Saturday, 23 October 2010

Battle for Information & Body Counts: WikiLeaks Conference

As  I type this, the eagerly anticipated WikiLeaks press conference in  London's Embankment is set to start. Interestingly, the press officer gave the broadcast exclusive to Sky News. I was supposed to be at the conference this morning, but could not make it as preparing to go to a wedding... so here I am watching the live stream on Sky News. 
Prior to the conference starting and to  fill  time, Sky  wheeled an Amnesty spokesperson out, obviously someone who has had some good media training as he used the interview to plug an AI report about torture in Iraq and not really answer questions relating to the leaks.
So  what is all the fuss about... since 3am this morning, there have been 15,000 stories on the leak on google. A very stern looking Hilary Clinton addressed the nation accusing WikiLeaks of putting people's lives at risk and US and Iraqi national security at risk. But whose "security" is she actually talking about? Hasn't this word been mis-used enough.
This kind of statement is totemic to the kind of political hypocrisy we have been brainwashed into accepting as the "usual rhetoric." 
Hilary and her lot are very upset by the leaks.. History is not being written by the winners, because of a Swedish man who set up a website  called WikiLeaks  in 2006. Nothing beats FACTS, and data when it comes to taking on a Government which continues to feign ignorance of the devestating impact their lies, greed and actions  have had on innocent civilians for nearly a decade.
According to PEW research, Obama approval ratings and support for the war decreased dramatically in the US, when the Afghanistan war log was released... so these FACTS yield incredible power... I won't be surprised if Julian gets bumped off soon. He has already been slandered with a rape charge, but it seems that that wont keep him down.
Prior to the invasion, the US administration used Amnesty International country reports on Iraq  (Much to AI's chagrin) to highlight Saddam's sadistic regime - characterised by systematic torture of detainees.  The coalition forces failed to establish a torture-free country, instead they helped  set a new torture era in Iraq.
The human rights community has known for a long time that torture has not ceased in Iraq and that the US army and US mercenaries, as well as the British have either facilitated torture, sanctioned it or carried it out in the name of " security".
So now, the conference has started:
400,000 classified documents  which shed light on actions of US army in Iraq.
After an intro from the centre for investigative journalism, WikiLeakes founder said the following:
"This disclosure is about the truth ... the first casualty of war is the truth. our release of our four thousand details... we hope to correct some of the attack on the truth which occurred before, during and after the war officialy concluded. In that materials, deaths are recorded – including 66,000 civilians. "
"A collaboration was established with print media, the bureau for  investigative journalism,, the Iraq Body Count, SVT, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, BBC radio and Le Monde"  he forgot to mention SKY, however, which might explain why they stopped the live broadcast about 30 minutes through.
Iraq Body Count said: "We have only scratched  the surface....THESE logs 15,000 previously unreported civilian deaths... equivalent to 5 9/11s.... the new deaths are concentrated in small incidents, happening all over Iraq. at checkpoints, drive by shootings, in homes.... small but relentless tragedies of the war. More than 150,000 have been killed in total, 80 % are civilians... these logs turn numbers into human beings."
"We have found a huge number of names of the deaths...  we have found 100 new names of civilian deaths. The Iraq war log lists all these names, nearly four years later."
Now comes the News analysis.... Sky are not impressed.
The US government states  that they have not had enough time to review the logs to put together a response.
The Times, Sky are all asking questions now.
A historical day.....  I bet lips are  quivering slightly, permanent smurk are being  wiped off.. at least for a day. .. 

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