Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 11, 2010

Why Is Brian Whitaker Lying About Israel And Cablegate?

Via Xymphora and The Arabist we find one Brian Whitaker who asks Wikileaks: Where are the Israel documents? and claims:

[I]t seems that all we're getting is incidental references to Israel in cables from the US embassies in other countries.

I've heard people voicing suspicions about this. Have the Israel cables been suppressed, they ask.

The answer, apparently, is no. There's little or nothing from Israel in the 250,000 or so documents – and the explanation, I'm told by someone who ought to know, is very simple.

Israel, in the eyes of the US diplomats, is not a normal country like any other and so it's not dealt with in the normal way. Sensitive documents from Israel go through different channels – to the White House rather than the State Department – and are therefore not among the batch leaked to Julian Assange.

This is, apperently, nonsense.

Just check the graph at the bottom of the WikiLeaks page partly shown below.

According to this graph the leaks include some 3,600 cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv with 22 of those published so far. Some of the 8,000 cables from the Secretary of State, about 80 of which have been published, certainly also relate in one form or another to Israel.

As for why Brian Whitaker, who as the Middle East editor of The Guardian's Comment is Free section certainly has access to all cables, falsely asserts - in fact is lying about - , that there is "little or nothing from Israel" in the cable hive, we do not know.

Could it be that he just wants to deceive from the fact that he and his paper are not publishing them?

Is he, like Reza Esfandiari asserts, a "bigoted Islamophobe" and "neoimperial" and represents a mind that is "no different from the neoconservative ideology in the United States" and a Zionist?

I do not know Whitaker or his mind. But I do know that he is obviously wrong in his "explanation" of why he have seen so few Cablegate stories about Israel. This while he has direct access to information that refutes that "explanation".

Arnold Evans analyses the current publishing process of Cablegate and concludes:

What we are left with is a process that appears to be a release of 250,000 documents but actually is the major Western news organizations, led by the New York Times, releasing small numbers of documents that they select in coordination with the US government and using the wikileaks name to generate interest.

To me that inherent bias of the releases so far is a much better explanation of what is really happening here than Whitaker's obviously false assertion.

Posted by b on December 11, 2010 at 10:50 UTC | Permalink


Thank you b. One of the things I’ve sorely missed is knowing where to turn to keep the wheat and chaff separate. In these days of smoke and mirrors it is so difficult to know who or what to trust. You reassure me. I share lizzard’s feelings that WL and the light of the Moon herald a change of course.

Posted by: juannie | Dec 11 2010 13:10 utc | 1

Some people seem to forget that the arrangement has been for the papers to release the cables, censor the names that may endanger some people and then is when Wikileaks releases the cables to the public.

So for now what we know is the bias of the papers.

There are a few examples of this. El Pais, the spanish paper who also got access to the leaked cables, has been releasing cables for two weeks. And some quite embarrassing for all sides like today's disclosure about the hidden discussion about the plutonion contamination from the 1966 air crash in Palomares. If you check the numbers of releases from the Madrid Embassy they are quite numerous, ~100 so far).

Then Al-Akhbar the lebanese left-wing related with AngryArab also got access to the cables and early last week had published around ~150 cables from the Algeirs, Cairo, Baghdad, Beirut, Nouakchott, Rabat and Tunis embassies that weren't even available on the WikiLeaks website. I'm not even sure if all those are already available. You see their bias here as the center on their own government handlings with the US (basically acts of 'treason' and collaboration against Hizbollah) and other arabs countries.

Why there have been so few releases related with Israel lately (the last release for a Tel Aviv Embassy cable was on the 7th)? Well we don't know for sure. Perhaps all of the organization are afraid of releasing that kind of information due to menaces or it's self censorship.

As the weeks and months go Wikileaks will have to decide whether to release all the cables or not. Because I'm sure Der Spiegel, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde or The New York Times won't release all of them. By that time we may get a better clue of what is behind this story.

For now I will just enjoy reading through all that large of information. That information has value on itself independently of biases, censorships or the conspiracies behind it. We get to know how a superpower thinks and talks about the world with itself.

And welcome back b.

Posted by: ThePaper | Dec 11 2010 19:57 utc | 2

We know that the 4 major media outlets aren't the only repositories of these cables. They are spread far and wide around the planet and their eventual release somewhere is inevitable. We also know that the last two Wikileaks releases when everything was released in the space of a few days have still even now not been properly scrutinised, there is much in them that is important none of us know about.

