Julian Assange speaking two days ago at a debate at the Frontline Club:
'‘There is, perhaps something that is interesting that is said in relation to us [Wikileaks] and the Arab Spring. And it’s that courage is contagious. And that when we stood up to the Pentagon... and we said ‘go to hell’ that that inspired people in the Arab world to think that they could stand up to their dictators. Because when they had stood up to their dictators previously, the United States had intervened in one way or another. And it was certainly a weakness. And if we could stand up to that threat, then maybe they could as well...
Perhaps there are more interesting connections, perhaps when we release so much important information about global political elites, global financial leaks all at once that that was a shock and a destabilising shock to the system. We predicted it would destabilise the middle east. I don’t know precisely whether it does, but there
must be ripple effects."
Someone should tell Assange how patronising and downright insulting that suggestion is.
I think it is reasonable to say that Wikileaks influenced the revolution in Tunis. It was definitely not a spark, but it fanned the flames that were already burning. It specifically had an affect on "educated" classes, many of which were disillusioned by Ben Ali, whom later on joined the revolution. That said, it had little (or no) effect on Egypt.ReplyDelete
Sure, Assange is exaggerating the role of Wikileaks, but I don't think he's taking credit for the Arab Spring. He's just saying the cables helped destabilize the system, or at least its his wishful thinking. In Cairo, where I live, I remember a popular "conspiracy theory" amongst some that the Arab revolutions were orchestrated by the Americans and they did this through the release of the Wikileaks cables.
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