WikiLeaks releases more than half a million US diplomatic cables from 1978

WikiLeaks releases more than half a million US diplomatic cables from 1978 by Julian Assange.

From the post:

Today WikiLeaks has released more than half a million US State Department cables from 1978. The cables cover US interactions with, and observations of, every country.

1978 was an unusually important year in geopolitics. The year saw the start of a great many political conflicts and alliances which continue to define the present world order, as well as the rise of still-important personalities and political dynasties.

The cables document the start of the Iranian Revolution, leading to the stand-off between Iran and the West (1979 – present); the Second Oil Crisis; the Afghan conflict (1978 – present); the Lebanon–Israel conflict (1978 – present); the Camp David Accords; the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua and the subsequent conflict with US proxies (1978 – 1990); the 1978 Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia; the Ethiopian invasion of Eritrea; Carter’s critical decision on the neutron bomb; the break-up of the USSR’s nuclear-powered satellite over Canada, which changed space policy; the US “playing the China card” against Russia; Brzezinski’s visit to China, which led to the subsequent normalisation of relations and a proxy war in Cambodia; with the US, UK, China and Cambodia on one side and Vietnam and the USSR on the other.

Through 1978, Zbigniew “Zbig” Brzezinski was US National Security Advisor. He would become the architect of the destabilisation of Soviet backed Afghanistan through the use of Islamic militants, elements of which would later become known as al-Qaeda. Brzezinski continues to affect US policy as an advisor to Obama. He has been especially visible in the recent conflict between Russia and the Ukraine.

WikiLeaks’ Carter Cables II comprise 500,577 US diplomatic cables and other diplomatic communications from and to US embassies and missions in nearly every country. It follows on from the Carter Cables (368,174 documents from 1977), which WikiLeaks published in April 2014.

The Carter Cables II bring WikiLeaks total published US diplomatic cable collection to 2.7 million documents.

The Public Library of US Diplomacy has an impressive search interface:

  • The Kissinger Cables : 1,707,500 diplomatic cables from 1973 to 1976
  • The Carter Cables : 367,174 diplomatic cables from 1977
  • The Carter Cables 2 : 500,577 diplomatic cables from 1978
  • Cablegate : 251,287 diplomatic cables, nearly all from 2003 to 2010
  • Keywords : Search for a word in the document text or its header
  • Subject:only Keywords Search for a word in the document subject line
  • Concepts Keywords of subjects dealt with in the document
  • Traffic Analysis by Geography and Subject (TAGS) : There are geographic, organization and subject “TAGS” : the classification system implemented by the Department of State for its central files in 1973
  • From : Who/where sent the document
  • To : Who/where received the document
  • Office Origin : Which State Department office or bureau sent the document
  • Office Action : Which State Department office or bureau received the document
  • Original Classification : Classification the document was originally given when produced
  • Handling Restrictions : All handling restrictions governing the document distribution that have been used to date
  • Advanced Search Features
    • Current Classification: Classification the document currently holds
    • Markings: Markings of declassification/release review of the document
    • Type: Correspondence type or format of original document
    • Enclosure: Attachments or other items sent with the original document These are not necessarily currently held in this library
    • Archive Status: Original documents not deleted or lost by State Department after review are available in one of four formats:
    • Locator: Where the original document is now held online or on microfilm, or remains in “ADS” (State Department’s 1973 Automated Data System of indexing by TAGS of electronic telegrams and Preels) with the text either garbled, not converted or unretrievable
  • Character Count : The number of characters, including spaces, in the document
  • Date : Document date range of the search
  • Sort by : Date, oldest first; Date, newest first; Relevance; Random; Length, largest first; Length, smallest first

Great for historical research into yesteryear’s disputes.

Not so great for current government transparency.

The crimes and poor decision making of elected officials and their appointees need to be disclosed in time to hold them accountable. (Say dumps every ninety (90) days, uncensored by Wikileaks or the New York Times.)

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