Sourced at: Firedoglake
By: Kevin Gosztola Tuesday August 23, 2011 10:32 pm
Just Over 5,000 Cables Released Already
WikiLeaks is about to release 35,000 US State Embassy cables, nearly fifteen percent of the 250,000 or so cables it obtained and began to release last November as part of Cablegate.
The organization made the announcement on Twitter. Immediately following the announcement, WikiLeaks asked its followers to help “crowd source” the tens of thousands of cables that would be released. Followers could tweet out what they found in the cables and attach the hashtag #wlfind.
Of the cables released, 2,170 are from Taiwan, 3,004 are from China, and 349 are from Libya. It told followers to stay tuned for 4,000 from Israel and that Russia, Venezuela, Indonesia, Syria, Somalia, Bahrain, South Africa, Yemen, Cuba, Germany, Iran, Afghanistan, Poland, France, Turkey, Romania and Rwanda were on the way.
WikiLeaks tweeted out some revelations. One major bombshell involved a congressional delegation led by Sen. John McCain, which went over and met with the Gaddafi regime. In exchange for agreeing to relinquish its WMD program, Libya expressed to the US that it wanted to purchase “lethal weapons from US firms.” The congressional delegation led by McCain was to provide “congressional perspectives on lethal sales to Libya and the security commitments that must be fulfilled prior to any US consideration of lethal sales.”
Two more cables related to Libya were tweeted. One shows in 2007 US companies won $2 billion worth of infrastructure contracts as a reward for political relationships. The other provides an update on Libya’s “banking reform” program and how privatization of Libya banking would provide “opportunities for increased private sector cooperation with US banks.”
With regards to China, WikiLeaks unearthed a cable that shows the All China Federation of Trade Unions (AFCTU) has unions in at least five of the sixty Wal-Marts in China. Despite the fact that this might sound amazing given the fact that Wal-Mart will not allow organized labor in US Wal-Marts, US diplomat David S. Sedney concludes, “The Wal-Mart unions have have more to do with the role of politics in the ACFTU than with advancing workers’ rights.”
The majority of the cables are UNCLASSIFIED. There are a few cables that are CONFIDENTIAL or SECRET. That so many of the cables being put out are unclassified further indicates how US government suffers from secrecy cancer. (And, one of the cables I already used in a story I posted in February when I was writing for WL Central: “The Abu Salim Massacre: Cables on Libya’s Continued Impunity for the 1996 Killings.”
Here is what has been discovered in the first hours since WikiLeaks asked its followers to crowd-source the cables:
—McDonald’s and Yum! Brands (which owns KFC and Pizza Hut) managed to get the Chinese Labor Bureau to conclude they were not violating any labor laws (April 13, 2007). The companiesassert they do not have to pay student part-time workers minimum wage. The Bureau didn’t find this to be a violation. However, it did find that in some cases employees were working “more hours than allowed under law” and that some employees didn’t have employment contracts.
—Minister of Justice Abduljalil tried to resign from his posting as Libya’s Justice Minister-equivalent and failed (February 4, 2010) Abduljalil is now the head of the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Libya. After the country is secured, he is likely to become the interim leader of Libya until a constitution is drawn up and elections are able to be held. Reportedly he was not allowed to resignbecause Saif al-Islam Gaddafi would not give his resignation his blessing.
—Abduljalil told former ambassador Gene Cretz Libya would be opening up its economy to other countries and would be seeking international assistance for the development of Libya’s private sector (January 27, 2010) Abduljalil wanted help with strengthening the commercial legal environment. The cabled indicates the US had been working closely to develop the law in Libya, even with regards to the country’s Criminal Code. There was one small problem, however; Abduljalil said Libyans are “concerned” about US support for Israel and that Europe and US is creating terrorism because the countries are “against” Muslims.
—Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. engaged in Libyan Central Bank study on potential privatization of state-owned banks (October 2, 2006) The firm found that Libya’s “top priority” was to attract business from foreign banks. One major problem was the absence of “clear property rights.” Clear titles for Libyan properties no longer existed because the Libya government destroyed private title records in the 1980s. The cable suggests this would make work in real estate, construction and tourism sectors very complicated for investors.
—Nike had a former employee from one of its suppliers accuse the company of using child labor from 2003-2007 to make soccer balls (September 30, 2009) Nike said it had already investigated these allegations in 2007 and the soccer balls in question were likely counterfeit goods so whether they were made with child labor or not was not Nike’s problem.
—Dioxin contamination threatened Taiwan’s food supply (July 12, 2005) Researchers working for Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (TEPA) determined sludge in two of Taiwan’s rivers had “more than fifty times TEPA’s established standard for ground pollution.”
I’ll be helping WikiLeaks crowd-source these cables, as I think that it isn’t only important to defend the idea and concept behind WikiLeaks. It’s also important to report on the documents released as well or else it would be too easy to suggest the organization poses no value to the world.
You can help too:
1. Here is a link to the 5,000 or so cables released on August 23.
2. Someone affiliated with Anonymous has put together this great URL shortener for tweeting. Copy and paste the link to the cable with the revelation you want to share on Twitter into the field on this page.
3. Come up with a way to summarize your finding in less than 140 characters and make sure to include the hashtag #wlfind in your tweet.
4. Let me know in the comments thread what you’ve found in the batch.
Together we’ll find out the truth that the media isn’t willing to give us. As WikiLeaks reminded its followers, each cable is a cable the New York Times has chosen to not cover.
Any corporate media outlet should want to be able to report on the scoops buried in this batch of cables. Since they are not interested in being adversarial to power and risking their access to government officials, it’s up to us to do the job they refuse to do.
*For more revelations from the cables, go here.