The WikiLeaks, on the face of it, are merely the contents of a website, and contain the correspondence between US diplomats and their headquarters, the State Department in Washington. Why have they created so much controversy? The first reason has been the global nature of their reach. After all, the US is presently the worlds sole superpower, and thus has a very large diplomatic presence in about all countries. Consequently, its ability to report back about the hosts politicians and politics are correspondingly greater. Another thing worth noting is that the WikiLeaks phenomenon is a product of the Internet Age. Only now is it possible to reproduce so many documents so quickly. In an earlier age, copies were only possible if a human copyist got to work. In the 20th century, copies were possible through Photostat and roneo machines. However, the computer has made making copies much, much easier. A copy of a computer document is made by making just a few clicks of a computer mouse. Also, there is the underlying assumption, which is that more open government means more access to information by more people. The closed world of diplomacy has caused the most suspicion for the longest period, and has been the most impervious to examination. It would thus be in the best traditions of whistle blowing for WikiLeaks to attack this by blowing in a breath of fresh air by leaking its cables, and by prising it open to public scrutiny. This might be all very well for the American voting public, which is not only ignorant of the world outside the US, but apparently revels in this ignorance, but the question naturally arises for the rest of the world what advantage it has gained. This is especially true for publics which are not involved in the choice of their rulers. If those rulers are indeed proved out of sync with their publics, so what? This also applies to the pro-American proclivities of democratic politicians, as demonstrated in Pakistan. One reason for the firm belief that there will not be any change in the relations of individual nations with the US is the nature of the relationship. Which is mostly that between a small state, at best a regional power, with the sole superpower. As the US has the carrot of aid and the stick of force, that relationship does not rely on diplomacy alone. Both carrot and stick still exist, despite the WikiLeaks, and will continue to be more influential in relations. US diplomats have already worked on damage control, and are finding cooperation from their counterparts. Both American and other-country diplomats, indeed all diplomats, would like to ignore the leaks and go on. The reason for this is that, leaks or no leaks, countries still exist, with all their power, all their needs, and their diplomats will go on having to represent them. Of course, diplomats of other countries already distrustful of American diplomats because of congressional oversight will have even less confidence in them. Even charier will be non-diplomats, mostly politicians, now made fearful that their pronouncements might at some stage be exposed to the whole of the US, and thus the world. The diplomats stock in trade is confidence, the knowledge that what is said to him may only be shared with his home government, which will in turn guard that information. Now that confidence has not just been broken, but shattered. Another dimension that has come to light is that American diplomats have been told to spy. Spying is forbidden to diplomats, and no professional diplomat would engage in it, but it is too tempting for the home country to give the opportunities offered by having a mission on another countrys territory. As a result, while diplomats have given up spying, spies are often posted at foreign missions under diplomatic cover. It was notorious, during the Cold War, that the Soviet cultural attach was a spy. However, apart from the diplomatic sensibilities that might have been offended, the WikiLeaks is a treasure trove for the intelligence agencies of the world, not just formerly hostile agencies, not just friendly ones, but for the CIA itself. That which has been leaked was once worth vast sums to hostile powers, and it is not too much to assume that intelligence agencies worldwide are working on the profiles of American diplomats, as well as foreign politicians, and on much, much else. Much has been exposed to the discerning eye about American working methods. This knowledge will be used in turn to launch other operations, against the US, to manipulate it to do what is in the manipulating states national interest. That they might not succeed is another matter, for even if they dont try, the US will still have to deal with that particular suspicion. What is particularly trying is that at the moment, the US does not face any hostile power or bloc, as it did the USSR and its Soviet bloc during the Cold War. All are US allies nowadays. It was also noticeable how the WikiLeaks stayed away from India. That it would stay away from Israel was perhaps an inevitability, considering the depth and breadth of Zionist penetration into both politics and media, but the staying away from India too was an indicator of its influence. On the other hand, there were a large number of leaks which tended to pit Muslim countries against each other. This is perhaps the biggest indication that the Leaks were inspired by the US establishment itself. If one of the consequences was ruining Pakistani leaders and institutions, that was one of the side benefits, but not the main purpose. However, the damage has been, among others, to Pakistan. Much, rather, most, of the material leaked was placed there only for verisimilitude, and that might have contained much damaging to a particular leader. It should not be assumed that the WikiLeaks are over. It is now easier to leak than before, when the infamous Pentagon Papers were leaked in preparation to end the Vietnam War. The leaks may not be over, because the WikiLeaks site not only needs more leaks to go on capturing attention, but so will the imitators bound to spring up. Another contributing factor will be diplomats penchant for computer communication. It must not be forgotten that there were leaks before the computer age, which has merely made it easier - keeping correspondence used to be cumbrous, so computers offer too many advantages of cost to be ignored, even if security measures are considered. Future leaks will probably throw more mud from diplomats at politicians, and there is also the prospect of leaks not being coordinated. Also, the possibility of other countries using the leaks method to serve their purposes must not be ruled out. The arrest of the WikiLeaks founder should not be assumed to prove that he was not involved. He could have been fooled into serving anothers purpose, but it would also show that the consequences of leaking are not non-existent. However, if chancelleries had their way, he would get it in the neck, and that the arrest was made to satisfy them cannot be ruled out. Perhaps, his ultimate fate will tell whether or not he was privy to a conspiracy. In either case, the state was showing its power, and the fact that non-state actors could not trifle with it with impunity. That is Julian Assanges real crime, not anything he might have done in Sweden. Email: