Scoop: The Guardian
agreement, edits and distorts the cables!
The Guardian’s Political Censorship of
By Israel Shamir
Although the net tightens around Wikileaks founder Julian
Assange, the contents of the US embassy cables have been doled out to us in
spoonfuls. Worse, The Guardian edits and distorts the cables in order
to protect their readers from unflattering remarks about how their corporations
behave overseas. This is not a conjecture but a fact:
The Guardian has abused its
privileged agreement with Wikileaks and deliberately excised portions of
published cables to hide evidence of corruption.
A year ago, on the 25th of January, 2010, the US
Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan sent out the secret cable ASTANA 000072, entitled
KAZAKHSTAN: MONEY AND POWER.
The cable chronicled the US Ambassador’s private dinner with a senior Kazakh
government official named Maksat Idenov. At the time, Idenov headed the Kazakh
state oil and gas company and represented the state in its dealings with foreign
oil companies, including British Gas and ENI. A redacted version of the cable
published by the Guardian, and so we have been given the rare privilege of
viewing The Guardian’s
editing process in action. It looks like nothing so much as political
Here is the relevant portion of the Astana cable; the words
removed by The Guardian
are printed in bold:
“… market economy means capitalism, which means big money,
which means large bribes for the best connected.”
Here is the Astana cable published now by the Wikileaks in full. Why does
The Guardian wish to conceal evidence of corruption in Kazakhstan? Does
someone at The Guardian want to save us from becoming disillusioned about
free markets? The readers of The Guardian may never get to hear it, but
the “big money” of capitalism does in reality result in “large bribes for the
Just before dinner, Idenov was overheard “barking into his
cell phone” at British Gas (BG) Country Director Mark Rawlings “who is ‘still
playing games with Mercator's James Giffin,’ the notorious AmCit fixer indicted
for large-scale bribery on oil deals in the 1990s, whose case drags on in the
Southern District Court of New York. Idenov tells him: ‘Mark, stop being an
idiot! Stop tempting fate! Stop communicating with an indicted criminal!’ ”
Again, the bold and very relevant information of the
Astana cable has been removed from publication so that British taxpayers might
not learn that the regional director of a prominent British company insists on
dealing with an indicted grafter. The readers of
The Guardian may never know that the case of
American citizen (“AmCit”) James Giffen (spelled incorrectly in the cable) was
dismissed by US District Judge William Pauley because the bribes he gave to the
Kazakh officials were authorized by the CIA. The judge publicly
lauded the “notorious fixer” as a Cold War warrior who helped the Jewish
cause (always an exonerating feature within the US justice system) and stated
for the record that “his business dealings were CIA-authorized operations”.
“Mr. Giffen was a significant source of information for the
U.S. government and a conduit for secret communications to the Soviet Union and
its leadership during the Cold War,” Pauley said. In Kazakhstan, Giffen was
advancing US interests, including corporate interests. “He acted as a conduit
for communications on issues vital to America’s national interest in the
region,” the judge said.
“Oil industry middleman James H. Giffen, once
accused of funneling $84 million in bribes to the president of Kazakhstan
and other officials” walked away a free and rich man. Perhaps our man Rawlings
knew a little more about Giffen’s CIA connections than did the Ambassador and
The Guardian’s final
cut takes the proverbial cake. Idenov goes on to say that
both BG and Italy's ENI
are corrupt, and that
bribe-hungry Kazakh officials are itching to work with them.
This portion of the cable was completely excised.
The only portion of the cable that The Guardian felt
worthy of highlight was that the currently favoured presidential son-in-law was
“on the Forbes 500 list of billionaires (as is his wife separately)”.
Furthermore, the redacted cable was dropped onto the pages of The Guardian
without any background information or further comment. Kazakhstan is not
next-door, and Guardian readers deserve better.
Here is what they left out of the story: Idenov left the
state’s service in May 2010 and in July he
re-emerged as –surprise, surprise - the Senior Vice President for Strategic
Planning of ENI. Yes, none other than that selfsame “corrupt” ENI he dealt with
from his ministerial desk.
The Astana cable is a microcosm of the robbery of the
ex-Soviet space by Western corporations. From it we learn that bribes are
authorized by the CIA and that the grafters are exonerated by the US courts. We
learn that Harvard-trained lawyers like Mr. Idenov take full advantage of the
revolving door between positions of state and the Western corporations that rob
it. In short, we learn that “capitalism means large bribes for the best
connected.” The readers of The Guardian, of course, missed out
on all this.
