Posted by Bridgette
Important Cable Releases by Wikileaks
Days 1 – 6
This is a composite of the most important information that was released by Wikileaks to various news outlets. This references Days 1 – 6 by the UK’s Guardian. Of the reported 250,000 downloaded cables, only a fraction have been released. These serve as insight into our government’s relationships with other countries. They also may permanently damage our image throughout the world, highlight our inability to maintain our secret documents, and otherwise inhibit a trusting relationship with many countries. This doesn’t cover the danger that those who divulged their opinions ” in secret” may now face in the countries they represent.
This happened on Obama’s watch, and it is this administration’s fault. Who helped the lowly Private Manning download these documents? He didn’t do it alone. Who is the mole in our US government? Who is investigating? This dump of diplomatic cables into the public domain has been called the worst security breach in our nation’s history! The fallout has only begun as Wikileaks drips a few cables at a time to various news outlets. Our national security is now in extreme peril. One of Obama’s famous snarky smiles isn’t going to fix this mess.
We will continue to wonder who was responsible for assisting Private Manning. Who gave him the codes to enter into the government’s informational diplomatic database? Who downloaded the previous information from the Pentagon’s database? Who intentionally sabotaged the United States along with Manning in the third Wiki? Who is investigating those within our government? Has an outside company been called in to find and follow the network trail? Who was sleeping on the job and not maintaining the security of the networks?
While we speculate who put our nation at risk, the daily drip, drip, drip of Wikileaks continues…putting our nation in potential danger. Only after the third dump of information has the amateur Obama administration decided there might be a real problem. Yes, Mr. Gibbs, a guy with a computer and a website can cause havoc. Are you still smirking? Is this administration just playing lip service to the citizens when Holder says he will sue Assange while doing no other investigation? Was this an intentional Cloward- Piven assault to cause a crisis?
According to Rep. Peter King (R- NY), elected Chairman of Homeland Security Committee for 112th Congress, said on Sunday, “they have done nothing” when talking about how the administration has handled the Wikileak problem.
That statement does seem to sum up this administration’s inability to handle any crisis. They wait, procrastinate, delay, “dither”, blame, dismiss a crisis, and finally lie and spin away any responsibility. The “no action” Obama and his administration’s ineptness and inexperience once again has reared its ugly head.
While reading these cables, do note that none implicate Obama nor is his name mentioned. Suspiciously, the newspapers chose not to print cables that put Obama in a bad light or in any light. That is quite curious. Are we to believe that diplomats representing countries worldwide never gave their opinions about how Obama’s policies here and abroad were affecting communication and foreign governments. It does get curiouser and curiouser, doesn’t it.
Day 1, Monday 29 November
• The US faces a worldwide diplomatic crisis. More than 250,000 classified cables from American embassies are leaked, many sent as recently as February.
• Saudi Arabia put pressure on the US to attack Iran. Other Arab allies also secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.
• Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.
• Details of the round-the-clock offensive by US government officials,
politicians, diplomats and military officers to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and roll back its advance across the Middle East.
• How Israel regarded 2010 as a “critical year” for tackling Iran’s alleged quest for nuclear weapons and warned the United States that time is running out to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.
• The secret EU plot to boycott the inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president after the disputed Iranian election in 2009.
• Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were denied blueprints for a secret nuclear reactor near Qom and told by Iran that evidence of bomb-grade uranium enrichment was forged.
• Saudi Arabia complained directly to the Iranian foreign minister of Iranian “meddling” in the Middle East.
• The US accused Iran of abusing the strict neutrality of the Iranian Red Crescent (IRC) society to smuggle intelligence agents and weapons into other countries, including Lebanon.
• Britain’s ambassador to Iran gave the US a private masterclass on how to negotiate with Iran.
• How a 75-year-old American of Iranian descent rode a horse over a freezing mountain range into Turkey after officials confiscated his passport.
A long piece in English primarily about the US view of Germany, including some bracing views of Berlin’s leadership and the description of Chancellor Angela Merkel as “risk averse and rarely creative”.
New York Times
The New York Times highlights US intelligence assessments that Iran has acquired missiles from North Korea which could for the first time enable Tehran to strike at western European capitals.
A trawl through the 3,620 documents in the haul originating from the US embassy in Madrid, dating from 2004 to this year (in Spanish).
