the Syria Files (wikileaks)

wikileaks strikes again

what will be the effect the leaks?
I hope the person or persons who did the leaking are safe and out of Syria

It’s hard to say until we know what the leaks say. My impression of the first batch, about the US State Department and so on, was that they were somewhat anti-climatic. I suspect this batch might be the same, although perhaps the Syrians might not think so.

What will we find out? That Syria is a hideous and repressive dictatorship, run by assholes? That’s not exactly breaking news. I believe Wikileaks is also claiming the e-mails are embarrassing to Syria’s opponents, but that may be hype to some extent. The leaks will have a long way to go before they make Syria’s opponents look as bad as Syria does now.

No doubt the press is combing thru looking for sensation, but there are a couple million to examine, so it may be a while.


Why don’t they just release the whole bunch immediately? It appears they’re trying to attract attention over a longer period.

Not to be pedantic, but I don’t think the climate is an issue. The word you were going for is anti-climactic.

I meant it would be a cold day in hell before I took the Wikileaks about the State Dept. seriously.



Because Wikileaks tends to deliberate over what is and isn’t good to leak. Maybe I heard wrong, but haven’t they even censored some stuff?

This is also a pretty good indication that getting Assange won’t accomplish anything. It’s not surprising–someone who thinks they have the right to leak things that the government is doing in secret isn’t going to change their mind because some government thugs try to stop them. That’s affirmation for their beliefs.

The content of these new leaks might conceivably embarrass some officials in other countries and perhaps even lead to a few resignations; but I don’t see how it can make any difference in Syria itself, considering that Syria already is in a civil war, and several of its neighbors already have expressed intense interest in having the Assad regime gone.

Not really, but if the leaks make it apparent that Western governments are colluding with or providing support to these assholes…

That would depend on the nature and extent of the collusion or support. A memo from some junior secretary saying “don’t help the revolutionaries in Syria; they’re just as bad as Assad” wouldn’t be all that much of a smoking gun, IMO.

But that’s one of the things I hate about Wikileaks. The saying is that “if you love sausage or the law, don’t watch either of them being made”. That applies to international diplomacy and foreign affairs as well. It is that much harder to try to get anything done in the messy world without having to worry that everything you do or say will be gone over with a fine-tooth comb trying to find something to embarrass you with.

Sure, there’s abuses. But there is still a case to be made that some things need to be kept confidential. At least in the West we tend to elect the people who decide whether or not to keep things on the down-low. And I don’t recall voting for that Assange dork.


From what I understand, that’s exactly why Assange felt the need to make Wikileaks in the first place. We’re “used” to the notion that there are secret deals being made behind closed doors for our sake, but we’re far from aware just how slimy the underbelly of our nations are, and just how unsavoury the deals can get. Or maybe we’d rather just not think about it. And the question he (and the site) asks is: is it worth it ? Are you, citizen, ready to dance with the kind of devils your leaders are dancing with on your behalf ?

I think that’s a discussion worth having. Just as it’s worth it filming Congress making laws and being made aware of the silly antics our legislators get up to.

[shrug] You didn’t vote for Daniel Ellsberg either, but he was still a national hero.

Pace Shodan, WikiLeaks can be very relevant sometimes. It was important to the Arab Spring: one of the many factors in the Tunisian uprising that started it all was the material about how ridiculously overprivileged and corrupt Ben Ali’s family was. Sure, low-level classified information isn’t going to give you all that much juice on the American government, but I doubt that all the Syrian stuff will be low-level classification.

I mean, I agree that mass leaks aren’t necessarily helpful for international relations. It’s important that diplomats can give honest assessments to their bosses without worrying that they’ll get caught saying something bad about the people they’re interacting with. But there was a good side, too, that’s all.

All that said, I don’t think it matters that much to Syria. Considering how ethnically driven the conflict is at the moment, I can’t imagine Syrians changing sides much, except in response to who they think is going to win the war, and there’s no reason to assume the leaks will make that guess lean one way or the other. It could change the worldwide response, but that’s pretty irrelevant unless someone decides to intervene, and that would be a cold day in hell.

(ETA: sorry for being so wishy-washy. Hopefully you get what I’m saying anyway.)

Heh. That would be a new approach.

Despite what the psychopaths in the US government were saying when they were trying to justify having Assange murdered, last time this came up Wikileaks’ opponents couldn’t actually come up with a single instance where anyone came to harm because of what they did (unless you count the US using “soft” torture techniques on Manning). It doesn’t protect the reputation of the United States, but that’s their own damn fault for committing war crimes.*

*And yes, killing civilians for trying to rescue the first lot of civilians you shot is a war crime.

Cute, but you’ve skipped four important things. 1. The (rightfully) infamous video was not a part of the mass document-releases. 2. The possibility that nobody actually died as a result of being named in WikiLeaks doesn’t change the fact that it was hideously irresponsible, if not downright psychopathic, to publish the documents without redacting names first. To murder there is attempted murder, to manslaughter there is reckless endangerment. 3. The Guardian, the New York Times, and even other members of WikiLeaks had major fallings-out with Assange over the lack of redactions. 4. You made an awful lot of a very brief comment.

I’ll take your word for it, but that goes back to something said earlier - the fact that Third World dictators are corrupt and repressive is only news in the West. And that’s because we have a free press, not because of Wikileaks.

I don’t think we disagree.


Nobody came to harm because of the Plame outing either.