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WikiLeaks is Destabilizing Countries Worldwide   December 3rd, 2010
What is the purpose of the leaks?       

 
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The recent Wikileaks scandal in which confidential and secret U.S. cables are being released doesn't seem to have any clear purpose other than to cause destabilization. Yet Wikileaks founder Assange says that his leaks haven't hurt anybody. This is dangerous and delusional.

Founder Julian Assange defended WikiLeaks' posting of confidential documents Friday, saying that not a single person has ever been harmed in the website's four-year publishing history.

"During that time there has been no credible allegation, even by (organizations) like the Pentagon that even a single person has come to harm as a result of our activities," Assange said in written answers to readers' questions posted on the British newspaper The Guardian's website.


Without even going to previous leaks, a few of the current leaks have caused situations that are already causing international destabilization:
  • Koreas/China. A WikiLeaked memo on the Koreas has complicated--and possibly inflamed--the already-existing tensions in the region. A leaked memo speculates that North Korea could collapse within three years of the current leader dying. It calls a Chinese negotiator incompetent. And it mentions a South Korean strategy of remaining at odds with North Korea to encourage a collapse. Each of these revelations raise tensions along the most militarized border in the world.

  • Mexico - Drug Cartels. A leaked cable from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico indicated that a high-ranking Mexican official said that the Mexican government feared that it could lose control of certain regions of the country to the drug cartels. Public revelations that the Mexican government feared (or fears) completely losing control of certain regions will embolden the already murderous and powerful drug cartels and likely increase the number of people that die in Mexico as a result of the ongoing battles between the government and the cartels, and between the cartels themselves.

  • Mexico - 2012 Presidential Race. One of the leaked memos also stated that Mexico's PRI party is on track to winning the 2012 presidential elections. The publication of this assessment will bolster the PRI's chances and, thus, effectively has caused external influence in Mexico's political process when such meddling was not the intent of the internal memo.

  • Mexico / Venezuela. Another leaked cable indicates that current Mexican President Calderon strongly believes that Venezuelan President Chavez financially supported the leftist presidential candidate that ran against him in 2006. Now that candidate--who plans to run again in 2012--is demanding that the president of Mexico substantiate those charges. There has been no reaction yet from Venezuela, but the leaked information will probably further strain relations between Venezuela and Mexico and Venezuela and the United States.

In short, WikiLeaks' latest releases have (or will likely soon) aggravated tensions and suspicions on the Korean peninsula, emboldened ruthless drug cartels to take over entire regions of Mexico, meddled in Mexico's internal political process, and caused more stress in relations between Venezuela and Mexico and between Venezuela and the U.S.

And Assange claims the leaks have never hurt anyone? He's either ignorant, delusional, or lying.

There's a legitimate case for whistleblowers to blow the whistle if they're working for a company or government agency, and see that illegal activities are taking place. But the current "dump" of a huge cache of stolen memos seems to serve absolutely no purpose but to embarrass the United States and, primarily, to upset delicate relations around the world.

For example, if the Mexican government was/is concerned about losing control of certain regions of its country to drug cartels, it's good that they let the United States know that so we can cooperate with them in our common goals. But what purpose is served by leaking this information to the public other than to let the drug cartels know that, apparently, they've been so successful that the government is worried? No good can come of that. The most likely outcome is more violence and more murders in Mexico. Note: The regions most likely to be lost to drug cartels would be those right on our border. I suspect that at some point the U.S. will be militarily involved in Mexico against the drug cartels, and this leak increases the chances of that by emboldening the drug cartels.

And what purpose is served by leaking the information about the Koreas and China mentioned above? It can only serve to increase tensions in the region. Releasing a memo in which a U.S. individual calls the Chinese negotiator "incompetent" may be embarrassing to the U.S., but the real impact is that it cools relations between China and the U.S. so as to make diplomatic efforts in the Koreas less effective and increase the probability of war.

It seems to me that the "embarrassment" to the United States by WikiLeaks is minimal compared to the danger the leaked information poses to other countries around the world. Even with just the relatively small number of memos leaked so far, the risk of violence and war has increased around the world.

Leaking information on specific illegal activity with the intent of stopping the illegal activity is one thing. But to engage in an irresponsible, indiscriminant dump of confidential information suggests to me that the purpose is nothing so noble as stopping perceived wrongs.

I would conclude that Assange/WikiLeaks is either ignorant of the impact of the information he is leaking, that he simply craves the worldwide limelight, or he is intentionally trying to destabilize the world. Because, thus far, the leaked information presents a far greater risk to foreign countries than it does to the United States.

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