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Thread: US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis

    US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis

    • More than 250,000 dispatches reveal US foreign strategies
    • Diplomats ordered to spy on allies as well as enemies
    • Hillary Clinton leads frantic 'damage limitation'

    The United States was catapulted into a worldwide diplomatic crisis today, with the leaking to the Guardian and other international media of more than 250,000 classified cables from its embassies, many sent as recently as February this year.

    At the start of a series of daily extracts from the US embassy cables - many of which are designated "secret" – the Guardian can disclose that Arab leaders are privately urging an air strike on Iran and that US officials have been instructed to spy on the UN's leadership.

    These two revelations alone would be likely to reverberate around the world. But the secret dispatches which were obtained by WikiLeaks, the whistlebowers' website, also reveal Washington's evaluation of many other highly sensitive international issues.

    These include a major shift in relations between China and North Korea, Pakistan's growing instability and details of clandestine US efforts to combat al-Qaida in Yemen.

    Among scores of other disclosures that are likely to cause uproar, the cables detail:

    • Grave fears in Washington and London over the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme
    • Alleged links between the Russian government and organised crime.
    • Devastating criticism of the UK's military operations in Afghanistan.
    • Claims of inappropriate behaviour by a member of the British royal family.

    The US has particularly intimate dealings with Britain, and some of the dispatches from the London embassy in Grosvenor Square will make uncomfortable reading in Whitehall and Westminster. They range from serious political criticisms of David Cameron to requests for specific intelligence about individual MPs.

    The cache of cables contains specific allegations of corruption and against foreign leaders, as well as harsh criticism by US embassy staff of their host governments, from tiny islands in the Caribbean to China and Russia.

    The material includes a reference to Vladimir Putin as an "alpha-dog", Hamid Karzai as being "driven by paranoia" and Angela Merkel allegedly "avoids risk and is rarely creative". There is also a comparison between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler.

    The cables name countries involved in financing terror groups, and describe a near "environmental disaster" last year over a rogue shipment of enriched uranium. They disclose technical details of secret US-Russian nuclear missile negotiations in Geneva, and include a profile of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who they say is accompanied everywhere by a "voluptuous blonde" Ukrainian nurse.

    The cables cover secretary of state Hillary Clinton's activities under the Obama administration, as well as thousands of files from the George Bush presidency. Clinton personally led frantic damage limitation this weekend as Washington prepared foreign governments for the revelations. She contacted leaders in Germany, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, France and Afghanistan.

    US ambassadors in other capitals were instructed to brief their hosts in advance of the release of unflattering pen-portraits or nakedly frank accounts of transactions with the US which they had thought would be kept quiet. Washington now faces a difficult task in convincing contacts around the world that any future conversations will remain confidential.

    "We are all bracing for what may be coming and condemn WikiLeaks for the release of classified material," state department spokesman PJ Crowley said. "It will place lives and interests at risk. It is irresponsible." The state department's legal adviser has written to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and his London lawyer, warning that the cables were obtained illegally and that publication would place at risk "the lives of countless innocent individuals … ongoing military operations … and cooperation between countries".

    The electronic archive of embassy dispatches from around the world was allegedly downloaded by a US soldier earlier this year and passed to WikiLeaks. Assange made them available to the Guardian and four other newspapers: the New York Times, Der Spiegel in Germany, Le Monde in France and El País in Spain. All five plan to publish extracts from the most significant cables, but have decided neither to "dump" the entire dataset into the public domain, nor to publish names that would endanger innocent individuals. WikiLeaks says that, contrary to the state department's fears, it also initially intends to post only limited cable extracts, and to redact identities.

    The cables published today reveal how the US uses its embassies as part of a global espionage network, with diplomats tasked to obtain not just information from the people they meet, but personal details, such as frequent flyer numbers, credit card details and even DNA material.

    Classified "human intelligence directives" issued in the name of Hillary Clinton or her predecessor, Condoleeza Rice, instruct officials to gather information on military installations, weapons markings, vehicle details of political leaders as well as iris scans, fingerprints and DNA.

