What does the release of over 250,000 secret US State Department cables by WikiLeaks ultimately reflect?
“What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership and of course the Israeli political leadership,” Noam Chomsky, renowned American linguist and political dissident, told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman on Tuesday.
In the context of Israeli and US policymakers view of Iran shown in the cables, Chomsky said that the perspectives of the leadership stand in sharp contrast to the opinions of the populations they supposedly serve.
“[US Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton and [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu surely know of the careful polls of Arab public opinion,” Chomsky said.
Specifically, the scholar noted the Brookings Institute’s recent release of its annual poll on what Arabs think about Iran, the United States, and Israel.
“The results are rather striking. They show that Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel. That’s 80 percent. The second major threat is the United States. That’s 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent. With regard to nuclear weapons rather remarkably, the majority — in fact 57 percent — say that it will have a positve effect on the region if Iran had nuclear weapons. These are not small numbers,” he said.
Chomsky added, “This may not be reported in the newspapers here. It is in England, but it is certainly familiar with the Israeli and US governments and to the ambassadors.”
When asked to respond to Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) argument that that Wikileaks should be declared a foreign terrorist organization, he said, “I think that’s outlandish.”
Chomsky was one of the first Americans outside of the political establishment to see the Pentagon Papers released by counter-terrorism analyst turned whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg during the Vietnam War. He drew a comparison between the Pentagon Papers and the latest WikiLeaks drop of US embassy cables.
“We should understand that the Pentagon Papers is another case in point that one of the major reasons for government secrecy is to protect the government from its own population,” he said.
“In the Pentagon Papers, for example, there was one volume — the negotiations volume — which might have had bearing on ongoing activities. If you look at the papers themselves, there are things that Americans should have known that the government didn’t want them to know, and as far as I can tell from what I’ve seen here, pretty much the same is true,” Chomsky explained.
David Leigh, investigations executive editor at the Guardian newspaper, also told Democracy Now that more startling cables have yet to be released by the whistleblower website.
“In the coming days, we are going to see some quite startling disclosures about Russia, the nature of the Russian state, and about bribery and corruption in other countries, particularly in Central Asia,” he said. “We will see a wrath of disclosures about pretty terrible things going on around the world.”