The WikiLeaks Files: The World According To US Empire – Review


“Each working day, 71,000 people across 191 countries representing twenty-seven different US government agencies wake and make their way past flags, steel fences, and armed guards into one of the 276 fortified buildings that comprise the 169 embassies and other missions of the US Department of State. They are joined in their march by representatives and operatives from twenty-seven other US government departments and agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the various branches of the US military”, writes Julian Assange in his introduction to “The WikiLeaks Files”.

This book pictures a line of destabilization around the world by the US empire. Therefore, it’s censored by the media, US government, Facebook, Twitter, and the Library of Congress.

The WikiLeaks Files. The World According to US Empire, Verso, London 2015, 624 pp. L 20, € 20.90; $ 21.50.
The WikiLeaks Files. The World According to US Empire, Verso, London 2015, 624 pp. L 20, € 20.90; $ 21.50.

These institutions are like “official” US espionage centers in foreign countries. “Above them, radio and satellite antennas scrape the air, some reaching back home to receive or disgorge diplomatic and CIA cables, some to relay the communications of US military ships and planes, others emplaced by the National Security Agency in order to mass-intercept the mobile phones and other wireless traffic of the host population.” The US security and surveillance state has not only wiretapped Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German political class in toto but also the rest of the European leaders, including the leader of the French “Grant Nation”, and their cronies in Brussels. And it didn’t end with Edward Snowdon’s whistle-blowing.

According to Assange, the Department of State is unique among the other bureaucracies of the United States. “It provides cover for the CIA, buildings for the NSA mass-interception equipment, office space and communications facilities for the FBI, the military, and other government agencies, and staff to act as sales agents and political advisors for the largest US corporations.”

Every year, the Department of State spends more than $ 1 billion for “public diplomacy” that’s a euphemism for outward propaganda. It’s aimed at journalists and civil society agencies, including some US human rights agencies so that they serve as conduits for the cause of the State Department.

The diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks are not produced to manipulate the public but are aimed at the rest of the US state apparatus. They mirror the real opinion of the Empire’s ruling class because they are free from distorting the public.

Therefore, the US empire is doing everything to get a hold of Assange. He has violated the unwritten code of conduct and has exposed the evil and sinister machinations of the United States governments. Considering the importance of the cables, Hillary Clinton’s email traffic as Secretary of State via her private server should be considered a crime and is going to be investigated by the FBI. While the US government claims that Assange has published “classified” documents without a security clearance that violates the Espionage Act of 1917, although he is not a US citizens, how does the some US government treat Clintons passing on of “classified” material via her private server to people that had also no security clearance? The double standard of the US political class seems obvious.

Assange rightly criticized the national security establishment as a quasi “religious phenomenon”. National security and classified documents are seen as if they were surrounded by a blaze of glory (“holy seal”). That Julian Assange “violated” their sanctuary can explain why the US security establishment got so hysterical about WikiLeaks disclosures and wants to get a hold of him at any cost.

The hysteria went so far that in 2011, the US government issued a “WikiLeaks fatwa” forbidding government officials to read even published “classified” documents in the media. “The recent disclosure of US Government documents by WikiLeaks has caused damage to our national security. Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites, disclosed to the media, or otherwise in the public domain remains classified and must be treated as such until such time it is declassified by an appropriate US government authority … Contractors who inadvertently discover potentially classified information in the public domain shall report its existence immediately to their Facility Security Officers. Companies are instructed to delete the offending material by holding down the SHIFT key while pressing the DELETE key for Windows-based systems and clearing of the internet browser cache.”

Assange hints at an odd phenomenon concerning the use of published “classified” documents by the academia, especially in US journals. “The academic censorship” in foreign relations surprised him most. The academic class doesn’t accept papers that rely on published WikiLeaks material, although it is frequently used in courts or any other scientific fields. The field of international relations is dominated by ISA, the International Studies Association, which has banned the most important US foreign policy archive from appearing in its academic papers. “They are even worse than the US media”, says Assange. Doesn’t this academic fatwa call into question its entire output that explains the role of US foreign policy? A similar ignorant attitude on the part of academics can be determined relative to a questioning of the official 9/11 narrative.

The book falls into two parts: organized by continents and countries. Contributors, inter alia, are; Phyllis Bennis, Peter Certo, Michael Busch, Conn Hallinan, Sarah Harrison, Jake Johnston, Alexander Main, Robert Naiman, Linda Pearson, Gareth Porter, Russ Wellen, and Stephen Zunes. Three chapters in which US policy towards dictators, Iraq or economic questions such as TTP and TISA are nameless. Or were they written by Assange? Many authors take a very critical position towards US foreign policy. Some of them see no difference between Obama’s and Bush’s foreign policy. Their policy had little to do with human rights but rather with supporting Iraqi sectarianism that led to ISIS and the current refugee crisis.

Most information focuses on post-9/11 and the “war on terror” fought by the US and its client states. This war led to a never-ending nightmare for the people of these countries. It’s not surprising that all authors describe US policy in the darkest colors possible. Many of these essays seem to be driven by a hypercritical political position rather than an open-minded behind-the-scene analysis. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to publish “the best of the best” of the millions of documents that WikiLeaks has presented so far on its website, provided with some ranging in comments of the US position in global affairs. This might have given a more objective picture of the highly questionable role the US empire plays around the world.

Despite these minor objections, it’s a very important, informative and disturbing book that is a very dry read.

Ludwig Watzal

Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual blog “Between the lines”. He can be reached at

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