The French paper also leads on the allegations of US spying on UN leaders but also covers Washington’s view of France, as gleaned from the cables (in French). President Nicolas Sarkozy is described as “susceptible and authoritarian”, and a French diplomatic adviser has described Iran as a fascist state and Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez as a madman transforming his country into another Zimbabwe.
Day 2, Tuesday 30 November
• China is ready to accept Korean unification and is distancing itself from North Korea which it describes as behaving like a “spoiled child”. Cables say Kim Jong-il is a “flabby old chap” losing his grip and drinking.
• Prince Andrew attacked a Serious Fraud Office anti-corruption investigation during a meeting with British businessmen in Kyrgyzstan and criticized a Guardian investigation – and the French – in what the US ambassador there described as “an astonishingly candid” performance verging on the rude. He is also reported to like big game hunting and falconry.
• An official from the Commonwealth secretariat claimed Prince Charles is not respected in the same way as the Queen and questioned whether the heir apparent should necessarily succeed his mother as the head of the Commonwealth.
• Hillary Clinton wanted a briefing on the mental health of Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner and asked whether she was taking medication to calm her down.
• The German magazine focuses on the US administration’s search for countries willing to take its Guantánamo prisoners, if it closed the base down, and the German government’s reluctance to help, with foreign minister Wolfgang Schäuble reportedly very skeptical. The German government would not accept 17 Uighur prisoners, despite the support of the Uighur exiled community in Munich, for fear of upsetting the Chinese government.
There is an extensive network of informants in Berlin, informing the US about Angela Merkel’s coalition negotiations. Merkel is described as an enigma, and skeptical about the US.
• The US administration doubts the Turkish government’s dependability as an ally, describing it as having little understanding of the outside world and its foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s “neo-Ottoman visions” as exceptionally dangerous. It describes a Muslim fraternity within the governing party and an “iron ring of sycophantic but contemptuous advisers”.
• The French newspaper Le Monde reports US diplomats describing the former president of Haiti, René Préval, as “indispensable but difficult … a chameleon character” unwilling to accept advice.
• In 2005, US diplomats reported France as being a difficult ally in the fight against international terrorism, because its specialist investigating magistrates were insular, centred on Paris and operating in “another world”.
• Spain’s El País focuses on repeated attempts by the US to curb court cases in Spain against American soldiers and politicians accused of involvement in Iraq war crimes or torture at Guantánamo. It highlights a series of cables relating to the possibility of Spain accepting former Guantánamo prisoners. Spain’s political situation and public opinion made this “almost impossible”, an official said.
Day 3, Wednesday 1 December
• The head of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, privately criticised David Cameron and George Osborne (now the prime minister and chancellor) before the election for their lack of experience, the lack of depth in their inner circle and their tendency to think about issues only in terms of their electoral impact.
Osborne lacked gravitas and was seen as a political lightweight because of his “high-pitched vocal delivery” according to private Conservative polling before the election.
• US and British diplomats fear that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme could lead to terrorists obtaining fissile material, or a devastating nuclear exchange with India. Also, small teams of US special forces have been operating secretly inside Pakistan’s tribal areas, with Pakistani government approval. And the US concluded that Pakistani troops were responsible for a spate of extra-judicial killings in the Swat Valley and tribal belt, but decided not to comment publicly.
• Gordon Brown unsuccessfully lobbied the US for the British computer hacker Gary McKinnon to be allowed to serve any jail sentence in the UK. David Cameron said British people generally believe McKinnon is guilty “but they are sympathetic”.
• The US ambassador to Pakistan said the Pakistani army is covertly sponsoring four major militant groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Mumbai attackers, Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT), and “no amount of money” will change the policy.
Also, US diplomats discovered hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan earmarked for fighting Islamist militants was not used for that purpose.
• Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, considered pushing President Asif Ali Zardari from office and forcing him into exile to resolve a political dispute, the US embassy cables reveal. Separately, Zardari once told the US vice-president, Joe Biden, he feared the military “might take me out”. He told the Americans his sister would lead if he was assassinated. Another cable revealed that the Pakistani president was described as a “numbskull” by Sir Jock Stirrup, Britain’s then chief of defence staff.
• The US praised former British Guantánamo detainee Moazzam Begg for his campaign to persuade European countries to take in remaining detainees from the prison camp.
