WikiLeaks and the struggle for peace

On Nov. 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I had the honor of speaking on behalf of civil society organizations to a special meeting at the United Nations.

I spoke at the UN the morning after the first WikiLeaks release of U.S. diplomatic cables.  One of the more galling bits of WikiLeaks information was the order by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to collect biometrics, frequent flyer numbers, work schedules and other data on high-ranking UN officials.

The attempts by the U.S. to sidetrack international law, sideline the UN and block implementation of UN resolutions has a long history especially in regards to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The UN is the only international institution where countries, big and small, rich or poor, can come to register their concerns and raise their demands for equitable treatment in the world community.

The UN spying was galling, but much of the information in the WikiLeaks, was not surprising or shocking for those who have been following US foreign policy. In fact, it proves that we have been right in our analysis and in organizing for peace and disarmament.

The ongoing debate around WikiLeaks gives organizers, historians and activists, an opportunity to draw bigger-picture conclusions. Although, it is very tempting to get caught up in the juicy bits of gossip about world leaders, what they drink, wear or their states of mind.

The WikiLeaks disclosures portray the U.S. Empire in decline, no longer able to launch wars wily nilly or control their allies. The diplomatic cables on discussions with the Yemeni government show that in fact, launching covert military actions and drone attacks on Al Qaeda rather than criminal investigations continues to destabilize the world and increase chance for new wars. The world is in deep crisis, and a U.S. foreign policy which relies on espionage, arms sales and bribery is a dead end.

The cables related to the coup in Honduras and Iran, for example, reflect an administration struggling for diplomatic approaches rather than the knee-jerk vintage Bush cowboy-istic gun slinging. Do we agree with the outcome of the Obama administration's debates and the approach towards Honduras or Iran, probably not, but gone is the era of nuke first, ask questions later tactics.

Clearly the break in the continuum of U.S. foreign policy that we all hoped for with the election of President Obama is still a work in progress that requires a stronger, more vocal peace movement.

The question is how do we use the WikiLeaks to make our case for an alternative foreign policy. What the world needs is a radically different U.S. foreign policy premised on respect for national sovereignty, international law, and institutions.

The administration needs to work from President Obama's call for the U.S. to behave as" one of many nations" and to end using diplomats for espionage now.

Closing U.S. bases around the world and real steps on nuclear disarmament would go a long way to addressing the very real threat of right-wing fundamentalist terrorism.

If the U.S. fought for the UN Charter-mandated diplomatic role of the UN in the Middle East and around the world, real headway could be made on Middle East peace and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some in Congress are calling for placing WikiLeaks on the list of foreign terrorist organizations. Tom Hayden says, "These revelations do no damage to our national security. Instead, they helpfully add to public and Congressional awareness of improper and arguably illegal behavior undertaken under the cover of secrecy. "

Maybe Bill Quigley, legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, is right. In an article on Common Dreams he said, " Maybe WikiLeaks has the potential to make transparency and accountability more robust in the US."

More transparency and accountability is exactly what we need to organize a movement that can fight and win an alternative foreign policy. That's what the peace movement must do in the Wikiweeks to come.

View speech at UN.

Originally published at Peace Action's Peace Blog.


Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.


  • A mostly good article, but you shouldn't have such change from the Obama Administration since during the 2008 campaign Obama, called Afghanistan the right war as compared to Iraq and in the senate he consistently voted for war funding. The U.S. policy towards North Korea, Iran and Latin America hasn't changed that much from that of Bush. The continuation in foreign policy is mainly due to the Obama Administration itself not just the peace movement not being stronger. Just like many Bush Administration policies were actually continuations of Clinton policies like the Clinton air raids and sanctions on Iraq.

