Friday, December 10, 2010

What has WikiLeaks ever done for us?

This is a partial list covering some of the abuses of corporate and government power revealed by WikiLeaks over the last few years. Is any of this information in the public interest? Does this record indicate an exclusively anti-USA organisation? Are these revelations the work of terrorists? Would anyone prefer for the world not to have known all these abuses? During its four year history, WikiLeaks has exposed the following:

• 217 cases of UN peace-keepers being accused of sexually abusing and impregnating girls in eastern Congo.

• Trafigura, an African oil company, caused widespread illness through a toxic gas dump, and then tried to suppress this being published in the Guardian through a secret "super-injunction", in which the press cannot even report the existence of an injunction.

• US forces killed hundreds of innocent civilians at checkpoints in Iraq.

• The "secret bibles" of Scientology, normally only available to initiates for very large sums of money.

• The designation of some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay detention camp as off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which the US military had previously denied.

• Details of the corrupt rule of the Arap-Moi leadership in Kenya, who were involved in US$3 billion dollars of fraud. They were subsequently defeated at the next election.

• Sarah Palin used a private Yahoo email account to send work-related messages, in violation of public record laws.

• Corruption amongst politicians in Peru over oil contracts, which resulted in the prime minister's resignation.

• More than 15,000 civilian deaths in Iraq that had previously been concealed by the U.S. government.

• A video showing a U.S. army helicopter slaughtering Reuters journalists and Iraqi children in cold blood.

• Al-Qaeda's deadly exploitation of children in Iraq.

• Irregular activity at Kaupthing Bank in Iceland, with large sums of money being loaned to bank owners and other debts were written off, precipitating the Icelandic financial crisis, the collapse of all three Icelandic banks, the breakdown of a coalition government and the indictment of a former prime minister.

• US Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report from March 2008 detailing how to marginalise WikiLeaks.

• US soldiers used Iraqi civilians as human bomb detectors.

• Illegal government wiretapping in Canada.

• The CIA kidnapped an innocent German and tortured him for months, then attempting to stop Germany from arresting its operatives.

• The US State Department instructed its diplomats to break international treaties by gathering biometric and other personal data on senior UN figures.

• The US has pressured the UK government to break a treaty on cluster bombs by turning a blind eye to bombs stored at US bases on UK territory.

• Australian government web filtering to prevent access to child pornography and terrorist sites extended to a range of other legal sites, including Wikipedia entries, Christian sites, a tour operator and WikiLeaks itself.

• DynCorp, a US company, hired young boys to dance for Afghan police in a social context usually linked to pederasty.

• Shell's corruption and influence in the government of Nigeria.

• The US wrote Spain's proposed new copyright laws.

• US suppression of Spanish court cases involving US figures accused of torture and extradition.

• Pfizer used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout.
List partially modified and expanded from here. More information on Wikipedia.


byron smith said...

XKCD does WikiLeaks.

byron smith said...

BP suffered blowout on Azerbaijan gas platform.

And many more. Updates on the key revelations can be found here.

byron smith said...

UK's role in training Bangladeshi "death squad".

byron smith said...

Another good analysis, this time from an Australian.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Democracy and the net - a double-edged sword.

byron smith said...

WikiLeaks from the perspective of the Guardian.

byron smith said...

Saudi oil reserves smaller than claimed.

Anonymous said...

Rather scary isn't it.

I have looked at the wikileaks site...your doing well to search through the vast amount of information.

Anonymous said...

I also wonder if the Saudi's do have plenty of oil, but the profiteers are using scare mongering / peak oil as an excuse to keep prices high?

byron smith said...

That is a possibility, but very unlikely. Both during the last spike and this one, they had the chance to increase production (and so multiply their profit) and they did not. It is widely known that their largest supergiant field (the largest in the world) has gone into decline. Replacing its lost capacity is not easy. The likelihood that they have been inflating their reserve estimates has been widely known since the 1980s, during which time (after the OPEC oil crisis of the 70s) the reserve estimates of every OPEC member jumped through the roof (since OPEC allocates quotas based on reserve estimates) and most have not changed by a single barrel since.

byron smith said...

CP: US State Dept were not neutral about XL Keystone oil pipe.

byron smith said...

CP: US State Department failed to be neutral on major oil pipe line, encouraged Canada to spin news coverage of tar sands.

byron smith said...

Even more achievements here: So why is WikiLeaks a good thing again?

byron smith said...

Independent: This case must not obscure what WikLeaks has told us. More details I wasn't previously aware of in this story.

byron smith said...

Although not related to WikiLeaks, it has to do with the value of secret and highly sensitive information being made public, in this case, the UK government's stance on information gained through torture (performed by agents of other governments). Tony Blair is a man with a lot to answer for.

byron smith said...

CD: US forces in possible extrajudicial killing of civilians, covered by up airstrike.

byron smith said...

CD: WikiLeaks one year on.

byron smith said...

SMH: David Hicks (and others) forced to take drugs without their consent in Guantanamo.

byron smith said...

Greenwald: What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010.

byron smith said...

Mark 4.22: "For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open."

byron smith said...

WikiLeaks: Iraqi children in U.S. raid shot in head, U.N. says.