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Julian Assange Says WikiLeaks Helped Shape Middle East Protests

julian assangeDuring a speech at Cambridge University yesterday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suggested that his whistleblowing organization played a significant role in the recent protests across the Middle East and North Africa.

According to Assange, WikiLeaks' diplomatic cables may have convinced Middle Eastern leaders that they wouldn't be able to rely on U.S. assistance if military forces were to suddenly turn against the government.

"The Tunisian cables showed clearly that if it came down to it, the U.S., if it came down to a fight between the military on the one hand, and [President Zine al-Abidine] Ben Ali's political regime on the other, the U.S. would probably support the military," Assange said. "That is something that must have also caused neighboring countries to Tunisia some thought. That is that if they militarily intervened, they may not be on the same side as the United States."

As protests escalated across the Middle East, Assange and his team devoted their efforts to publishing even more information on the region, in order to make it more difficult for the U.S. and other Western governments to continue their support of authoritarian regimes.

The Australian national went on to claim that WikiLeaks' cables involving Egyptian former vice president Omar Suleiman played an integral role in shaping America's diplomatic approach to the upheaval. The confidential documents, Assange argued, dissuaded the U.S. from supporting Suleiman as a successor to ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Tags: diplomatic cables, DiplomaticCables, egypt, Hillary Clinton, HillaryClinton, Julian Assange, JulianAssange, middle east, MiddleEast, politics, top, Tunisia, Web, Wikileaks