    The most controversial target was the leadership of the United Nations. That directive requested the specification of telecoms and IT systems used by top UN officials and their staff and details of "private VIP networks used for official communication, to include upgrades, security measures, passwords, personal encryption keys".

    When the Guardian put this allegation to Crowley, the state department spokesman said: "Let me assure you: our diplomats are just that, diplomats. They do not engage in intelligence activities. They represent our country around the world, maintain open and transparent contact with other governments as well as public and private figures, and report home. That's what diplomats have done for hundreds of years."

    The dispatches also shed light on older diplomatic issues. One cable, for example, reveals, that Nelson Mandela was "furious" when a top adviser stopped him meeting Margaret Thatcher shortly after his release from prison to explain why the ANC objected to her policy of "constructive engagement" with the apartheid regime. "We understand Mandela was keen for a Thatcher meeting but that [appointments secretary Zwelakhe] Sisulu argued successfully against it," according to the cable. It continues: "Mandela has on several occasions expressed his eagerness for an early meeting with Thatcher to express the ANC's objections to her policy. We were consequently surprised when the meeting didn't materialise on his mid-April visit to London and suspected that ANC hardliners had nixed Mandela's plans."

    The US embassy cables are marked "Sipdis" – secret internet protocol distribution. They were compiled as part of a programme under which selected dispatches, considered moderately secret but suitable for sharing with other agencies, would be automatically loaded on to secure embassy websites, and linked with the military's Siprnet internet system.

    They are classified at various levels up to "SECRET NOFORN" [no foreigners]. More than 11,000 are marked secret, while around 9,000 of the cables are marked noforn. The embassies which sent most cables were Ankara, Baghdad, Amman, Kuwait and Tokyo.

    More than 3 million US government personnel and soldiers, many extremely junior, are cleared to have potential access to this material, even though the cables contain the identities of foreign informants, often sensitive contacts in dictatorial regimes. Some are marked "protect" or "strictly protect".

    Last spring, 22-year-old intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was charged with leaking many of these cables, along with a gun-camera video of an Apache helicopter crew mistakenly killing two Reuters news agency employees in Baghdad in 2007, which was subsequently posted by WikiLeaks. Manning is facing a court martial.

    In July and October WikiLeaks also published thousands of leaked military reports from Afghanistan and Iraq. These were made available for analysis beforehand to the Guardian, along with Der Spiegel and the New York Times.

    A former hacker, Adrian Lamo, who reported Manning to the US authorities, said the soldier had told him in chat messages that the cables revealed "how the first world exploits the third, in detail".

    He also said, according to Lamo, that Clinton "and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available in searchable format to the public … everywhere there's a US post … there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed".

    Asked why such sensitive material was posted on a network accessible to thousands of government employees, the state department spokesman told the Guardian: "The 9/11 attacks and their aftermath revealed gaps in intra-governmental information sharing. Since the attacks of 9/11, the US government has taken significant steps to facilitate information sharing. These efforts were focused on giving diplomatic, military, law enforcement and intelligence specialists quicker and easier access to more data to more effectively do their jobs."

    He added: "We have been taking aggressive action in recent weeks and months to enhance the security of our systems and to prevent the leak of information."

    US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis | World news | guardian.co.uk



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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default US Asks Wikileaks to Halt Document Release

    (CBS/AP) The Obama administration has told whistleblower WikiLeaks that its expected imminent release of classified State Department cables will put "countless" lives at risk, threaten global counterterrorism operations and jeopardize U.S. relations with its allies.

    In a highly unusual step reflecting the administration's grave concerns about the ramifications of the move, the State Department late Saturday released a letter from its top lawyer to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his attorney telling them that publication of the documents would be illegal and demanding that they stop it.

    It also said the U.S. government would not cooperate with WikiLeaks in trying to scrub the cables of information that might put sources and methods of intelligence gathering and diplomatic reporting at risk.

