For balance, then, it’s important to review a small sample of what we have learned thanks to WikiLeaks since April and the release of the “Collateral Murder” US helicopter video, which showed the killing of two Reuters journalists, among others. It’s necessary to do this because most in the US media, after brief coverage, provided little follow-up. Consider the scope of even this very limited list of revelations:
§ The Saudis, our allies, are among the leading funders of international terrorism.
§ The scale of corruption in Afghanistan tops even the worst estimates. President Hamid Karzai regularly releases major drug dealers who have political connections. His half-brother is a major drug operator.
§ The Pentagon basically lied to the public in downplaying sectarian violence in Iraq. Our military handed over many detainees they knew would be tortured to the Iraqis. US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of torture and abuse by Iraqi police and military.
§ After the release of the Iraq logs, new tallies put the number of documented civilian casualties there at more than 100,000. The Afghanistan logs similarly showed many more civilians killed there than previously known, along with once-secret US assassination missions against insurgents.
§ The British government assured Washington that our interests would be protected in its “independent” public inquiry into the Iraq War.
§ The Pakistani government has allowed its intelligence unit to hold strategy sessions with the Taliban. Despite longstanding denials, the United States has indeed been conducting special ops inside Pakistan and taking part in joint operations with the Pakistanis.
§ The Yemenis have lied to their own people, taking credit for air attacks on militants in that country-but it was the United States that did the job. The Yemeni president gave us an “open door” to combat terrorism. Washington has secretly shipped arms to the Saudis for use in Yemen.
§ The Saudis, contrary to their public statements, want us to bomb Iran. So do some other countries in the region-or so they say in private.
§ Our State Department asked our diplomats at the United Nations to spy on others, including the secretary general, even aiming to retrieve credit card numbers.
§ At last we got to read in full the historic 1990 memo from US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the first Gulf War.
§ The Obama administration worked with Republicans to protect Bush officials who faced a criminal investigation in Spain for alleged torture.
§ Pope Benedict XVI impeded an investigation into alleged child sex abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland.
§ Bribery and corruption mark the Boeing versus Airbus battle for plane sales. “United States diplomats were acting like marketing agents, offering deals to heads of state and airline executives whose decisions could be influenced by price, performance and, as with all finicky customers with plenty to spend, perks,” the New York Times reported early this month.
§ Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.
§ US diplomats have been searching for countries that will take Guantánamo detainees, often bargaining with them; the receiving country might get a one-on-one meeting with Obama or some other perk.
§ Among several startling revelations about control of nuclear supplies: highly enriched uranium has been waiting in Pakistan for more than three years for removal by an American team.
§ The U.S. embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops.
§ The British have trained a Bangladeshi paramilitary force that human rights organizations consider a “government death squad.”
Wikileaks matters full stop.