By Susan Abulhawa
Over a quarter of a million diplomatic cables, marked – ‘secret’ , ‘confidential’, or ‘unclassified’ – to and from the US State Department have been ‘leaked’ to the public, presumably by a whistleblower. On the surface, it seems like the sort of thing that restores power to the people. It arms us all with knowledge and reminds those in power that they must answer to the public.
Then you pause to think. And that’s when the holes in this narrative become obvious.
Although WikiLeaks claims to provide a counter balance to the decades of disinformation served up in heaps by the “old media”, it chose to allow the vetting of these documents by these same outlets. Other highly respected media outlets, like al Jazeera and various independent media, were excluded. I find that odd, for starters.
If we take a look at the content of the cables themselves, the most remarkable thing to come out of these secret and confidential memos is what they do not contain. Granted, only 290 have actually been released so far. But it seems far from a coincidence that nearly every cable to and from Arab states released thus far has to do with villainizing Iran and mum’s the word on most major diplomatic hooplas of the past few years.
Take for example the bombshell briefing by senior military officers to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen earlier in the year. The team was dispatched by Commander General David Petraeus to brief the Pentagon on intelligence that Israeli intransigence in the peace process was jeopardizing American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and that America was perceived as weak, ineffectual, and unable to stand up to Israel. Such political commentary from the highest echelons of the military was unprecedented and when news of this briefing broke, you can bet there was a significant diplomatic flurry. Yet a simple search of Petraeus’ name in the cablegate database on the Guardian website only turns up cables indicating that Arab countries were eager for an attack on Iran, which coincidentally happens to bolster Israel’s drumming for more war.
You can’t even find Vice President Joe Biden’s name in the keyword search even though Israel’s announcement of the construction of more illegal Jewish-only settlements in East Jerusalem on the eve of Biden’s visit to Tel Aviv amounted to an epic public spanking of Obama. Subsequent statements from the White House were as harsh as America ever dares to be with Israel, although they did not approach Obama’s reported ire over the matter. Thus far, there is not a single cable on the matter.
If you search cables originating in Dubai, all you’ll find are those denouncing and accusing Iran in titles like “Arab states scorn ‘evil’ Iran”, “Abu Dhabi favors action to prevent nuclear Iran”, or “Emiratis fret over Iranian meddling”. This is quite amazing considering that the biggest diplomatic crisis this year occurred after a senior Hamas leader was assassinated in Dubai. The evidence and the world’s collective finger pointed at the Mossad and several diplomatic fallouts ensued when it was confirmed that Israel had forged foreign passports of the hitmen. And yet, there is not a word about this in any of the cables released so far. Instead, everything referencing the UAE or originating from Dubai only discusses “evil Iran”, much like the cables referencing Gen. Petraeus.
The list goes on. For all of Israel’s well known subterfuge (to put it mildly) – their espionage against the US; their persistent requests for money, weapons, special favors, and political cover; their well documented crimes against Palestinians; their mafia tactics of assassinating leaders, intellectuals, and scientists across the globe; and their US-based powerful lobby, AIPAC, which was the center of an FBI investigation that found their senior officers passing sensitive and classified US intelligence to Israel – there is nothing referencing any of this in the memos to and from the US State Department in the cables thus far released.
Something else to note.
Someone with access to hundreds of thousands of classified communications and with the ability to move them without detection must have exceptionally high security clearance. He or she must be on the far upper end of the ladder. Why would individuals like that risk their careers, possibly their lives, just to embarrass the US, presumably their own country?
Whistleblowers tend to be people who obey the call of their conscience and moral codes to expose crimes and injustices committed. But there is nothing of the sort in this “leak”. Even more absurd is the notion that Manning, a soldier, leaked all these documents while in custody and under surveillance.
Finally, does anyone find it odd that while most world leaders are quietly bracing themselves for embarrassment and diplomatic repercussions, Benjamin Netanyahu is confidently speaking and gloating about how Saudia Arabia has urged attacking Iran? I sure do.
There are still thousands more cables to be reviewed and redacted by the good old boy network of ‘old media’ and I hope that the cables they release in the coming days and months will prove my suspicions moot. I’m willing to keep an open mind until we’ve seen the full leak. In the meantime, what we know so far does not add up and frankly smells rotten.
– Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin, a work of historic fiction. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.