Last Sunday (November 28th) the controversial online whistle-blower, WikiLeaks, dropped yet another bombshell! It released more than 250,000 classified American State Department documents published by selected media houses: The American ‘New York Times’, France’s ‘Le Monde’, Britain’s ‘Guardian’ newspaper and the German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’. The recent publication that has been condemned generally by notable world leaders came few months after WikiLeaks took the world by storm by releasing a ‘barrage’ of explosive classified documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The publication of the secret cables amplified widespread global concern about the Iranian nuclear ambitions and unveiled occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at trouble spots in Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea. The leaks also disclosed bluntly candid impressions from both diplomats and other world leaders about America’s allies and foes. Indeed it was another blow to the Obama administration and its diplomatic policies and offensive.
The White House has since dutifully condemned the release of the WikiLeaks documents, declaring that: “such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.” Damage control measures have been put in place to counter the repercussions of the leaks.
Though one does not know exactly the objective behind the WikiLeaks leaks it must be said here that the truth hurts but it remains a healthy and liberating act. Though there are dangers inherent in the sharing of classified infos with friends and enemies of the authorities around the world one wonders who WikiLeaks represent: the forces of full disclosure in the world or the enemies of the majesty of the democratic system in America? Should one conclude that Mr Assange and his faceless contributors are doing this campaign to imperil the Obama administration and weaken its redoubtable military machine?
Whatever the case may be this writer is both for and against the WikiLeaks adventure. I am in support because I am for the truth, the full disclosure against the power game of rogue states. But I am against because millions of American military lives are placed in immediate danger by these dangerous exposures. Some of these troops are freedom fighters and restorers of peoples’ diginities as in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. So whatever might put their brave lives in danger must be combatted frontally.
The latest ‘dangerous’ release encompasses certain roles played by states and individuals in the recent times especially officials in the US government. Some samplers: The Libyan controversial dictator Moammar Gadhafi described as “erratic” and his sexcapade in the constant company of a Ukrainian nurse who was described as “a voluptuous blonde”. The U.S. and South Korea “gaming out an eventual collapse of North Korea” and discussing the prospects for a unified country in the event that the intransigent North implodes as a result of succession crisis.
The Saudi monarch King Abdullah “repeatedly urging the United States to attack Iran” to destroy its nuclear programme. And officials in Jordan and Bahrain openly calling for Iran’s nuclear programme to be stopped by any means and the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt referring to Iran as an “evil state”, an “existential threat” and a power that “is going to take us to war”. Iran is of course led by a hard-line islamic government with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as ‘anti-West’ President. So you can then see that in the Arab world the fear of the nuclear-armed Iran is the beginning of wisdom!
WikiLeaks also revealed sensationally that the US diplomats at the United Nations were being encouraged to ‘spy’ on the UN Secretary-General, his team and foreign diplomats — something that runs counter to diplomatic ethics. In fact the online hugely popular ‘leaker’ made some stunning revelations that were simply shocking to say the least. The world, without doubt, will be a worse place to live in with this kind of ‘scoops’ that tend to play nations against nations, leaders against leaders.
The WikiLeaks founder Mr Julian Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, used what the New York Times called “years of computer hacking and what friends call a near genius I.Q. to establish WikiLeaks in 2006”. Though presently living dangerously in London as a ‘fugitive’ he is wanted in Sweden for rape and molestation involving two Swedish women. The Swedish officials have declared him wanted in connection with this crime and an international arrest warrant has been issued by the Interpol who placed him as the most wanted man in its most wanted list.
So Mr Assange, the enfant terrible, could have much more threats to his freedom and existence dangling over his head. In his native land of Australia the government has pledged to help the US authorities bring the ‘WikiLeaker’ to book in the event of prosecution. The US government itself has begun the process of legally booking Assange for espionage. In Africa what this dude is doing amounts to sheer treason! He would have since been ‘letter-bombed’ (a la Dele Giwa) out of existence or thrown into Gashua prison far north were he to have been a Nigerian based in Nigeria!
The WikiLeaks official website has been knocked offline. According to reports it is either the site came crashing as a result of ‘human traffic’, that is, millions of users visiting at the same time, or the American and British governments must have ‘shut’ the site down in order to do some damage control. In any case it would be a surprise if the West leaves Assange and his underground cohorts to have their way without challenge. I believe Mr Assange is smart but he cannot be smarter than the combined ‘faculties’ of those opposed to his reckless drive for notoriety.
