Memos point to U.S. government wrongdoing

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IMAGE: Leo Garcia

By AMANDA VENDER and JYOTHI NATARAJAN

More than 250,000 U.S. government documents about the United States’ relationship with other countries are slowly being released to the public by the media organization, WikiLeaks. Many of the documents are embarrassing for the United States and other governments because they show a lot of wrongdoing, lies and trickery by government officials. It is believed that the documents were given to WikiLeaks by someone inside the U.S. military.

Some information the documents show, so far:

• The largest source of funding for organizations the United States has labeled “terrorist” is Saudi Arabia, a country in the Middle East. (However, U.S. government officials don’t usually say anything bad about Saudi Arabia because it is an oil-rich friend of the U.S. government.)

• U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton ordered U.S. government spying on foreign diplomats including on the United Nations Secretary General.

• The U.S. military bombed and killed dozens of innocent people in Yemen, and then got the government of Yemen to take responsibility.

• At the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the United States and China, the world’s two largest polluters, worked together to prevent European nations from reaching an agreement on what to do to save the planet in the face of climate change and global warming.

No Free Press
One thing good journalists do is get secret documents from government officials in order to expose government wrongdoing. One example is when, in 1971, a man named Daniel Ellsberg published secret U.S. government papers about the U.S. war in Vietnam that showed how the government lied to the people about the war. The release of these secret documents helped lead to the end of the Vietnam War, saving both U.S. and Vietnamese lives.

Instead of honoring WikiLeaks for helping to expose wrongdoing in government, however, the U.S. government and big U.S. corporations are trying to shut down the WikiLeaks website. Many people say this is a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that protects the freedom of speech. Congressman Ron Paul, from Texas, spoke in support of WikiLeaks in a Fox Business interview: “In a free society we’re supposed to know the truth,” he said.

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