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Norwegian Newspaper Challenges WikiLeaks Cable “Cartel”

And creates its own.

2:38 PM, Feb 7, 2011 • By JOHN ROSENTHAL
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Die Welt correspondent Michael Borgstede noted that Julian Assange’s stated intention was “to expose the United States and to show that the words of the super power did not match its deeds.” But after reading what he describes as thousands of pages of the cables, Borgstede concluded, “the truth is completely different: there is virtually never any contradiction between the official rhetoric of the United States and its now revealed diplomatic efforts.”

The scoops thus far published by Die Welt include an article on a 2009 shipment of some 311 computers destined for the Kalaye Electric Company: an Iranian firm that is explicitly targeted by U.N. Security Council sanctions on account of its ties to the Iranian nuclear program. The manufacturer of the computers is the German engineering giant Siemens. Following the intervention of British and American authorities, the shipment was apparently blocked in the port of Dubai.

It would appear, however, that the cartel-breakers are now beginning to act like cartel-makers. When the present author requested access to cables linked to the Iranian computer shipment story, he was informed by Tone Tveøy Strøm-Gundersen of Aftenposten that the paper had “decided not to share any cables with the exception of newspapers belonging to the Schibsted Media Group.” The Schibsted Media Group is the parent company of Aftenposten.

Unfortunately, the response was a rather brazen falsehood. Die Welt is part of the Axel Springer group, one of Germany’s largest media companies. It has no connection to Schibsted. “I should have added ‘and other chosen media partners,’” Tone Tveøy Strøm-Gundersen replied when this was pointed out. In fact, Aftenposten has shared access to the cables with several other media. These include Denmark’s Politiken, Sweden’s Svenska Dagbladet, the Dutch paper NRC Handelsblad, and the Flemish paper De Standaard.

It remains to be seen whether Aftenposten will deign to allow any American journalists to view the American cables. Maybe what one needs now, to paraphrase editor-in-chief Hilde Haugsgjerd, is “a leak of the leak of the leak.”

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