Wednesday, 29 December 2010
WikiLeaks being ‘exploited to spread conspiracy theories,’ Jewish group claims
The release of thousands of US diplomatic cables by the secrets outlet WikiLeaks has unintentionally led to the proliferation of anti-Israel conspiracy theories, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The ADL said that conspiracy theories linking Israel to WikiLeaks have circulated through online publications, where it has been suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange struck a secret deal with Israeli officials over the leak of diplomatic cables; or that Assange actually works for Israel.
"The WikiLeaks affair has given new life to the old conspiracy theories of underhanded Jewish and Israeli involvement in an event with significant repercussions for the US and many nations around the world," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said, according to a published statement.. "The news is being exploited by conspiracy theorists, some world leaders, and various Web sites across the ideological spectrum to spread false and malicious conspiracy theories against Israel."
The narrative about Israel negotiating with Assange probably first surfaced in Al Haqiqa, an Arabic language webzine affiliated with a Syrian opposition group, ADL suggested. The story was picked up by a writer at IndyMedia UK, who, citing Al Haqiqa, said that Israel learned that the documents contained information about about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008. These documents were destroyed by Assange at the request of the Israelis, according to the anonymous writer.
However, there's no evidence to support such an extraordinary claim.
A few world leaders have alleged that WikiLeaks is connected with Israel as well.
On December 1, Huseyin Celik, a deputy leader of Turkey's ruling party, hinted that Israel could be responsible for WikiLeaks during a press conference, saying that "Israel is very pleased [with the WikiLeaks controversy]" and "has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents."
After a leaked diplomatic cable revealed the Palestinian Fatah party had asked Israel to attack Hamas in 2007, the party condemned the release as "fabrications and lies" and claimed it was a conspiracy by the Israel Security Agency.
Conspiracy theories linking Israel to WikiLeaks have been fueled by the release of cables that suggest officials in Arab nations are frightened by Iran's nuclear program. In one such cable, Saudi King Abdullah urged a US ambassador to strike Iran to halt its nuclear program.
Israeli officials said the cables vindicated their aggressive stance towards Iran.
"Maybe there's an indirect benefit that the truth is coming out, that the entire Middle East, including Arab states, are very fearful from the Iranian nuclear threat, and are calling on the West to be much more aggressive toward Iran,'' Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview with Israel Radio.
Although Arab countries have been the subject of numerous troublesome leaked cables, Israel has not been entirely excluded.
According to a leaked cable, in August 2007 the head of Israel's intelligence agency urged US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, R. Nicholas Burns, to join with Israel in carrying out a five-part strategy to implement regime change in Iran.
Mossad Director Meir Dagan acknowledged at the meeting that the American analysis of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program was different from Israel's, but he insisted that the threat from Iran was "obvious" and stated that Israel was willing to take action unilaterally.
Responding to the contents of the diplomatic cable, Scott Horton, the Los Angeles radio host behind Antiwar.com, said that by declaring they'd wage a war against Iran by themselves, the nation of Israel was effectively "blackmailing" the United States into combat operations.