Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

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Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:29 pm

An accident that was waiting to happen

Guardian live update goodWikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates
"Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has "frequently" urged the US to launch an attack against Iran in order to scupper Tehran's nuclear ambition".

go to Spiegel firstImage



http://www.spiegel.de/international/

Image


US has an extensive network of informants in Berlin and was kept informed of coalition negotiations as Chancellor Merkel was forming her current government. US officials, the cables show, are skeptical of several top German politicians.

The leaked diplomatic cables reveal that US diplomats are skeptical about Turkey's dependability as a partner. The leadership in Ankara is depicted as divided and permeated by Islamists.


Dark View

The State Department's emissaries abroad cultivate a clear-eyed view of the countries they are posted to, a view that is at times incredibly dark. Viewed through the eyes of the US diplomats, entire states -- Kenya for example -- appear as mires of corruption. If one were to believe the gloomy reports from the embassy in Ankara, Turkey is on a slippery slope to volatile Islamism, spurred on by the narrow-minded government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is portrayed as being reliant on a group of incompetent advisers.

Even the leadership of a close ally such as Germany emerges in a poor light in the cables. The members of the ruling government coalition in Berlin denigrate each other in comments to the US ambassador to Germany, Philip Murphy. For example, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg tattled on his colleague German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, telling the US ambassador that Westerwelle was the real barrier to the Americans' request for an increase in the number of German troops in Afghanistan. And the US diplomats are rather cool in their assessment of Chancellor Angela Merkel: One dispatch describes her as risk-averse and "rarely creative."

Sometimes the US embassy activities seem to go beyond the requirements of diplomacy. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demands of members of her diplomatic corps that they prove their worth as spies. The embassy staff are asked to acquire any accessible personal details of UN staff, including credit-card numbers and frequent-flyer customer numbers.

Explosive Revelations

The most explosive documents are those that describe developments that relate to major global crises. In the Middle East, the US diplomats report, it is not just the Israelis who fear Iran's nuclear ambitions. No one speaks quite as angrily about Tehran as the Arabs, who want most of all for the US to supply them with weapons.

When it comes to Pakistan, the US never quite knows if it is dealing with an ally or an enemy in the war on terror. The diplomats repeatedly report on political or military links between the Pakistanis and the Afghan Taliban.
And in Yemen the US allowed itself -- against its better judgement -- to be drawn into President Ali Abdullah Saleh's conflict with the Houthi in the north of the country, even though their military aid was only supposed to be used in the fight against al-Qaida, which is particularly active in the country.

The State Department, which has described the cables as "diplomacy in action," is extremely annoyed that the reports are being released. The Americans share some of the blame, however. In order to improve the flow of information between different officials, the State Department created its own computer network for classified documents, one that 2.5 million US citizens had access to. The leaking of the diplomatic cables was an accident that was waiting to happen.




http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29cables.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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.”



US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis
David Leigh


The release of more than 250,000 US embassy cables reveals previously secret information on American intelligence gathering, and political and military strategy. Photograph: Rex Features
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."


Editor's note: publishing the cables
In a third such exercise, WikiLeaks has given the Guardian prior access to around 250,000 state department cables

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 November 2010 18.24 GMT

The articles published today and over coming weeks are drawn from US state department cables which were sent earlier this year to WikiLeaks, an organisation devoted to exposing secrets of all kinds. The Guardian is one of five publications around the world which has had prior access to the material – around 250,000 cables in all – on condition that we observed common deadlines over the timings of release. The others are the New York Times, Le Monde, El País and Der Spiegel.

The leaked material is the third such exercise in which the Guardian and other publications have been involved. The previous two involved military records from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The current release is of leaked dispatches from more than 250 US embassies and consulates worldwide. The documents range from unclassified to "secret". The latter is two rungs below the most confidential ranking of information: more than three million US citizens are cleared to see "secret" material.

WikiLeaks has not revealed the source of its information. It has played no part in the preparation, editing and reporting of the individual papers. Co-operation with WikiLeaks has been restricted to agreeing the dates on which we could cover specific regions. The news organisations have redacted some of the cables in order to protect a number of named sources and so as not to disclose certain details of current special operations. We have shared our redactions with WikiLeaks.

During the course of working on the material over many weeks each publication has formed its own individual judgments about specific stories. There are some cables the Guardian will not be releasing or reporting owing to the nature of sourcing or subject matter. Our domestic libel laws impose a special burden on British publishers.

All the publications involved have given early warning to the US government of our intention to publish. Government officials, who are aware of the general subjects we intend to cover, have not disputed the authenticity of the overall material. They have flagged up some specific, and some general, concerns.

