Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wikileaks: The Cable Guys

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  • Danielle, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I actually think that’s a bit unfair, you guys. I am really interested in the Wikileaks, um, leaks but when it comes to international diplomacy and governmental skullduggery I wouldn’t know beans from a hole in the ground, so all I can do is read the people who know more than me and react with a variant of ‘huh. Interesting. Let me think about that for a while’. Plus it is reasonably simple to instantly have an opinion about people’s sex lives, what constitutes ‘consent’, yadda. So it’s a lot easier for people to waffle on about that, in lieu of saying nothing about any of it and thus giving the impression that you don’t give a shit. When you do.

    (Did I just make an argument in favour of the increase of useless noise in a thread? Man, I did. Sorry about that.)

    ETA: I see that Tim's all 'be the change you want to see in the world/thread', and I can also totally get behind that!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I'd've thought that if you really supported Wikileaks' goals, your public response to the charges made against Assange should be something like:

    ...the off-duty conduct of a Wikileaks staff member is interesting. Now about that cable dump, what do you make of [insert outrageous governmental behaviour here]...

    not buying straight into the diversion with non-factual responses based on your wishes about how things we don't know much about will actually turn out.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    Oh bugger, looks like the opportunity has been lost.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Could everyone presently whining, page after page, about how no one's discussing the content of the cables and everyone else is all tabloid and shit for daring to discuss any other element of the story than that ... do me a really big favour and just write something interesting about the content of the cables?

    Why yes, now you ask, I am a bit over it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Why yes, now you ask, I am a bit over it.

    Took you long enough. [Redacted. Not helpful]

    Great show last night be the way. Embedded journalism is a subject worthy of much consideration. GG? Meh.

    Now, about those cables...

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    do me a really big favour and just write something interesting about the content of the cables?

    I tried about five times, and I wasn't the only one, but yeah, whatever. It's not as if PAS is the last remaining website in the world.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    just write something interesting about the content of the cables?

    I like this site So, Why is Wikileaks a Good Thing Again?

    Although it's a bit hit and miss.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Could everyone presently whining,

    OK, ok I can see I'm not welcome. I'll leave you to the soothing noises of Neil Morrison comparing Assange to Capill, or an assortment of people calling someone who has yet to have a day in court a rapist, which obviously makes you a lot happier.

    Forgive me for disturbing your bliss.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to rodgerd,

    or an assortment of people calling someone who has yet to have a day in court a rapist

    I challenge you to find someone in this thread who's done that. Just one. Go on.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I actually think what's happening to Assange is news. There's not much to it, but it is something that's happening now, unlike the stuff in the cables, which is mostly actually quite old, and have had alternate sources that mean they're hardly surprising. I mean do I really need any more detail than the thousands upon thousands of links provided in IraqBodyCount to convince me that the war in Iraq is immoral and out of control? We've actually already been exposed over the last 10 years to a lot of stuff that gives us reason to find the cables to simply be "more evidence of what we knew". Furthermore, it's not like what is said in the cables is "truth". It's just "the opinions of diplomats and various other secretly communicating officials". I don't know that Iran taught Al Quaeda how to make suicide bombs now, I just know that what the diplomats think aligns with a whole lot of press releases the Army made over the last 5 years. It could still be highly speculative bullshit. The same goes for Iran's nuclear program. Yes, now we know that *some* diplomats think what we have constantly been told by newspapers over the last 10 years is true. They could be totally wrong. It's not like I couldn't have found out that Saudi is constantly agitating for the US to have a crack at Iran - they've said so publicly a number of times, just in more "diplomatic" terms (ironically).

    So yes, it's interesting, more grist for the pacifist mill, and an interesting insight into the language of classified documents, but actually, any time I feel like sharing a revelation in there, I hit the "wasn't there a whole thread about this back in 2008?".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Here's a topic for discussion: based on the cable contents, which US Embassy would you most like to be posted at?

