Israel Shamir Condemns Guardian “Censoring” Wikileaks

by Joseph W

Just as Fast Company feared, the neo-NaziIsrael Shamir” is producing unredacted cables on the Internet at will.

Today Ruskiy Reporter reproduces an unredacted cable allegedly revealing that Kazakhstan’s ambassador to the USA Khamrakhon Zaripov offered to support American interests in Kazakhstan, if in turn the USA would back him to replace current Tadjiki head of state Emomalii Rahmon.

This is hardly shocking or particularly terrible, particularly when you consider the other influences in Tadjiki politics. As Luke Harding noted last month when commenting on other Wikileaks cables about Tadjikistan, Russia heavily attempts to sway Tadjiki politics, and remains opposed to Western influence in Central Area.

Nevertheless, Ruskiy Reporter only seems to accuse Zaripov because of his perceived friendliness with the US, without mentioning anything about other officials who are politically closer to the Kremlin.

The most concerning thing about the unredacted cable is this: Ruskiy Reporter claims it is part of something called the “Tadjik Dossier”, which exposes ‘collusion’ between the USA and Tadjiki officials.

The last time Israel Shamir and Ruskiy Reporter spoke about a secret dossier, it was the “Belarus Dossier“, which Shamir seemingly discussed with Lukashenko’s presidential administration on election day, December 19th, claiming his files exposed links between Belarussian opposition figures and the CIA.

Worryingly, Shamir is not discreet. He sees no problem in passing sensitive cables to a repressive dictator who has just broken a world record for arresting presidential rivals.

Rather, Shamir wants more Wikileaks information to be public. He is angry with the Guardian for making Wikileaks redact its cables. He wants his readers to be aware of how badly the Guardian has let Wikileaks down.

Shamir writes in Ruskiy Reporter today:

“What is the difference between us”, the Guardian writes, “and the original text of the cables which you can read on the WikiLeaks site?”

Alas, things are different. Right from the beginning, there was  a wave of fear in the world media that the publication of these dispatches would allegedly lead to the deaths of hundreds of innocent “little” people who have been mentioned in the dispatches.

To counter this horror story, Wikileaks agreed with the Guardian and other newspapers as follows: Wikileaks would only post on its website those dispatches which have already been read and processed by the newspapers, and they will censor accordingly – that is, to remove the names of those who may be at risk.

That is why the text on the WikiLeaks site is the same as on the Guardian website. Yet the Guardian has decided to abuse its privilege, and has begun broader censorship for political and other reasons, far beyond the scope “of the innocent”. In the case of Astana [an unredacted cable published by Shamir], the Guardian interfered with a cable showing Western corporations looting the former Soviet Union.

This is Shamir’s gripe against the Guardian – that they are editing cables not out of genuine concern, but rather to protect Western, imperialist interests.

Shamir argues that Ruskiy Reporter is markedly different from the Guardian:

Yet they do not take into account that the Russian press, especially at the “Russian Reporter”, has its own source of dispatches. Moreover, “the Russian reporter” is not interested in protecting the interests of companies and officials implicated in criminal activity, in whatever country that is discussed. Unfortunately, many Russian media (thanks in part, perhaps, to the Guardian’s censorship) have succumbed to the Western interpretation of dispatches.

Shamir also objects to Nick Cohen and Andrew Brown’s articles, which are both highly critical of his association with Wikileaks:

We see that the Guardian is actively using its privilege to edit dispatches . Yet it is abusing its privilege, trying to minimize the effects of the leaks. So I am inclined to explain the nature of the recent assaults on me as a freelance journalist working with WikiLeaks in the former Soviet Union. In his article, Nick Cohen claimed that Shamir, “may have passed sensitive information to President Lukashenko, once he was in Minsk during the elections.” This is ridiculous – to pass sensitive information you don’t need to travel to Minsk – an e-mail would not have gone amiss. Wikileaks provides confidential information to all – Lukashenko and Cohen alike. Anyway, the secret dispatches on Belarus have been published on a major Belarusian website .

Nick Cohen was preceded by Andrew Brown in The Guardian, who also ran at me, claiming that the relationship with the Shamir WikiLeaks might disturbed “anyone named in the cables”. And he’s right – the people named in the dispatches, passing from the government, transnational corporations, could live untroubled, while the major media like the Guardian and The New York Times preserve their peace. The very existence of independent journalists and alternative media “may force them to be disturbed.” Let them worry.

Ruskiy Reporter is now advertising a public fund set up by RR journalists to bring Assange to Moscow:

Now there is a registered, independent public fund of the Russian “Friends of Wikileaks”, assigned to the task of helping Julian Assange and the Wikileaks site, as well as organising his visit to Russia. Among the founders of Creative Commons page are Israel Shamir, Vitaly Leibin, Maxim Kantor and other officials.

Fundraising has begun – you can donate money to help Assange via a Yandex account: Account number – 41001749691366. Remember, “Russian Reporter”is  the official site WikiLeaks partner in Russia.

Shamir has been trying to persuade Russians to bring Assange over to Moscow since October 2010.