OPINION

Hypocrisy exposed

The ongoing publication of diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks is exposing American foreign policy. Of course nation states are not going to change their policy as a consequence of remarks made by United States diplomats about foreign leaders. Nevertheless, foreign policy could be influenced by ongoing disclosures about Washington’s true intentions. Foreign ministries and intelligence services will draw precious conclusions about the way in which American diplomats think and operate. Also, for the first time in history, people around the globe will have an opportunity to take a glimpse behind the curtain, in almost real time, to compare the official language of the superpower against its genuine objectives. The gigantic leak by the whistle-blowing website has raised a wave of skepticism that could affect the nature of international diplomacy. If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange acts on his promise to disclose information about the operation of a major US bank, then the stakes will be much higher. Some said the cable leaks are the 9/11 of US diplomacy. Like alleged Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Assange has been making American officials lose sleep. But the similarities stop there. The fact that some US officials went on to dub Assange, a journalist and activist, a «terrorist» is a sign of somebody losing their temper, if not panicking. The business of journalists is to inform the public, not to protect state secrets. But all this matter little when the big guy gets angry. If Assange cannot be prosecuted for the cable leaks, he can still be charged with sex crimes. [Sweden’s Supreme Court yesterday upheld a court order to detain WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual molestation.] The aim is clearly to send a strong message that will discourage potential imitators. What’s worse, many governments, media and nongovernmental organizations are washing their hands, as it were – remaining suspiciously silent on the issue. When there’s good reason, there is no limit to hypocrisy.