Why the US is Panicked, Part 1

Posted on 09/01/2011 by


A good chunk of the original Facebook version of this thread was lost, but I developed the idea beyond its first exposition. So, here I again present the idea, using new concepts and terms which I arrived at in the course of the sadly deceased thread.

Many loud and violent negative reactions have arisen about Cablegate; examples of these are easy to find! Many US politicians are howling for Julian Assange to be tried for treason (apparently forgetting he is an Australian citizen). Tom Flanagan, a rather uncanadian Canadian, said with a very manly straight face that Mr Assange should be assassinated.

The question arises: why the violence in the reactions? Consider how the US reacted with blasé disapproval of Collateral Murder, the Afghan War Diaries, and the Guantanamo Bay SOP manual. WikiLeaks was not pushed out of the US because of these; Mr Assange did not end up in gaol over these.

Something, therefore, is fundamentally different in Cablegate, compared to all the other leaks. It is clearly not the information content, but rather something beyond the content. That something is simple: the flow of information.

All information has a source whence it flows. This is especially true in governments, but it can be seen in almost any situation of life. Information starts in one place, and flows from there. In the case of Cablegate, the information starts from non-US government officials, flows to the US embassies, from there into SIPRnet, and now into our homes.

The implications of this are clear: non-US intelligence services can, using Cablegate, trace information leaks back to their sources. These sources are US informants; they are spies. Examples of these include Helmut Metzner, and Mark Arbib. Consider the comment that, so far, Cablegate has caused five years of damage to US diplomatic programmes. This is with less than 1% of cables leaked; what will things look like at 50%, or 100%? Quote from Secretary Hillary Clinton: “I think I will be answering concerns about WikiLeaks for the rest of my life, not just the rest of my tenure as secretary of State.”

In essence, Cablegate represents the total dismantling of the US State Department-run spy network. Foreign intelligence services, unless corrupted by the US, will not stand idly by when it is clear their governments have been penetrated by a foreign, and unfriendly, power. This is an unmitigated disaster for the US, and I believe it will go down in history as the greatest espionage collapse ever.

I say greatest, because of two reasons. One, the US government has poured over all cables, not just the ~250,000 in Cablegate, and warned sensitive informants to flee for sanctuary. What this means, to use a metaphor, is that when the bush is kicked, all the rabbits will run. Two, because foreign intelligence agencies will not stop with finding US State Department spies; other, deeper spies will also be found, damaging more secretive spy networks as well.

But the interesting implications do not stop there. Let’s consider the ‘face’ which the US puts on for the world’s benefit: democracy-loving, market liberalism, free speech, civil rights, open society, et cetera. The question to ask is, how does the ‘informal’ relationship between US and Swedish intelligence operations, fit into this? Or the rearrangement of the Australian government months before Aussies knew about it? What about the secret deals with Japanese whale hunting? And how about goading Ethiopia into attacking Somalia, and then claiming to be indignant? Not to mention torture networks across the world!

The picture of what is behind the ‘face’ is very grim. The US is the antithesis of what it claims to stand for. It thrives on secrecy and disinformation; it resorts to force and coercion first, and honest diplomacy as a show. These aren’t isolated incidents, they are systemic. This is why the US did not react strongly to Collateral Murder et al: those could be passed off as isolated incidents. (eg “most unfortunate mistake”.) Cablegate shows the entire system for all to see.

In Part 2, I will write about  how the US has gone beyond fascism and imperialism, into a quest for a hegemonic, world-wide police state. The implication of this, is that the US is systematically subverting the sovereignty of the entire world.

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Posted in: WikiLeaks