I sent this link to a friend who is a journalist and hosted an alternative public radio news broadcast in Los Angeles. His reply:
Of course I have heard this thesis -- that Wikileaks is actually a U.S. disinfo campaign -- but have yet to encounter a compelling argument making the case.
Engdahls arguments are weak:
1. That it is too good to be true.
2. That wikileaks use of establishment media show that they are not anti-establishment
3. That the leaks themselves are not secret, or uninteresting, or enable imperial justifications for targeting Iran, etc.
4. That it enables a crackdown on internet freedom.
These arguments are not compelling because:
1. Good things sometimes happen, and the narrative is not so unbelievable.
2. There is a coherent philosophy motivating the use of establishment media to disseminate the leaks, a philosophy which is articulated by Assange to the Frontline press club on the occasion of the release of the Iraq War Logs.
In a nutshell, wikileaks promises leakers that it will seek the greatest impact for the leaks, and they do this by setting competitive establishment media in many countries against each other.
Furthermore, if you don't like the framing of the material by these establishment media outlets, you can access the leaks directly.
3. That the leaks are not secret or not interesting works against 1 & 2. He cannot have it both ways. In any case it is not true that the leaks are not secret or not interesting. For example, an additional 15 K civilian deaths were revealed by the Iraq war logs, and the diplomatic cables reveal, definitively, that the U.S. is conducting airstrikes in Yemen -- airstrikes that the Yemeni government have been taking credit for in order to hide the role of the U.S. This was not generally known until the leaks, and it is not uninteresting, and it does not make the U.S. look good. And as for the justifications for targeting Iran found in the Cables -- of course Imperial functionaries are going to spin what is in the cables this way or that. The cables reveal that many Arab dictators don't like Iran, and so they try to spin this into a justification for sanctions or worse. I don't see how that is supposed to show that the release of the leaks themselves is a disinfo campaign.
4. Of course the leaks will occasion an internet crackdown!! This is also anticipated by the philosophy motivating wikileaks, see this great summary:
In an oversimplified nutshell, such a predictable crackdown inhibits the imperial machine from communicating, and thereby from articulating its goals. Also, bring on the hackers disrupting paypal, mastercard, etc....