WikiLeaks recently ended its long period of silence with the new release of five million e-mails from the global intelligence company Stratfor. One such email relates to Osama Bin Laden's body.
Though not everything has been released to the public, the few hundred files which have been leaked are causing quite a stir within the foreign policy community.
The organization’s international fame was born in its 2010 decision to release “The War Logs,” a series of secret diplomatic cables—numbering in the hundreds of thousands—that revealed abuses committed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps the most widely-recognized file from this collection is entitled “Collateral Murder,” which depicts an US-conducted air strike leading to the deaths of two Reuters correspondents.
These older releases were seen as WikiLeaks’ battle against corruption and violence, but it seems the organization has its eyes set on a new target: governmental secrecy.
Two of the recent leaks, in specific, detail blatant lies on behalf of the intelligence-gathering sphere, at least potentially. And it’s clear that these could be the straws that break the camel’s back in terms of voter support for warfare, especially with the already-staggering 75 percent of Americans who support a withdrawal from Iraq alone.
The first release date gave rise to e-mails indicating that top officials may have known that Iran’s nuclear facilities were destroyed by Israeli military actions many months ago.
In an e-mail dated November 2011, one intelligence official writes,
I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago. The current ‘let’s bomb Iran’ campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home financial problems.
An e-mail from one day earlier reads the same way:
Israeli commandos in collaboration with Kurd forces destroyed few underground facilities mainly used for the Iranian defense and nuclear research projects. Even if the Israelis have the capabilities and are ready to attack by air, sea and land, there is no need to attack the nuclear program at this point after the commandos destroyed a significant part of it.
Many have implied that Stratfor’s acquisition of this knowledge must certainly mean that White House officials and Congress members had it, too, so they are searching for the real reason behind Obama’s recent comments towards Iran’s nuclear weapon program.
Yesterday the president insisted that he will “reserve all options” in dealing with Iran.
It begs the question for many: is it possible that this sensitive information reached WikiLeaks before it reached Washington, D.C.? And, if WikiLeaks were to not have released this information, would our politicians have continued a campaign of fear under knowingly-false pretenses?
Equally stunning under this current assumption is the possibility that Ahmadinejad may have risked a nuclear war in exchange for the pride in knowing that our globe was blind to the country’s meager stature next to Israeli strength.
A second batch of information released in WikiLeaks’ new e-mail collection involves the remains of Osama bin Laden’s body after the May 2011 raid on his compound in Pakistan. The official story states that his remains were buried at sea, handled in accordance with Islamic practice, a phenomenon leading many conspiracy theorists to believe that something fishy went on.
Few said that he was secretly in custody of the US government, and others said he escaped. These new leaks will light the fire under their gasoline-fueled imaginations.
George Friedman, CEO of Stratfor, sent one e-mail the morning after the fatal raid:
Reportedly, we took the body with us. Thank goodness.
Vice President for intelligence Fred Burton then replied to two other e-mails explaining that the body was “Dover bound” by means of a CIA plane.
These statements do not certify any of the wilder hypothetical events surrounding bin Laden’s death, but it does leave many questions in voters’ minds about the Obama administration’s (as Politico’s Josh Gerstein put it) “muddy transparency record.”
With only a few hundred out of the claimed five million e-mails leaked, we’ll soon see what’s in store for governments finding themselves with their pants down.