The US state department has said that it has prepared for the release by reviewing thousands of cables and alerting relevant parties around the world in advance.



'Ahmadinejad is Hitler; Sarkozy is a naked emperor'


US spying on UN leadership - WikiLeaks
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:10 pm

WikiLeaks Docs Released: US Urged Spying on UN, Arab Leaders Secretly Called for Strike Against Iran
U.S. embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis for the U.S.
November 28, 2010 |

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."
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:38 pm

WikiLeaks exposé: Israel tried to coordinate Gaza war with Abbas
In diplomatic cable documenting 2009 meeting, Defense Minister Barak says Egypt, PA refuse to take over Gaza in case of Hamas defeat.

By Barak Ravid
Tags: Israel news Gaza Gaza war Ehud Barak Mahmoud Abbas

Israel tried to coordinate the Gaza war with the Palestinian Authority, classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks said on Sunday, adding that both the PA and Egypt refused to take control of the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
The whistle-blowing website obtained some 250,000 diplomatic cables between the U.S. and its allies, which Washington had urged the site not to publish.


In a June 2009 meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and a U.S. congressional delegation, Barak claimed that the Israeli government "had consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas."

"Not surprisingly," Barak said in the meeting, Israel "received negative answers from both."

While similar reports of such attempts to link the PA and Egypt to Israel's war with Hamas had already surfaced in the past, the cable released by WikiLeaks on Sunday represents the first documented proof of such a move.

In the document, Barak also expressed his feeling that "the Palestinian Authority is weak and lacks self-confidence, and that Gen. Dayton's training helps bolster confidence."

The meeting which the cable documents took place just days before U.S. President Barack Obama's Cairo speech, and a few weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's first visit to the United States, a visit which revealed the deep differences between Obama and himself.

The cable also refers to what Barak describes as the debate within the Israeli cabinet in regards to a "development of a response to President Obama's upcoming speech in Cairo.


Wikileaks: China's Politburo directed Google hack
By Jack Clark, 28 November, 2010 21:08

China's Politburo directed hacks against Google and the US government, according to an informant quoted in US diplomatic cables.

On Sunday, The New York Times (NYT) reported that it, via whistleblower site Wikileaks, had seen US Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) cables containing information pointing to Chinese involvement in hacks against companies, including Google, and US government infrastructure.

According to the NYT, in January, a Chinese contact told the US embassy in Beijing that the Politburo — the governing body of the Communist Party of China — had orchestrated a hacking campaign against Google and other Western businesses.

"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," the NYT report on the matter states.

In January of this year Google reported that its IT systems had faced a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" from China.

On 25 January the Chinese government issued a statement denying the allegations of being party to the intrusion. Any claim "that the Chinese government participated in [any] cyberattack, either in an explicit or inexplit way, is groundless", the statement said.
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:48 am

Wikileaks and Latin America: Same Old Imperious U.S. Diplomats

Submitted by BuzzFlash on Tue, 11/30/2010 - 10:03am. Guest Commentary
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH/TRUTHOUT

As more and more documents become available from Wikileaks, the public has gotten a novel and close up view of U.S. diplomats and their operations abroad. I was particularly interested to review heretofore secret documents dealing with Latin America, a region which has absorbed the attention of Washington officials in recent years. While it's certainly no secret that the Bush administration, not to mention the later Obama White House, have both sought to isolate the so-called "Pink Tide" of leftist regimes in South America, the Wikileaks documents give us some interesting insight into the mindset of U.S. diplomats as they carry out their day to day work.

Needless to say, the picture that emerges isn't too flattering.

Take, for example, a 2005 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia which details a high level conversation which took place between the American ambassador, John Danilovich, and Brazilian General Jorge Armando Felix. A longtime businessman, Danilovich spent 20 years in the shipping industry in London and it was there that the American organized voters for George Bush and his father. A big time GOP donor, Danilovich proved a loyal lieutenant at his post in Brasilia, specifically by opposing the left turn in South America.

In 2005, Hugo Chávez was at the height of his political powers, challenging the unpopular Bush regime throughout the region. Over in Bolivia meanwhile, Washington fretted that an erstwhile coca farmer, Evo Morales, might win his country's presidential election. For Washington, Brazil had become a country of vital geopolitical importance: if President Lula could be persuaded to drop his support of neighboring Venezuela, then the U.S. would certainly be more successful at halting the region's leftist advance. In the effort to turn back the Pink Tide, Danilovich was a key figure.

