"Cables? I thought they went out years ago!"
Because, in this high tech iEverything age, who the hell, apart from electricians, uses cables? I really didn't even know they still exist. My parents used to use them, mostly when someone had died, and frankly even I'm pretty old compared to most of my readers.
Everything these days is secure, password and PIN number protected. To penetrate a careful person's email account you need the advanced computer skills of Harry Potter after he's been to some evening classes on hacking, or a fourteen year old Nigerian fraudster.
The Americans chose cables to communicate these highly sensitive bits of information. Surely they weren't surprised when something sprang a leak?
They were, and don't call me Shirley, with my thanks to Leslie Nielsen.
The reaction of the Sri Lankan blogosphere has been surprisingly subdued. I don't know why this is the case, perhaps as more leaks specifically related to Lanka are released the momentum will increase or maybe people just aren't interested.
There have been three main blogs and a few posts that have caught my eye.
First, and undoubtedly foremost, there's Groundviews with this fantastic precis of the situation to date. It's got even more graphs, diagrams and flashy charts than a piece of homework submitted by my fourteen year old daughter and it explains things pretty clearly and succinctly. There are links galore and it tells you everything you need to know, everything if you're me that is.
The only thing it's missing is a good pie chart. Perhaps Sanjana might want to use the one I've shown below, the only pie chart ever worth using IMHO. By the way, the invention of the pie chart is often credited to Florence Nightingale, her of Florence and the Machine. She didn't invent it, sorry about that.
Moving on we've got Sittingnut on Lanka Libertarian with his take on things. It's his first post for months and it's good to have him back and active in the Lankanosphere. His approach demonstrates his usual degree of level headedness and wisdom with his unparalleled ability to see things from the perspective of a large bird with a very long neck.
He asks "Who will be most embarrassed in Sri Lanka when these cables come to light", something I think is an interesting question. Sadly I think the answer, at least where Sri Lanka is concerned, is a resounding "no one", as so many things are so shameless there anyhow.
In the updated section of Sittingnut's post he reports on the Commonwealth turning down Sri Lanka's offer to host the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting because of "concerns about lending international credibility to the Government's actions".
Sittingnut's response to this is to ask who cares about the commonwealth anyway. This response is akin to a child who, on being told he can't join in a game with his friends because they think he might have cheated last time, retorts by saying he never wanted to play anyhow. He then goes and plays with a bunch of Chinese kids and......
Lastly we come to Indi with his views on the matter at hand. He's given Wikileaks quite a chunk of attention with three posts at the time of writing.
This one informs us that Wikileaks has 3166 documents to be released on Sri Lanka. They'll be released in forthcoming months so we don't yet know what secrets they contain. Here in the UK I expect their release will be carefully planned around the X Factor and Cheryl Cole's scheduled appearances, possibly synchronised with her clothing.
Indi's first post about the thing starts off by showing us a picture of Julian Assange, the Wikileaks' founder, doing a hand shadow puppet thing. He's evidently not very good at it, but I reckon he'll attain fame in other ways.
Indi uses this post as a platform to argue that the over 100,000 deaths in Iraq revealed by Wikipedia recently are far more than alleged in Sri Lanka and that the US has lost much of the trust from the rest of the world because of this. It's undoubtedly a valid view, with one major flaw.
There isn't a massive body of people in the West saying that the actions of the US, the UK and whoever else are correct and justified and that it's just little old Sri Lanka who have done wrong. No, there's huge public opinion here in the UK that the invasion of Iraq was wrong, that the public was misled and that the troops should withdraw. People here are allowed to say these things quite freely too.
His post here demonstrates the Indi thinks it's a positive thing that Julian Assange and Wikileaks exist, I'm inclined to agree with him.
Indi has a lot more readable stuff on his blog about the whole Wikileaks saga, check it out.
Finally I must tell you what I think. I guess it would be a cop out to criticise others without revealing my thoughts.
The first thing that struck me, on reading Indi's and Sittingnut's opinions was that they shared a view, perhaps a first. They both demonstrate a lack of consistency. They both believe that it's okay for these secrets about the US Government to be revealed, thereby showing us its real face and giving us a true picture. Yet they both think that it's perfectly acceptable for Sri Lanka to keep certain things secret as it's in the interests of national security.
Indi says this
"Their logic for dialling back these leaks works on a local level in the same way that the white flag story works in Sri Lanka. These are our secrets and we keep them to protect our country."
Sittingnut tells us
"It appears that american state is run by arrogant hypocrites who care nothing for ethics and morality when they want to dominate others..."
My stance is that Sittingnut's take on the US is, or maybe was, correct. But, if it's good that these things are revealed, then it should be good if all atrocities are revealed in all countries.
Fundamentally I feel it's a good positive thing that this information has been made public. I care not one iota for the arguments about patriotism, national security etc. I think that, if the Americans, Brits and whomever else have behaved this cynically then they deserve what they get.
But I wonder on the wisdom of Wikileaks in revealing all of this. There are cases when people have been named, people who have been motivated to pass on information to the Americans for genuinely good reasons, and some of them may now be in very real danger.
In the longer term this may discourage others from coming forward to people in not just American but all diplomatic circles, that can't be good.
The whole thing makes the Americans look cynical and arrogant. If I had a friend who was an American diplomat right now I'd be wondering if he really was my friend and whether I could trust him. It's a stroke of luck that I have no friends in these circles. Apart from Condoleezza and Hillary that is.
In the UK, at least at the time of writing, our main concerns have been the plainly stupid and bigoted views of Prince Andrew, as well as his very dodgy choices on when to air them. Most of us think he's an idiot anyway. I'm sure there'll be more to come though.
I leave you with the last word quoted from Groundviews, in itself a quote from Kusal Perera:
“The first is that, in Sri Lanka, it would never be possible for any one to play “Julian Assange” and dare face an open media briefing in Colombo, to justify his or her claims on war crimes and torture. Right or wrong, excessive or not, that “democracy” is nowhere within the shores of Sri Lanka and would not be, for many decades to come. There is also no possibility of any lawyer, any public litigant, requesting Courts to “order” relevant authorities to begin investigations into allegations of crimes committed during war, as in Britain. Relevance if any on such democratic practices, is almost naught.” – From WikiLeaks to WikiLanka: War Is Definitely Savage Though “Accusations” Differ, Kusal Perera