The Virtues of WikiLeaks

The purloined diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks aren’t very surprising in their revelations. Did anybody believe that diplomats and politicians were sincere in their public statements? Most of what has come out is exactly what you might have guessed were the true sentiments of the people involved.

What is surprising is the lack of scandal. So far we have not learned about crooked behavior by American leaders. There have been no revelations of seedy financial gain, secret prisons, bribery, coverups, torture, or perverse sexual behavior. Based on what we know so far, you would almost believe that the U.S. government is honorable.


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One Response to “The Virtues of WikiLeaks”

  1. David Graham Says:

    On the other hand, Wikileaks have had dire consequences for farmers in Ecuador. Because of the Wikileaks, Ecuador’s president Raphael Correa declared the U.S. ambassador, Heather Hodges, as a persona non grata and kicked her out of the country.

    Wikipedia tells the reason better than I can, “The action came after a leak by Wikileaks of a State Department cable implying that Correa must have been aware of the alleged corruption of General Jaime Hurtado when he appointed Hurtado as the commanding general of the Ecuadorian National Police (ENP). The cable stated that, prior to Hurtado’s appointment, the US embassy had “multiple reports that indicate he used his positions to extort bribes, facilitate human trafficking, misappropriate public funds, obstruct investigations and prosecutions of corrupt colleagues, and engage in other corrupt acts for personal enrichment. Hurtado’s corrupt activities were so widely known within the upper ranks of the ENP that some embassy officials believe that President Correa must have been aware of them when he made the appointment. These observers believe that Correa may have wanted to have an ENP chief whom he could easily manipulate.” CNN reported that the Ecuadorian government had called the allegation that Correa knowingly promoted a corrupt officer to head the police “unacceptable, malicious and reckless.”

    So Ecuador kicked out U.S. ambassador Hodges because of the Wikileaks. As retaliation, the U.S. kicked out Ecuador’s ambassador, Luis Gallegos.

    Ok, tit-for-tat….

    Except that it went further than that: the U.S. Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) was an agreement that gave Ecuador (and Colombia) preferential access to the U.S. agricultural market (selling the U.S. over 1,000 products, especially broccoli, without paying high tariffs). The agreement had expired in February and was set to be discussed in June…but after what happened to U.S. ambassador Hodges, the U.S. cancelled the talks.

    Without the duty free status of ATPDEA, Ecuadorian farmers are going to be dependent on the Ecuadorian government to find another market…though finding one as big as the U.S. seems unlikely. Trying to put a positive spin on this, Ecuador’s export minister Katiuska King said that loss of the ATPDEA only affects 5% of exports and that “only” $21,600,000 would be lost each year…

    More details can be found here:

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