WIKILEAKS-A PROPAGANDA TOOL

ALI SUKHANVER

Life is a battle of survival and propaganda is the most effective tool in this battle. From Iraq to Afghanistan and from the Mumbai attacks to the Time Square Bombing Plan, we find a masterly use of this tool. If we exclude the element of propaganda from the present world scenario we would find nothing but a blank sheet. Propaganda has no doubt achieved the status of an industry. No country can make progress without giving extra-ordinary emphasis and importance to this industry. Almost all countries have their well-regimented and well organized propaganda teams working under the command of highly trained professionals including various journalists, newsmen, intelligence officers, TV anchors ,computer experts and web-designers from all over the world. They all join their heads together and try to plan out new and novel type of propaganda strategies. The WikiLeaks is also the outcome of such a joint venture. Yet it is not clear whose interests this website is looking after.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks has recently announced that his organization is preparing to release the rest of the secret Afghan war documents it has on file. “We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually, in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits”, says WikiLeaks. According to the reports the organization’s initial release of some 76,000 war documents has already become a serious threat to the lives of so many Afghan citizens working for different intelligence organizations and the release of more documents would certainly add to the severity of this threat. The Pentagon also seems much worried about the release of more documents. The Pentagon officials have warned the hi-ups of the Wiki Leaks that the release of more documents must be avoided because this act would cause irreparable losses.  Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell described the expected publication as the height of irresponsibility. He said, “It would compound a mistake that has already put far too many lives at risk.” The top US military commander in Afghanistan General David Petraeus has said that the released reports have put at risk the lives of US partners named in Afghanistan.

The WikiLeaks has published its reports under the title of The Afghan War Diary also called The War Log. These reports are a collection of internal US military logs of the War in Afghanistan .The logs consist of 92,000 documents, covering period between Jan 2004 and Dec 2009. Prior to releasing them, Wikileaks made the logs available to The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel. The three newspapers simultaneously published reports related to these documents. Though the US administration has tried to undermine the importance of the documents by categorizing them unclassified but   the US media in collaboration with the Indian media seems in a state of frenzy since after the release of these documents. These two media partners are trying to give an impression that the documents published by WikiLeaks are about the role of Pakistan army and ISI not about the use of disproportionate force by US military, assassinations by US Special Forces, high number of civilian casualties and a cover up to the use of Stinger Missiles by Taliban. In short the western and Indian media is exploiting this opportunity to malign ISI and Pakistan.

Out of 92000 documents, 75000 have yet been released and hardly 180 of these relate to Pakistan; alleging the Army and ISI to be in connection with Taliban. The remaining 99% documents expose the atrocities of US military and mishandling of Afghan war by US and ISAF; but they are getting little attention in media. The situation gives birth to so many unanswerable questions. Some analysts think that the undue exploitation of the reports regarding ISI and Pakistan Army in the Wikileaks documents is nothing but a plan of the CIA to exert more pressure on Pakistan by blaming the Pakistan Army and the ISI of playing a double game. The behaviour would do nothing but fuel anti-US public sentiments in Pakistan and make it even more difficult for the Government of Pakistan and Pakistan military to pursue pro-US policies. The WikiLeaks documents have thousands of reports pointing out the involvement of Iran, North Korea and so many other countries which could be more interesting and astonishing than the 180 documents related to Pakistan. Unfortunately these documents, insignificant in volume and substance, have been blown out of proportion by anti-Pakistan lobbies in order to mitigate adverse affects.

The WikiLeaks says that Iran provided extensive assistance to the Taliban. Iranian involvement in Afghanistan steadily widened from 2004 to today and constituted armaments, money and physical deployment of anti-NATO militants. As narrated by Jeff Stein in the Washington Post, the WikiLeaks documents have exposed the North-Korean connections with the Taliban in a very astonishing way. The journalist stated that Hezb-Islami party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Amin al-Haq, a financial advisor to Osama Bin Laden, both flew to North Korea on Nov 19, 2005 and purchased remote controlled rockets to be used against American and coalition aircraft. But in spite of all these facts, the Western media is running after Pakistan and earnestly trying to divert all the bullets fired by the WikiLeaks towards Pakistan.

The role of Pakistan in the war against terror has always been very much positive. Pakistan has never been involved in any activity which could be disastrous to the peace and solidity of Afghan society. It has always favoured and supported all efforts regarding the development and stability of Afghanistan. The presence of thousands of Afghan refugees in Pakistan is the liveliest example of Pakistan’s sympathetic and cordial passions for the people of Afghanistan. But unluckily the Afghan President who is playing in the hands of India is never willing to accept this affirmative role played by Pakistan. The US authorities must put a strong check on its media which is continuously trying to deform the image of Pakistan. The most important thing to be remembered is that no war in this region could be fruitful if the warriors try to side line Pakistan.

The writer is Pakistan based bilingual analyst on defence and strategic affairs.

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