Tunisia's Wikileaks Revolution, Ctd

Earlier this week, in a piece that has proved prescient, Elizabeth Dickinson discussed how certain unflattering cables "acted as a catalyst" for the coup:

The country's ruling family is described as "The Family" -- a mafia-esque elite who have their hands in every cookie jar in the entire economy. "President Ben Ali is aging, his regime is sclerotic and there is no clear successor," a June 2009 cable reads. And to this kleptocracy there is no recourse; one June 2008 cable claims: "persistent rumors of corruption, coupled with rising inflation and continued unemployment, have helped to fuel frustration with the GOT [government of Tunisia] and have contributed to recent protests in southwestern Tunisia. With those at the top believed to be the worst offenders, and likely to remain in power, there are no checks in the system."

Of course, Tunisians didn't need anyone to tell them this. But the details noted in the cables -- for example, the fact that the first lady may have made massive profits off a private school -- stirred things up. Matters got worse, not better (as surely the government hoped), when WikiLeaks was blocked by the authorities and started seeking out dissidents and activists on social networking sites. 

Vikash Yadav highlights how the hacktivist group "Anonymous", which made its name targeting Mastercard and Paypay for boycotting Wikileaks, retaliated against government websites. The truth is: this is a major, er, coup for Wikileaks and the transparency it promotes - especially against tyrants like Ben Ali.

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