The Shit Hits…

 

wikileaks, cablegate
What a mess!

Well, its hit alright. The first batch of the Wikileaks diplomatic cables are out – and some of them are pretty juicy.

The fact that Saudi Arabia have been pushing the US to bomb Iran – while no huge surprise – is certainly interesting. Berlusconi’s links to Putin are also sure to raise a few eyebrows – maybe poor, suffering Italy will finally see past his propaganda empire and get rid of the chap.

Of course, the leaks have caused journalists and commentators to launch into their usual navel-gazing. “What does this MEAN to journalism?” they ask themselves dully – as if journalism were an abstract entity and not a profession.

Some of them lionise WikiLeaks – others claim that Wikileaks are anarchistic vandals. Both, of course, are equally irrelevant and boring – the lazy murmurings of armchair commentators who have probably never even taken the time to investigate the inner-workings of their fridge manual.

So, let’s just avoid the supposed moral issues. If you think that journalists should protect those in power, go find some hack that’s increasing their ‘press access’ by preaching responsibility to an empty lecture-hall – I’m not giving you a link, there’s plenty of them. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in what the cables actually say – as any normal person, without professional intentions, would be – I’d encourage you to have a look at the leaks yourself.

Here’s how it works – at least as far as I can figure out. There is a total of over 250,000 documents. WikiLeaks are publishing them in blocks. They have currently published 226 – presumably these are some of the most interesting, but then, who knows?

Now, what you need to do is figure out how to use the search facilities. I’m pretty handy with a computer, but I’m finding this quite difficult – I reckon there’s a bit of a learning curve. But in saying that, you’re sure to land on some deliciously interesting nuggets at random while you’re trying to figure out the system.

So, what about Ireland? Any juice? Well, as far as I can figure out, none of the 261 documents currently released are about Ireland. But, from what the WikiLeaks graph deely tells me, there are some 633 in the pipeline. I’m just wondering if any of them are finance related…

UPDATE: Well, my crappy guide is now completely outmoded. It looks like The Guardian has put up a very accessible interactive guide to the cables – still no stuff on Ireland… but watch this space.

 

About pilkingtonphil

Philip Pilkington is a London-based economist and member of the Political Economy Research Group (PERG) at Kingston University. You can follow him on Twitter at @pilkingtonphil.
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