Wikileaks studied leak, tailored to Washington’s plans

Necessary notes regarding cables published by Australian Julian Assange´s website.

09 de Diciembre de 2010
The Wikileaks Effect ─is it seen─ has taken front pages by storm and has monopolised all newspapers´ headings around the globe. And, it will presumably continue doing so for a long time. Hypothesis that can be sustained not only in virtue of the hundreds of thousands still unpublished documents, but also when considering the long periods of subsequent analysis that, inevitably, will take place. Variables derived from this new global affair are so numerous that it becomes downright impossible to cover all of their interactions. Nonetheless, a detail stands out, namely that few dare to challenge the veracity of the cables because ─if anyone tried─ it would be tantamount to claiming that officials of U.S. diplomatic missions around the globe have plotted to lie outright to Hilary Clinton, the Department of State that she runs, and Washington establishment as a whole. Prerogative to which description, the term ¨ridiculous¨ is invariably not enough. It becomes inevitable to recall a phrase taken from a dialogue of the film Quantum of Solace. In a particular scene, one of the actors says: When you are young, it is difficult to distinguish between good and evil. When you grow older, it gets more complicated: heroes and villains merge together... Wikileaks affair has taken politics and journalists by surprise and in awkward positions; while the former simply do not know how to react -giving, at times, a grotesque overacting-, the latter clumsily take the wrong way when interpreting the scenario and messages from it. In this case, someone might say, in mitigation, that the speed in which information is published does not allow media workers to have enough time for reflexion and deep analysis. In such a way that journalists and the mainstream media fall prey to their own naiveté: as soon as they dare to investigate a bit more about the subject, they run the task with ingenuity, pre-concepts and in a rush to get to the next day’s edition. Finally, to hastily conclude that this Cable gate brings up a devastating effect on U.S. diplomacy and that the issue shall be discussed in these terms, is a huge mistake. Because to focus only on the plot’s operational aspects and to limit it to what will happen within U.S. borders prevent us from having a general view. The first thing that should be said about the Wikileaks Effect is that what happened serves Americans to send a clear message to those nations which encourage interests opposing their agenda. This message in between lines –hidden in the shape of simple cables─ starts slowly, but effectively to spread all over the world. The consequences are particularly harmful to those foreign governments who are not yet in clear alignment with certain policies threaded from within the only remaining great power. Of course, this hypothesis could be argued by some analysts, given that the U.S. foreign service –Hillary included- will see their daily task disturbed as from the already known cables. However, sacrificing that manoeuvrability of ambassadors, ministers and consuls around the world is certainly a very reasonable price to pay, in exchange for the gale-force in which the elusive releases land in the recipient nations. It would not be very surprising if the Pentagon itself were the architect of this ¨September 11 of diplomacy¨. And unfortunately for Barrack Obama’s ¨good intentions¨, this cocktail is peppered with the recent Republicans´ victory in the Capitol. Another important factor: the unstoppable European crisis, that threatens to demolish not only the Euro, but also the Union in practice. When the U.S. seems to retract on itself, it is actually ready for another expansion. And it has already overcome its crisis. But, which will be soldiers´ next destination now that they are progressively abandoning Afghanistan? On the other hand, the fact that Julian Assange is liable to be arrested by Interpol should not be considered more than just another detail adding to the overall effect. It is about red herring. Conveniently, something has already been observed about the high price that, by now, José Luis Zapatero (referred to as a ¨haggard left-winger¨ by American diplomats) is paying since the publication of the first Spain-related cables. Zapatero was struggling with his country’s severe economic crisis ─which could darken again an already fairly nasty panorama─, while he was acknowledging the impact of the undeniable collapse of his popularity. The soft hand against ETA and Spanish troops´ withdrawal from The Middle East are interpreted by Washington as a very light attitude towards terrorism. Spanish political theatre gets complicated since the cables´ release, therefore, the Prime Minister will have to bear new pushes from society claims to bring forward general elections. An election in which everything seems to show that the Popular Party will be the merciless executioner. Cablegrams’ case referring to Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez is much marrowier, considering its impact on South America. The Bolivarian was able to hold back rumours stating that Cuban Intelligence was deeply entrenched in Caracas’s government until the present, but with the new cables the former gossip has become an undeniable fact. Venezuela will be, during the following months, one of the obliged stars of the paper work flowing from Wikileaks. Relevant material that will involve the president even more with the Colombian guerrilla FARC and drug trafficking is yet to be seen. People´s acknowledgement about the president’s complex personality and his repeated obstructing manoeuvres and boycotts on neighbouring Alvaro Uribe´s Administration is still lacking. In all probability ─and with the new information in hand─ nationalist elements who find shelter in Venezuela’s army will increasingly be approaching the best moment to lead a revolt. Details about Chavez’s relationship with his partners Rafael Correa, Evo Morales and Nicaraguan Daniel Ortega will come out as hard cash. Identities holding abundant and well-studied records on computers that never shut down in Langley and Fort Meade. Where