By Rakesh Raman
Wikileaks, a not-for-profit media organisation that releases classified information for public consumption, began on Sunday Nov. 28 publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables (communications).
It is stated to be the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an insight into US Government’s foreign activities.
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The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February this year, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. Also, 15,652 of the cables are classified ‘Secret,’ according to Wikileaks.
It says the embassy cables will be released in stages over the next few months and the cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in “client states”; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.
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This document release, according to Wikileaks, reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.
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Wikileaks goes on: Every American schoolchild is taught that George Washington – the country’s first President – could not tell a lie. If the administrations of his successors lived up to the same principle, today’s document flood would be a mere embarrassment.
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Instead, the US Government has been warning governments — even the most corrupt — around the world about the coming leaks and is bracing itself for the exposures, Wikileaks informs.
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The full set consists of 251,287 documents, comprising 261,276,536 words (seven times the size of “The Iraq War Logs”, the world’s previously largest classified information release), it says.
Earlier, it was said that Wikileaks is a façade outfit set up by a government agency. However, it clarifies that it is an independent project that belongs to one Sunshine Press.
WikiLeaks founder, Julian Paul Assange, 39, (pictured above) is an Australian journalist who is said to be a digital whistleblower in the web-based media and is working to ensure the freedom of the press.
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A few days ago, on Nov. 18, Stockholm District Court approved a request to detain Assange for questioning on suspicion of rape among other charges, according to Wikipedia information. However, it’s said to be a ploy to gag Assange who has, so far, evaded his arrest.
His home country, Australia, is also planning an inquiry into Wikileaks and Assange’s activities.
Meanwhile, Assange is among the top candidates for the TIME magazine’s ‘2010 Person of the Year’ award.
At the time of filing this report today, he was at No. 3 – just behind Lady Gaga (No. 2) and Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (No. 1) – in terms of number of votes.
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia