Last week, as the BBC ramped up its mission to downplay the potential consequences of the stolen documents published by hacker and alleged rapist Julian Assange, JournoList groupie and partisan Katie Connolly produced the following article:
Has release of Wikileaks documents cost lives?
Following the open angry statements by various US officials is a series of foot-shuffling and “can’t say, guv”s. In short, the message here is there’s no way to be sure or prove that there is blood on this innocent lamb’s hands.
Except here’s what Connolly and the BBC don’t want you to know: Assange has form.
Back in 2007, WikiHacks released documents about corruption in Kenya.
The leak exposed massive corruption by Daniel Arap Moi, and the Kenyan people sat up and took notice. In the ensuing elections, in which corruption became a major issue, violence swept the country. “1,300 people were eventually killed, and 350,000 were displaced. That was a result of our leak,” says Assange. It’s a chilling statistic, but then he states: “On the other hand, the Kenyan people had a right to that information and 40,000 children a year die of malaria in Kenya. And many more die of money being pulled out of Kenya, and as a result of the Kenyan shilling being debased.”
A responsible, honest news organization would mention this little fact in an article asking in its headline if WikiHacks cost lives. Yet the BBC chose to censor this information. In fact, unless it was covered in some broadcast or other now lost to the ether (and/or BBC archives inaccessible to the public without an FOI request), they only mentioned what WikiHacks did in Kenya once, and – what a shock – chose to play down any consequences.