It has been two years since Wikileaks and Julian Assange shook the world. The whistleblower website Wikileaks made some of the most shocking disclosures about the world, exposing Saudi Arab’s plot against Iran to the use of diplomats as spies.
On the second anniversary of the website, we present you some of the most startling details disclosed by the website.
1. Yemen Government Covered up for the Use of US drones
Leaked documents revealed the US had been bombing suspected terrorists in Yemen with drones, but Yemen’s government took responsibility of the attacks. “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told General David Petraeus in January 2010. The cover up was necessary because of US severe distrust in the Middle East.
2. US used Diplomats as Spies
This leak was specifically about Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. She ordered diplomats to spy on government officials at the United Nations and gather info such as credit card numbers, computer passwords and even DNA.
3. Detainees in Guantanamo were Used as Bargaining Tools
This one is the most appalling. In efforts to resettle Guantanamo detainees, the US used them as trump cards when dealing with other countries. The administration went far enough to offer cash to unload prisoners. In perhaps one of the most disgraceful examples, Slovenia had to take a detainee if it wanted a meeting with President Obama.
4. Alarmingly close Relationship Between Putin and Berlusconi
The cables were not very kind to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He was deemed ‘feckless, vain and ineffective’ as a modern European leader, by Elizabeth Dibble, the U.S. envoy to Rome. The disclosures also questioned the intimate relationship between Berlusconi and Russian leader Vladimir Putin and often lavished each other with expensive gifts.
5. Saudi King Wanted a US Military Strike on Iran
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah repeatedly pushed the US to launch military strike on Iran. “Cut off the head of the snake,” the king said in 2008. The Saudi government also called for severe US and international sanctions on Iran and the destruction of the country’s nuclear programme.
6. Pakistan’s Army Chief Wanted More US Drone Strikes in the Country
In the cables released by the website about Pakistan it was revealed that the Chief of Army Staff of the country Pervez Kayani , contrary to the military’s public posturing had sought more US drone strikes to help battle militants. The cable stated an interesting profile of the army chief in which he was described as an avid golfer and a heavy smoker.
Wikileaks and the myth of freedom of expression
The emergence of Wikileaks on the global scenario once again fueled the debate about freedom of expressions, national security and accountability. However, the resurgence of this debate yet again exposed the hypocrisy of the so-called self-proclaimed champions of freedom of expression.
States like the US threw their knowledge and application of the First Amendment in their trash bins to insulate themselves from all kinds of accountabilities under the ever protective cover of national security.
The fact is that Julian Assange made an effort to unveil the truth and show it to people, but was punished for deciding on his own about his freedom of expression. In that case the question that even after all these debates remains unanswered is who decides the freedom of expression or its limits- A watchdog, an individual or the state?
Out of all, an unfortunate truth remains that no one after watching what happened with Assange and Manning will probably ever try to exercise their freedom of expression and speech again. Or will they?