The WikiLeaks War on America
The indefinable international organization known as WikiLeaks was relatively unknown between its setting up in 2006 and the April 2010 premiere it staged at the National Press Club in Washington of the “Collateral Murder” video—a selection of stolen and decrypted gun-camera footage that purportedly shows the unlawful killing of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists by the crew of a U. S. Army Apache helicopter. Skillfully edited and promoted, and widely accepted by the mainstream media as proof of a U.S. war crime, the video won WikiLeaks fame and praise around the world and made its founder, a 39-year-old Australian named Julian Assange, an international celebrity.
I saw Assange that same month, a week after the release of the video, when he participated in the Oslo Freedom Forum, an annual conference organized by the Human Rights Foundation. At the conference, he quoted Alexander Solzhenitsyn to the effect that one word of truth can outweigh the world, adding that “one classified video can possibly stop a war, and maybe fifty definitely can.” Assange was one of 30-odd speakers, most of whom were dissidents from countries like North Korea, Sudan, Tibet, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. One of the primary functions of the Oslo Freedom Forum is to give a platform to activists working in countries that do not get enough attention from organizations like Human Rights Watch. It pays particular attention to victims of Communism and Islamist extremism; this year it gave a platform to, among others, Muhktar Mai, the Pakistani woman whose gang rape was ordered by tribal elders and who challenged the authority of Sharia law and tradition by taking them to court.
About the Author
Jonathan Foreman, who reported from Iraq for the New York Post and from Afghanistan for National Review, wrote on the novelist Howard Jacobson in last month’s issue.