Lebanese Newspaper Site Downed for Covering WikiLeaks

Paper Printed Cables Embarrassing to Lebanese Officials

by Jason Ditz, December 09, 2010

A private Arabic-language newspaper in Lebanon, al-Akhbar, has been knocked down by a series of coordinated hacking attacks against their internal information systems, in apparent retaliation for the paper’s heavy coverage of the WikiLeaks cables.

Earlier in the week the site found itself banned in Tunisia for reprinting a cable detailing corruption in the Tunisian President’s family. But the bigger news seems to have been its coverage of Lebanon itself.

The paper reprinted cables detailing Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr giving the US advice on how Israel could win a future invasion of Lebanon. Murr also promised that the Lebanese military would not be involved in resisting such an invasion.

Murr had angrily claimed the comments in the cable were “out of context,” but the claims ring true, as Lebanon’s military stayed on base during the last Israeli invasion. As Israel killed some 1,200 civilians in the last invasion in 2006, the seeming encouragement from Murr to launch another attack (and at a time when Israeli officials insist another invasion is “inevitable”) was likely to anger many. It is exactly the sort of truth for which the WikiLeaks cables were released, and also exactly the sort of truth for which censorship seems to be enjoying a renaissance the world over.

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