On Wikileaks Strategy: Too Many Hors D’oeuvres?

Decreased Appetite & Increased Termination Risk before the Main Course

HordAs I have said before I am not ready to analyze or talk about Wikileaks’ recent exposé. It’s still too early, and so far too little with too insignificant implications has been released. I am still waiting for the highly revealing, explosive, and or severely implicating cables; if any. What I want to do, however, is to briefly discuss Wikileaks’ strategy in releasing the documents, so far, and to get your two cents on it. In fact, I want to briefly discuss the exact reason why I haven’t even begun delving into this so far released material. My major concerns and questions regarding Wikileaks’ strategy are as follows:

Based on the well-established and well-known mainstream media attention curve, isn’t it self-defeating and damaging to begin the cables release with a jumble of highly inconsequential and insignificant documents with little or no implications? Why not use the peak media attention period for the most significant and highly explosive information with even greater implications? Isn’t this like serving too many so-so appetizers before the main course of high gastronomical value, and waste the best part on full and bloated diners?

From a risk management perspective, isn’t it way too risky to start the dissemination with unimportant and insignificant material, and provide the enemies (governments) with ample opportunity to strike back, interfere, block, and or destroy the ‘real’ prized material of great consequence? Why not start the release with the most explosive and highly incriminating documents as one major way of reducing the risk of potential interruption and or destruction?

Granted there’s so much I don’t know. There may be a method to this madness. They may have a very clever strategy obscured from my angle of view. The purpose may be other than what has met the eye thus far. As you can see there still exist way too many unanswered questions, mind-boggling methodologies, and head-scratching strategies, for me to open my humble mouth to issue a personal statement or a verdict. I go on impatiently waiting. How about you?

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  1. I think some significant information has come out.


    If the media refuses to connect the dots, then we will have to do it for them.

  2. @Jon: That’s the whole point-When you have tens of thousands of documents, and a few significant ones mixed up (and buried) with so many insignificant ones, this is what you get; and, the media is given the perfect excuse/condition to NOT TO connect/report…

  3. All I can say is that this has bothered me too. It’s one more thing that makes me suspicious. It could just be that they’re just wading through the cables and trying to redact what they think will protect the innocent (although what they redact is also highly suspicious) and releasing things as they go. You might think they just don’t know, and don’t have time to figure out, what explosive stuff is in there. But on the other hand, why not wait till they’ve found something more explosive before they release anything? So either they don’t have anything more explosive, or they’re being payed or played by others with ulterior motives. Overall I keep getting the impression that there’s an effort to paint a particular group (in this case Wikileaks) as a an anti-establishment muck-racking institution without really revealing much muck.

    On the other hand though, you might think that after a year or two if an explosive cable reveals that the US was helping funnel militants from Afghanistan through Turkey to Chechnia then that might draw people’s attention back.

    You might also think that Wikileaks just sees itself as a clearinghouse and they don’t think it’s they’re job to promote the info; they just leave it there for others to use. It’s the reporters who have to piece together the story. But if that were the case you’d never know it from their behavior. Definitely a lot of self-promotion going on.

    So yeah, bothersome.

  4. hctroubador says:

    I think this is circumstantial proof that the documents were leaked by the government itself. They obviously believe they are going to be leaked one way or another so they are controlling the information in order to control and limit the damage. My gut says Assange is not knowingly in on it and is a useful tool/fool for them. The speculated Soros connection adds credibility to this.

  5. A few points I would like to make:

    1.Wikileaks started out just dumping the whole shebang online. This resulted in a media storm that lasted about a week, and then died out… seemingly forgotten by media.

    2. Wikileaks learned from #1. If you want to sustain interest (and website traffic), you have to keep the stories in front of the readers week after week, each week bringing some new revelation that will catch readers’ eyes.

    3. With the release of ‘Collateral Murder’ in Iraq, Wikileaks learned how to get maximum impact with viewers and with the mainstream press.

    4. This latest release (250,000+ diplomatic cables) contains sooo much content that it needs filtering to determine what’s important and what isn’t. This filtering takes man-hours and a staff that knows what it is looking for/at. Wikileaks determined that they simply don’t have the human power to do this on their own, and that in their view, certain selected mainstream press would have knowledgeable staffers to figure out what’s news-worthy and what isn’t. I’m not saying this is the correct view, and it may very well be that some things will be filtered from the public eye (I simply don’t know for sure)… but I can see the logic behind this strategy.

