Patrick Cockburn: We have had two good examples of the lengths to which a government – in this case that of the US – will go to protect its own tainted version of events.
The charging of Julian Assange for leaking government and military secrets and the denial of Yemeni reporter Maad al-Zikry a visa so he could attend the Pulitzer prize ceremony.
Maad al-Zikry, Maggie Michael and Nariman El-Mofty from AP reported on US drone strikes in Yemen, how the US is aiding al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and about abuses in prisons maintained by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
It was US government documents released by Wikileaks that showed the US government was well aware of how the Houthis were obtaining weapons, and it wasn’t from Iran.
“The US embassy in Sanaa may be closed today, but it was open on 9 December 2009 when Stephen Seche, the US ambassador, sent a detailed report to the State Department titled: “Who are the Houthis? How are they fighting?” Citing numerous sources, it says that the Houthis “obtain their weapons from the Yemeni black market” and by corrupt deals with government military commanders. A senior Yemeni intelligence officer is quoted as saying: “The Iranians are not arming the Houthis. The weapons they use are Yemeni.” Another senior official says that the anti-Houthi military “covers up its failures by saying that the weapons [of the Houthis] come from Iran.”
The US feels enraged by any revelation of what it really knows, by any alternative source of information. Such threats to its control of the news agenda must be suppressed where possible