America's Hidden, Distributed Infrastructural Dependencies

The WikiLeaks release revealed the locations of a set of infrastructural sites operated by the United States all across the world. This piece from <em>Domus</em> looks at the geographical and geopolitical implications of this network.
June 22, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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Written by Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG, the article explores how the release of this data is both revealing of the vulnerability of this network and also of the hidden extent of the U.S.' global reach.

"That is what made the controversial release by WikiLeaks, in December 2010, of a long list of key infrastructural sites deemed vital to the national security of the United States so interesting. The geographic constellation upon which the United States depends was suddenly laid bare, given names and locations, and exposed for all to see.

The particular diplomatic cable in question, originally sent by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to all overseas embassies in February 2009 and marked for eventual declassification only in January 2019, describes what it calls "critical foreign dependencies (critical infrastructure and key resources located abroad)". These "critical dependencies" are divided into 18 sectors, including energy, agriculture, banking and finance, drinking water and water treatment systems, public health, nuclear reactors and "critical manufacturing." All of these locations, objects or services, the cable explains, "if destroyed, disrupted or exploited, would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States". Indeed, there is no back up: several sites are highlighted as "irreplaceable"."

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Published on Monday, June 20, 2011 in domus
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