WL tried it differently this time, knowing full well that the global media being what it is that cables about the King of Saudi suggesting Iran get nuked would always be published early when public interest is high and embarrassing stuff that doesn't serve the purposes of the global media owners would come later if at all.
The upside of that is that the global media by releasing what they have done are authenticating the whole bunch of cables just as the amerikan govt is with its continual whining about the release. The other stuff will come later, and sure some people will have moved on but since those people are more likely to be the types who believe what they are told, it is difficult to see that earlier release followed by buckets of lies and spin tipped over the cables, J Assange, Palestinians, and Arabs in general would convince them anyhow.

It is a piss-off no doubt about it but that just makes what ordinary peeps who don't believe, like us, that much more important.

I have downloaded the complete sets of Afghanistan & Iraq and grab the daily cable releases. Why? Because after searching the damn things for the few bits of history I accurately remember, and finding a few crumbs, I still refer back and search at least once a day, when I read of some incident that occurred during the Iraq horror or some asshole is in the media bragging about what he did in Afghanistan, just to see how much the official story diverges from the contemporaneous accounts. Eventually I may find a big lie in which case I'll try and make sure it gets out.
The more people that do that, take advantage of the net and its strengths the sooner we'll be showing the pricks up more frequently.

Most of the stuff contained in these cables concerns recent events, but as recent as they are they are still in the past. This stuff is history, the documents that governments usually don't allow out for 50 or 100 years when peeps are finally told the truth long after anyone can be held accountable, which is why history seems so old to us. This stuff is out there now which means the chances of pols or bureaucrats lying about what really happened until everyone involved is dead, has gone out the door.

They will be spewing because even if, as is extremely likely, courts announce these cables are inadmissible, and can't be used as proof of crimes, the world is gonna know what pricks they were and their opportunity for a graceful retirement full of speeches and spin, has gone. No one really thought that these cables would cause charges to be laid did they?
Courts may be ignoring them but historians won't be, talk to any modern history specialist or independent foreign policy wonk they consider this stuff pure gold and it will get better.

It is becoming increasingly likely that Assange is being held as a hostage. The amerikans are playing good cop bad cop. One day insinuating they are gonna throw away the key, the next that they have no plans for Assange's extradition.
He will be held in England/Sweden under some form of house arrest until the Cablegate furore dies down, most likely after the xmas holiday break. Wikileaks are in a rock and a hard place, maybe they will push the lot out now anyway, but even if they do, there is no guarantee the major media outlets will stray from their predetermined timetable.
People will move back to what celebrity drank too much which one got an Ipad and how we (ordinary peeps) are all going to have to knuckle down to pay for our excessive lifestyle.

Take a look in the guardian comments the sockpuppets are already saying "God this is boring WikiLeaks was last week". In relation to the Pfizer horror story!
Then WL will somehow get out all the cables and we will sort through them. Why would WikiLeaks move the rudder of the media far? Think of all the murders, torturing, renditions and other horror stories already out there which haven't moved the bullshit spew off course an inch.

But it isn't all bad; more thinking people have been forced to acknowledge that the forces of empire aren't acting in the best interests of humanity. That will continue after the cables all come out and we have to wade through them ourselves.

As for the Guardian well it has changed greatly from the days when it used to print a bit of KGB spin. It is owned by a foundation that has some sort of relationship with the english labour party, that means it was effected by Bliar's NuLabour purges, as much as any of the other Labour allied structures.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 11 2010 22:14 utc | 3

thanks for that brian whitaker info. i read that blurb yesterday and immediately thought it sounded a tad fishy.

reading comment sections around and about i'm amazed at how many people think assange is a sell out. this 'indymedia site' which i trust about as far as i can throw a feather publishes WikiLeaks 'struck a deal with Israel' over diplomatic cables leaks a few days ago. i can't be bothered w/reading it. i know this site is completely infiltrated.

i'm still very hopeful and have confidence lots will be exposed.

Posted by: annie | Dec 12 2010 2:55 utc | 4

here's an interesting wikileaks site. different than anything i've seen thus far (but then again maybe i just haven't been around)

also check out the icelandic weather report


Posted by: annie | Dec 12 2010 3:15 utc | 5

i may have missed it in my reading, but i don't recall seeing anywhere (and have just checked wikileak's faqs for good measure) that the nyt is the lead media org on this. if anything carne ross took bill keller to the woodshed for allowing the administration to call the shots on what the nyt is publishing. as Did pointed out, each of the news media with access is selecting what to publish with their own bias. and wikileaks says that they anticipate that they will partner with other media to publish the cables:

Even with this much effort, the five current media partners will only scratch the surface of this material. As a result, Wikileaks will continue seeking media partners to work on the embassy cables.
suggesting to me that neither the nyt, nor the guardian, is leading this process.

on another note, i just watched a quite good documentary on wikileaks which i think was just released on the 9th.,a1364145,1,f,-1/pb,a1364142,1,f,-1/pl,v,,2264028/sb,p118750,1,f,-1

Posted by: sharon | Dec 12 2010 4:35 utc | 6

The lack of coverage of anything that might prove embarrassing to Israel is also illustrated by the silence around the lawsuit by Steven Rosen against AIPAC.

