Arkin and Priest doubt their processing capacity given the zillions of bits of information impinging on that machine. I would put my finger on theory, not only on the lack thereof, but on exceptionally bad theory, as shown by major events they failed to predict (Sputnik, Berlin wall, the oil crisis, the fall of the Berlin wall, the end of the cold war, the Wall Street debacle, and so on).
And that reminds me of what I heard in Tehran in 1976 from somebody high up in that system, in counter-intelligence.
The American spies went for military hardware, could be trusted to record position, speed and capacity of anything mobile; but were very weak on “humint” (human intelligence).
The Soviets went for “socint”, recording strikes and conflicts in general to better predict the inevitable collapse of capitalism.
And the Chinese? Cutting newspapers to follow the contradictions in a society in the name of zoroasterism and western capitalism, and they were numerous. So the Chinese got it right, at very low cost.
It cannot be easy for any secret agent to come anywhere close to the motivation of true “taliban” willing to give their lives for islam against secularism, against Kabul-Karzai, and against any foreign invasion, by anybody. They fight with the means at their disposal, but they believe in their struggle, as opposed to many Americans soldiers. For whatever reason they commit suicide, desert, and leak secrets; maybe rather than dying in a war over bases, pipelines and minerals for a dying empire, clinging to Halford Mackinder’s nonsense of running the world from Central Asia. A tragic compliment to them?
How can any truth find a way through stupidities like “9/11 being due to envy of US freedom and democracy”? Maybe the war has given them a taste of that “freedom”, to kill, and “democracy”, to conceal? So much that they prefer Afghanistan not to be cloned by the USA?
Julian Assange, the Daniel Ellsberg of the Afghanistan war, and his co-workers find a way to some truth. There are differences between the wars, but they are minor as Dan pointed out on CNN in Larry King Live on 27 July. Of course, leaking 92,000 documents – only the base camp relative to the mountain of leaks, according to Julian’s German colleague Daniel Schmitt – dwarfs Ellsberg’s photocopier. The problem is how to sort the wheat from the chaff, like fakes planted by CIA-Pentagon as traps. But Julian seems to have that under control according to the interview in Der Spiegel.
The response so far from Pentagon and Obama is “nothing new”, and “this may put allied forces at risk”. The second point indicates that there is something new; in the details, even if concrete names are scrupulously avoided. The problem is not who dunit, but what. And the impression is of a war with massive one-way bloodshed, and a trickle the other way as the allies fight like well-protected cowards, for nine years so far, and farther away from any “victory” than ever, not even knowing what a victory might look like.
What is the state of that bloated US security machinery when a leak of that magnitude is possible? Is the country capable of fighting that war, or any war at all? Does it make any sense to be an ally with that incompetence on top of the command, execution, and secrecy chain? How naive or uninformed must a country be to sign up for an exercise of that kind? Would you have signed up had it been for business, run by a CEO and a board of that dubious quality?
These will be the questions whispered in the war ministries of the coalition of the willing. At the same time as they search the documents for something they have hidden from their own people, while nervously waiting for the next release.
The major impact will be on the public opinion in the belligerent countries. To hear and read about “collateral murder” makes the whole ISAF, or NATO for that matter, look like Murder, Inc. This will not end the war immediately, even if Obama could have entered the hall of fame for eternity had he canceled that wanton slaughter right now instead of continuing its escalation. But he is a war president, giving Special Operations permission to operate in 75 countries as opposed to 60 early last year. “They /the White House/ are willing to get aggressive much more quickly /than the former administration/” says a military official approvingly. Quite some Nobel Peace Prize winner. The powerful secretary of the Nobel committee should resign.
To study a demoralizing empire, study a general making it crystal clear in a music magazine, and the hundreds, or thousands, behind the leaks. But we are not at the end yet, and ugly things may happen even if the speed of allies leaving the sinking ship will accelerate.
In the meantime take note of a major new institution: Leaks, Inc., as a public service, available free of charge to the consumer, maybe at some risks to the producer. More numerous, less risky.
TRANSCEND will continue its positive, solutions-oriented approach. But to expose war crimes parading as “secrets” is a service for peace. Ellsberg got the alternative Nobel Peace Prize. So will Assange.
2 August 2010