    The letter from State Department legal adviser Harold Koh was released as U.S. diplomats around the world are scrambling to warn foreign governments about what might be in the secret documents that are believed to contain highly sensitive assessments about world leaders, their policies and America's attempts to lobby them.

    In the letter, Koh said the publication of some 250,000 secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, which is expected on Sunday, will "place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals," "place at risk on-going military operations," and "place at risk on-going cooperation between countries."

    "They were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action," he said. Koh said WikiLeaks should not publish the documents, return them to the U.S. government and destroy any copies it may have in its possession or in computer databases.

    The State Department said Koh's message was a response to a letter received on Friday by the U.S. ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman, from Assange and his lawyer, Jennifer Robinson. The department said that letter asked for information "regarding individuals who may be 'at significant risk of harm' because of" the release of the documents.

    "Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals," Koh wrote in reply. "You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger."

    He said the U.S government would not deal with WikiLeaks at all in determining what may or may not released.

    "We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. government classified materials," wrote Koh, who is considered to be one of the world's top experts in international law and was reportedly considered for a seat on the Supreme Court.

    WikiLeaks is expected to post the documents online on Sunday and Koh said the U.S. government had been told that The New York Times, the British newspaper the Guardian and the German news magazine Der Spiegel had prior access to them.

    The release of Koh's letter comes as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top U.S. officials are reaching out to numerous countries about the expected WikiLeaks release.

    Clinton spoke to leaders in China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France and Afghanistan on Friday, according to State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. Canada, Denmark, Norway and Poland have also been warned.

    The cables are thought to include candid assessments of foreign leaders and governments and could erode trust in the U.S. as a diplomatic partner.

    Crowley said the release will place "lives and interests at risk. We are all bracing for what may be coming and condemn WikiLeaks for the release of classified material. It will place lives and interests at risk. It is irresponsible."

    Diplomatic cables are internal documents that would include a range of secret communications between U.S. diplomatic outposts and State Department headquarters in Washington.

    WikiLeaks has said the release will be seven times the size of its October leak of 400,000 Iraq war documents, already the biggest leak in U.S. intelligence history.

    The U.S. says it has known for some time that WikiLeaks held the diplomatic cables. No one has been charged with passing them to the website, but suspicion focuses on U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst arrested in Iraq in June and charged over an earlier leak.

    U.S. Asks WikiLeaks to Halt Document Release - CBS News



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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    I have zero problems with WikiLeaks. They are doing the job that "journalists" are supposed to do. There should be a light shone on all the crap that's done.
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    (Replying to MontanaMama) This is some of the smartest shit I ever read

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack. about 3 hours ago via web Retweeted by 100+ people



    Twitter / WikiLeaks: We are currently under a m ...#



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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ruh roh.


    great article in the new york times about this too:

    Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels
    Louai Beshara/Agence Frace-Presse — Getty Images


    President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, left, with William J. Burns, a State Department official, in Damascus.



    By SCOTT SHANE and ANDREW W. LEHREN

    Published: November 28, 2010


    WASHINGTON — A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

    State's Secrets


    A cache of diplomatic cables provide a chronicle of the United States' relations with the world.



    Associated Press

    Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of leaking diplomatic cables and other classified documents to WikiLeaks.





    Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks intends to make the archive public on its Web site in batches, beginning Sunday.
    The anticipated disclosure of the cables is already sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could conceivably strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.
    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and American ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures. A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”
    President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal,” the statement said. “By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals.”
    The cables, a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates, amount to a secret chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world in an age of war and terrorism. Among their revelations, to be detailed in The Times in coming days:

    ¶ A dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: Since 2007, the United States has mounted a highly secret effort, so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that American officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device. In May 2009, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, “if the local media got word of the fuel removal, ‘they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,’ he argued.”

    ¶ Gaming out an eventual collapse of North Korea: American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North’s economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul. She told Washington in February that South Korean officials believe that the right business deals would “help salve” China’s “concerns about living with a reunified Korea” that is in a “benign alliance” with the United States.

