Wikileaks's X-files 'fire blanks in information war'

Thu 02 Dec 2010 01:31 GMT | 05:31 Local Time

Text size: bigger smaller

Wars differ, and now an information war is unleashed before our eyes.

WikiLeaks is publishing material that claims to reflect “hidden aspects” of the meetings of US officials with heads of state and other foreign representatives and this material is being republished by leading mass media worldwide.

First of all, this damages US influence since it shows how easy it is to access confidential material in the United States. This isn't the first time it's happened. In late July WikiLeaks published official documents regarding the conduct of operations by the US and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq from January 2004 to December 2009. There were more than 90,000 documents, including reports by US commanders at different levels on the conduct of operations with details of military operations and detailed descriptions of their implications.

Last weekend WikiLeaks presented the latest instalment of secret material - over 250,000 documents. This time, the documents are mostly secret cables from US diplomats to the State Department in Washington, which contain unflattering comments about a number of European leaders. This incident won't help Barack Obama’s administration to find friends, since trust in the confidentiality of negotiations has been lost and any politician can be involved in information warfare against the United States, like it or not.

The Azerbaijani presidential press service said that the Wikileaks disclosures contained blatant lies against Azerbaijan.

"WikiLeaks has recently distributed material allegedly showing ‘some of the hidden aspects’ of meetings held by US officials with the heads and representatives of foreign countries," the press service said.

"These materials reflect some of the thoughts and opinions connected with the meetings held by the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan with officials from the United States. In this regard, we declare that the thoughts and opinions attributed to President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev do not reflect reality and are totally unfounded. These materials are an open provocation designed to spoil relations between Azerbaijan and neighbouring states, to create distrust between heads of state. The president's vocabulary does not include slang expressions, sharp and emotional assessments. [In one cable from Baku, President Aliyev was reported to have used slang to describe relations between Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.] The Republic of Azerbaijan has never interfered in matters of internal policy of neighbouring states and has always pursued a clear policy that serves to maintain and develop neighbourly relations with these countries. In all meetings and speeches as president of Azerbaijan he openly expresses thoughts, dictated by national interests. Foreign policy has always been independent, sustainable, logical and sincere."

I would like to add some comments to this.

First, it makes sense to investigate who is the distributor of the "secret information". Wikileaks is an international social networking project. It was opened on 29 November 2006 by a group of enthusiasts. The chief representative of the organization is Julian Assange, who, according to some reports, in his youth was a hacker and hacked the computers of firms and companies. He was particularly interested in the Pentagon. That is, we are facing an ordinary, but very professional hacker, quite possibly with big ambitions and appetite that motivated him to take part in a large information war. Hacking websites is a crime akin to theft. A thief should be in jail.

Second, it is worth recalling that Wikileaks is funded through donations. It is not specified from whom they come. But it is not ruled out that those who finance Wikileaks ordered the information war. But I, in this case, am interested in the fact that the world's leading media published information from a website whose source of financing is not known. There is no need to say that this is a strange position for news brands that value their influence. .

Third, Wikileaks publishes reports from the military and officials without a preliminary review of the facts, without placing them into context or analysis. This violates all the possible canons of journalism. Any information should be reviewed from several sources before publishing, which has not been done not only by Wikileaks but also by the leading world mass media which published the X-files from Wikileaks the same day, as if to order. Yes, I would agree that it is very difficult to recheck 250,000 reports of US diplomats across the world, but for a professional team this is a possible mission, while leading world mass media employ tested professionals.

Fourth, when journalist Seymour Hersh published an article on torture at Abu Graib prison in The New Yorker in 2004, a group of activists got involved in the case. The Congress held hearings, summoned the officials and generals along with the sadist sergeants whom we saw in the shocking photos and, as a result, those responsible were punished and the prison was shut down. I say this to note that there is no benefit from the spread of “confidential material” by Wikileaks, since this is not the result of journalistic investigation, but is rather deliberate disinformation or the spread of stolen, unchecked, dubious information.

Fifth, in reality we are dealing with a flow of information, quite brilliantly promoted and able to ensure great revenues through the readers’ interest but which is essentially empty and, as I think, not the result of analysis but merely taken from opposition and independent mass media in the countries discussed in Wikileaks. At least, the statement in Britain's Guardian newspaper, which published quite a sharp cable sent to the Armenian leadership on 24 December 2008 in which high ranking officials of the United States threatened to apply sanctions if the Armenian government did not stop sending arms to Iran via its territory, which caused the death of US soldiers in Iraq, came as no surprise to us.  We have often written about the criminal nature of the present Armenian authorities. The Armenian media also often publish material hinting that Serzh Sargsyan is a criminal, actively involved in arms trading, and a corrupt official, used to stealing anything and everything. We are again convinced that there are no grounds to treat Wikileaks reports that are printed within the framework of the current information warfare seriously.

The analytical reports of leading Azerbaijani, Russian and western political scientists is more valuable, not only for ordinary readers but for those who write their “x-files” on their basis.

Akper Hasanov



Most read articles

More from Politics

In The Region

Editor's Picks

Azerbaijan Cuisine

Explore the food of Azerbaijan - from sherbet to succulent kebab, from baklava to fragrant pilaff

Follow us

Find us on Facebook

Real estate

Virtual karabakh