Wikileaks can provide us with high-value information, and insight on how the diplomatic process has taken place throughout history. It shows us how the US tried to overthrew Panamanian dictator Manuel Noruega, and recently, it shows, the faltering attempts of the American administration to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, or the bargaining that Washington has used with its friends in their attempt to empty Guantanamo.
All these things could lead to a clearer, and perhaps, a brand new way of doing diplomacy-bearing in mind that policy makers now will know that “state secrets” will no longer be “secret.”
There is though a big problem with these leaks. Freedom of press is a good thing, but there are certain issues that needs to be kept in secret, for the sake of security-and not only American security, but for the world itself. One of these “secrets” is the published message that Wikileaks released, stating that Yemen’s President told US Mid-East commander General David Petraeus that, in regards to the attacks on Yemeni al-Qaeda bases, it will be said that the “bombs are [from Yemen], not [American]”-which clearly is not the case.
If terrorists and extremists find out-even if they suspect it-that the US is the one bombing these camps, and perceive its governments being “puppets” of the US, the consequence will not be a greater freedom of press, nor more democracy, but a real threat to peace and security.
Yemen is a fragile state with a real danger of collapsing and become a new safe heaven for terrorist cells; and is neighbor of an even more fragile nation that is barely surviving, whose central government is unable to even control its own capital: Somalia.
In Yemen, terrorism is flourishing, thus the question is: Wikileaks, by releasing these documents, is it helping democracy, or for the contrary, helping terror to thrive and give al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations the right tools to make their propaganda and recruit new jihadist?
There are some things that are kept secret for decades because if revealed, they do pose a danger to lives, regardless of their nationality or religion. Yemen is only one case, and Wikileaks should understand this.