It's also ironic that the Espionage Act that might be used against Assange was unsuccessfully tried against Rosen himself.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Dec 12 2010 5:01 utc | 7

It looks like Moon of Alabama has exposed the real "Moonbats (apologies to the "Moonbattery" blog)," which will probably also pick up on this story. Lying about the Israeli related cables, branding Julian Assange as a "Zionist Agent" and branding the WikiLeaks release a "Zionist Plot," is par for the course for these ignorant anti-Semitic douchebags! There aren't a lot of cables released as of yet, because it takes time to redact the names of those who would be endangered by the release of their names. How fast can Brian Whitaker review 250,000 cables and redact all of the appropriate names from them? Even with a staff of unpaid volunteers, it will take WikiLeaks many months to review them all prior to release!

The "Tin-Foil Hat Brigade" has forfeited its credibility! To quote Forrest Gump: "Stupid is, as stupid does!"

Posted by: Mike 71 | Dec 12 2010 13:58 utc | 8

There are, it seems to me, several reasons why cables to and fro Israel might be different from other batches, in their interest, importance, scope. (Apart from their description in the MSM.)

b wrote in another post : 1. These cables were written by U.S. Foreign Service members that want to be liked by their political bosses. Showing stalwart allegiance to Israel for decades, to obtain and hold on to their posts, their status, income, barbed-wire villas, free plane trips...

2. The conduits or channels might be different, as suggested in the top post. One might view this in a more general way. As US-Isr. ties are so strong, with implicit or worked agreements on underlying issues, events are read and reported on in a certain prescribed way, and less needs be stated, explained. Super-secrets might be commonly held. Or, in other words, the nexus of US-Isr. power may be acting largely outside of the instituted officialdom, which exists as a sort of theatre, rumbling away on automatic.

3. Some censorship or ‘shaping’, ‘direction’ before or just possibly after the fact by the Israelis themselves. (?? not very likely.)

Overall, though, I think this is not an important issue, it is an emanation from the Assange must be plant or whatever crowd -- with WL, what you see is what you get. They are, so to speak, quite transparent.

Many ppl have become so suspicious of Gvmts. and the MSM they now question everything and find it comfortable to just slip into whatever their preferred conspiracy mode is. This was naturally encouraged by the PTB, as it renders part of the public irrational and uninformed, or brands them idiots who can be mocked and bashed, and sets ppl one against the other. Fostering conspiracy mongering and gossip also lets one parade as a victim and gather stronger support (see Sarah Palin, for ex. But I digress...)

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 12 2010 14:06 utc | 9

Why is criticism of Israel always compared to anti-semitism? Could someone explain this? Maybe Mike 71?

Posted by: DaveS | Dec 12 2010 16:50 utc | 10

There are, it seems to me, several reasons why cables to and fro Israel might be different from other batches, in their interest, importance, scope.

there seems to be a general disappointment about the israel cables as if they are not thrilling enough. i think they are inflammatory but because we have become inured w/the rhetorical pressure coming out of israel this stuff just sounds normal to us now. i also take larry wilkerson's (words in this video seriously.

"the information being reported back to Washington isn't necessarily the truth," but is "designed to obfuscate, and to lie, and to twist, and to turn--anything but the complete truth....and if they are the truth as seen by the observers, the observers are often fooled."

i notice everything written here is now part and parcel of what our foreign policy is aimed towards. so what does that confirm? it confirms a trajectory coming from israel or netanyahu's mouth to the discourse we're all hearing today.

parts of it he sounds like he's running the show.

Netanyahu said there were three bills in Congress designed to divest U.S. pension funds from investing in about 300, mostly European, companies currently doing business in Iran. Divestment would immediately bring down the credit
ratings of these companies, thus forcing them to respond. Netanyahu urged Congress to support the divestment legislation, adding that he also planned to use a visit to the U.S. to raise the issue with Wall Street fund managers.

plus, the whole regime change thing and all the rhetoric about the palestinians is exactly what we hear today almost 4 years later. the tune hasn't changed one iota. they send out the meme from every corner and it becomes our reality. and it's an inflammatory meme.

