Cap­i­tal sug­ges­tion

The Pak Banker - - 4editorial - Dr Far­rukh Saleem

Q: What is Wik­ileaks? A: Wik­ileaks, in its own words, "is a non-profit me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to bring­ing im­por­tant news and in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic." Wik­ileaks has also be­come a whistle­blower, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that "re­veals wrong­do­ings or mal­prac­tices that are tak­ing place" around the globe.

Q: What ca­bles?

A: These are ac­tual emails, doc­u­ments, mes­sages and cor­re­spon­dence be­tween the US Depart­ment of State and Amer­ica's diplo­matic mis­sions around the world. Start­ing


Wik­ileaks Novem­ber 28, Wik­ileaks, along with El País (Spain), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Ger­many), The Guardian (UK) and The New York Times (US), be­gan pub­lish­ing 251,287 leaked US em­bassy ca­bles.

Q: Where were these 251,287 leaked US ca­bles be­ing stored?

A: Post-9/11 the con­cept of 'Net-cen­tric diplo­macy' was in­tro­duced whereby the US Depart­ment of De­fence and the US Depart­ment of State main­tained a sys­tem of in­ter­con­nected elec­tronic net­work known as SIPRNet (Se­cret In­ter­net Pro­to­col Router Net­work). This is the sys­tem used by the US Depart­ment of State to com­mu­ni­cate with Amer­ica's diplo­matic mis­sions around the world. And, this is the sys­tem on which the 251,287 leaked US ca­bles were be­ing stored. In essence, SIPRNet is the State Depart­ment's In­ter­net.

Q: Who ac­cessed and down­loaded these ca­bles?

A: Pri­vate First Class Bradley Man­ning, the 23-year-old in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst with the 2nd Bri­gade Com­bat Team, 10th Moun­tain Di­vi­sion, has been ar­rested and charged for the il­le­gal use of US clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion (Pak Army's equiv­a­lent of Pri­vate First Class is Lance Naik; just above Jawan and be­low Naik).

Q: Who was been be­hind the dis­tri­bu­tion of the­ses ca­bles?

A: Ju­lian As­sange, the 39year-old edi­tor-in-chief of Wik­ileaks (at the age of 21, As­sange had pled guilty to 24 charges of hack­ing).

Q: What kind of in­for­ma­tion is ex­changed over SIPRNet?

A: In­for­ma­tion ex­changed be­tween the Depart­ment of State and its diplo­matic mis­sions is cat­e­gorised into Top Se­cret, Se­cret, Con­fi­den­tial, Re­stricted and Un­clas­si­fied. SIPRNet car­ries all ex­changes in­clud­ing Se­cret and be­low. What that means is that none of the leaked ca­bles were Top Se­cret.

Q: What would change af­ter the Wikileak drama is over?

A: The US Depart­ment of State will prob­a­bly make some changes in the se­cu­rity pro­to­col of SIPRNet. And, per­haps lead­ers around the world will be­come more care­ful in ex­chang­ing gos­sips with Amer­i­can di­plo­mats.

Q: Any change in US-Pak re­la­tions?

A: For­eign pol­icy of a coun­try is based on two things: A coun­try's ma­trix of hard-core na­tional in­ter­ests and the tar­get coun­try's geo-pol­i­tics. Wik­ileaks, for in­stance, hasn't changed Amer­ica's ma­trix of na­tional in­ter­ests-in Pak­istan and around the globe. Wik­ileaks will, there­fore, have no im­me­di­ate im­pact on any coun­try's for­eign pol­icy.

Q: What is the essence of the leaked ca­bles?

A: Diplo­macy is more about du­plic­ity than any­thing else. Diplo­macy is de­cep­tion, trick­ery and chi­canery all in one. Pol­i­tics is also more about du­plic­ity than any­thing else. Pol­i­tics is dou­bledeal­ing, dirty deal­ing, pre­tense and hypocrisy all in one. Gov­ern­ments and di­plo­mats around the world are du­plic­i­tous. Diplo­macy, in the Arab-Ira­nian con­text, has be­come the art of say­ing 'nice dog­gie' till the Arabs find a rock. Mod­ern di­plo­mats, it ap­pears, are ap­proach­ing ev­ery prob­lem with an open mouth. In the Amer­i­can con­text, diplo­macy, it ap­pears, is ' easy on the brain but hell on the feet'.

Q: What is the strate­gic value of leaked ca­bles?

A: At the strate­gic level, over the short run, the value of the ca­bles is near-zero. Over the short-term, the leaked ca­bles will have an im­pact at the level of pub­lic per­cep­tion of their lead­ers and how the US con­ducts its for­eign pol­icy. Over the medium term, gov­ern­ments around the world shall try to put peo­ple like Man­ning and As­sange to sleep. Over the long run, if we are able to pro­duce more Man­nings and As­sanges, gov­ern­ments around the world would be forced to change the way they con­duct busi­ness. And, if that hap­pens, that would be the Wiki Revo­lu­tion.

P.S: Some­one in­tel­li­gent once ad­vised, "To de­ceive a diplo­mat speak the truth, he has no ex­pe­ri­ence with it." And then, there was this Arab diplo­mat who told his third wife, "How do you ex­pect me to re­mem­ber your birth­day when you never look any older?"

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