    Posted by Sean Mulligan, 12/19/2010 6:06pm (5 years ago)

  • These WikiLeak concerns sister Judith Le Blanc outlines are THE CONCERNS of the political moment.
    They revolve around peace,jobs,international justice and the cessation of world wide repression emanating from the United States of America's government,one gone wild from the foundations of democracy,high-jacked by multi-national and transnational finance capital and militarism,but which monstrosity democracy would reel in,given half a chance.
    We,the Communist have to play a central role in the development of such a democracy.
    W.E.B. Du Bois has prophesied that we would help"...restore democracy to this land." This perhaps,lack of democracy which WikiLeaks points up, is just what we have to counter with the real democracy he wrote and spoke of. It is part and parcel of the communication and even transportation workers must control and own,in order to protect democracy for themselves,and allies.
    The dearth of resources for jobs,stems directly from this imperial control of them by this financial-military-industrial-repressive war apparatus,which we support through blood,taxation,and labor,both historically and currently.
    The struggling peoples of the earth whom Paul Leroy Robeson sang and struggled for,and for whom the Du Boises (Shirley Graham and W.E.B.)and brother Alphaeus William Hunton Jr. were persecuted and repressed for,are today,hunted,hounded and made victims of genocide,both in the United States and abroad,and in the lively tradition of Communists like Robeson and William L. Patterson we need to give this tradition of struggling with and for them,as them,a new birth.
    Any jobs summit we work for ought to make a robust international connection with the struggling immigrants of the world,and the struggling oppressed of Native Americans,African Americans,Latinos,(especially Mexicanos,Chicanos,and Puerto Ricans)but also the Hatian/Cuban connection,exposing how virulent racism and anti-communism harms humanity,jobs and the ecology which surrounds us,in a way which daily threatens to be irreversible.
    In the era of the reactionary Supreme Court upholding Holder v. Human Rights Project,this is especially critical. We,the whole labor movement,the whole constitutional,human and civil rights movement,not to mention the United Nations organization and its sub-organizations(which our W.E.B. Du Bois help found) are subject to being unconstitutionally seized and searched,subpoenaed,and hauled off to jail,leaving humanity and the environment to go to hell.
    Peace is the central question,the one which moves all others. Thank you sister Le Blanc,WikiLeaks implications are key to future activity of" ..organizers,historians and activists,an opportunity to draw bigger-picture conclusions."

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 12/17/2010 10:58am (5 years ago)

  • President Obama Arab- Israel policy failure.
    Obama diverted the focus from the basic issue:
    !! Arabs refusal to recognize the Jewish right to a independent state in the 3500 years old homeland is the key peace blocking factor!!
    It was in 1947 and in 2010:
    As a result of his policy the Palestinians are avoiding negations.
    For years Palestinians and Israeli negotiated with some with some achievements and some drawbacks.
    Recorded on Oslo agreement, President Clinton+ Barak+ Arafat cape David summit and Taba discussion/
    PM Barak on Taba negotiations made an unprecedented offer to Arafat in exchange for a :
    ****formal letter stating that the conflict is over and no additional future requirements will be made****:
    ---The Palestinians open the deadly terrorist war against Israeli civilian---
    Wikileake disclosed: Arab leaders demand USA to stop Islamist Iran by any means without any connection to Israel.
    Obama required Israel to give up major heritage and security assets, pretending that this is a key issue to form a coalition with Arabs states against Islamist Iran NUK's.
    Obama knew first hand that his linkage is incorrect.
    The politicians and people willing to contribute to a long standing peace are advised to require:
    1: Arabs recognition of:
    - Jewish right for their single state: Israel
    -Palestinian right to create the number 23 Arab state.
    2: Muslims governed by Arabs.---Jews and others governed by Israel.
    -Israel will hand over to Palestinian government land inhabited by Arabs from Israel and the Jews from settlements will be governed by Israel.
    -Arabs and Jew will remain in their current homes nobody will have to move physically.
    3: Defining the boarders.
    4: Solving the Refugees issue- Both Arabs and Jews from Arab countries.
    5; Put and end to the Jews hate teaching and preaching in Arab world.
    6; Arabs end of conflict declaration.
    No additional issues are open for conflict continuation.
    Every group of people prefers to be governed by their own.
    Artificial boarders or imposed boarders are major reasons to conflicts.
    Canada-French want their state: Belgian Flames want separations. Basques in Spain.
    Czechoslovakia partition in 2 states
    Irish and Scotts want independence from UK .
    Tibet a nd China.
    The many wars in Africa because tribes have been separated or united by Europeans in artificial state.
    Kashmir- Cyprus- Kurds in Turkey and Iraq.
    The Balkan wars.
    The USSR partition into many states. Current wars in Russia.

    Posted by Ariely, 12/17/2010 3:58am (5 years ago)

  • We definitely need a new path.
    New ways of thinking and doing.

    Posted by William Hart, 12/16/2010 5:55pm (5 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments