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Left to us, We’d give the Nobel Prize to WikiLeaks, Run by the Rollicking Sunshine Press, For their Astounding Efforts... This one’s for them!
“At 5pm EST, Friday, 22nd October, 2010, WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports (‘The Iraq War Logs’) document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army.” These would be the first two lines that would greet you when you reach the WikiLeaks official website – assuming that your government hasn’t blocked the site already. There are no two views about what we are going to assert – there has been no other media organisation in history that has ensured a bigger expose of multiple government scandals/cover-ups/human rights’ violations/murders/assassinations/war crimes!
Leave the legendary Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (who uncovered the Watergate Scandal, which led to then US President Nixon’s resignation, public humiliation, conviction... and subsequent politically-manipulated pardon by Nixon’s successor President Gerald Ford), the capricious WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has single-handedly redefined the levels of commitment that global media can and should have towards social betterment.
While some believe WikiLeaks has slipped into fame purely because of a one-trick-pony war document leak in 2010, the fact of the matter is that they’ve been rocking the expose universe since the past half a decade (remember Guantanamo Bay?), and now hold over 1.2 million documents that are so damningly authenticated by Assange’s army that even the US government has been forced to run up the “This is a national security risk” hyperbole than deny it.
Compilations of 4,00,000 documents on the Iraq War (called the Iraq War Logs) and 76,900 documents on Afghan War (called Afghan War Diary) reveal the shocking extent of government grime.
WikiLeaks writes, “The [Iraq] reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 ‘civilians’; 23,984 ‘enemy’ (those labelled as insurgents); 15,196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 ‘friendly’ (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths. That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period.” This is apart from the 180,000 individuals who were arrested during the Iraq War on various charges that were never proven, and 15,000 others who were buried without being identified. In a similar manner, the Afghan War Diaries of WikiLeaks, documents the death of around 20,000 people.
But more than all the numbers, WikiLeaks has beyond doubt proven that United States has knowingly not only committed the worst and unpardonable human rights violations, but also has violated the Geneva Accord that controls the behaviour of armies, who capture “prisoners during the course of operations.”
In comparison, Saddam’s kangaroo-trial and summary execution by the US government for the killing of 148 Shiites in Dujail, seems like child’s play. One wonders whether George Bush would ever be even charged with war crimes.
Back to topic, while the top US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen warned that the WikiLeaks Afghan expose is a threat to national security, President Obama commented, “These documents don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate on Afghanistan.” Strangely, the tenor of Presidential speak has been quite similar whenever WikiLeaks has squirmed the can open – their historic Guantanamo Bay expose inclusive, where WikiLeaks revealed the exact prison manual (termed the Standard Operating Procedure) for Camp Delta, that documented spectacular human rights’ violations – usage of dogs, belly irons, isolation torture et al.
But Assange hasn’t always gotten it right. In two notable mistakes, WikiLeaks has had to eat dust. In December 2006, WikiLeaks claimed that Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a Somali political figure, had planned to assassinate Somali Government officials. Later, the claim was found to be unauthentic and led to WikiLeaks trying to cover up.
In another example, WikiLeaks jumped the gun during the 2008 US Presidential Election, by posting contents of an email account which purportedly belonged to Sarah Palin. It didn’t take much time for investigators to discover that it was just a fake email account created by David Kernell, a Tennessee University student.
But the world is fortunate that WikiLeaks has survived till now. In February 2008, the Swiss Bank Julius Baer sued WikiLeaks in a court in California, US and sought permanent shutdown of its website after it reported illegal activities in the bank’s Cayman Island branch. WikiLeaks won the case in March, 2008. This time they were lucky. It might not be so in the future. To that extent, Assange, your personal indiscretions aside, this one’s for you!
By:- Akram Hoque
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