Idenov concludes his talk with the rationalizations of his
fellow sell-outs: “Almost everyone at the top is confused by the corrupt
excesses of capitalism. ‘If Goldman Sachs executives can make $50 million a year
and then run America's economy in Washington, what's so different about what we
do?’ they ask.” Indeed, probably nothing. If the American people are helpless
before the rapacity of Goldman Sachs executives, how can we expect the Kazakh
people to defend themselves from transnational corporations assisted by the CIA?
The full, unedited cable makes it too clear that their only choice is which
bribe to take.
Although the agreement between Wikileaks and The
the newspaper to block out the names of innocent people who might suffer upon
disclosure, the Astana cable was clearly redacted for political reasons, in
order to protect the image of the predatory capitalism they establish in the
East. Wikileaks trusted the Guardian to do just what was agreed: protect
the names of innocent people, but the Guardian abused this privilege.
Normally, Wikileaks uploads the cables AFTER they were checked and edited by the
Guardian. Now it will have to be checked. After this article was published first
time, Wikileaks updated the Astana cable on its site, so you can read it in
Perhaps we might review other Guardian news stories
for this kind of heavy-handed doctoring of newly available documents. Consider
the secret cable TASHKENT 000902, sent May 5th, 2005.
Here is The Guardian’s presentation of the cable. It is censored
almost completely; only two irrelevant sentences survived the self-serving
butchery of Guardian editors. With editors like these, the sword hanging
over Private Manning and the noose around the neck of Julian Assange become
original Tashkent cable describes the dealings of Uzbekistani “crime boss”
and “top mobster” Salim Abduvaliyev (more frequent spelling: Abduvaliev) who,
according to the American embassy, controls government jobs and awards
government contracts through his connection with Gulnara, the “First Daughter of
President Karimov”. The primary message-carrier between the arch-criminal and
Gulnara is a British citizen of Iranian origin. Why did The Guardian
choose to excise the vast majority of the cable? To protect the British
go-between? To protect the connection with Chernoy, a prominent Israeli
businessman? Is there an Uzbekistani criminal pulling the strings at The
Another Secret cable,
TASHKENT 000465, describes the mobster’s family wedding. It is not all that
different from the famous description of the Dagestan wedding in
another cable, MOSCOW 009533, yet The Guardian
decided not to publish this one at all. Isn’t it considerate of The Guardian
to protect the people of Uzbekistan from learning about the ties of corruption
between the Karimov family and leading gangsters?
Could it be explained by drift of Karimov’s regime away from Moscow and into
close cooperation with the Americans as it is indicated in the yet unpublished
cable MOSCOW 000337?
This sort of political self-censorship explains why The
Guardian chose to attack Israel Shamir, an independent journalist working
with Wikileaks. In the pages of The Guardian, Nick Cohen
claimed that Israel Shamir "may have handed confidential information to
Lukashenko", as if Shamir were some sort of secret agent with a bullet-proof
briefcase. Shamir also “may have” flown to the moon and back, for that matter.
I am still amazed by the sheer naiveté of this baseless
claim. Hasn’t Nick Cohen heard of email? Even The Guardian publishes
confidential information (if not the whole story). Wikileaks provides
confidential information to everybody without discrimination and without the
need of secret agents. All the secret Belarus-related US embassy cables are
about to be published on the biggest independent Belarusian
site for everybody to see, including both Lukashenko and Cohen.
Nick Cohen starts from where his predecessor, “resident
moron” Andrew Brown ended. Brown, in his Guardian
attack on Shamir, said that his connection to the Wikileaks “has worrying
implications for the security of anyone named in the cables. This is not because
the cables themselves are inaccurate, but because they are not.”
Surprisingly, Brown is right, despite his clumsy triple
negation. The people named in the cables – usually veterans of the revolving
door between transnational corporations and government service – rest at ease
knowing that the embedded mainstream media like The Guardian and The
New York Times will sever all connection between their actions and their
responsibilities. The very existence of independent journalists and free,
independent, web-based media “has worrying implications for their security”. Let
them worry. While errand-boys have no need to fear, the rich and powerful may
trust in us to hold them accountable for their misdeeds. Does The Guardian
even understand why they have been given these secret and confidential cables?
Wikileaks is trying to shed a little light upon the dark and dirty underworld of
international intrigue, and The Guardian is doing everything it can to
blot it out again. The battle for truth is just beginning.
Edited by Paul Bennett
Read on the topic:
Shamir’s response to Andrew Brown of the Guardian
The Secrets of Wikileaks