    ¶ Bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in Chinese Muslim detainees, cables from diplomats recounted. The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”

    ¶ Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government: When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash. With wry understatement, a cable from the American Embassy in Kabul called the money “a significant amount” that the official, Ahmed Zia Massoud, “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.” (Mr. Massoud denies taking any money out of Afghanistan.)

    ¶ A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.

    ¶ Mixed records against terrorism: Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda, and the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the American military for years, was the “worst in the region” in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December. Qatar’s security service was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals,” the cable said.

    ¶ An intriguing alliance: American diplomats in Rome reported in 2009 on what their Italian contacts described as an extraordinarily close relationship between Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian prime minister, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister and business magnate, including “lavish gifts,” lucrative energy contracts and a “shadowy” Russian-speaking Italian go-between. They wrote that Mr. Berlusconi “appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin” in Europe. The diplomats also noted that while Mr. Putin enjoys supremacy over all other public figures in Russia, he is undermined by an unmanageable bureaucracy that often ignores his edicts.

    ¶ Arms deliveries to militants: Cables describe the United States’ failing struggle to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has amassed a huge stockpile since its 2006 war with Israel. One week after President Bashar al-Assad promised a top State Department official that he would not send “new” arms to Hezbollah, the United States complained that it had information that Syria was providing increasingly sophisticated weapons to the group.

    ¶ Clashes with Europe over human rights: American officials sharply warned Germany in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in a bungled operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was mistakenly kidnapped and held for months in Afghanistan. A senior American diplomat told a German official “that our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.”

    The 251,287 cables, first acquired by WikiLeaks, were provided to The Times by an intermediary on the condition of anonymity. Many are unclassified, and none are marked “top secret,” the government’s most secure communications status. But some 11,000 are classified “secret,” 9,000 are labeled “noforn,” shorthand for material considered too delicate to be shared with any foreign government, and 4,000 are designated both secret and noforn.
    Many more cables name diplomats’ confidential sources, from foreign legislators and military officers to human rights activists and journalists, often with a warning to Washington: “Please protect” or “Strictly protect.”
    The Times has withheld from articles and removed from documents it is posting online the names of some people who spoke privately to diplomats and might be at risk if they were publicly identified. The Times is also withholding some passages or entire cables whose disclosure could compromise American intelligence efforts.

    Terrorism’s Shadow
    The cables show that nearly a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the dark shadow of terrorism still dominates the United States’ relations with the world. They depict the Obama administration struggling to sort out which Pakistanis are trustworthy partners against Al Qaeda, adding Australians who have disappeared in the Middle East to terrorist watch lists, and assessing whether a lurking rickshaw driver in Lahore, Pakistan, was awaiting fares or conducting surveillance of the road to the American Consulate.

    They show American officials managing relations with a China on the rise and a Russia retreating from democracy. They document years of painstaking effort to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon — and of worry about a possible Israeli strike on Iran with the same goal.
    Even when they recount events that are already known, the cables offer remarkable details.

    For instance, it has been previously reported that the Yemeni government has sought to cover up the American role in missile strikes against the local branch of Al Qaeda. But a cable’s fly-on-the-wall account of a January meeting between the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the American commander in the Middle East, is nonetheless breathtaking.
    “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Mr. Saleh said, according to the cable sent by the American ambassador, prompting Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling Parliament” that Yemeni forces had carried out the strikes.
    Mr. Saleh, who at other times resisted American counterterrorism requests, was in a lighthearted mood. The authoritarian ruler of a conservative Muslim country, Mr. Saleh complains of smuggling from nearby Djibouti, but tells General Petraeus that his concerns are drugs and weapons, not whiskey, “provided it’s good whiskey.”

    Likewise, press reports detailed the unhappiness of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, when he was not permitted to set up his tent in Manhattan or to visit ground zero during a United Nations session last year.
    But the cables add to the tale a touch of scandal and alarm. They describe the volatile Libyan leader as rarely without the companionship of “his senior Ukrainian nurse,” described as “a voluptuous blonde.” They reveal that Colonel Qaddafi was so upset by his reception in New York that he balked at carrying out a promise to return dangerous enriched uranium to Russia. The American ambassador to Libya told Colonel Qaddafi’s son “that the Libyan government had chosen a very dangerous venue to express its pique,” a cable reported to Washington.