    5. I think the chosen media outlets do have the full set of cables, and are not getting dribs and drabs from Wikileaks. I have nothing to back up this belief, just a hunch.

  6. @Metem: Again, we think alike on this; asking the same questions. As for ‘not going through…filtering’: It was one of my possibilities (hypothesis), but then the issue of ‘Insurance files’ came up…You’d think they’d cover that even if purely for ‘insurance’ reasons. Questions, questions, questions…and that’s what I keep ending up with.

    @Aine: As always very thorough & methodical. “I think the chosen media outlets do have the full set of cables, and are not getting dribs and drabs from Wikileaks…” I think they’ve already confirmed that (getting all the goodies along with some set conditions…), and again that too raises other questions. I also have problem with NY Times determining (and helping them) to take out ‘sensitive’ info. When you consider NY Times’ track record, their history, the embedded evil-doers there…hmmmm, you see where I’m getting at, right? Let me give you one example: based on my own first hand info the NYT printed editorial/articles prepared by the State Department under certain reporters’/writers’ names. Regularly. Whether to counter pub. opinion on Turkey’s human rights issues, thus, the question of military aid & certain MIC contracts, or… Considering this, what do you think they’d recommend when it comes to cables dealing with their own sh..?!

  7. Quick note to Aine.
    The Guardian have stated they have access to all documents and have a request page in which you can suggest topics to search for. If enough people request, they pull those out, analyse and post.

    It will take time.

    Sibel: Nobody has a clue where all this will go, but already Julian Assange, and even Wikileaks are potential becoming bit part players. Cryptome (long time), openleaks (to launch) and more importantly brusselleaks (which started last week and includes ex ministers etc). I too am mirroring wikileaks in support.

    I am guessing the whole world will become “leaky”, from governments to big business to NGO’s to Charities etc. There can be no stopping it – it is too easy and people want the truth too much.

    I believe the only counter is huge amounts of “false” information being distributed to make so much white noise. Suggestions are that even these documents have been seeded with info and also the fact that no Israeli material is interesting.

    But I also believe you are in as good a position as anyone to speculate. Speculation is simply that, but it would be interesting is you could relax your views and share.

    My apologies. I read you often but this is the first time I have felt the need to post.

    Great work with everything by the way.

  8. mrraven200 says:

    Normally I think your comments are spot on, but I think this misses the mark.

    The Collateral Murder video showing a U.S. helicopter pilot carelessly murdering a reporter and shooting into a van full of children was major.

    In this recent release U.S. taxpayer paying for DynCorps using a child prostitution ring to hire boy sex slaves is major, Hilary Clinton ordering embassy employees to engage in identity theft is major. And that’s just off the top of my head.

  9. hctroubador says:

    @ mraven – It’s not that the information isn’t damaging, it’s that they want to be able to control the media cycle to minimize any impact. If they know it’s going to come out it’s better that it be on their terms and under their control. Also, what if the revelations they leak are bad but nothing so bad as those they don’t? By feeding we plebs a bone maybe they hope it will keep us off of the real scent.

  10. @tkp: First, thanks for finally joining the discussion; hope you’ll continue. Next, I am supporting the entire idea of Wikileaks. No matter what, just the fact that it paves the way for many many other similar sites/organizations (as you said, we are already seeing some of that)is enough for me, also as a whistleblower, to support. If you go to NSWBC (our national security whistleblowers org) you’ll se ‘0’ activity. Why? After years of wasting time with congress and US MSM we have been encouraging people to find a way and anonymously expose the corruption/crime/wrongdoing…This particular post brings up the question(s) of strategy on this particular cable expose…

    @mrraven200: As I just stated (above)this discussion pertains to the latest Wikileaks case (Sttae Department & Diplomatic Cables), and the strategy. I have a sincere agenda: not let the explosive and incriminating documents get diluted by 100000s of useless documents & don’t give the enemies of the painful truth (If those happen to be among these 250000 cables) too much time. Finally, thank you for bringing in your two cents.

