• November 8, 2011
  • From the Team
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Lessons from WikiLeaks on the LRA

We are going to be a starting to a series of blogs that pull information from a slew of WikiLeaks cables regarding the LRA.

Not quite sure what WikiLeaks is? Wikipedia (no affiliation) will tell you. In November 2010 WikiLeaks announced that it had “obtained” over 251,000 U.S. government documents concerning foreign policy. They dubbed it CableGate, and the majority of them have been published in spurts over the past year. Because the cables cover all manner of sensitive information, the U.S. government has been, well, displeased with WikiLeaks, claiming that the publication of these classified documents poses serious security risks to operations and individuals. WikiLeaks claims that all the names and details that ought to be protected have been redacted from the published cables (though the unredacted versions of the cables have apparently turned up elsewhere on the web). The cables themselves cover every foreign policy issue you can imagine—some dating back to the 1960s. But there were a couple hundred cables that specifically mention the LRA. Those are the ones we are concerned with.

This series is meant to glean insight from the past actions of governments interacting with the LRA– as well as the LRA itself–so that we can better understand these rebel leaders who have eluded capture for more than a quarter of a century.

Here are just a couple of the topics we’ll be touching on in the next several weeks:

– How U.S. engagement of the LRA crisis has evolved over the past decade

– What the failed Juba Peace talks of 2006-2008 teach us about the likelihood of a successful peace agreement with Joseph Kony and other LRA commanders indicted by the International Criminal Court  in present circumstances (spoiler: not likely)

– Insights into how Joseph Kony operates, including some of his tactics for psychological manipulation

We want to take a moment to acknowledge that WikiLeaks, as an organization, is engaged in legally dubious activities. Resolve does not condone these activities. HOWEVER, if there is information concerning the LRA out there on the www that we can learn from, then we are going to take advantage of that.

Our blogs will be covering broad subjects and simply linking to the relevant cables. So if you want to learn more about the context, or if you find all these back-room insights as fascinating as we do, then you can just click the links and read the cables for yourself. Below is a link and instructions on how to read a cable. I’ll tell you right now that there’s a nerdy sort of thrill in reading cables classified “secret.”


From WikiLeaks:

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:

– The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.

– The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.

– The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

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