Free­dom of speech

The Pak Banker - - 4editorial - Fakir S Ayazud­din

The Euro­peans and the rest of the world are watch­ing, aghast at the stu­pid­ity of the attacks on the editors of Wik­iLeaks. As­sange should be thanked for giv­ing the most valu­able in­sights into the mind­set of Amer­i­can of­fi­cers show­ing their con­tempt for the rest of the world. Amer­ica to­day stands com­pletely iso­lated, the supreme power, but hated, with its Euro­pean al­lies scram­bling to dis­tance them­selves from the Afghanistan mis­ad­ven­ture. The US pol­icy mak­ers have been ex­posed as do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to fur­ther iso­late them­selves from the rest of the world, their al­lies in­cluded. Wik­iLeaks has also shown how highly qual­i­fied and trained plan­ners can lead a nation into a bru­tal war, pun­ish­ing the Iraqis with­out cause, with a fe­roc­ity un­known in his­tory. Ear­lier Afghanistan, an­other de­fence­less coun­try, amongst the poor­est in the world, was dragged into fur­ther mis­ery. The re­lease of diplo­matic ca­bles by Wik­iLeaks and its af­ter­math have shown how the US had formed a de­lib­er­ate pol­icy built upon the ar­ro­gance of might. In­deed very sim­i­lar to the rise of Nazi Ger­many and the mil­i­tary up­turn, till it de­clared war on Europe think­ing it was om­nipo­tent. The Amer­i­cans and the free world were lucky that the Nazi war ma­chine was stopped be­fore they went nu­clear, oth­er­wise the world may have been a dif­fer­ent place.

The flawed Amer­i­can poli­cies have now been ex­posed, and the deadly ef­fect will soon dawn on the Amer­i­can peo­ple, who are al­ready be­gin­ning to won­der how their lead­er­ship could pos­si­bly have been led astray. With lead­er­ship comes a re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that the right de­ci­sions are taken. But if the think tanks them­selves are guid­ing their lead­ers to take de­ci­sions that are legally ques­tion­able, e.g. charges of war crimes could be framed as in Guan­tanamo, there is lit­tle hope for im­prove­ment.

The ex­posé of the Amer­i­can thought process will awaken the Amer­i­can me­dia to the dis­as­trous Bush doc­trine of the last 10 years, am­ply re­flected in the hith­erto se­cret ca­bles. The me­dia is a highly re­spon­si­ble pil­lar of the com­mu­nity in most coun­tries of the world and is al­ways the first to speak up against evil. It has been speak­ing against the Bush regime, but the Wik­iLeaks ex­po­sures have shocked even the most lib­eral com­men­ta­tors in the me­dia. That is why it is dou­bly shock­ing that the State Depart­ment is mak­ing des­per­ate mea­sures at dam­age con­trol, and Mrs Clin­ton is mak­ing 'fran­tic' calls to other world lead­ers to soothe ruf­fled feath­ers. It must be very dis­turb­ing to shake hands with some­one you have called 'dirty', and the ep­i­thet hav­ing been re­peated in print through­out the world. How can she say she was mis­quoted when Hol­brooke has con­fessed in the me­dia that all the ca­bles are gen­uine? In fact some ov­er­en­thu­si­as­tic Pak­istani news­pa­pers (not Daily Times) pub­lished some counterfeit ca­bles, which were sup­posed to have orig­i­nated in In­dia. These pa­pers were quickly ex­posed and apolo­gies were printed.

How­ever, it is for Pres­i­dent Obama to re­alise that he has in­her­ited a 'rogue' State Depart­ment, one that should be dis­man­tled quickly. In a unipo­lar world there is no vis­i­ble en­emy, as all oth­ers have been elim­i­nated, but the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion has put in place new bo­gey­men that are pun­ish­ing the Amer­i­can pub­lic far more than any real en­e­mies. The body searches that have been in­tro­duced at US air­ports are al­ready be­ing re­sented by cit­i­zens trav­el­ling within the US. The US govern­ment has over-re­acted to the se­cu­rity threat, much to the dis­com­fort of the trav­el­ling pub­lic. All this shows a bu­reau­cracy out of con­trol, one that will be al­most im­pos­si­ble to re­strain.

The most com­mend­able as­pect is the cred­i­bil­ity earned by the Wik­iLeaks staff, which is the most searched web­site daily. The fight for the de­fence of As­sange has taken on epic pro­por­tions, with peo­ple like Jemima Khan of­fer­ing to bail him out. Hope­fully, they will all man­age to mount a for­mi­da­ble le­gal bat­tle to de­fend him. The Wik­iLeaks ca­bles and the Amer­i­cans' attacks on As­sange have pro­voked an in­cred­i­ble col­lec­tion of peo­ple, young and old, to rally round him, mak­ing the Amer­i­cans look­ing ever more ridicu­lous. The far right in the US is call­ing for him to be ex­e­cuted! These and other state­ments are mak­ing the fol­lower of As­sange ap­pear even more an­gelic by com­par­i­son. We Pak­ista­nis, on the re­ceiv­ing end and vil­i­fied for quite a while, should take heart that good will tri­umph over evil, and though it has taken a long time, the State Depart­ment has fi­nally been ex­posed as be­ing run by sleazy man­agers, who are still mis­lead­ing the in­cum­bent pres­i­dent.

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