  11. mrraven200 says:

    Actual anti-Semites a opposed to anti Zionists of which I am one are spreading a false rumor that Wikileaks is going soft on Israel. Not true one cable exposes who a major player in Israel’s military admits that the U.S. and Israel have different foreign policy interests in the world:


    Another cable shows the U.S. communicating with Australia over fears Israel could start a global nuclear war by attacking Iran:


    IMO the Wikileaks is a Zionist dupe spin comes from either hard core white supremacists or the government itself.

    And no I am not a Zionist shill I think the U.S. should could off all aid to Israel for its esrial crimes against humanity and that Israel’s leadership ought to be in a war crimes docket for those same crimes.

  12. mrraven200 says:

    Child rape slavery paid for by our tax dollars isn’t bad or damaging to empire if it isn’t squashed as it has been so far the MSM hctroubador? What planet are you on?

    It does suck that the media isn’t spreading it more, but can you imagine the reaction from the “amber alert” soccer mom crowd if that was spread loudly and continuously? Blame the MSM for burying the most damaging bits IMO not Wikileaks itself which is suffering greatly for its truth telling.

  13. @Sibel : As far as I know, the New York Times did NOT get the diplomatic cables from Wikileaks. NYTimes is reporting on cables that The Guardian (UK) has obtained. This situation will help mitigate any NYTimes overlord power.

    BTW, for other readers, as I’m sure Sibel has read this at some point: Please read Carl Bernstein’s piece from Rolling Stone Magazine, it’s on his own domain: THE CIA AND THE MEDIA by Carl Bernstein, October 20, 1977 – http://bit.ly/aGB6o2

  14. @mrraven200: Rumor is just that: rumor. This is exactly why I rather wait and keep reading. People (on either side) are too quick to draw conclusion(s), and unfortunately with millions of blogs and self-declared journalists we get tons of rumors presented as facts (again, on many sides). This is why we are focusing on known specifics, and asking the questions. Here my questions have to do with pros (if any) and cons of this certain strategy. I truly value others’ opinion (okay, not every one! Many;-), and hope we get more input here @ BFP and get to discuss them all.

  15. @Aine: I love that piece. We covered it here at BFP…Our friend ‘Walter Pincus’ is still with WP;-)NYT has a fair share of that…Here is my piece on that: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2009/05/14/dissecting-the-us-mainstream-media-2/ and I can’t believe it’s been over a year!! First I thought I’d never blog, then I said OK just for a few months, and here I am chatting virtually and blogging away.

  16. @Sibel: Hahaha! That’s the way it goes, eh? My own blogging has taken a turn towards microblogging rather than doing much writing… I’m mainly tweeting links to things I find interesting, and Wikileaks has been a main topic on my account there. You can follow me, if you like (link is on my pic & name here). 🙂 I’m already following you.

    (And I’m proud to say that Daniel Ellsberg is following me! LOL)

    May I give you a little piece of advice about your twittering? If you want to get maximum readership on your posts here… tweet the url of the actual post, not the main blog post. Also, bit.ly has a bookmarklet for a bit.ly sidebar (works in all browsers) that will be of much help in your tweeting. I use it constantly.

  17. What is significant ? Might be it differs depending on the country.
    First there was those almost funny cables about political peoples in different countries – Oh – yes they were funny – but they did a big influence (Germany, Russia, China, France etc. etc.)

    After that there has been indeed really serious cables : E.g. NATO plans about Baltic defence – For Russians they are a bomb indeed – and pretty much all NATO countries in EU now wheels as got caught of cheating them.

    US – companies in Nigeria ?, Or DynCorp in Afganistan ? (And hey here in EU we still remember what happened in Bosnia 1999). We really hate to find out those kind of things …. simply because most of us still think that weak people should be helped – not robbed by big companies – and abusing children (as DynCorp) is even worse.

    Civilian victims in Afganistan , Yemen ? I know in US they only count how many THEY lose – but I must say I care much more how many civilians die.

    So it all depends from where You look.

  18. @Aine: Many thanks for suggestions. Okay, I’ll twit the url of the actual post. I added you to my list; done. Now, I’m trying to figure out bit.ly. You know how technologically challenged I am, right? Is this the site/mechanism to convert long urls into short ones? If yes, I think I know how to use it; if no, then what is it?

