The hype over the release of these notes and cables by Wikileaks from American Diplomatic sources has almost equalled that for Harry Potter. Its going to be a publishing sensation, right up there with the Pentagon Papers.
The UK government – ever ready to do the US’s bidding – has issued “D” notices to the press. Always a good sign, a “D” notice.
A “D” notice – nowadays more properly a “DA or Defence Advisory Notice” is no longer compulsory – they lost that game years ago – and is of five types. The only two I am aware that have been utilised, are “Type 1” for “Military Operation plans”, and “Type 5” relating to “United Kingdom Security and Intelligence Special Service”. Certainly sounds scary eh?
They have been issued to all the usual national and provincial papers which is normal, and now to at least one blog. Order Order, a site run by Guido Fawkes claims they too have been served. The Oligarchkings has not been issued with a “D” notice and I am slightly disappointed.
It will do no good whatsoever. Anyone remember “Spycatcher”?
The idea is that newspapers, and one assumes web sources, will voluntarily keep shtum for Queen and Country until the cover is blown elsewhere and material is considered to be “in the public domain”. So that should last about ten minutes then.
So what might we expect from this treasure trove of diplomatic indiscretion?
P J Crowley, the US State Department spokesman states that “These revelations are harmful to the US and our interests” and “It will place lives and interests at risk. It is irresponsible”. Now you just know it’s going to be good when they wheel that old conker out.
But what might be there? Well, we have a clue in that US State Department officials were in a panic all through Friday contacting their opposite numbers across the globe. It points to the failure of how America manages its relationships with its allies. The foreign offices of Canada, Israel and Australia have been spoken too. Norway as well. Why Norway? Who’se ever rude to a Norwegian? In an “unprecedented” move the US Ambassador came direct to the Prime Minister of the UK. Something – we believe – about our Gordon Brown, the previous Prime Minister, being a wall eyed paranoid with no social charm and a huge chip on his shoulder.
Now, if we are honest, I doubt there is much here that will be any surprise to other governments. We already knew for instance, that the Americans felt Gordon Brown had no small talk, was awkward, bad tempered, graceless and difficult.
It’s that the great unwashed in these countries get to hear what America thinks of them when these chickens come home to roost, that is the problem.
These are the people who have had their financial world turned upside down, wrecked by American Banking and business models, who are at risk because of this reckless foolishness of losing their homes and their livelihoods. They pay increasing taxes they can ill afford for the insane wars in which America embroils her allies in, and they place their children, brothers, and friends on the front line of these conflicts.
The least they can expect from America is politeness. They will not be happy to read the sneering, superior, dismissive tone of these communiqués.
They may decide that America is a rather expensive luxury.
Copyright David Macadam 2010