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In This Issue, B&E brings to you the best Scrutiny Stories of 2010. In the first story is Documented The Fact That B&E was The First Media house in The World to Suggest WikiLeaks, run by the rollicking Sunshine Press, be awarded The Nobel Prize for their Astounding Efforts...
“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 January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the US Army.” As the website points out – “there has been no other media organisation in history that ensured a bigger expose of multiple government scandals/cover-ups/human rights’ violations/murders/assassinations/war crimes!”
Leave legendary Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (who uncovered Watergate, which led to then US President Nixon’s resignation, public humiliation, conviction... and subsequent politically-manipulated pardon by his successor President Gerald Ford), the capricious WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has 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, 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.
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.” This is apart from 180,000 individuals arrested during the Iraq War on various charges that were never proven, and 15,000 others buried without being identified. Similarly, the Afghan War Diaries of WikiLeaks document the death of around 20,000 people. It proves that US committed shocking and unpardonable human rights violations, and also violated the Geneva Accord that controls the behaviour of armies.” In comparison, Saddam’s kangaroo-trial and execution for the killing of 148 Shiites in Dujail, seems like child’s play.
Back to topic, while 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.
But Assange hasn’t always gotten it right. 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. During the 2008 US Presidential Election, it posted contents of an email account, which purportedly belonged to Sarah Palin. Investigators discovered later that it was a fake email account created by David Kernell, a Tennessee University student.
But the world is fortunate that WikiLeaks survived till now. In February 2008, the Swiss Bank Julius Baer sued WikiLeaks 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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