Cablegate: Gossip or Groundbreaking intel?

29 Nov

Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, looking remarkably pleased with himself

Wikileaks Julian Assange strikes again with the beginning of a release of over 250,000 Secret U.S. Embassy Cables last Sunday. The release, dubbed Cablegate by Wikileaks, and “an attack on the international community” by Hillary Clinton, has certainly caused a lot of media frenzy.

Some, like Gary Younge of The Guardian, are unsurprised by the content in the cables, and think that there aren’t that many people who should be surprised by America’s uncensored dealings with the rest of the world.

Others, notably The Economist, see this latest release as nothing more than gossip, the dreary who-said-what catcalling of diplomacy. New York Magazine went so far as to compare it to the (marvelous) high-school film Mean Girls(the picture in their article is copyrighted, but please take a look, it’s hilarious). It has to be admitted that some of the most salacious pieces of intel gathered from Cablegate, including the news that Libyan leader Khadafy goes nowhere without his ‘voluptuous blonde nurse‘ seem pointless at best, and media garbage at worst. However, the U.S. has responded almost too strongly to the cables, with leaders warning certain countries about embarrassment before the cables were even released.

So what is the story then? Is this just a media stunt, getting Assange yet more publicity, but exposing little of value? Or is there something to be learned from the growing pile of diplomatic correspondence, even if it is just that there are multiple layers to diplomacy, and they don’t always correspond with official press releases? But, really, didn’t we already know that?

Update: The majority of Fox-reading Americans think Wikileaks is a terrorist organization. What does that mean?

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