Sunday, January 16, 2011

WikiLeaks - from World War 1

The recent and continuing publication of US secret diplomatic cables by the Guardian newspaper clearly demonstrates the arrogance of power, the manipulations and machinations, and the plain perfidy of American imperialism towards democratic ideals and its continuing quest to police the world. What is perhaps of greater interest for us who live in the UK is the utter obsequiousness of Britain's ruling eltite in the face of American power. To have a few crumbs from the top table they have to grovel and prostrate themselves before their American masters.

However to return to the title of our story on 12 December 1917 the Guardian newspaper began the publication of secret diplomatic correspondence in which Britain and its allies were to carve up the world after the end of World War 1 in order to bolster and expand their respective colonial empires.

The new Bolshevik Government in Russia - whose Commissar for Foriegn Affairs was Leon Trostky - first published the documents in the Izvestiya in November 1917. The historian E H Carr argues that the Bolsheviks had a definite purpose in mind with their publication:
     "...the publication of the treaties...was in one respect an appeal to American opinion and to radical opinion in allied countries over the heads of allied governments whose sinister bargains with one another and the dethroned Tsarist regime were thus revealed to the world."  (1)

Carr also argues that their publication influenced President Wilson of the USA and his 14 points that were put before the participants who met to draft treaties for the future of peace at Versailles in 1919.

In Britain the publication of the secret treaties had a major effect on radical opinion and in particular that of the Union of Democractic Control. In 1918 the UDC published a book containing all the treaties and correspondence (The Secret Treaties and Understandings) *. Trotsky points out that the machinations of secret diplomacy operate against the people of the world, his words are still poignant today:
      "Secret diplomacy is a necessary weapon in the hands of the propertied minority, which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to make the latter obey its interests. Imperialism, with its world-wide plans of annexation, and its rapacious alliances and arrangements, has developed to the highest extent the system of secret diplomacy. The struggle against imperialism, which has ruined and drained of their blood the poeples of Europe, means at the same time the struggle against capitalist diplomacy, which has good reason to fear the light of day" (2)

*The UDC was setup in 1914 by disaffected liberals and Ramsay MacDonald of the Labour Party, all of whom opposed war with Germany with the UDC arguing for a negotiated peace and an end to secret diplomacy. The UDC was supported by Quakers and the Independent Labour Party and by 1916 many trade unions were affiliated. Individuals such as J A Hobson and Bertrand Russell were also members.
(1) E. H. Carr, The Boshevik Revolution 1917-23, Volume 3 page 24, Penguin 1966
(2) From the opening page of the 'The Secret Treaties and Understandings - UDC, 1981; see above link