Saturday, September 19, 2015

Review of The WikiLeaks Files: the world according to US empire

September 18, 2015

Alison Broinowski,

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Image from article: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: Mark Chew
THE WIKILEAKS FILES: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO US EMPIREWith an introduction by Julian Assange. Verso. $29.99.
When people talk glowingly about globalisation, they don't usually think of it as the process by which one single country, the United States, has achieved global imperial power.
How globalisation has been promoted to serve its own interests by the latest and maybe the world's last empire was revealed in 2.3 million US diplomatic cables and State Department records, published in 2011 by WikiLeaks. Amounting to 2 billion words, the mega-leak dwarfed the Pentagon Papers. People in many countries discussed in the documents were fascinated by what they revealed not just about the US, but about their own governments.  ...
The American empire, as it pursues economic and military power and administrative and diplomatic control in many countries ahead of the well-being of their citizens, is no different from its predecessors. But Assange argues that the US above all wants an empire of markets which it dominates. 
Although Nazi and Soviet propaganda once set the standard, the US has been an adept pupil, not least by relabelling its own propaganda as "public diplomacy" and "smart power". Such Orwellian manipulation of language is used everywhere in this book, even between US diplomats themselves. They devote particularly skilled attention to torture which, as George W. Bush declared, the US "does not do".  "Enhanced interrogation techniques" against "enemy combatants" or "political prisoners" are euphemisms that soothe the conscience.  ...

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