    The cables also disclose frank comments behind closed doors. Dispatches from early this year, for instance, quote the aging monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, as speaking scathingly about the leaders of Iraq and Pakistan.
    Speaking to another Iraqi official about Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, King Abdullah said, “You and Iraq are in my heart, but that man is not.” The king called President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan the greatest obstacle to that country’s progress. “When the head is rotten,” he said, “it affects the whole body.”

    The American ambassador to Eritrea reported last year that “Eritrean officials are ignorant or lying” in denying that they were supporting the Shabab, a militant Islamist group in Somalia. The cable then mused about which seemed more likely.

    As he left Zimbabwe in 2007 after three years as ambassador, Christopher W. Dell wrote a sardonic account of Robert Mugabe, that country’s aging and erratic leader. The cable called Mr. Mugabe “a brilliant tactician” but mocked “his deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics).”

    The possibility that a large number of diplomatic cables might become public has been discussed in government and media circles since May. That was when, in an online chat, an Army intelligence analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, described having downloaded from a military computer system many classified documents, including “260,000 State Department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world.” In an online discussion with Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker, Private Manning said he had delivered the cables and other documents to WikiLeaks.
    Mr. Lamo reported Private Manning’s disclosures to federal authorities, and Private Manning was arrested. He has been charged with illegally leaking classified information and faces a possible court-martial and, if convicted, a lengthy prison term.

    In July and October, The Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel published articles based on documents about Afghanistan and Iraq. Those collections of dispatches were placed online by WikiLeaks, with selective redactions of the Afghan documents and much heavier redactions of the Iraq reports. The group has said it intends to post the documents in the current trove as well, after editing to remove the names of confidential sources and other details.

    Fodder for Historians
    Traditionally, most diplomatic cables remain secret for decades, providing fodder for historians only when the participants are long retired or dead. The State Department’s unclassified history series, entitled “Foreign Relations of the United States,” has reached only the year 1972.
    While an overwhelming majority of the quarter-million cables provided to The Times are from the post-9/11 era, several hundred date from 1966 to the 1990s. Some show diplomats struggling to make sense of major events whose future course they could not guess.

    In a 1979 cable to Washington, Bruce Laingen, an American diplomat in Teheran, mused with a knowing tone about the Iranian revolution that had just occurred: “Perhaps the single dominant aspect of the Persian psyche is an overriding egoism,” Mr. Laingen wrote, offering tips on exploiting this psyche in negotiations with the new government. Less than three months later, Mr. Laingen and his colleagues would be taken hostage by radical Iranian students, hurling the Carter administration into crisis and, perhaps, demonstrating the hazards of diplomatic hubris.

    In 1989, an American diplomat in Panama City mulled over the options open to Gen. Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian leader, who was facing narcotics charges in the United States and intense domestic and international political pressure to step down. The cable called General Noriega “a master of survival”; its author appeared to have no inkling that one week later, the United States would invade Panama to unseat General Noriega and arrest him.

    In 1990, an American diplomat sent an excited dispatch from Cape Town: he had just learned from a lawyer for Nelson Mandela that Mr. Mandela’s 27-year imprisonment was to end. The cable conveys the momentous changes about to begin for South Africa, even as it discusses preparations for an impending visit from the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

    The voluminous traffic of more recent years — well over half of the quarter-million cables date from 2007 or later — show American officials struggling with events whose outcomes are far from sure. To read through them is to become a global voyeur, immersed in the jawboning, inducements and penalties the United States wields in trying to have its way with a recalcitrant world.

    In an era of satellites and fiber-optic links, the diplomatic cable retains the archaic name of an earlier technological era. It has long been the tool for the secretary of state to dispatch orders to the field and for ambassadors and political officers to send their analyses back to Washington.
    The cables come with their own lexicon: “codel,” for a visiting Congressional delegation; “visas viper,” for a report on a person considered dangerous; “démarche,” an official message to a foreign government, often a protest or warning.

