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Tunisia: That 'WikiLeaks Revolution' meme

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1720 ET

There's been a rather lot of, well, unsupported analysis on the internet seeking to attribute Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution, which drove President Ben Ali from power yesteday, to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Uber blogger Andrew Sullivan writes: "This is a major, er, coup for Wikileaks and the transparency it promotes - especially against tyrants like Ben Ali." The theory goes that private US diplomatic cables from the Tunis embassy released via Wikileaks on December 7 revealed to Tunisians that Ben Ali was an authoritarian despot, that his family was supremely corrupt, and that life was crushingly hard for the Tunisian poor and unemployed, spurring them to take to the streets.

It goes without saying that Tunisians (thanks to the reader who pointed out my typos) were well aware of this and more, and that the spark for weeks of street protests and riots that rolled across Tunisia (and, indeed, are still rolling) was the suicide of a desperate young man in mid-December.

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