Posted by: annie | Dec 12 2010 17:23 utc | 11

From US News Source: An article on the assumed possible demise of WikiLeaks and the uptake by (not yet on line). Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who was one close to Assange is to head up

xymphora thinks that is an intelligence operation and quotes this from the US News Source article:

"Even though the name of the new organization is called ‘Open’ Leaks, they will be far from as “open” as WikiLeaks ever was. The plan is to allow for leaked documents to be submitted. However, these documents will not be published to the public. Instead they will be distributed to other news agencies and outlets for them to decide what is appropriate, legal, and constitutional to publish."

My understanding is that WikiLeaks was doing the same. Distributing the documents to news agencies and not releasing them to the public until scrutinized and published by the news agencies. I viewed the documentary, all 57 minutes, linked to by sharon in the “Why Is Brian Whitaker Lying About Israel And Cablegate?” thread and was impressed with Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Assange’s other cohorts and presently don’t believe that they are agents of the Empire. Just my hit but if others would view the documentary I’d appreciate your opinions.

I hate to think that the these efficacious organizations countering the totally corrupt and criminal PTB at the top of the world heap would fall so quickly to subversion but don’t discount that possibility. One of the things that stands out to me in all the leaks is how inept are the psychopaths presently in control. I think is that their numbers are so huge that we are overwhelmed. Exposure is now of utmost importance in countering them, eh?

Posted by: juannie | Dec 14 2010 1:02 utc | 12

Daves S asked : Why is criticism of Israel always compared to anti-semitism?

Equated to, not compared.

Because being a victim of injustice - in this case racial-ethnic-religious hate and prejudice based on the history of WW2, the ‘Shoah’, etc. provides a rationale for rejecting criticism, stifling objections, refusing questions, transforming facts, etc. or just freaking out about it and being expected to be taken seriously.

The victim postures, demands privileges, invokes a special status, the right to special treatment due to past wrongs and current invoked stereotypes. Exactly in the way individuals do - the guilt trip!

Painting your attackers or labeling any critique anti-semitic, is not politically correct and can be quite effective. Note that such a strategy doesn’t work for anti-muslim - attitude that is completely accepted in the West. Imagine if the papers of record printed articles on jew-fascism or judeo-fascism. (Muslim countries are gradually using the same strategy - see for ex. the Mohammed cartoons affair and their ongoing struggle in bodies like the ‘human rights commission’ to ban all critiques and discrimination based on religion.)

The effectiveness of the ploy rests entirely on the indefatigable and massive support of the US for Isr., with Western powers and others who fear the US or seek to appease it joining in. It is addressed to the public at large, to all US officials, Gvmt. military, media, corporations, etc. and is used and abused to keep ppl from finding out what really goes on in Israel, the territories, neighboring countries like Lebanon, etc. so that approval and prayer for the tiny, racist, violent outpost endures.

Isr. desires that criticism of Isr. be framed not as pointed to, for ex. apartheid laws, the arbitrary killing of Palestinians, razing olive trees, stealing water, etc. but to prejudice against Jews.

Such arguments do rest on a twisted logic, as since its inception Israel has been set up and touted as a Homeland for Jews, the two - Israel and Jews - are somewhat indistinguishable, both in the public mind and as enshrined in laws and international accords.

The rest is geo-politics in the ME, US hegemony, the military-defense state apparatus in the US which has to destroy and kill to be funded, the US taking over British empire burdens or impulses, energy matters, etc.

Note: Avoided ‘Jewish lobby’ type arguments as they are but an outcome of awarded, enshrined exceptionalism.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 14 2010 16:09 utc | 13

Noirette@ lucky 13...
Yeah, that's kind of what I thought. You have a much more precise and elegant way of describing what I'd call simple bullshit – I like your way better ;)

Posted by: DaveS | Dec 14 2010 23:22 utc | 14

For matters of policy and information, I would guess that the US embassy is short-circuited, made redundant by Israel's presence both directly and by proxy in the US. Other than consular matters of US citizens in Israel and Palestine getting shot in the face and run over by bulldozers, the function of communication from State Dept presence in Tel Aviv would probably be not so interesting.

Posted by: YY | Dec 17 2010 10:11 utc | 15

Great comments by everyone. Thanks b for re-opening the bar.

Noirette, the first and second sentence of yours below strike me as ironic, precisely the words "this was naturally encouraged by the PTB".

"Many ppl have become so suspicious of Gvmts. and the MSM they now question everything and find it comfortable to just slip into whatever their preferred conspiracy mode is. This was naturally encouraged by the PTB, as it renders part of the public irrational and uninformed, or brands them idiots who can be mocked and bashed, and sets ppl one against the other."

The same problem we always have here at the bar. That is, when is it correct, or even polite, to remove our tin-foil hat when having a drink of our favourite whiskey? Moon of Alabama, the host and commentators, do a good job of presenting many clues to the facts.

Posted by: Rick Happ | Dec 17 2010 12:44 utc | 16

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