    Diplomatic Drama
    But the drama in the cables often comes from diplomats’ narratives of meetings with foreign figures, games of diplomatic poker in which each side is sizing up the other and neither is showing all its cards.
    Among the most fascinating examples recount American officials’ meetings in September 2009 and February 2010 with Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half brother of the Afghan president and a power broker in the Taliban’s home turf of Kandahar.
    They describe Mr. Karzai, “dressed in a crisp white shalwar kameez,” the traditional dress of loose tunic and trousers, appearing “nervous, though eager to express his views on the international presence in Kandahar,” and trying to win over the Americans with nostalgic tales about his years running a Chicago restaurant near Wrigley Field.
    But in midnarrative there is a stark alert for anyone reading the cable in Washington: “Note: While we must deal with AWK as the head of the Provincial Council, he is widely understood to be corrupt and a narcotics trafficker.” (Mr. Karzai has repeatedly denied such charges.) And the cables note statements by Mr. Karzai that the Americans, informed by a steady flow of eavesdropping and agents’ reports, believe to be false.
    A cable written after the February meeting coolly took note of the deceit on both sides.
    Mr. Karzai “demonstrated that he will dissemble when it suits his needs,” the cable said. “He appears not to understand the level of our knowledge of his activities. We will need to monitor his activity closely, and deliver a recurring, transparent message to him” about the limits of American tolerance.

    Not all Business
    Even in places far from war zones and international crises, where the stakes for the United States are not as high, curious diplomats can turn out to be accomplished reporters, sending vivid dispatches to deepen the government’s understanding of exotic places.

    In a 2006 account, a wide-eyed American diplomat describes the lavish wedding of a well-connected couple in Dagestan, in Russia’s Caucasus, where one guest is the strongman who runs the war-ravaged Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.
    The diplomat tells of drunken guests throwing $100 bills at child dancers, and nighttime water-scooter jaunts on the Caspian Sea.
    “The dancers probably picked upwards of USD 5000 off the cobblestones,” the diplomat wrote. The host later tells him that Ramzan Kadyrov “had brought the happy couple ‘a five-kilo lump of gold’ as his wedding present.”
    “After the dancing and a quick tour of the premises, Ramzan and his army drove off back to Chechnya,” the diplomat reported to Washington. “We asked why Ramzan did not spend the night in Makhachkala, and were told, ‘Ramzan never spends the night anywhere.’ ”

    Scott Shane reported from Washington, and Andrew W. Lehren from New York. Reporting was contributed by Jo Becker, C. J. Chivers and James Glanz from New York; Eric Lichtblau, Michael R. Gordon, David E. Sanger, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt and Ginger Thompson from Washington; and Jane Perlez from Islamabad, Pakistan.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Good.

    Do it more. Show everything. Shine the light on all this shit.

    Fuck the retards with their "it will endanger lives" garbage. Yeah, so does firing missiles from drones and going to war based on lies.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    I've been reading this most of the day, lots of it is in the 'things we already suspected' and 'things we already knew' categories. But some interesting things are popping up. Like that the Sunni Arab states are more hawkish on actually bombing Iran than Israel is.



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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    I am not surprised about the Arab states being more hawkish and putting pressure onto US to bomb Iran. The governments in these states HATE the Shia influence in the region. But the ironic thing is the people are actually more pro Iranian - this is going to give these heads of state a huge headache for them.

    The Saudis especially don't want a powerful Iran because its a threat to their hegemony and power in the region also influence.

  9. #9
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i want to hear more about the berlusconi-putin bromance too.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    and Qadhafi's botox



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  11. #11
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    and his ukrainian 'nurse'
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    LOL
    I also want to know who is the member of the royal family who showed inappropriate behaviour

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    I'm betting it was Harry



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


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    commentators on what the impact of the wikileaks release:

    Daily View: Wikileaks release

    Clare Spencer | 09:23 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010



    US State Department assessments of governments and statesmen, including from Hamid Karzai, Silvio Berlusconi and Nicolas Sarkozy have been published by Wikileaks. Commentators discuss whether this is a serious blow to diplomacy or just embarrassing.
    Libby Purves argues in the Times [subscription required] that Wikileaks threatens to destroy the role of diplomats:
    "[T]he likelihood is that the vast majority of material being hurled into the limelight by the insouciant Mr Assange will not reveal any actual treacheries or scandals. It will consist mainly of what diplomats call 'frank assessments'.

