US: WikiLeaks Cables Not the Cause of Tunisia Uprising

PJ Crowley says the Tunisian people knew about corruption 'long ago'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 16, 2011 5:00 PM CST

(Newser) – Blunt assessments of ex-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family, their lavish lifestyles, and graft contained in cables released by WikiLeaks didn't spark the uprising in Tunisia, said State Department spokesman PJ Crowley today. Many commentators have suggested that the cables contributed to the discontent, with some saying the developments constitute the first "WikiLeaks revolution." Crowley said in a tweet that "Tunisia is not a Wiki revolution. The Tunisian people knew about corruption long ago. They alone are the catalysts of this unfolding drama."

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More from Tunisia:

  • Tunisian police today made dozens of arrests, some for drive-by shootings on buildings and people in the capital. The security chief Ali Seriati and his deputy were charged with a plot against state security, aggressive acts and for "provoking disorder, murder and pillaging," the TAP state news agency reported.
  • A gun battle broke out around the presidential palace in late afternoon. The army and members of the newly appointed presidential guard fought off attacks from militias loyal to Ben Ali, who emerged from a forest near the Carthage Cathedral.
  • Hillary Clinton today urged Tunisia's new leadership to restore order, and called for the government to address the underlying causes of the popular discontent that fueled the uprising, such as unemployment and poverty.

(Read more Tunisia stories.)

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