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Monday, November 29, 2010


Wikileaks: more caveat lector

I wrote at the time of the last Wikileaks document dump that one has to be very careful about what one is reading. In the current case, for example, when we read what U.S. diplomats are saying about foreign leaders, or about how the U.S. government is spying on foreign leaders including the U.N., or when we read about how the King of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the U.S. to bomb Iran, we can believe all those things because they are, in courtroom terminology, direct testimony.

But many of the leaks which are being repeated in the media with equal credibility deserve no such belief. Claims that Iran used the Red Crescent to funnel weapons to Hezbollah, or that China's Politburo directed the hacking of Google's computers, deserve no more credence than claims that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was pursuing (or even stockpiling) WMD. You can read, for example, that "WikiLeaks confirms that Iran and North Korea have for years been sharing weapons technology." No, what Wikileaks "confirms" is that U.S. officials allege that to be the case, just as the fact that the King of Saudi Arabia urges the U.S. to bomb Iran to thwart Iran's "nuclear weapons program" may confirm that the King has been convinced by U.S. propaganda, or his own intelligence agents with an agenda of their own, that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but it has no bearing whatsoever on the truth of that claim.

Caveat lector.

Update: FAIR extensively documents one story, the "North Korea sold Iran missiles" story, and how it was treated in the press, vs. what the actual documents say.

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