    "And while the UK can probably forgive and forget a few frank assessments - OK, ripe insults - about Gordon Brown's social skills. David Cameron's inexperience or who the hell is this Clegg guy, there is real fear that the touchier countries around the world will be outraged. Especially in the Muslim nations, where it seems to be all right for pretty senior voices to refer to us as kuffar, dogs, infidels, etc, whereas the slightest reservation about anything Islamic is considered an atrocity second only to the Crusades.

    "...If diplomats no longer dare to send undiplomatic, unvarnished truths to their governments on encrypted cables, the world's peace will be in more danger."
    Blake Hounshell in Foreign Policy calls the leaks troubling:
    "US diplomats should be able to share their assessments candidly with the folks back in Washington without fear of waking up and finding their cables splashed across the front page of the New York Times. People who take great risks to share sensitive information with embassy officials won't come forward if they worry that the Kremlin, or the Mugabe regime, is going to punish them for their candor. And sometimes too much media attention can get in the way of quiet progress, as in the Arab-Israeli conflict."
    Max Boot in Commentary magazine condemns newspapers' involvement with the leak:
    "There was a time when editors and reporters thought of themselves as citizens first and journalists second. There were damaging leaks even during World War II, but when they occurred they were generally denounced by the rest of the press. We now seem to have reached a moment when the West's major news organizations, working hand in glove with a sleazy website, feel free to throw spitballs at those who make policy and those who execute it. This is journalism as pure vandalism. If I were responsible, I would feel shame and embarrassment. But apparently, those healthy emotions are in short supply these days."
    In contrast Benedict Brogan argues in the Telegraph that the leaks are embarrassing but not serious:
    "The Wikileaks story is great fun. The embarrassment of others always is. But however much the Guardian, the New York Times and Julian Assange assure us that this represents a shattering blow to every assumption we hold about foreign relations, the fact remains that it's a collection of little substance that will do nothing to reshape geo-politics. The Saudis would like someone to whack Iran? No kidding. Afghanistan is run by crooks? Really? Hillary Clinton would like to know a lot more about the diplomats she is negotiating against? You surprise me. The Russian government may have links to organised crime? Pass the smelling salts, Petunia. The Americans are secretly whacking al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen? What, you thought the Yemenis were doing it? Muammar Qaddafi has a full time, pneumatic Ukrainian 'nurse'? Nice one. Diplomats are terrified of Pakistan's nukes? Me too. And so on, ad infinite boredom."
    Writing on the website Arabist Issandr El Amrani says that while this may not reveal anything new for the US, the leaks are still significant:
    "There is so much information flowing around about US policy - and often, a good deal of transparency - that a smart observer with good contacts can get a good idea of what's happening. Not so in the Arab world, and the contents of the conversations Arab leader are having with their patron state are not out in the Arab public domain or easily guessable, as anyone who reads the meaningless press statements of government press agencies will tell you. Cablegate is in important record from the Arab perspective, perhaps more than from the US one."
    The chief executive of Index on Censorship John Kampfner makes a prediction in the Independent about how Wikileaks will prompt changes in the law:
    "Once this latest flurry is over, prepare for the backlash. Mr Assange's industrial-scale leaking may lead to legislation in a number of countries that makes whistle-blowing harder than it already is. Perhaps the most curious aspect of the Wikileaks revelations is not that they have happened, but it took someone as mercurial as Mr Assange to be the conduit. Rather than throwing stones, newspapers should be asking themselves why they did not have the wherewithal to hold truth to power."
    BBC - See Also: Daily View: Wikileaks release
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default The 10 most important WikiLeaks revelations

    The AP has concluded that there is nothing "particularly explosive" so far in the archive of State Department cables that has begun to be released by Wikileaks. That assertion is debatable in itself. But anyone who takes time to browse through the documents will find both fascinating and solidly new and newsworthy information about U.S. foreign policy and international relations.

