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Cables quote Kissinger as joking about breaking the law, violating Constitution

It was a dark era in U.S. history.  The homeland was rife with protests.  The communist Soviet Union was threatening nuclear action.  Israel was at war with Egypt and Syria.  And in Asia scores of young Americans were dying in the bloody stained jungles of Vietnam.

I. Wikileaks Parses, Publishes Late Vietnam-era Cables Collection

Wikileaks and its controversial editor-in-chief Julian Assange have scoured recently published diplomatic cables from the U.S. State Department from this period --1973-1976.  After meticulous script-driven extraction of the raw data, the leaks site is advertising some of its controversial findings in a release called the "Kissinger Cables".

In one cable titular U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger quips, "The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer."

Of course that quote may be a bit out of context; but it's certainly a bad joke at best.

Kissinger wide
U.S. SoS Henry Kissinger is quoted joking about illegal actions. [Image Source: Foreign Policy]

To build its searchable database Wikileaks combed through 1.7 million declassified PDF files, which totaled over 380 gigabytes of data and 700 million words.  The records were released via a declassification/publication process, that's supposed to occur within 25 years of their publication, according to U.S. State Department policy.

The cables join previous leaks in the central WikiLeaks Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) database.

Wikileaks PlusD

The publication process of State Department cables is initiated by the State Department declassifications and releases.  The cables are then passed off to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for final review.

II. Documents for 1976-1988 are Behind Schedule

The leaks site points out that the cables for 1976 through 1988 should be out, but that the release is 12 years "behind schedule."  But Wikileaks cites a 2006 review by US National Security Archives, an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at George Washington University, which suggests the delay was not entirely accidental.  The review found that the Bush administration had reclassified 55,000 releasable pages.  And reportedly, that process has been ongoing under President Obama's regime in the years since the review.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange jabs, "The [Kissinger Cables] collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on Earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published.  The US administration cannot be trusted to maintain the history of its interactions with the world. Fortunately, an organisation with an unbroken record in resisting censorship attempts now has a copy."

Julian Assange
Julian Assange has accused the U.S. government and global media of a grand conspiracy. 
[Getty Images/AFP]

Unlike a past release of current State Department classified cables, which drew a harsh rebuke from U.S. politicians and charges for alleged-leaker U.S. Private Bradley Manning, the current release was more of an exercise in targeted data mining.  While it's likely to ruffle feathers, it did not involve gaining any sort of unauthorized access.

To date over 95 percent of the leaks on Wikileaks have targeted the U.S. individually or in collective activities with its allies.  While these leaks have exposed some interesting and potentially incriminating details, they also have been at times indiscriminate, releasing sensitive, but not-incriminating documents along with more sensitive releases.

An important on-going question is whether Wikileaks -- which claims it needs tens of millions of dollars yearly to stay online -- is acting as a true whistleblowing site (which typically only publishes incriminating evidence, not sensitive, but immaterial operational details) or as a foreign espionage organization.  That question is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, though, as site founder Julian Assange explicitly refused multiple requests from reporters to identify whether any nation states fund his site or funding levels by nation.

Source: Wikileaks

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RE: Whistle Blower?
By inperfectdarkness on 4/8/2013 9:22:42 PM , Rating: 3
The problem with Assange is that he "says" that he wants to be a universal whistleblower, but he acts like he's got an axe to grind against the USA.

What makes this even sadder is that the USA--by virtue of the system of government--is inherently open about many things, and does a poor job of concealing others. This is why you'll never see wikileaks provide some "earthshattering" insight into the evils of mainland China:

1. their country is so censorship-minded that its virtually impossible to uncover material that is "unsanctioned" by the government.

2. the punishment for defying the powers-that-be in China by whistleblowing isn't due-process in a court of law. it's kinda hard to find people willing to jump on that grenade when the punishment swift, brutally severe, and potentially inequitable.

for that matter...i'm guessing that any country with "political prisoners" isn't going to be one that Assange does an expose on.