• Senior Lib Dem officials, who now work in No 10 and the Cabinet Office, planned a campaign to depict David Cameron as “fake” and “out of touch” during the election campaign, but abandoned the strategy because it was deemed too aggressive after the death of his son, Ivan.
• The Tories told the US before the general election that a Conservative government could be tougher on Pakistan as it was less reliant on votes from people with a Pakistani connections than Labour. Referring to Muslim extremists coming to Britain from Pakistan, Cameron said that under Labour “we let in a lot of crazies and did not wake up early enough”.
• Zardari claimed that the brother of Pakistan’s opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, “tipped off” LeT about impending UN sanctions after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, allowing the group to empty its bank accounts. British diplomats feared India would respond with force to the attacks but the US thought the UK was “over-reacting”.
• The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is portrayed as a self-absorbed, thin-skinned, erratic character who tyrannises his ministers and staff but is also a brilliant political tactician, in US memos. The Saudis were irritated by Sarkozy planning to take Carla Bruni on a state visit to their country before she was married. Sarkozy invited Gordon Brown and the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, to last year’s D-day commemorations because “the survival of their governments was at stake”.
• The British government promised to protect US interests during the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war.
• The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has been sheltering the leader of the nationalist insurgency in Pakistan’s Balochistan province for years.
• Le Monde focuses on what the cables say about Sarkozy, notably his pro-Americanism, his idea that an international force could replace the US in Iraq, and the US view on his election that he was “a novice” in international affairs with a poor grasp of English.
• The paper has significant coverage of Pakistan, with a story that the Pakistani military and secret service are heavily involved in the country’s politics and often work against US interests.
• A subsidiary of the US private security firm Xe (then known as Blackwater) flouted German arms export law. It transported German helicopters to Afghanistan via Britain and Turkey without a permit because it was taking too long to get the German export papers.
Day 4, Thursday 2 December
• Russia is a “virtual mafia state” with rampant corruption and scant separation between the activities of the government and organised crime. Vladimir Putin is accused of amassing “illicit proceeds” from his time in office, which various sources allege are hidden overseas. And he was likely to have known about the operation in London to murder the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, Washington’s top diplomat in Europe alleged.
• British and US officials colluded to manoeuvre around a proposed ban on cluster bombs, allowing the US to keep the munitions on British territory, regardless of whether a treaty forbidding their use was implemented. Parliament was kept in the dark about the secret agreement, approved by then-foreign secretary David Miliband.
• US diplomats believed that the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, bore responsibility for a massacre last year that is the subject of a UN war crimes inquiry.
• Russia armed Georgian separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and carried out a wave of “covert actions” to undermine Georgia in the runup to the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, according to US diplomats.
• President Dmitry Medvedev was described by US diplomats as a junior figure, who “plays Robin to Putin’s Batman”.
• Gas supplies to Ukranian and EU states are linked to the Russian mafia, according to the US ambassador in Kiev.
• Moscow’s veteran mayor Yuri Luzhkov was accused by the US ambassador of sitting on top of a “pyramid of corruption” involving the Kremlin, Russia’s police force, its security service, political parties and crime groups by the US. ambassador.
• Miliband’s campaign to champion aid and human rights during the Sri Lankan humanitarian crisis last year was largely motivated by a desire to win favour with Tamil voters in the UK, according to a Foreign Office official.
• The US is skeptical that Russian President Medvedev has much of a future, believing Putin to be “in the driver’s seat”.
• Having helped to build up Georgia’s military capabilities, the US made last-ditch diplomatic attempts to try to prevent it going to war with Russia in 2008. Washington’s envoy to the Caucasus warned Georgia that war would “cost it valuable support in Washington and European capitals”, while publicly George W. Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, continued to give their unqualified support to Georgia.
• The US has long been trying to loosen Russia’s grip on Ukraine, according to diplomatic cables. On the inauguration of the new Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, they sought to make him a US partner thereby striking a diplomatic blow against the Kremlin.
• The US embassy in Moscow criticised the IMF, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for offering huge loans to Russia it felt were not justified.
• One of the biggest objectives at the US embassy in Madrid over the past seven years has been trying to get the criminal case dropped against three US soldiers accused of the killing of a Spanish television cameraman in Baghdad.
Telecinco cameraman José Couso was killed on 8 April 2003 during a tank shelling of the Hotel Palestine where he and other journalists were staying while they were covering the Iraq war. US diplomats held a host of meetings about the case with high-ranking members of the Spanish government.
