Wikileaks, Assange and the UN, an example of propaganda

imageThe Wikileaks community and Wikileaks watchers are actively and likely inadvertently the myth that Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder and front-man, is giving a “keynote” at the UN this week. They are forwarding a Tweet from @Wikileaks that includes a link to a Reuters “Factbox” article that appears to indicate Assange is speaking at the UN. In fact, he is not giving the “keynote” or otherwise speaking at the UN Human Rights meeting but at a press conference put on by the International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights (IIPJHR), a nongovernmental organization registered in Switzerland. A minor detail.

A senior U.S. delegation of some 30 officials is likely to be under fire about racial discrimination and the fight against terrorism at the forum, dominated by developing countries, many of them Muslim, often backed by Russia and China.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks which has made public nearly 500,000 classified U.S. files on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, will speak in Geneva on Thursday ahead of the session.

The IIPJHR website, apparently online for about two years, includes little information and a lot of sample template text (under the menu “Records & Publications” is multiple “MooSubmenu Demo” entries).

The event with Assange is a press conference at the Swiss Press Club “on the theme The United States and Human Rights.” Followed by a “side event”, which is the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by 2011, will have reviewed the human rights records of every country. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists. The UPR is one of the key elements of the new Council which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this new mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur. [emphasis added]

Wikileaks, using its only active communication channel, Tweeted the Reuters article. According to TweetReach, this reached 26,864 people via 50 tweets, including 5,622 by @EvgenyMorozov (who followed this Tweet with another, saying “I am sure everyone in DC will finally warm up to the UN after the Assange "keynote" there! ;-)”).

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imageOn a related note, note the irony in a recent WikiLeaks tweet. A Wikileaks supporter takes issue with this and similar Tweets from WL.

Such is the challenge when doing press releases and global engagement in less than 140 characters. Perhaps Wikileaks should explore using Twitlonger. That will probably not happen, then WL would have to provide substance, which shouldn’t be difficult because they are a media organization, right?

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