By Alex Kane · 9 Apr 2013
WikiLeaks strikes again. The whistleblowing website has released 1.7 million cables dating from 1973-1976 that shine a bright light on US foreign policy.
WikiLeaks says the documents were obtained from Freedom of Information requests and the State Department’s “systematic declassification review.” WikiLeaks is calling it the Public Library of US Diplomacy. The organization has now published the cables on their website in a searchable format, saying it is “the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.”
Many of the files deal with US foreign policy under the helm of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He wrote some of the cables published on the WikiLeaks website. The files also expose diplomatic documents on American dealings with authoritarian regimes and the 1973 war between Israel and Arab states.
“The 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,” said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a statement.
Assange has been working on this project while holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange is trying to fend off extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted on charges of sexual assault.
The published trove of documents is already making news. Their release came on the same day that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died. As Salon’s Natasha Lennard notes, one cable released was written by a US diplomat, who relates early impressions of Thatcher. The diplomat called her “the voice of a beleaguered bourgeoisie,” a group that wants to “arrest society’s seemingly inexorable trend towards collectivism.”
Agence France Presse points out that another document reveals that “the Vatican once dismissed reports of massacres by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as ‘Communist propaganda.’”
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It is good that this sort of material is released for public viewing. Then we can grapple with the issues revealed. It is only way that we as species can mature.