    Wikileaks says the documents will be released in stages "over the next few months," so much of what we know now comes through the filter of the handful of media organizations who had access to the full archives. Only a few hundred cables have been released. Here are the top ten revelations so far:

    • Diplomats as spies: As part of an intelligence gathering effort, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 ordered diplomats overseas and at the U.N. to collect personal information on foreign officials including credit card and frequent flier numbers and biometric information. Read that cable here, and the New York Times' writeup here. While this may not be shocking to foreign policy wonks, it is certainly embarrassing for the United States and calls into question how much -- and how frequently -- the role of diplomat and spy has been blurred.

    • Secret war in Yemen: The Obama Administration has secretly launched missile attacks on suspected terrorists in Yemen, with the Yemeni government taking responsibility and consistently lying about it. While the attacks have drawn relatively little public attention, dozens of civilians along with some suspected terrorists have reportedly been killed. Salon's acconut of the Yemen revelation is here. The January 2010 cable describing a meeting between Yemen's president and Gen. David Petraeus is here.

    • Iran and North Korea: American intelligence believes Iran has received 19 missiles from North Korea with a range up to 2,000 miles, making them the longest range missiles in the Iranian arsenal. The Times' story on the missiles is here. The Times says it did not publish the cable at the request of the Obama Adminsitration. It has not been posted by Wikileaks.

    • Gates skeptical on Iran attack: Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, in a meeting with his French counterpart in February of this year, said that "he believed a conventional strike by any nation would only delay Iranian plans by one to three years, while unifying the Iranian people to be forever embittered against the attacker." That cable is here.

    • Saudis want US to bomb Iran: Several Arab leaders have privately urged the U.S. to launch an attack on Iran to stall or stop its nuclear program. Most memorably, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is reported to have "told you [the U.S.] to cut off the head of the snake," according to a Saudi diplomat . That cable is here. And here is the Guardian's writeup.

    • Israel bluffing on Iran threats? The government of Israel, which has been publicly vocal about the possibility of launching airstrikes against Iran's nuclear program, was not considering such an attack, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told his Russian counterpart on a trip to Moscow in June 2009. The cable describing Lieberman's trip to Russia is here. A story on the cable from the Israeli press is here.

    • Fears of uranium in Pakistan: The U.S. has since 2007 tried to get enriched uranium at a Pakistani nuclear reactor out of that country, fearing that the uranium could fall into unfriendly hands and be used to make a bomb. The effort has been unsuccessful. The Times' story on this is here. The cable has not been published.

    • Fatah had warning of Gaza invasion? Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told an American congressional delegation that Israel had asked Egypt and Fatah, the Palestian movement that governs the West Bank, "if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas" prior to Israeli's devastating attack on Gaza in late 2008. That revelation comes in a June 2009 cable that you can read here. Haaretz's writeup is here.

    • Afghan corruption: The U.S. government deals regularly with a brother of President Hamid Karzai who it believes to be corrupt and a drug trafficker. That's the conclusion of a cable from October 2009 about Ahmed Wali Karzai, who has also been reported to be on CIA payroll. This does not come as a shock, but it amounts to official recognition that a U.S. partner in Afghanistan is implicated in criminal enterprises. AFP has more on this story.
    • Undiplomatic name-calling: This is probably less important than the revelations above, but it is already making waves in the international press: Several of the cables have U.S. diplomats describing foreign leaders in unfriendly terms -- from comparing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler to calling Russia's Vladimir Putin "alpha-dog" and French President Nicolas Sarkozy "the emperor with no clothes." The CBC has more.

    What are we missing here? Shoot us an email if you see anything of interest in the documents.

    The 10 most important WikiLeaks revelations - War Room - Salon.com



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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