesting.

    Col Gaddaffis Ukranian nurse.
    Silvio Berlusconi likes wild parties.
    And the ever popular “Royal acting inappropriately story” (it was Andy!!! apparently).Yet aside from the fact that we know that a diplomat is “someone who lies for his country” and there is a mis-match between the public handshake and private back-stabbing……..I find the whole instruction to get the dirt, and retina scans and air miles records of other diplomats to be a bit worrying.

  • lamhdearg

    As time passes and more wikileak leaks are released it becomes hard not to suspect that Assange is being sold a line by the U.S. and that his personal problems are designed to take his eye of the ball. A lot of the Iran centred releases seem to me to be designed to undermine the Iranian peoples confidence in there rulers in that the No one likes you your on your own message is being pushed through wikileaks, if this is the case and the U.S. is using Assange for this, it is to me more proof that the U,S. after all these years trying to put down the islamic revolution has learned nothing about the persian/arab phyche, the Iranians will resist all comers and the Arabs will see in their leaders words/actions dishonor.

  • One of the reasons these are ‘more interesting’ is that they are hardly ‘intelligence led. Diplomats passing on what they hear on the circuit, tittle tattle and gossip. As said elsewhere, what have we learned: “the US spies on folk, Putin’s an alpha male, Iran’s neighbours all want it blitzed, the Duke of York’s a prat – what’s new, Wikileaks?”

  • RepublicanStones

    Sorry Mick, but the term ‘anti-american’ is of little import. It’s a ridculous attempt to infer that someone has a hatred for an entire nation of people, and as such is simply a spectacular form of playing the man and shooting the messenger. By actually engaging that term as if it somehow is a valid argument, you are simply saddling every single US citizen with the crimes of their govt. It insinuates that each and every US citizen supports the actions of their govt. Assange may hate the US govt and it’s numerous overseas activities, but you don’t then claim somebody is anti-Italian for being critical of Berlusconi, or anti-venuzelan for condeming the socialist govt there. By using that term you play into the hands of those who would prefer to keep the actions of the US govt hidden by allowing them to claim that their critics are motivated by hate for an entire people, a tactic used to greater effect with regard to another country.

  • pippakin

    Hmmm, some of the cables are just juicy gossip and there is the prospect of American opinions of the British government to look forward to, bound to be good for a chortle.

    But, I’m beginning to think that some of these leaks might have been designed to give the US and Israel a reason to bomb Iran. I’m just saying it’s interesting, that’s all.

  • Greenflag

    They (the USA and Israel )are looking for a reason to bomb Iran and they will find one sooner or later .

    Iran is surrounded by ‘nuclear powers ‘ on all sides -Israel (some 200 A bombs and probably more), Russia , India , and Pakistan and the USA as proxy bomb holder for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and other regional allies .

    Why would the Iranians NOT want nuclear weapons is the question I would like to ask . When one considers the longer history of American and British involvement in internal Iranian /Persian affairs who could blame the Iranians ?

    Given USA support for Saddam Hussein in the Iraq /Iran war the Iranians surely have a case that Nuclear weapons are necessary for their self defence against American and Israeli sabre rattling ?

  • RepublicanStones

    That remains a possiblity pip. The NYT has stated they didn’t get the latest cache from Wikileaks, even though they admit the cables were originally obtained by Wikileaks. Seeing as the NYT is not in Assange’s inner circle of privvy periodicals for this particular ‘dump’, indeed Assange and Times editor Bill Keller have a tense history, which makes one wonder, who then wished them to publish?

  • RepublicanStones

    Democracy now has an interesting discussion of the particulars of Wikileaks and the dump. Daniel Ellsberg (he of Pentagon Papers) replies to US’ claim that Wikileaks endangers lives, Greg Mitchell, who has been live blogging the latest leaks and Carne Ross (former British dilpomat who resigned over Iraq war) touches on the effects this will have for future diplomacy.


  • lamhdearg

    Please tell the interesting bits, at 54 min i have not the time to watch, thank you.

  • RepublicanStones

    You don’t need to watch LD, just pretend its radio, you won’t miss anything. For instance Ross and Ellsberg disagree over the nature of what diplomats and officals read. Ellsberg claims these cables to be low level fodder which top diplomats wouldn’t even bother with (he refers to his experiences of Vietnam). Ross disgarees and claims its exactly these sorts of cables which are the meat and drink of diplomacy. Ross goes further and states that in his experience its the top designated classified stuff which is ‘the least accurate reporting’ as opposed to the likes of these low level cables. Abu Khalil also provides a good analysis from the average arab’s viewpoint as to what these cables reveal, he takes particular aim at the nature of the US-Saudi relationship.

