By Nitum Jain:
WikiLeaks is an not-for-profit organization, started in 2006, which publishes documents submitted by anonymous sources that wouldn’t otherwise be available for the public eye. Founded by the Chinese dissidents, as well as as well as journalists, mathematicians and technologists, and now run under The Sunshine Press, this website today has several million documents in its database. It has been the source of the Afghanistan War Logs and the Iraq War Logs; the two infamous wars, recollections of which by the US soldiers themselves and details that only the US itself had been privy to, were bared to all and sundry. The Iraq War Logs, containing 391,832 reports was the world’s largest classified information release once; recently its record has been beaten and another stack of secrets landed in WikiLeaks’ kitty: The US Embassy Cables. All 251,287 of them recorded from 1966 to February 2010 and encompassing 274 embassies around the globe.
WikiLeaks plans to release the cables (which started on the 28th of November) in stages over the coming months despite the furore and mass panic this news has caused internationally, as it feels that to not do so would be injustice done to such ground-breaking material. According to it, the cables are proof of the US’s extensive spying programmes on allies, enemies and even the United Nations; it shows how the diplomats abused their positions and also gives insight to innumerable under-the-table deals. Not only is the public face of the United States of America going to be target of mud-slinging but these cables will drag the names of many other countries through the mud too.
The whole world awaits the thousands of documents filed under headers such as Secret, Confidential and Unclassified, which the common guy sitting in front of the computer had only imagined to be locked away deep within government databases and protected by half a dozen security passwords. It definitely provides a voyeuristic titillation.
According to the US State Departments labelling system, the most frequent subjects discussed are:
- External political relations – 145,451
- Internal government affairs – 122,896
- Human rights – 55,211
- Economic Conditions – 49,044
- Terrorists and terrorism – 28,801
- UN security council – 6,532
WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange’s treasure trove has confirmed many allegations and speculations like Saudi Arabia funding Al Qaeda, Gulf Arab Sunni leaders wanting to make war on Shiite Iran, Israel’s never-ending wails about Iran’s growing nuclear power and Pakistan’s double-dealing. Another revelation by the leaked cables was that American officials had swept aside British protests in 2008 about secret US spy flights taking place from the UK’s Cyprus airbase; the planes gathered intelligence that was then allegedly handed to the Lebanese authorities to help them eradicate the Hezbollah militants. Though, it has also been revealed that such flights have also been carried out on Israel’s behalf by the Americans. UK didn’t wish to be a partner in crime in the torture; however the US officials had boldly stated that it cannot let terrorism plague Lebanon for the sake of a few human rights violations.
Everyone in the world with an Internet connection can access this material and have a peep at the dirty laundry of the honourable officials sitting on top. But this Enlightenment comes at a cost; secrets are secrets for a reason and this expose today endangers many lives, both of the officials and the others who feature in it. The first one to bear the brunt is Founder Assange of WikiLeaks himself, a warrant is being issued against him and Scotland Yard has dibs of the man who has taken on the super power alone. But Assange’s circus has already started and now Uncle Sam plays the joker.
The writer is a Sub-Editor of Youth Ki Awaaz.