The first time I ever wrote about WikiLeaks was back in early 2010, when the group was still largely unknown. What prompted my attention was a small article in The New York Times which began this way:
To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added WikiLeaks.org, a tiny online source of information and documents that governments and corporations around the world would prefer to keep secret.
The NYT explained that the Pentagon had prepared a secret 2008 plan in which they plotted how to destroy WikiLeaks, including by purposely leaking to it false documents with the hope that the group would publish the fakes and forever obliterate their credibility — a dastardly scheme which was ironically leaked to WikiLeaks, which promptly posted the document on its website.
Any group that the U.S. security state includes on its “list of enemies” by virtue of publishing its secrets is one that is going to attract my interest, and likely my support. As a result — months before they made international headlines with publication of the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs and diplomatic cables from Hillary Clinton’s State Department — I immediately investigated everything I could about the group’s founding and mission; interviewed its founder Julian Assange; and urged readers to help support the fledging group, concluding that “one of the last avenues to uncover government and other elite secrets are whistle blowers and organizations that enable them. WikiLeaks is one of the world's most effective such groups, and it's thus no surprise that they're under such sustained attacks.”
The reason for my conclusion was that WikiLeaks had been exposing incriminating secrets of corrupt power centers for years. The technology they pioneered — enabling sources to leak to them troves of documents without anyone, including WikiLeaks itself, knowing the source’s identity — was a major innovation in enabling greater transparency for the world’s most powerful factions.
But it was one WikiLeaks document that particularly caught my attention at first: a classified 2010 CIA “Red Cell Memorandum,” named after the highly secretive unit created by Bush/Cheney CIA Director George Tenet in the wake of the 9/11 attack.
What made this document so fascinating, so revealing, is the CIA’s discussion of how to manipulate public opinion to ensure it remains at least tolerant if not supportive of Endless War and, specifically, the vital role President Obama played for the CIA in packaging and selling U.S. wars around the world. In this classified analysis, one learns a great deal about how the “military industrial complex,” also known as the “Blob” or “Deep State,” reasons; how the Agency exploits humanitarian impulses to ensure continuation of its wars; and what the real function is of the U.S. President when it comes to foreign policy.
What prompted the memo was the CIA’s growing fears that the population of Western Europe was rapidly turning against the War on Terror generally and the war in Afghanistan specifically — as evidenced by the fall of the Dutch Government driven in large part by the electorate’s anger over involvement in Afghanistan. The CIA was desperate to figure out how to stem the tide of anti-war sentiment growing throughout that region, particularly to shield France and Germany from it, by manipulating public opinion.
The Agency concluded: its best and only asset for doing that was President Obama and his popularity in Western European cities.