Perhaps no organization in modern world has shaken the oppressive governments as much as WikiLeaks has and no other organization can claim to have effectively followed its official slogan to letter and spirit as wikileaks has through its exemplary work -â€œWe open governmentsâ€ the slogan of wikileaks has been perfectly been epitomized by wikileaks through its revolutionary acts that have shaken many repressive global regimes.As a matter of fact, wikileaks is an international non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news and news leaks. Its website, launched in 2006 under the Sunshine Press organization, and claimed a database of more than 1.2 million documents within a year of its launch. But the organization reached zenith at the end of 2010 through its startling leaks on communication between US Government and other regimes.
WikiLeaks describes its founders as a mix of Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its director. The site was originally launched as a user-editable wiki, but has progressively moved towards a more traditional publication model and no longer accepts either user comments or edits.
In April 2010, the Wikileaks posted a sensational video from a 2007 incident in which Iraqi civilians and journalists were killed by US forces, on a website called Collateral Murder. In July of the same year, WikiLeaks released Afghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the War in Afghanistan not previously available for public review. In October 2010, the group released a package of almost 400,000 documents called the Iraq War Logs in coordination with major commercial media organisations. This allowed every death in Iraq, and across the border in Iran, to be mapped. In November 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing U.S. State department diplomatic cables.
WikiLeaks has received praise as well as fair bit of criticism. The organisation has won a number of awards and accolades Â for its exemplary work , including The Economist’s New Media Award in 2008 and Amnesty International’s UK Media Award in 2009. In 2010, the New York City Daily News listed WikiLeaks first among websites “that could totally change the news”, and Julian Assange was named the Readers’ Choice for TIME’s Person of the Yearin 2010.
Pertinently, Â the UK Information Commissioner has stated that “WikiLeaks is part of the phenomenon of the online, empowered citizenâ€. In its first days, an Internet petition calling for the cessation of extra-judicial intimidation of WikiLeaks attracted over six hundred thousand signatures. Supporters of WikiLeaks in the media and academia have commended it for exposing state and corporate secrets, increasing transparency, supporting freedom of the press, and enhancing democratic discourse while challenging powerful institutions..
While at the same time, several U.S. government officials have criticized WikiLeaks for exposing classified information, harming national security, and compromising international diplomacy. Several human rights organisations requested with respect to earlier document releases that WikiLeaks adequately redact the names of civilians working with international forces, in order to prevent repercussions. Some journalists have likewise criticized a perceived lack of editorial discretion when releasing thousands of documents at once and without sufficient analysis.Shaking the entire world, Wikileaks has also through its historical leaks impacted the sub continent as well.
Wikileaks on PakistanThe WikiLeaks saga has once again reconfirmed the status of Pakistan as a client state. Its leadership â€” civilian and military â€” as a matter of routine, involves external actors in matters of domestic policy and power plays. This was already known to many Pakatanis, but the semblance of documentary evidence provided by wikileaks confirms the unfortunate trends embedded in Pakistan governance systems. However, the wikileaks has also shown that orthodoxy that it is the West which interferes is not the full story. The inordinate influence exercised by â€˜friendlyâ€™ Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, is also a sad reminder of how warped Pakistanâ€™s way of living is.The most surprising fact thrown by wikileaks is on Imran Khan. While most Pakistani politicians and leaders have been portrayed in WikiLeaks cables as power-hungry individuals ever ready to please Uncle Sam, Imran Khan is the only one who appears to stand out as an â€œindependentâ€. Thatâ€™s because Imran does not have a â€œbradari-basedâ€ constituency for himself, said one observer.According to reports, a US congressional delegation led by Representative Stephen Lynch, in January, met with Pakistan Thereke Insaf Â chief Imran Khan. The meetingâ€™s picturesque setting belied Khanâ€™s often pointed and critical statements on US policy, which he characterized as â€˜dangerous and in need of changeâ€™.According to US embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks and also reported by The Guardian and other major newspapers, Imran Khanâ€™s litany of criticisms ranged from accusations of US failure to support democracy in Pakistan to drone operations being a driving force of militancy and radicalization.The leaked cables suggest Khan urged the US to seek out â€œalternative points of viewsâ€ because the Pakistan government could not be trusted to give it an accurate assessment of the real terrorist threat in Pakistan.
WIKILEAKS: ARAB WORLD WANTED IRAN BOMBED
One of the startling and most heart rending leak released by wikileaks which has deeply hurt the thinkers of Muslim world is that Arab leaders have privately urged the US to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to leaked US diplomatic cables shared by the whistle blowing site Wikileaks with newspapers worldwide. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia urged the Americans to “cut off the head of the snake”. The 250,000 leaked documents also show that American officials were told by the US State Department to spy on the UN leadership and obtain biometric information on secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
Wikileaks on IndiaWikileaks has also released some interesting cables about India ranging from condoning torture in Kashmir to how lightly India is taken by USA on vital movements and occasions.
In one of the diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks on India , Hillary Clinton refers to India as “a self-appointed front-runner for a permanent UN security council seat.”Â In a telegram sent on July 31 last year to 33 US embassies, Clinton highlights the reform of the UN Security Council as one of the key issues of focus for her diplomats, citing “International deliberations regarding UNSC expansion among key groups of countries: Â self-appointed frontrunners for permanent UNSC membership Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan.”
A secret cable from the US embassy in Ankara showed that India was kept out of the Jan 25 ,2010 meeting held in Turkey on Afghanistan to appease Pakistan, though Islamabad was of the view that excluding India from such regional structures would be a mistake.
At a meeting with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, then Turkey’s deputy under secretary for Bilateral Political Affairs, responsible for the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, Rauf Engin Soysal, said Turkey had not invited India to the Afghanistan Neighbours Summit “in deference to Pakistani sensitivities”.
“He (Soysal) said Turkey had not invited India to the neighbours summit in deference to Pakistani sensitivities; however, he claimed, Pakistan understands attempting to exclude India from the nascent South Asian regional structures would be a mistake,” Guardian quoted the message dated February 25, 2010 as saying.
The whistle blower site WikiLeaks revelations regarding the custodial torture of the detainees in Kashmir has created turmoil and led explosive reaction by the Indian authorities. As per the cable sent by the US diplomats in 2005 quote the Red Cross as saying that the Indian government condones torture of detainees in Kashmir.The cable which is confidential briefing of a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross revealed that nearly 1500 detainees over a period of three years in Kashmir were tortured badly that included sexual abuse, stretching and the use of water and electricity.
It is interesting to note that WikiLeaks states that its “primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but wikileaks also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.” In January 2007, the website stated that it had over 1.2 million leaked documents that it was preparing to publish. An article in The New Yorker said.
After witnessing the release of historical leak via wikileaks, one can aptly state that from Delhi to Islamabad, Kashmir to Washington; wikileaks has shaken the world in an optimistic manner and its leaks are expected to be a first step towards ensuring transparency in global matters and shake oppressive regimes.