    I'm thinking Rangoon sounds pretty great. I bet they also get to shoot elephants.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    which US Embassy would you most like to be posted at?

    Ask a hard one. Amsterdam, of course.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    just write something interesting about the content of the cables?

    I see what you did there.

    But yeah, Keith filled the gap for PA. Thanks be...

    http://publicaddress.net/system/topic/2843/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Following instructions from DIA headquarters, USDAO has sent the package via Diplomatic Pouch to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, through DIA, 3100 Clarendon, Arlington, VA. The box is marked “Secret.”

    why is the "secret" bit so funny, maybe cause it sounds almost like it was written in crayon.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    The individual provided a small bottle half-filled with metallic powder and a photocopied certificate of testing from a Chinese university dated 1992 as verification of the radioactive nature of the powder.

    The writer is intentionally or not a brilliant humorist. I would have over egged it and added it was in a jam jar.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    And off a Wired page just in case the Red Side finds something:

    It’s possible that terrorists, insurgents, extremists and wannabes are still Control-F’ing their way through the first tranche of 77,000 documents. If you see anything floating over the jihadisphere about WikiLeaks, let us know in comments.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Notionally Lula isn’t in charge any more, but I find this interesting nonetheless:

    (if you click through to the actual YouTube page, there are subtitles -- basically, he expresses solidarity with Wikileaks, hopes that Brazilian diplomats know their shit better than US ones, asks where the defenders of free speech are.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    What I find most interesting, and potentially embarrassing... are the cables where US officials based in country X are reporting home that the local government are saying ABC to us.... which is in stark contrast if not direct contradiction to what the same country X government are telling their own population.

    Most of what we are having confirmed about the USA's activities are pretty much as suspected... it's what the diplomats are confirming about their host location's governments that's having a bigger affect (especially in those host nations).

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to BenWilson,

    There's not much to it, but it is something that's happening now, unlike the stuff in the cables, which is mostly actually quite old, and have had alternate sources that mean they're hardly surprising.

    I think the real significance to these cables is as much micro as macro - regional with a potential global impact. What is often missed in the commentary is how every country has or is jumping on the parts of the cables that affect them and some fairly ugly stuff that isn't getting global reporting is jumping out - much of it hasn't even begun to play out.

    Thus you get sites like this popping up all over the world. The big news here has been the way the Russian government allegedly (unsuccessfully) tried to bribe Thai judges over Victor Bout. There are 1600 cables relating to Thailand on their way, many of which, it is assumed, concern the US involvement in and commentary on the domestic political dramas of the past decade. The nation is nervous.

    The big news in Spain has been the attempts by the US to influence their judiciary and (yes no surprise but confirmation) their copyright laws. Almost every country in South America has been rocked by revelations. And so on....

    These stories have a life far beyond the Guardian front page and are being played out all over the world, mostly undocumented by the global media. It could be years before we can look at each one and work out how they impacted the country in question and the US's place as a superpower.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to FletcherB,

    it's what the diplomats are confirming about their host location's governments that's having a bigger affect (especially in those host nations).

    snap

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Cables reveal Shell's infiltration of the Nigerian government.

    The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians' every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

    The company's top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew "everything that was being done in those ministries". She boasted that the Nigerian government had "forgotten" about the extent of Shell's infiltration and was unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.

    The cache of secret dispatches from Washington's embassies in Africa also revealed that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm swapped intelligence with the US, in one case providing US diplomats with the names of Nigerian politicians it suspected of supporting militant activity, and requesting information from the US on whether the militants had acquired anti-aircraft missiles.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    "This changes everything." http://www.ding.net/wikileaks/234867.txt

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    US embassy cables say that Pfizer blackmailed Nigeria's Attorney General, in order to persuade him to drop a lawsuit claiming damage caused to children by their drug Trovan.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    If you have a spare hour Dan Carlin's podcast is rather good on why we need Wikileaks

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

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