RE: Whistle Blower?
By Strunf on 4/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: Whistle Blower?
By inperfectdarkness on 4/9/2013 8:43:50 AM , Rating: 2
I funny that you feel you can compare "political prisoners" (domestic citizens) with known terrorists (who are not domestic citizens--and if they were, would be held accountable to the US judicial system).

In fact, the only reason that detainees are still at Gitmo is because the world has failed to address the legal gap between Legal-combatants (Geneva Convention) and Criminality (Domestic Laws). Terrorists only have themselves to blame; if they chose to abide by ROE laid out in the Geneva Convention (which is STILL possible in asymmetric warfare), they wouldn't be stuck in legal limbo.

But by all means, continue to be an apologist for gross violations of human rights abuses elsewhere in the world. I'm sure live-organ-harvesting from political prisoners is nothing compared to the shit Berkeley-ites accuse the US of.

RE: Whistle Blower?
By Strunf on 4/9/2013 11:15:56 AM , Rating: 2
lol you call them terrorist without actually even giving them a trial... the world addressed this problem long ago it's called giving them a fair trial and sentence them according to their crimes, I don't see any difference between a criminal that kills dozens of civilians and a terrorist that does the same, sure the terrorist may be part of an organization but so does the criminal, besides terrorism is not a new trend it has been around since the dawn of times.

Funny you speak of the Geneva Convention cause the US nitpicked what he want and never agreed with the complete extent of it...

Cause holding people with no trial is not a violation of the human rights?

Like it or not here will be another 800 pound gorilla soon enough.

RE: Whistle Blower?
By Master Kenobi on 4/9/2013 4:03:17 PM , Rating: 2
Criminals, and I assume you mean the domestic kind, in the US have certain rights as they are US citizens. Foreign combatants do not have those same rights. As POW's they fall under the Geneva Conventions. The general argument is that since they are not a uniformed combatant, and they do not represent any nation, who do we hold accountable that was a signatory of those conventions? In the reality of those conventions, it is a gentleman's agreement between the various nations when they go to war. The objective is that your troops would be returned once the war was over.

RE: Whistle Blower?
By mike66 on 4/9/13, Rating: -1
RE: Whistle Blower?
By schmandel on 4/9/2013 9:37:59 AM , Rating: 1
Aw, you're hurting their little fweelings. They are quite small.

RE: Whistle Blower?
By schmandel on 4/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: Whistle Blower?
By mike66 on 4/9/2013 7:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
I really think that most will not, as I'm a bit too logical in my arguments, They just don't get it, their morally bankrupt just like their economy. Their interference in other countries came home to nest. Here's some more food for thought, They claim themselves to be God's country, they even have what they call the "The bible belt", they know about the 10 commandments, but you get a blank look when you mention the 7 deadly sins.

RE: Whistle Blower?
By ATWindsor on 4/9/2013 9:22:13 AM , Rating: 4
Maybe he has an Axe to Grind against the US, who knows. But so what? That doesn't make the documents less true, and you are free to start whistle-blowing against China any time you want. Why so much focus on one guy, when to focus should be the data?

RE: Whistle Blower?
By inperfectdarkness on 4/12/2013 8:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
How do you define "true" out of context? How do you determine if gun-camera footage adheres to the Geneva Conventions & applicable ROE if you don't know what those things are?

I agree the focus should be on the data; the data should never have gotten into the public realm. One lone, disgruntled Army peon decided to take matters into his own hands and violate his sworn oath and compromise classified materials. At a MINIMUM, this means Manning is guilty of a violation of article 92 of the UCMJ--and that's even if you paint it in the best possible light.

From my perspective, Manning is guilty of treason and Aasange is guilty of espionage. I doubt much will be done with Assange overall, but I would be most gratified if Manning were executed (though I doubt he will be). National transparency is a fool's paradise. No better method exists for empowering our enemies than to cease keeping secrets. And that applies from every level of international relations right down to interpersonal relations.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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