The lack of information damaging to Israel in the cables released by WikiLeaks has provided fodder for conspiracy theorists.
PARIS – It was only a matter of time before conspiracy theorists came out of the woodwork to suggest that Israel is behind the publication of the WikiLeaks trove – and is manipulating the information coming out to help Israeli interests.
“Where is the real dirt on Israel?” these conspiracy theorists – messaging back and forth in the blogosphere – are asking one another.
“The answer appears to be a secret deal struck between WikiLeaks’ … Assange … with Israeli officials, which ensured that all such documents were ‘removed’ before the rest were made public,” wrote Gordon Duff, an editor of the anti-war website Veterans Today, who frequently opines about what he believes is Israeli’s secret influence over world events.
Speaking to Haaretz, Duff added that “it sticks out like a sore thumb that WikiLeaks is obviously concocted by an intelligence agency. It’s a ham-handed action by Israel to do its public relations.”
Meanwhile, Al Haqiqa, an Arabic language webzine, citing disgruntled WikiLeaks volunteers, adds more details to the conspiracy, suggesting that this “secret agreement” between Assange and “the Mossad,” which allegedly took place in Geneva, involved Assange’s promise not to publish any document that “may harm Israeli security or diplomatic interests.”
“The Israel government, it seems, had somehow found out or expected that the documents to be leaked contained a large number of documents about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008-9 respectively,” adds an anonymous blogger on IndyMedia. “These documents, which are said to have originated mainly from the American embassies in Tel Aviv and Beirut, were removed and possibly destroyed by Assange, who is the only person who knows the password that can open these documents, the sources added.”
Remy Ourdon, who is in charge of the WikiLeaks project for Le Monde – one of the five international newspapers that were given advance copies of the cables by Assange – counters that it is incorrect to claim there are no cables of interest about Israel.
“Not everything has come out yet,” he tells Haaretz. “There are tens of thousands of cables and many surprises still coming. There is almost no country which does not have some cables emanating from it.”
Moreover, stresses Ourdon, contrary to the conspiracy theorists’ charges, Assange is not in control of which cables WikiLeaks publishes – that is determined solely by what the person who obtained the cables was able to access and pass along.
Other observers offer an alternative explanation for the lack – so far – of many insightful cables out of Israel. For example, Ed Abington, a former U.S. consul general in Jerusalem (1993-1997 ) suggests, on facebook, that it might have something to do with the level of information being offered out of the country.
“The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has been so out of the loop for the last six years that their reporting is about what you read in the Israeli press (probably where they get most of their information ). .
“There’s a channel U.S. embassies use for very sensitive information and I don’t think WikiLeaks has those cables. As for Tel Aviv, the last two ambassadors have not been risk-takers and have had a very low profile. I doubt they have been willing to rock the boat, and may not have had much, if any, inside information.”
What would be more interesting, Abington persists, is the reporting from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. “Where is that reporting?” he asks.
“Stay tuned,” says Ourdon.