By Malik Miah and Barry Sheppard
The leak of a trove of secret U.S. government documents posted on social media has revealed aspects of how the government and its military is targeting its adversaries (especially Russia and China) and pressuring allies to toe the line or face economic and political retaliations.
The bulk of the more than 60 documents we know about so far appear to originate from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Operations Center and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned the media not to publish the documents – that is, to keep them as secret as possible from the American people. Foreign governments have the documents, of course.
But since they are on the internet, various media outlets have studied them and written about them, while not publishing the documents themselves.
At first the White House, Department of Defense, and National Security Agency claimed the documents had probably been leaked by Russian agents. Then on April 13, the Justice Department announced the arrest of a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guard member, Jack Teixeira, at his home. He was identified as the leaker.
The Pentagon and much of the mass media tried to shift the focus of the story to the identity and possible motives of leaker, the “crime” of leaking secret government documents (even true ones that the U.S. population should know about) and the failure of security protocols. For example, CNN and MSNBC have refused to even report what the documents reveal.
A US Proxy War
However, the leaks have led other pro-war outlets to report details of the war which demonstrate the extent to which it is being organised from Washington.
An April 10 front-page article in the New York Times argued that the documents:
“leave no doubt about how deeply enmeshed the United States is in the day-to-day conduct of the war, providing the precise intelligence and logistics that help explain Ukraine’s success thus far. While President Biden has barred American troops from firing directly on Russian targets, and blocked sending weapons that could reach deep into Russian territory, the documents make clear that a year into the invasion, the United States is heavily entangled in almost everything else.
[The US] is providing detailed targeting data. It is coordinating the long, complex logistical train that delivers weapons to the Ukrainians.”
The April 11 edition of Democracy Now! summarised BBC reportage on NATO involvement in Ukraine:
“…one document shows dozens of special forces from Western nations, including the U.S., are operating inside Ukraine. The document, which was marked ‘top secret,’ says the U.K. has 50 special forces; Latvia, 17; France, 15; U.S., 14; and the Netherlands has one.”
The US ABC News reported on April 11, that the leaked documents:
“…contain information providing apparently specific casualty numbers for Ukraine and Russia, as well as what appears to be highly specific information about the number of tanks, armored vehicles, helicopters and aircraft that have been destroyed or are available for combat.”
Suggesting heavy Ukrainian reliance on US intelligence, the ABC reported,
“there are what appear to be precise descriptions of Russian plans to carry out two separate aerial attacks in early March aimed at Ukrainian military targets and Ukrainian energy infrastructure and bridges. There is a description of what appears to be Russia’s plans for combatting the tanks being sent to Ukraine by NATO countries by setting up a layered defense and training Russian troops on the tank’s vulnerabilities….”
War Going Badly for Ukraine
James Bamford told Democracy Now! the leaked documentation,
“… paints a clearer picture of what actually is happening over there. There has been the problem on cable news, both of Fox, CNN, MSNBC. You get a lot of people that are pro-war, and they’re the Congress – members of Congress, senators, and so forth, and they’re all giving these upbeat accounts of how well it’s going for Ukraine. The documents give a far more realistic view, saying that, basically, it’s going to come down to a stalemate.”
“… the Ukrainians are in a very bad position, because they’re not getting enough ammunition. The Russians have far more, have much more access to ammunition than the Ukrainians do.”
ABC reported, “two of these documents appeared to note that Ukraine’s air defense systems are at risk of experiencing supply shortfalls in coming months.”
The leaks also show US attempts to enlist its allies in supplying Ukraine, and to diplomatically isolate Russia, have not been going to plan either.
ABC reported on what it said looked like a CIA worldwide intelligence summary from March 2. This revealed that “South Korea’s National Security Council was concerned about the U.S. request to provide artillery ammunition to Ukraine” via third countries. South Korea hosts 24 thousand US troops and is key to the US encirclement of China.
According to the ABC report, “another slide lays out scenarios under which the U.S. could apparently pressure Israel into providing Ukraine with lethal aid.”
The Israeli government hasn’t commented on the claims or what it might take for Israel to provide lethal aid to Ukraine. Israel’s ties to Russia are important because of Russia’s alliance with Syria.
According to an article first appearing in the Los Angeles Times, “Israel, which receives $3 billion annually in aid from the U.S., needed Russia’s support in fighting Iranian-backed militants in parts of neighboring Syria, where Russia holds sway…”
The Washington Post reported that “a top-secret document, dated Feb. 17, summarizes purported conversations between [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-] Sisi and senior Egyptian military officials and also references plans to supply Russia with artillery rounds and gunpowder. In the document, Sisi instructs the officials to keep the production and shipment of the rockets secret ‘to avoid problems with the West.” Egypt is a top recipient of US military aid, but also the highest importer of Russian grain, which it desperately needs.
Most countries in the Middle East and the Global South have refused to actively back the US war against Russia. They have pushed for a negotiated settlement to end the war in Ukraine.