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منگل، 7 دسمبر، 2010

WikiLeaks releases list of facilities vital to US security

 The WikiLeaks whistleblower website has published a secret list of key facilities around the globe that US State Department describes as vital to US national security.
The list includes scores of pipelines, undersea cables and factories across the world that would cause most damage to US interests if destroyed.
Several Russian sites are also listed, including the Druzhba oil pipeline, an export terminal in Novorossiysk and the Nadym gas pipeline junction in western Siberia.

The last massive portion of documents made public by notorious whistleblower WikiLeaks has a chance to shake the world much harder than before. “The Cable Disaster” grabs much more attention than secret military reports from the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan, and may lead to some serious changes in world diplomacy. 

This time Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, obtained a quarter-million pack of confidential American diplomatic cables. The release started on November 28, when Assange leaked the first cache of documents via selected media sources, despite the announced Distributed Denial-Of-Service attack on WikiLeaks.  The list of trusted media for the first time included Russian magazine Russian Reporter, while The Wall Street Journal, again – for the first time declined the offer to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Despite the fact that not all the documents have a top-secret status, their disclosure offers an extremely harsh look at the world of modern diplomacy. The bargaining of the diplomats, merciless and sometimes rude assessments of  foreign leaders, harsh criticism of corrupt local governments, and sober opinions on nuclear and terrorist threats – “The Cable Disaster” has it all. Following the release of the cables, the US Government took steps to forbid all unauthorized federal government employees from accessing classified documents publicly available on WikiLeaks. Despite this measure, in the first week after publication WikiLeaks remained the top search item in America according to trusted Google service – Google Insights.
It is not surprising that the Obama Administration decided that the publication of the classified materials posed a serious danger to the lives of American diplomats, embassy personnel and military officers. The problem may look really significant considering the fact that the authors of the cables were identified by name and title in WikiLeaks publications.  It’s interesting to mention that on November 26 Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson wrote a letter to the US Department of State, asking for information on people who could be placed at “significant risk of harm by the publication of classified diplomatic cables”. But Harold Koh – the Legal Adviser of the Department of State declined the offer. "We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials” stated the government official.
While the Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton declared that WikiLeaks publications put the lives of American diplomats in jeopardy, Assange denied the accusation. “This sort of nonsense about lives being put in jeopardy is trotted out every time a big military or intelligence organization is exposed by the press. It's nothing new, and it's not an exclusively American phenomenon by any means.” – said the founder of WikiLeaks in his interview to Time Magazine. However, the White House already has serious plans for major reassignment of diplomats and intelligence operatives at US embassies around the world. “We’re going to have to pull out some of our best people,” stated a senior U.S. national-security official, “because they dared to report back the truth about the nations in which they serve.”       The Obama Administration admits that “The Cable disaster” may deal a serious blow to the American foreign policy, affecting the “best of the best” of government specialists – highly trained diplomats, representing the USA in  foreign countries.  The US Administration officials stated that some foreign governments have already expressed their discontent over the disclosed cables. Among them are France, Italy, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and others. At the same time there have been no official attempts made by the named governments to force the identified US representatives out of their countries. But, according to US officials, it may be just a matter of time.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the next two weeks plans to phone up world leaders to express her regret over the embarrassing publication of the classified documents. She has already spoken with 12 heads of state, including presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to US officials, both presidents stressed the importance of these countries’ friendship with the US. The founder of WikiLeaks denies all accusations of civil disobedience. “We are an organization that tries to make the world more civil and act against abusive organizations that are pushing it in the opposite direction” – declared Assange in his interview to Time Magazine - “As for the law, we have now in our four-year history had over 100 legal attacks of various kinds and have been victorious in all of those matters.
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