    @pr59: “So it all depends from where You look” You are right; good point, and thanks for bringing this up.

  19. One problem with starting with starting with “the ‘real’ prized material of great consequence” is that most average people in the U.S. didn’t have a clue of who Wikileaks was before. Now they have some idea even if they’re demonized in the media.

    In the 1633 the Catholic Church condemned and arrested Galileo for publishing “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” in 1632. The thing is that he published it in Italian which the the masses could understand instead of Latin which the few aristocrats could understand thereby threatening the Catholic Church’s standing to the masses.

  20. @Aine means that You should rather link directly to article (rather than to use
    http://boilingfrogspost.com )

    ‘SOS in a Bottle: Raising the Political Asylum Quota for Americans’ Read it @ Boiling Frogs Post: http://boilingfrogspost.com 10:10 AM Dec 11th via web )

    Points now to this article – not SOS in a Bottle: Raising the Political Asylum Quota for Americans (Which btw was hilarious – thank You)

    If You linked it http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2010/12/11/sos-in-a-bottle-raising-the-political-asylum-quota-for-americans/ there is no problems in that

  21. mrraven200 says:

    Biofuels drive world food crisis with full U.S. govt. complicity I’d say that’s another big one:


  22. Two thoughts occur to me. Earlier in a private email I mentioned to Sibel that Wikileaks was looking for translators of their Turkish material. Apparently they are limited in what they can digest.
    Second, I suspect Wikileaks wants to evaluate the response by different countries to their revelations, some of which are of consequence, but diluted by fluff.
    I admit that I did not see the clear references to Israeli compromise and know that I am anti-Zionist, but not anti-Semitic.

  23. @Sibel: Yes, bit.ly shortens urls. But if you can figure out how to drag the bookmarklet to your browser’s toolbar, you will have a really nice tool for tweeting links.

    Create an account at bit.ly. Login there. Add your Twitter account to bit.ly.

    Then go to this page: http://bit.ly/pages/tools The very first bookmarklet there is the one you want to drag to your browser’s bookmarks toolbar (if you don’t see a bookmarks toolbar, check View/Toolbars to make it visible).

    To use it, go to any news story. Highlight the text you want to use with your link (usually the title, but doesn’t have to be), then click the button in your bookmarks toolbar called bit.ly Sidebar. Voila!

  24. Oh, and thank you for following me. *happy dance*

  25. Hi, Sibel,

    Like you, I’ve been following the wikileaks/Assange demonization tour as much as I can. I do note the following cryptome releases concerning WL’s non-support or belated support for Brad Manning’s Defense Fund:



    as well as this article on the backlash:


    Now, with all that said, I think one of the things that WL has exposed is the extent of the corruption and deal-making worldwide, but especially in the last energy frontier of Central Asia. Examples below:

    I particularly enjoyed reading this cable from Bishkek where Prince Andrew lectures the US Ambassador on “The Great Game” and how poorly the US is playing it relative to the other players:

    or the Chinese back-channel efforts to close the US base in Manas:

    Other cables of interest concern who owns what in Azerbaijan:

    or the toubles our Baluchi/Taliban front groups are making for Iran:

    Another interesting cable concerns Hezbollah’s construction of their own fiberoptic network through Lebanon under the nose of the Lebanese government, thus providing Hezbollah with a secure Telecommunications net here:

    So, I’m wondering if our other intrepid correspondents might want to work with us and subdivide cables by location or subject interest so WE can really dig into this stuff and provide some cogent analysis. I for one, would love to see Mizgen dig into the central asian cables for that analysis.

  26. Another interesting cable out of Tel Aviv. Subject title, “Israel, A Promised Land for Organized Crime?”

  27. Black Order says:

    Sibel – “Based on the well-established and well-known mainstream media attention curve, isn’t it self-defeating and damaging to begin the cables release with a jumble of highly inconsequential and insignificant documents with little or no implications? Why not use the peak media attention period for the most significant and highly explosive information with even greater implications?”