The WikiLeaks’ global exposure reminded me of the violent incident that happened in Abidjan Ivory Coast in 2004. The former French President Jaques Chirac had ordered apparently that the French ‘Licorne’ military force based permanently in Port-Boet Abidjan should deploy tanks to Cocody area of the city where the Presidential residence is situated to ‘overthrow’ the Laurent Gbagbo government. In the wee hours of the night as many military tanks and helicopters began the operation by encircling the presidential palace waiting for the executive final order from Paris to push-in and capture the Ivorian President holed up inside the Villa the Gbagbo camp made desperate calls for the youths to come over as France was about terminating the Gbagbo ‘fascist’ reign.
Within minutes the streets adjoining the presidential palace were brimming with thousands of supporters of the veteran opposition leader. As the French troops saw the sea of heads amassing around in a charged atmosphere they withdrew and headed towards the 35-storey Hotel Ivoire few meters away. There they took up positions with snipers taking strategic locations upstairs within the hotel complex. The white neo-colonial force were almost held ‘hostage’ by countless number of Ivorian people (young and old, men and women, boys and girls) chanting war songs and pushing forward for a confrontation.
Faced with thousands of ‘patriotic’ young Ivorians ‘ready to die’ to save their embattled leader ‘from being kidnapped’ the French soldiers killed few of them who attempted to over-run their positions. The snipers blew off the head of a young lady who tried to cross the firing line! And this clash between tanks and bullets and un-armed demonstrators was televised live by the Ivorian TV provoking more and more people pouring out onto the streets to confront the French imperialistic military disposition.
The coup attempt failed and the rest is history. But suffice to say that as the French troops left for their base they forgot some of their security effects in the hotel (perhaps) as they withdrew in a hurry before dawn. The state government security agents who went inside the
hotel for some security checks found some classified documents, military wares and a CD. The CD revealed the security ‘espionage’ of the former colonial lord. The presidential palace was ‘captured’ in details with the bedroom of the president and the military capacity of the Ivorian army and other secrets of state in the possession of the French.
As WikiLeaks continue in the battle to demystify the superpower and expose her hypocrisy and diplomatic double standards by leaking the hithertho unknown classified informations what comes to the mind of a Nigerian distant observer is when we are going to have our own WikiLeaks that would expose the secrets of the Nigerian state since independence in 1960. Though SaharaReporters are doing a great job of exposing the exposables in the corrupt system one should advocate for a more radical exposé concerning the controversies sorrounding certain state secrets like the Biafran war, the Odi and Zaki-Biam military invasions, the June 12 impasse, the IBB file, the Niger Delta criminal neglect, the power (NIPP) scam, the various coup d’etats from 1966, the many unresolved murders like those of Bola Ige, Chief Alfred Rewane and Dele Giwa and Ken Saro-Wiwa.
The recent shocking released official cables indicated that the US through its embassy in Lagos had given out funds to human rights organisations and NGOs that battled the Babangida and late Abacha dictatorships when the June 12 1993 national crisis arose. At least that was a positive report as far as we, Nigerians, are concerned. America remains the big brother and a great friend of and voice for democracy around the world.
Mr Julian Assange has opened the pandoras box and he must live with the consequencies of his actions. Like the ‘invisible’ Osama Bin Laden, the public enemy number one in the US, the WikiLeaks founder whose ‘dictatorial’ and self-glorifying style has forced some volunteers and collaborators to quit has succeeded in striking at the heart of imperialism, at the heart of the military hegemony of the only super-power still standing, so whatever he gets as a ‘reward’ (be it assassination, imprisonment or death threats) ought to be viewed from the context of the deserved ‘price’ for a determined cyber ‘rebel’ waging a ‘war’ against the military and diplomatic arsenal of the new world. I confess here: he has very little of my sympathy!
We are all living dangerously, therefore, in the WikiLeaks world, a world of non-respect for the secret files of states. States’ defence confidential memos are finding their way into the wrong hands and this ought to be worrisome enough. WikiLeaks must know that the implications of its ‘guerrila’ cyber activities expose further the glaring weaknesses of the fragile world in constant search of international peace and concord — already threatened in the past by the Hitlers, the Milosevics and the Saddams of this world and even now by the Al Qaeda and the terrorists.
In the final analysis the forces of freedom and democracy around the world must rise up and defend themselves in this new intriguing menace against global order. To hell with WikiLeaks! For me Mr Julian Assange is more of an anarchist seeking for global attention and recognition than a hero. Very soon he would have nowhere to hide any longer.