Published on WSWS, by Alex Messenger, August 3, 2010.
Australia’s political and media establishment has moved quickly to ensure that the leaking of more than 91,000 US military documents does not provoke open debate on the Afghanistan war during the current federal election campaign. With a majority of Australians opposed to further military involvement, the Wikileaks’ “Afghan War Diary” threatens to further inflame public sentiment, because it highlights the criminal character of the US-led occupation, including the role of Australian troops.
The Australian media has followed the Obama administration’s lead in hypocritically accusing Wikileaks of endangering the lives of foreign troops and Afghan informants—potentially laying the basis for legal action.
The real responsibility for the rising death toll in Afghanistan rests with the US and its allies, including Australia, for prosecuting this neo-colonial war. In a similar vein, the Australian government has responded by establishing a “taskforce” charged with determining whether the leaks might “compromise Australian Defence Force operations”.
The Labor government may have been more directly involved in attempting to silence Wikileaks. In an interview broadcast on the SBS television program “Dateline” on Sunday, Wikileaks director Julian Assange said he was forced to flee Australia and go underground after the US government’s arrest in May of US soldier Bradley Manning for allegedly leaking footage of US war atrocities in Iraq. Assange said Wikileaks “had Intel sources saying that things were not looking good” and that the US was “requesting” that the Australian government “perhaps raid, detain, interview, get information from me in that manner” … //
… The determination of the political establishment to prevent any debate over the Wikileaks revelations and the Afghan war is above all aimed at obscuring the real aims of the war. Far from being about “fighting terrorism”, the Obama administration is escalating military operations in Afghanistan in pursuit of its ambitions for broader domination in the resource rich region of Central Asia. Successive Australian governments have committed troops to the occupation to ensure Washington’s continuing support for Canberra’s neo-colonial actions in the Asia Pacific region, including East Timor and the Solomons. (full text).