    “From a risk management perspective, isn’t it way too risky to start the dissemination with unimportant and insignificant material, and provide the enemies (governments) with ample opportunity to strike back, interfere, block, and or destroy the ‘real’ prized material of great consequence? Why not start the release with the most explosive and highly incriminating documents as one major way of reducing the risk of potential interruption and or destruction?”

    Black Order – I haven’t been following the whole Wikileaks story as much as I’d like to, so I could easily be wrong, but just to speculate on the noted inconsistencies and suspicious circumstances…

    It’s all BS.

    It’s just truthful enough to be confirmed and therefore believable/credible, and just bad enough to be considered a problem, but not quite bad enough to be of any serious consequences to government.

    If they can invade Iraq over phantom WMD’s, If they can hunt and kill Pablo Escobar, then they can hunt and capture Assange. If they wanted to charge Mr. Assange with espionage, hunt him down and capture him, they already would have.

    Why haven’t they?

    Instead, he gets charged by another state with some seudo-sex crime(sex by surprise) that isn’t quite rape? Capture and punish the demonized ‘evil-doer’, but not really?

    Perhaps the whole fiasco is fabricated and will be used as an excuse for legislation to regulate the internet and/or who only knows what else.

    Who knows? Only time will tell.

  28. I wonder if he wasn’t holding on to some of the documents as leverage should he end up incarcerated for an extended period. I do wonder though why such a slow release of the information compared to other releases.
    Interestingly, I had predicted a few weeks ago after Wikileaks announced information regarding a major bank, that he would end up in jail. It’s apparent the government doesn’t have any clout, but mess with a bank and watch out.

  29. I hit submit to quickly.

    Also, like was mentioned by others, I think they learned a valuable lesson by pushing too much at once. As a general rule, people like information in bits and pieces, but when there are huge amounts of information, they feel overwhelmed and move along.

    Great euphenism by the way!

  30. I think it wise to be holding back a final analysis on the Wikileaks, Sibel. I have heard so many different takes on it. Here is an interesting commentary I read…


    Meanwhile, I am trying to wake everyone I know up to reality. That is the hardest part. To the bulk of them, I’m just a conspiracy nut. Just getting anyone to watch “Kill the Messenger” is like pulling teeth.

    This is off topic but sounds like good news…


  31. Kingfisher says:


    Like I said before, all the cables have been classified SECRET//NOFORN and below. And all “the good stuff” is likely to have a higher classification level. Anything that is “highly explosive information” will be classified TS and above, and it remains to be seen if they even have anything on that level.

    Fwiw, this is an interesting take on the matter from one of my favorite blogs:


  32. Kingfisher says:


    “Meanwhile, I am trying to wake everyone I know up to reality. That is the hardest part. To the bulk of them, I’m just a conspiracy nut. Just getting anyone to watch “Kill the Messenger” is like pulling teeth.”

    Have your friends read the David Rose article from Vanity Fair; it is the most powerful of all the related secondary source material. It is the first layer of the onion to peel.

    But remember, much has changed geopolitically since the events it describes occurred.


  33. @KF: Right, and I think it has been established that the highest classification level for these particular cables: ‘Secret.’ I went over the latest (dec 16 release) and again, nothing. Many thanks for the link. I just finished reading the piece; effective and original, and that’s so refreshing.

  34. virkrampandit says:

    >Isn’t it self-defeating and damaging to begin the cables release with a jumble of highly inconsequential and insignificant documents with little or no implications?

    Word frequency cloud of the first leaks:


  35. virkrampandit says:

    …also, Chossudovsky on WL:


    Wikileaks has the essential features of a process of “manufactured dissent”. It seeks to expose government lies. It has released important information on US war crimes. But once the project becomes embedded in the mould of mainstream journalism, it is used as an instrument of media disinformation…

  36. Does Wikileaks plan to expose BoA’s complicity with something like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssl5yb7FewA?

  37. Hi sibel

    Sibel do you believe that highly damaging/revealing cables would exist
    at the security level which someone like bradley manning would have access
    I ask because i wasn’t really surprised that the cables didn’t offer any really juicy stories. Although i remain skeptical yet hopefull of wikileaks, that issue does not cause skepticism for me. I find it hard to believe that if there is highly damaging material that it would be found at the lowest levels of security clearance.

    Do we have unrealistic expectations for what wikileaks will/can reveal?

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