did the money to pay for Ecuador’s current president campaign come from? Which is the Bolivian president real commitment to fight against drug trafficking? Which role did Ortega exactly play in Honduras´ crisis? What position did the ¨overthrown¨ government of Manuel ¨Mel¨ Zelaya hold about drug trade routes necessarily passing through his country? The consequences that these famous ¨little papers¨ are getting in Argentina are ─of course─ the most interesting thing to us. Among the newest released cables, Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa stands out, whose statements in shorthand about Kirchnerism help to reinforce the theory that National Government’s men have long since lost their eyeglasses and are groping around in the dark. Because neither confidants nor themselves believe in the ¨Model¨ and their representatives. Some of the statements made by Massa were (although his later denial was not credible): * Argentina is not Venezuela. Its society is too educated, has a large middle class and its economy is much more complex than Caracas’s oil monoculture. Argentina will not allow the Kirchners to consolidate their power with greater autocratic governorship. * Nestor Kirchner is a psychopath, a monster, whose bully approach to politics shows his sense of inferiority. * President (Cristina Fernández) would be better off without him. * CFK refers almost all matters to her husband and she only follows orders. Fortunately for him, as he has always opted for a studied low profile, Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa was not the only ex kirchnerist quoted in the cables. Transcripts of statements issued by Alberto Fernández, ex Cabinet Chief, assuring that Néstor Kirchner did not stand a single chance of winning 2011 presidential elections, and that at most the ruling party could aspire to achieve 20% of the votes, ¨mainly fundamentalists¨, were extremely resonant. Fernandez’s concepts expressing his concern about the possibility of ¨CFK increasingly governing from the left, which is the only sector that remains faithful to her¨, become important. He would comment afterwards that such strategy will finally fail because ¨the left alone can not take anyone to government in this country¨. With regard to statements attributed to Sergio Massa, it is possible to assume that they will provide him with greater electoral expectations for 2011 facing his project aimed at governing Buenos Aires. His thought different from kirchnerism will hardly contribute to destroy his already high popularity (extremely superior to that of a distracted Francisco De Narváez), although it is granted that government men, who observed a quasi-Taliban fanatism towards Cristina Fernández, will try everything possible to make him look as the "slaughterer of the poor widow." As it has been seen, the President, thanks to who knows which press criterion of agenda setting, focused her attention on the first published cablegrams. At this point, and by virtue of what has already been published, there is no mistake in concluding that Washington regards her as an incompetent person to deal with foreign affairs, emotionally unstable, opportunely dominated by her husband and with her mental health at stake. All in all, this information helps to analyse Americans perspective on foreign leaders: they usually look for reports confirming what they already know. Imperative analysis that easily complies with the destruction of kirchnerists who, perhaps tomorrow may want to minimise the details requested by Hillary Clinton about Cristina Fernández de Kirchner´s health. Identical explanation applies to the reports, requested by the Secretary of State, on Jorge Taiana´s history and his involvement in a bomb attack at the bar El Ibérico in 1975, which cost the lives of a local waiter and a pregnant woman. This request for information is not just a simple anecdote: it is the reason why the former Minister jumped off the ship earlier. He perfectly knew that someone from Washington was questioning about his past. It is yet to be seen whether the cablegrams to come will refer to the remnant of former Montoneros that have milled and still mill around Balcarce 50 since 2003, and whether the identity of left-speech individuals who used to visit the Spartan building of Colombia Av. 4300 will be unveiled. Among the latter, the paradigmatic case is marked by the CELS activist Horacio Verbitzky, a frequent guest for the cocktails held to celebrate July 4 at "The Embassy." Finally, and for the sake of a deep and conscious analysis of the content of future communications between the U.S. Embassy in Argentina and Washington, we suggest considering the following aspects in the shape of a brief manual: - Generally, the quoted statements belong to material prepared by intelligence personnel either through memory, microphones, or both. Their task is performed under diplomatic cover, and to a great extent, the decision-making spectrum of officials from the Department of State relies on the accuracy of their reports. - It is advisable to appreciate the way in which the cables are being released by El País and other media, given that the Spanish newspaper (now virtually monopolises the ¨Argentine¨ material) usually publishes the cables much earlier than related sites do. - It must be fully taken into account which personalities from the local political environment hold the biggest number of reports, and which of them appear less frequently. - Are quotes textual or reported in third person? It has to be taken into account that in all cases, people in charge of preparing them are not allowed to make mistakes; therefore they tend to use different technologies in order to check their first impressions in the field. - Given a possible denial from the protagonists, previous point has to be considered. - Particular attention must be paid to references about new conflictive scenarios or ¨areas of interest¨ away from the traditional. In the case of Argentina, all material related to the Triple Boarder Area (under the tag or label TBA "Triple Border Area" in the cables) becomes valuable. English translation by Debora Gravano. e-Mail: debora.gravano @ Matías E. Ruiz, Editor. e-Mail: contacto @ Twittter:
Matías E. Ruiz, Editor