U.S. trots out usual lies, threats to Wikileaks

Wkileaks founder Julian Assange (Reuters)

Afraid of the truth, the administration of President Barack Obama is dusting off the tired and disproven “national security” defense in a last-ditch effort to stop publication of the latest leaks on America‘s failed efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and threatened the Wikileaks owner with jail if he publishes thousands of pages of classified documents.

Publication of the documents, the U.S. claims, will put “countless” lives at risk, threaten global counter terrorism operations and undermine U.S. relations with its allies.

The American government made the same claims before the first found of documents were released but has yet to prove a single instance where such a dire warning came true

In a surprising — and some day dumb — step reflecting the administration’s “grave” concerns about the ramifications of the move, the State Department late Saturday released a letter from its top lawyer to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his attorney telling them that publication of the documents would be illegal and demanding that they stop it.

It also said the U.S. government would not cooperate with WikiLeaks in trying to scrub the cables of information that might put sources and methods of intelligence gathering and diplomatic reporting at risk.

The letter from State Department legal adviser Harold Koh was released as U.S. diplomats around the world are scrambling to warn foreign governments about what might be in the secret documents that are believed to contain highly sensitive assessments about world leaders, their policies and America’s attempts to lobby them.

In the letter, Koh said the publication of some 250,000 secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, which is expected on Sunday, will “place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals,” “place at risk on-going military operations,” and “place at risk on-going cooperation between countries.”

“They were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action,” he said. Koh said WikiLeaks should not publish the documents, return them to the U.S. government and destroy any copies it may have in its possession or in computer databases.

The State Department said Koh’s message was a response to a letter received on Friday by the U.S. ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman, from Assange and his lawyer, Jennifer Robinson. The department said that letter asked for information “regarding individuals who may be ‘at significant risk of harm’ because of” the release of the documents.

Wrote The Associated Press:

“Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals,” Koh wrote in reply. “You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger.”

He said the U.S government would not deal with WikiLeaks at all in determining what may or may not released.

“We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. government classified materials,” wrote Koh, who is considered to be one of the world’s top experts in international law and was reportedly considered for a seat on the Supreme Court.

WikiLeaks is expected to post the documents online on Sunday and Koh said the U.S. government had been told that The New York Times, the British newspaper the Guardian and the German news magazine Der Spiegel had prior access to them.

The release of Koh’s letter comes as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top U.S. officials are reaching out to numerous countries about the expected WikiLeaks release.

Clinton spoke to leaders in China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France and Afghanistan on Friday, according to State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. Canada, Denmark, Norway and Poland have also been warned.

The cables are thought to include candid assessments of foreign leaders and governments and could erode trust in the U.S. as a diplomatic partner.

Crowley said the release will place “lives and interests at risk. We are all bracing for what may be coming and condemn WikiLeaks for the release of classified material. It will place lives and interests at risk. It is irresponsible.”

Diplomatic cables are internal documents that would include a range of secret communications between U.S. diplomatic outposts and State Department headquarters in Washington.

WikiLeaks has said the release will be seven times the size of its October leak of 400,000 Iraq war documents, already the biggest leak in U.S. intelligence history.

The U.S. says it has known for some time that WikiLeaks held the diplomatic cables. No one has been charged with passing them to the website, but suspicion focuses on U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst arrested in Iraq in June and charged over an earlier leak.

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10 Responses to "U.S. trots out usual lies, threats to Wikileaks"

  1. bmclellan  November 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Whoa now, first and foremost lets back up the bus as the passenger list isn’t complete without Bush and Cheney for this merry little ride down memory lane to the Hague.

  2. Keith  November 28, 2010 at 11:24 am

    What a hoot to see all the “rats” now scrambling for cover as all of their previously “classified” nonsense now begins to see the light of day.

    Clearly, the people who are now so worried about these “leaks” have yet to realize that state secrets are the most fleeting of all.

    And maybe…just maybe…these disclosures will now make all of these clowns think twice before classifying stuff for absolutely no other purpose than to cover their backsides from their own horrific mistakes.

  3. Almandine  November 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    What’s most interesting is the realization that their duplicitous “assessments” of their international “partners” are about to be cleansed with the light of day. They won’t be able to continue to hide behind “diplomatic” protocol and other such pure BS… most importantly, thre American people will be made fully aware of the nefarious nature of our so-called “leaders”.

    Read ‘em and weep, boys and girls.

  4. Carl Nemo  November 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    It’s hell when the “Wizard of Lies” has the shogi screen fall over for all the citizens of Oz to witness what’s done in the name of ‘national security’…no?

    No doubt the bulk of these ‘classified’ documents further exposes our government and the MIC’s complicity in shaking down planet earth with their nonstop ‘war on terror’ scam all to plump the bottomline. Bring it on I say…! : |

    *****

    “A society whose citizens refuse to see and investigate the facts, who refuse to believe that their government and their media will routinely lie to them and fabricate a reality contrary to verifiable facts, is a society that chooses and deserves the Police State Dictatorship it’s going to get.” – Ian Williams Goddard

    *****

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. b mcclellan  November 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    One would certainly wish that at this time with the door of indictment flung wide open revealing our diplomatic practices worldwide, finally, a real effort to achieve transparency can evolve.
    Don’t count on it.

  6. b mcclellan  November 28, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    More food for thought, Simon Jenkins most recent column, Sunday @,
    guardian.co.uk

    • Carl Nemo  November 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm

      Good link material Bryan. Thanks. : )

      I’ll post the direct link so folks can locate it more easily.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-wikileaks

      Carl Nemo **==

      • Almandine  November 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm

        The analysis ends with the notion that our govt should keep its secrets better.

        What should really happen is to defund that bunch of foreign policy snakes and reclaim our good name.

  7. woody188  November 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I still maintain that WikiLeaks is an intelligence front to capture would be whistle-blowers. It’s what we call a “honeypot” in the IT industry. Hence the ballyhoo without any really damaging material being released. In fact, most of the information released has re-affirmed the military’s position in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    For God’s sake, we’ve got a former President that admits ordering torture of prisoners in his memoirs and there isn’t any juicy tidbits about that in any of these leaks?

  8. Keith  November 30, 2010 at 8:58 am

    It’s also going to be a real hoot watching all the “big bad bears” trying to prosecute this Wikileaks guy. (as in “I’ll huff…and I’ll puff…etc).

    The truth is the law they these clowns are trying to prosecute this fellow under dates from 1917 and there’s been a BUNCH of First Amendment case law ever since that has overshadowed it all. For example, does anyone remember the Pentagon Papers fiasco? Daniel Elllsberg was tried, but he eventually beat the rap on Constitutional grounds.

    Indeed, the Guardian Editor has it absolutely correct. It’s not the media’s job to protect high ranking officials from embarrassment. In fact, according to the Constitution, exposing such nonsense is PRECISELY “their job”.

    Or, to put it another way, it’s not the media’s fault that our government is so horrifically inept that it can’t even keep its own secrets.

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