Monday, October 10, 2011

Wikileaks--Endangering Jews In Iraq And Supporting The Regime In Belarus

The lack of information damaging to Israel in the cables released by WikiLeaks has provided fodder for conspiracy theorists.
Bloggers claim WikiLeaks struck deal with Israel over diplomatic cables leaks, Haaretz, December 10, 2010

I don't know how damaging Wikileaks is supposed to have been to Israel since December 2010, but the carelessness of Wikileaks has been endangering the lives to the few remaining Jews in Iraq:

An Anglican priest here says he's working with the U.S. Embassy to persuade the handful of Jews who still live in Baghdad to leave because their names have appeared in cables published last month by WikiLeaks.

The Rev. Canon Andrew White said he first approached members of the Jewish community about what he felt was the danger they faced after a news story was published last month that made reference to the cables.

"The U.S. Embassy is desperately trying to get them out," White said. So far, however, only one, a regular confidante of the U.S. Embassy, according to the cables, had expressed interest in emigrating to the United States.
The US Embassy addressed the issue of Wikileaks' negligence directly:
It slammed WikiLeaks for releasing the cables. "Releasing the names of individuals cited in conversations that took place in confidence potentially puts their lives or careers at risk," the statement said.

A furious White also hit the website for publishing the cables. "How could they do something as stupid as that?" he said. "Do they not realize this is a life and death issue?"

WikiLeaks did not respond to a request for comment. Previously, WikiLeaks has said that it had no choice but to make its copies of the cables public after the publication in a book of a password that opened an encrypted version of the cables already available on the Internet.
Among the cables in question--over 250,000 of them--are descriptions of the deteriorating condition and danger faced by Jews because of Al Qaeda and the unlikelihood that the few remaining childless Jews, ages 40 to 82, would be able to contribute to an Iraqi community that does not accept them.

Thus a formerly flourishing Jewish community comes to an end:
Jews first arrived in the land now called Iraq in 721 B.C., exiled here after the Assyrian conquest of the Judean Kingdom. In 586 B.C., Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem and destroyed King Solomon's temple, then led tens of thousands of Jews into captivity, where they built the hanging gardens of Babylon.

The population survived repeated conquests of Iraq, by Alexander the Great, the Persians, the Arabs, the Shiite Muslims and the Turks, but over the centuries it flourished, producing the Babylonian Talmud, the Rabbinic work of law that supplements and interprets the Old Testament, the Five Books of Moses.

By the early 20th century, Iraqi Jews constituted one of the wealthiest communities in the country, serving as bankers, importers, retailers and academics. But Iraqi nationalists fighting British rule seized on Nazi ideology in the 1930s, giving rise to rabid anti-Judaic views.

The beginning of the end of a community then numbering some 130,000, was the Nazi-inspired pogrom in 1941, known as the Farhud, or violent dispossession, in which hundreds of Jews died at the hands of armed Iraqi Muslims. The creation of the State of Israel in 1948, followed by the declaration of war by Arab states including Iraq, brought more severe repression here.

The Iraqi government first made it a capital crime to be a Zionist, then reversed policy in 1950, after which more than 100,000 Jews emigrated to Israel. There was more repression in the 1950s and 1960s, and most of the remaining Jewish population emigrated to Israel in the early 1970s.
On another note, Wikileaks--which likes to portray itself as the defender of democracy and openness--has been supporting the totalitarian regime of Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko, where public assembly is a crime and those who challenge Lukashenko can end up in detention in a prison cell or tortured by secret police, which is known by its old Soviet name: the KGB.

Wikileaks role in this?

In December 2010, Israel Shamir, a WikiLeaks content aggregator in Russia, traveled to Belarus with a cache of unredacted American diplomatic cables concerning Belarus. (At the time, these unredacted cables were not available online.) He met Lukashenko’s chief of staff, Vladimir Makei, handed over the documents to the government, and stayed in the country to observe the presidential elections. Lukashenko pronounced himself the winner on Dec. 19, 2010, with nearly 80 percent of the vote. His nearest opponent, the leading dissident Andrei Sannikov, is now serving out a five-year prison sentence and is reportedly being tortured.
The same month that Shamir was in Minsk on behalf of WikiLeaks, the American left-wing journal Counterpunch published an article by Shamir in which he extolled Lukashenko (“The president of Belarus … walks freely among his people”), derided the dictator’s opponents (“The pro-Western ‘Gucci’ crowd,” Shamir called them), and credited WikiLeaks with exposing America’s “agents” in Belarus (“WikiLeaks has now revealed how … undeclared cash flows from the U.S. coffers to the Belarus ‘opposition’ ”).
He has a Jewish-sounding name, but Shamir is a dangerous anti-Semite. Will Yakowicz, who interviewed Shamir in Moscow for a Tablet Magazine profile, concluded that he is an anti-Semitic Holocaust-doubter. An exhaustive investigation carried out by the Norwegian anti-racist magazine Monitor found that Shamir has a long history of association with European fascist parties. He has changed his name several times, published anti-Semitic articles, and falsely claimed to be a correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Shamir was also in the habit of offering himself as a speaker at white-supremacist conventions in return for a small fee, daily expenses, flight tickets, and hotel accommodations for him and his wife. (WikiLeaks has since tried to distance itself from Shamir, but recent revelations by a former WikiLeaks staffer suggest that he was an influential part of the organization.)
This is the kind of person Wikileaks has in its employ.

In The Wikileaks Illusion, Alasdair Roberts gives as one of the reasons for Wikileaks' failure to live up to its fanfare its inability on its own to distinguish which information could put lives in danger. The solution was to partner with the media.

For some reason, among those that Wikileaks decided to partner with was Israel Shamir.

And so now Wikileaks serves the purpose of totalitarian regimes and terrorists against the people whose interests it claims to serve.

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