  • lamhdearg

    maybe tomorrow

  • pinni

    It’s obvious that Wikileaks and Assange are not merely anti-war: they are unashamedly anti-American.

    And what a humiliation for the so-called ‘Smart Power’ Obama administration! Its impotence is astounding. Such weakness can only mean more danger to the US.

    It’s interesting to see the US authorities use their cyber muscle to take down entertainment related file sharing sites, but reluctant to use that same ability to protect government secrets. Signals pretty mixed up priorities, if you ask me!

  • lamhdearg

    maybe the US authorities dont want to protect These goverment secrets.

  • RepublicanStones

    pinni i direct you to my first comment above regarding your use of the term ‘anti-american’.

  • Alias

    It once again shows the total disregard that the US has for the safety of those occupied peoples who collaborate with it and its puppet administrations. They claim that the action of Wikileaks endangers these people when the reality is that it is the failure of the US to keep their identity secret that has endangered them. The British state, of course, has also outted several of its touts, except that it has disclosed their identity deliberately. No one, it seems, cares about a quisling…

  • RepublicanStones
  • Cynic

    Oh God….looks like aluminium helmet time on this discussion

  • pinni


    I read your comments above. What a load of old codswollop!

    Some people, like Assange, just cannot stand the USA for what it is, no matter who is in power. Assange probably felt more at liberty to stick it to Obama and the US because, as it turns out, Obama’s foreign policies are basically an extension of what Bush had already set in motion. In fact, Obama escalated the Afghan war.

    I think jealousy is at the root of much of the venom directed at the US. They just can’t get over the indisputable reality of American Exceptionalism

  • RepublicanStones

    Did you seriously just link to that video pinni? Please tell us ‘what the USA’ is ? Because I’m sure the millions upon millions of US citizens would have different opinions as to what the USA is. But the great pinni knows, so please do tell? I would also like to hear your extrapolation of this theory of ‘American exceptionalism’ – how would you explain the exceptionalism’ of America to victims of the death squads they sponsored in Latin America? What would you say to those who live under a tinpot dictator installed and supported by the US? How would you explain to a family of deformed babies in Vietnam how agent orange was ‘exceptional’? The fervour of doe eyedness you suffer from pinni when you see the stars and stripes is matched only by those who think all the worlds ills stem from the same flag. As I mentioned on an earlier thread if there was more of a Roosevltian ‘Good Neighbour Policy’ as opposed to the usual self-interest, which motivates US govts, your salivating at the stars and stripes might not be so fecking ridiculous. Your attempt at pyschanalysis of Assange only further reduces your comment to the realm of absurdity. One can oppose,even hate a govt, without habouring hate for each and every citizen of the nation. That you think not, only adds to the babbling nature of your comment.

  • wee buns

    Just as an intellectual exercise, consider this – Israel has less to fear from Iran, the best educated, most civilised & western looking country (theocratic gerontocracy notwithstanding) in that benighted region than the teeming multitudes of ignorant & oppressed in Arab nations – without exception satraps of the US, primarily but not exclusively – whose rulers can only keep the lid on by positing Israel as the source of all their woes and through massive food subsidies, from the EU surpluses and straight US cash – Egypt received $3B in the last year of Shrub’s reign (Israel $4B but an interesting comparison, no?). Although Sunnis are a majority overall, in some countries the Shia are sizeable, and restive, minorities and in Iraq an overwhelming majority.
    Would it be too Machiavellian/Byzantine to suggest that Iran is necessary to keep the puppet national rulers dependent on US hegemony and that they can, for internal domestic reasons, stoke the anti Israel fires of the “arab street” as they choose, but must not let it get out of control, otherwise it’ll be the Groundhog Six Day War all over again, and look how well that worked out in 1967 – Syria still doesn’t have back the Golan Heights from which tactical GtG missiles can easily reach Damascus.
    Cui bono? I hear from Sluggers in the ether. That black sticky stuff, OIL, is most easily available from Saudi Arabia for about the next 40-50yrs, then all bets, and investment protection, are gorrnnn. By which time Iran will have rejoined the western fold, allied to Israel, following the return of their diaspora, cashed up and even better educated. The arabs will sink back into the deserved obscurity/irrelevance from which oil temporarily lifted them.
    Not saying this is true but l’ll put $100 on this scenario or something very similar.
    Meanwhile back on Wiki topic, the Saudi king sez “Iran is the source of evil” (not Israel, imagine dat..!) so could someone remind me again how many Iranians were involved in 9/11? I seem to recall it was 17 Saudis and 2 Egyptians, both stalwart friends of the Great Shaitan.