New York Times
• The Russian prime minister, Putin, often did not show up at his office, according to rumours cited in a document titled Questioning Putin’s Work Ethic.
• US diplomats warned of increasing distrust of the United States in Canada. They described “negative popular stereotyping” of Americans on Canadian TV.
They also said Canadians “always carry a chip on their shoulder” in part because of a feeling that their country “is condemned to always play ‘Robin’ to the US ‘Batman'”.
Day 5, Friday 3 December
•The British military was criticised for failing to establish security in Sangin by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and the US commander of Nato troops, according to diplomatic cables.
• Rampant government corruption in Afghanistan is revealed by the cables, including an incident last year when the then vice-president, Ahmad Zia Massoud, was stopped and questioned in Dubai when he flew into the emirate with $52 m in cash.
• Gordon Brown was written off as prime minister by the US embassy in London a year into his premiership. It concluded that an “abysmal track record” had left him lurching from “political disaster to disaster”, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. He briefly earned some praise when he led the recapitalising of banks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, but within months his government was deemed a “sinking ship”. Brown’s international initiatives, from food summits to global disarmament and a UK national security council, were treated with indifference bordering on disdain by the Americans, according to US embassy cables.
• The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, is erratic, emotional and prone to believing paranoid conspiracy theories, according to frustrated diplomats and foreign statesmen. He has also been accused by his own ministers of complicity in criminal activity, including ordering the physical intimidation of the top official in charge of leading negotiations with the Taliban.
• US diplomats have reported suspicions that Silvio Berlusconi could be “profiting personally and handsomely” from secret deals with the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. They centre on allegations that the Italian leader has been promised a cut of huge energy contracts. Another memo quoted a friend of Berlusconi saying the Italian prime minister’s fondness for partying had taken a physical and political toll on him.
• American officials dismissed British protests about secret US spy flights taking place from the UK’s Cyprus airbase, amid concerns from Labour ministers, upset about rendition flights going on behind their backs, that the UK would be an unwitting accomplice to torture.
• The British Foreign Office misled parliament over the plight of thousands of islanders who were expelled from their Indian Ocean homeland – the British colony of Diego Garcia – to make way for a large US military base, according to secret US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. It has privately admitted its latest plan to declare the islands the world’s largest marine protection zone will end any chance of them being repatriated. Publicly ministers have claimed the proposed park would have no effect on the islanders’ right of return.
• The cables reveal Washington’s opinion on Gordon Brown’s potential successors. David Miliband was deemed “too brainy”, Alan Johnson had a “lack of killer instinct” and Harriet Harman was a “policy lightweight but an adept interparty operator”.
• A scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young “dancing boys” to entertain them in northern Afghanistan caused such panic that the interior minister begged the US embassy to try to “quash” the story, according a US embassy cable. The Afghan government feared the story, if published, would “endanger lives” and was particularly concerned that a video of the incident might be made public.
• The US military has been charging its allies a 15% handling fee on hundreds of millions of dollars being raised internationally to build up the Afghan army. Germany has threatened to cancel contributions, raising concerns that money is going to the US treasury.
• Iran is financing a range of Afghan religious and political leaders, grooming Afghan religious scholars, training Taliban militants and even seeking to influence MPs, according to cables from the US embassy in Kabul.
• The US has lost faith in the Mexican army’s ability to win the country’s drugs war, branding it slow, clumsy and no match for “sophisticated” narco-traffickers.
• The US is convinced that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president’s younger half-brother and a senior figure in Kandahar, is corrupt, according to embassy cables. He is described as dominating access to “economic resources, patronage and protection”. Two of Hamid Karzai’s brothers planned to ask for asylum in the US, while other family members stayed away and kept their money out of Afghanistan – so anxious were they that the Afghan president would lose last year’s election.
• The Obama administration and Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, are determined to reject talks with Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, and have consistently worked to split his movement, according to US diplomatic cables.
Karzai has sometimes publicly floated the idea of dialogue with Omar and other top Taliban, but the cables show his private position is the opposite.
• Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Colombia’s Álvaro Uribe “almost came to blows” at a Latin America unity summit, according to a US memo, which described it as “the worst expression of banana republic discourse”.
• A Kremlin campaign to airbrush Stalin’s role in Russian history by dictating how academics write about the past is only half-hearted, US diplomats believe.
