September 6, 2011
In the former Soviet Union, dissidents were sent to mental institutions for the crime of disagreeing with the state. For the communists, opposition to totalitarianism was a mental disease. After the Soviet Union collapsed, governments of the Russian Federation continued the practice of diagnosing activists and journalists as insane. Enemies of the state in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and elsewhere in the communist world were also forcibly interned in state mental institutions.
A politician in India, Kumari Mayawati, would like to do the same to Wikileak’s editor in chief Julian Assange.
Mayawati, current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is irate because one of thousands of cables released by the whistleblower website states that Mayawati sent a special jet to Mumbai to buy her favorite sandals. “Calling it a political conspiracy ahead of elections, the BSP chief said WikiLeaks owner has either gone mad or supporting her opponents,” reports the Times of India.
If there is not an asylum in England that will take the activist, Mayawati said she would find one in India. “And, if there is no such asylum in his country, they can send him to UP and I will make arrangements for his admission in the mental asylum in Agra,” she said.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Wikileaks also posted diplomatic cables that claim party general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra said Mayawati has a “strong authoritarian streak” and has a “penchant for corruption,” according to The Economic Times. The Bahujan Samaj Party general secretary denies he made the comments and has promised to sue the newspapers that published the Wikileaks cables.
The latest batch of diplomatic cables released by the organization have proven to be embarrassing to a number of diplomats, politicians, and corporations.
For instance, according to a cable sent by the US embassy in Tunis on 22 September, 2006, Microsoft provided computer security training for the repressive Tunisian regime in exchange for it abandoning its use of open-source software. Staff at the United States Embassy in the Tunisian capital worried the government would use Microsoft technology to spy on its own citizens.
Another cable reported the mass murder of Iraqi citizens by the U.S. in 2006. “This period, which saw the US ‘surge’ of troops into Iraq and US toleration of killings by sectarian death squads, was one of the most violent in the nine-year US occupation of Iraq. US officials were particularly anxious to end investigations of US group executions of Iraqi civilians due to mass outrage in Iraq at the November 2005 US killing of 24 civilians in Haditha,” writes Alex Lantier.