  • lamhdearg

    Wee buns
    Egypt populition 80+ million Israel 7+ an interesting comparison, NO

  • pinni

    Sorry, RS, that should have been codswallop.

  • RepublicanStones

    Big of you to admit that pinni 😉

  • pinni

    Hey, RS, maybe the pussy-footing around will stop when the big boys get involved.

  • lamhdearg

    Do you beleive the Russians play by differant rules as your links spokesperson claims. there was an
    Iranian scientist murderd in Tehran monday, i would bet it was not the Russians.

  • RepublicanStones

    Nice to see what your attitude to murder is pinni.

  • wee buns

    lamhdearg – given the usual “exchange rate” of dozens/hundreds of arabs for an israeli during prisoner transfers it seems apposite. But seriously, you DO realise that those US grants are for weapons don’t you? And guess from whom, aforesaid Egyptians & Israelis, buy those weapons… with those $3B &$4B aid packages? Starts with A, ends with A, has seven letters…
    Egypt lives on EU agriculutral surpluses, dumped virtually free (cheaper than storage in the euroid zone, for rotting purposes) as inducement to maintain the peace policy. When it was signed 30 yrs ago the population was barely 40M. So how has it doubled? Free food, less canon fodder, you figure it out.

  • JJ Malloy

    Julian is rabidly anti-American. of that there is no doubt. He thinks America is the world’s greatest evil.

    What do his latest leaks accomplish? Absolutely nothing positive (except for his ego and for media outlets). There is nothing that will help end any wars, stop any conflict, save any lives. All it does is damage the diplomatic abilities of the United States. That’s also all it was intended to do (again, besides boost his ego and image).

    Do you think diplomats will ever be honest with each other or with the US now that they fear what they say might end up on the front page of the Guardian or the Time??

    It would be one thing if he had cables relating to Bush and co’s lies about Iraq in the run up to the war, or if he had information on figures trying to pressure Obama into ratcheting up the war in Afghanistan, but he doesn’t.

    Regarding Saudi Arabia, here is a humours take on their relationship with the US.

  • RepublicanStones

    Do you think diplomats will ever be honest with each other or with the US now that they fear what they say might end up on the front page of the Guardian or the Time??

    You must have been reading different cables. Because the latest dump show they haven’t been being honest with eachother anyway.

  • lamhdearg

    Wee buns
    israel is allowed to spend 25% of its aid on weapons it makes its self, this in turn makes Israel one of the top 10 arms dealing nations in the world ( with a populition of less than 8 million) the use also covers Israels loans worth billions (U.S.). you wont find me claiming Egypt is not a basket case, but it and Israel are not in receipt of the same aid from the U.S. .

  • JAH

    So now the Chinese have publicly shifted their view on the future of N. Korea. That’s quite a result. The incoming ‘new leader’ can either dig himself into a bunker or accept the inevitable and open that sad country up.

    Now isn’t that a result? if the millions of starving Koreans find the regime crashes a lot earlier than even considered a week ago?

    Isn’t there an opposition in Iran fed up with the state of the country? So who’s hand does wikileaks strengthen? Surely not a regime holding on to power by force yet likely to be overwhelmed by democracy in the next election (Iran has the world’s largest population under 30…demographics will change Iran as the old guard die)

    And as for Pakistan’s duplicity, tell me something new about that sad failed state.

    The leaks have just accelerated progress and awareness.

  • wee buns

    lamhdearg – reread what you have written above and try again, without serial non sequitors.

  • Jj

    Oh well, at least no one is calling for Julian to be murdered. Given that some think this place to be full of Provos, thats a bit reassuring! 😉

  • lamhdearg

    Wee buns
    i had to look non sequitors up and how i know what it means, slugger is an education, however i am that thick that having reread my post i dont see your point, its probaly best that we just dont discuss anymore. also it seems its sequiturs not sequitors.

  • pinni

    …Russia will most likely contain itself to cyberwarfare on a massive scale to shut down Assange rather than violence…

    RS: ‘Nice to see what your attitude to murder is pinni.’

    How in the world did you deduct ‘murder’ from that, RS?

    Pure twisted fabrication of a reprobate mind.