They also feel there are enough Russians striving to remember the purge victims to combat any rewrite. The cable concerns the so-called “history wars”, a nationalist campaign to defend Russia’s honour.
• Turkmenistan’s president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, is “vain, suspicious, guarded, strict, very conservative”, a “micro-manager” and “a practised liar”, US diplomats say.
• Four months before his death the Nobel-prize winning writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn offered qualified praise for Vladimir Putin, arguing that he was doing a better job as Russia’s leader than Boris Yeltsin or Mikhail Gorbachev.
Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and returned to Russia 20 years later.
• Moldova’s president offered a $10m (£6.4m) bribe to a political rival in a desperate bid to keep his defeated communist government in power, according to a secret US diplomatic cable.
New York Times
•Afghanistan emerges as a land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm. Describing the likely lineup of Afghanistan’s new cabinet last January, the US embassy noted that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi,”appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist”.
• Berlin was irritated by a 15% administration fee the US sought to charge Germany on a €50m donation made to a trust fund set up to improve the Afghan army. A top German diplomat complained the fee would be a tough sell to taxpayers.
• Mistrust between the US and the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, is very deep. Karzai is convinced the US has thrown its backing behind his rival Abdullah Abdullah.
• The close relationship between Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and Russia’s Vladimir Putin is a source of unease for the US state department. The leaked cables contain allegations of personal business interests that both politicians deny.
• US diplomats are concerned about the growing power of Russian organized crime and believe it has contacts with the highest levels of government in Moscow.
• France is committed to staying the course in Afghanistan even though public opposition to the war and electoral considerations have weighed heavily on Nicolas Sarkozy. Amid concerns that the French president was trying to distance himself from the US to improve his popularity, Barack Obama was advised that a phone call to him could have a decisive impact. The US president was told: “Flattery would lead very far.”
• Iran is extending its influence in Afghanistan in the same way it did in Iraq. It has been supporting insurgent groups as well as financially backing politicians.
Day 6, Saturday 4 December
• Conservative party politicians promised before the election that they would run a “pro-American regime” and buy more arms from the US if they came to power.
• The president of Yemen secretly offered US forces unrestricted access to his territory to conduct unilateral strikes against al-Qaida terrorist targets.
• Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is variously labelled as “petulant” and “bizarre” in his negotiations with US security officials who met him.
• The EU president, Herman Van Rompuy, has predicted “disaster” at the latest round of global climate change negotiations in Mexico.
• The US seeks to manipulate nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming.
• The US backed a bid by the United Arab Emirates to host a major international agency promoting green energy.
• The Foreign Office has privately admitted to a plan to declare Diego Garcia, from which thousands of people were expelled from their homeland to make way for a large US military base, the world’s largest marine protection zone, ending any chance of them being repatriated.
• A potential “environmental disaster” was kept secret by the US last year when a large consignment of highly enriched uranium in Libya came close to cracking open and leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere.
New York Times
• Details of the US’s at times tricky relationship with Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key anti-terrorism ally.
• A Mexican official told US counterparts more than a year ago that the government feared it could lose control of parts of the country to rampant drug cartels.
• How US diplomats in Libya deal with Muammar Gaddafi, “a man plagued by paranoia, anxiety and neuroses, a man who only trusts his closest advisers, a man whose pride is easily wounded and a man who will suffer no criticism”.
• President Sarkozy’s new openness will allow the US to gain more influence in Africa without meeting resistance from French vested interests on the continent.
• Morocco felt angry and betrayed after Sarkozy decided to make Algeria the first stop on his inaugural visit outside Europe as president, US diplomats learn.
• The paper focuses on reports about Spain’s main opposition party, the conservative People’s Party, which has been in a political desert since losing the 2004 election. Its leader Mariano Rajoy is held in scant regard by the US diplomatic mission and is said to owe his longevity in office “more than ever to the absence of a credible successor within his party”.
• One cable relates a dinner in 2007 at which Rajoy’s predecessor, José María Aznar, was described as having a marked “lack of enthusiasm for his hand-picked successor” and possible “doubts that Rajoy is the man to return the PP to power”. “If he saw his country descend to extremely dire straits, he would consider ‘stepping back in’,” the ambassador reported.
To be continued Days 7 – 12.
H/T Photo – Sfxeris’s Photostream