Nearly everyone with an internet connection knows the website WikiLeaks.org to be the notorious publisher of inconvenient truths about the secret machinations of government and military operations. Scarcely fewer know that the founder, Julian Assange, was arrested last week in London. Only a few are asking the right questions.
Governments’ dealings with paid informers are always risky. By his willingness to snitch on his friends and associates, the informer has demonstrated his untrustworthiness, so it is difficult for his handlers to know when he is telling the truth and when he is fabricating information either to settle old scores or simply to keep the largess flowing. The problem of knowing whom to trust only becomes more intractable when operating in foreign countries.
A series of secret U.S. diplomatic cables released in recent days by the whistle-blower group WikiLeaks shows the American and European governments used monetary incentives, threats, and even espionage to advance their “climate” agenda at the COP15 global-warming summit in Copenhagen last year and beyond.
The Obama administration used bribes of up to $30 billion in foreign aid and spying by the CIA to force underdeveloped nations to agree to the Copenhagen summit documents, according to the WikiLeaks documents analyzed by the London Guardian. The documents, the Guardian summarized December 3, revealed that “money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.”
As the death toll among U.S. service members in Afghanistan continues to mount — 2010 is the deadliest year of the war thus far — President Barack Obama may regret his administration’s decision, correct though it was, to permit the media to cover the return of dead soldiers’ remains to Dover Air Force Base. Scenes such as this one reported by the Associated Press may become all too common: “Several of President Barack Obama’s top national security advisers stood on a silent, windy tarmac Wednesday night to watch as the bodies of six U.S. soldiers killed by a rogue Afghan policeman returned to U.S. soil.”
The Internet-based watchdog site WikiLeaks began releasing more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables in batches beginning November 28, earning the condemnation of the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The documents, which include frank assessments of foreign political officials, have already embarrassed U.S. diplomats to a variety of countries.
M1A1 Abrams tanks will be put to use in Afghanistan’s Helmand province by early spring. It is the first time in the nine-year Afghan war that the United States has made use of what CNN describes as “the fastest and most deadly ground combat weapons system available.”
Only a few days have passed since President Obama’s return from an expensive overseas jaunt in which he traveled from India to Indonesia praising Islam, but the scandal which his statements on Islam and Jihad evoked did not cause him to shirk what he apparently views as his duty to greet Hajj pilgrims. In a November 15 press release, Obama declared:
AP reported on November 17 that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to reporters after a 90-minute breakfast meeting with members of Congress, was exerting pressure on the Senate to vote on a new U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons treaty. Clinton asserted that postponing the vote until the next session of Congress would undermine national security.
Voice of America news reported a statement made by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on November 9 that the United States is willing to keep troops in Iraq past the current 2011 deadline, if Iraq's leaders request an extension of U.S. troop presence. VOA noted that Gates made the comment to reporters in Kuala Lumpur following a meeting with Malaysia's Defense Minister.