Speaking with the Brazilian daily O Estado de São Paulo, the diplomat accused Chávez of actually funding political forces within Bolivia. Seeking to foster a common U.S.-Brazilian front, Danilovich said the funding was a concern for Washington and ought to preoccupy officials in Brasilia as well. When reporters asked Danilovich whether he was accusing Chávez of directly funding Morales' campaign, the diplomat would not specify [Morales himself denied the U.S. allegations].

Behind closed doors, Danilovich continued his diplomatic offensive. After lunching with General Felix, the ambassador broached the subject of Venezuela, noting that Chávez was "disrupting Brazil's efforts to play a leading role politically and economically in South America." It's unclear from the cable what Felix might have thought about the ambassador's comments, though reading between the lines it seems the military man may have been sympathetic toward the U.S. and disagreed with his own government's official policy toward Venezuela.

Since we don't have the full text of Danilovich's cable, it's unclear whether the diplomat approached other figures in the Lula government about Venezuela, let alone military officials. To be sure, at the time of this meeting Felix was working as Lula's own Minister of Internal Security and as such no longer occupied an official post within the ranks. Yet, there are some disturbing parallels to the historic past here. Consider that it was not too long ago that Washington collaborated with the anti-Communist Brazilian military which overthrew democracy in a coup. Later, the armed forces hunted down leftists both within the country and abroad through so-called "Operation Condor."

From Brazil to Argentina

Elsewhere in South America, the U.S. has faced political opposition from some unlikely quarters. Take for example Argentina, up until recently a fairly reliable U.S. ally which followed the Washington economic consensus. With the coming to power of Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner however, U.S.-Argentine relations have taken a nosedive. A fierce critic of the International Monetary Fund, Néstor also pursued an unprecedented diplomatic alliance with leftist Venezuela.

Wikileaks cables document the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Buenos Aires and show U.S. diplomats as imperious and scheming. Take for example a diplomatic spat between Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs Arturo Valenzuela and Argentine officials, an incident that I wrote about at the time. An American of Chilean descent and a Chavez critic, Valenzuela made his way to Buenos Aires late last year. Causing a diplomatic firestorm, Valenzuela declared before the local media that Argentina lacked adequate legal protections. When the government protested that such was not the case, Valenzuela clarified that he had personally spoken with representatives of American companies through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who were upset about management of the economy. They were reluctant to invest due to lack of legal protections, Valenzuela added.

As if he had not annoyed the government enough already, Valenzuela then declared that he personally had detected a change in the investment climate between 1996 [the height of Argentina's flirtation with neo-liberal economics] when "there was a lot of enthusiasm to invest," and the present day. In a communiqué, the Argentine foreign ministry angrily retorted that the government "had not received complaints from U.S. companies which had interests and investments" in the country.

The irate chorus continued with Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo regretting that some U.S. officials had gone back to "the old practices" even though "there was an expectation in Argentina of the inauguration of a new U.S. foreign policy" during the Obama era. The Minister of Justice added that Valenzuela's remarks were "very unusual and unjustified." By far however the most incendiary remarks came from former president Néstor Kirchner who accused Valenzuela of behaving like a "viceroy."

Far from feeling contrite toward Argentina, U.S. diplomats treated the Valenzuela episode rather flippantly and superciliously. In a cable sent to Washington, recently released through Wikileaks, American officials in Buenos Aires wrote that the local press had "sensationalized" and over dramatized the incident. "Once again," diplomats remarked, "the Kirchner government has shown itself to be extremely thin-skinned and intolerant of perceived criticism." Downplaying the tenor of Valenzuela's remarks, the authors added that many Argentines routinely complain about the weakness of governing institutions and the rule of law.

It's difficult to parse what Washington's policy might be toward Argentina in the Obama era. Judging from another cable released byWikileaks, U.S. officials are still trying to sort it all out and seek to acquire as much information about the Kirchners as possible. Prior to Néstor's recent death, Secretary of State Clinton personally wrote to the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, remarking that the U.S. was drawing up "a written product examining the interpersonal dynamics between the governing tandem."

Clinton added that State had a pretty "solid understanding" of Néstor's style and personality, but Cristina remained a mystery. Specifically, Clinton wanted to know how Cristina managed "her nerves and anxiety." Somewhat bizarrely, Clinton then asked her subordinates whether Cristina was taking any medications. Again and again, the Secretary of State pressed for details about Cristina's psychological and emotional profile.

Though certainly intriguing, the Wikileaks cable fails to answer a vital question: why would Clinton seek a psychological evaluation of Cristina in the first place? Perhaps, the United States government simply lacked information about the Argentine president and wanted to know who it was dealing with in South America. Another darker reading however is that the U.S. does not trust Argentina and is seeking to manipulate Cristina or uncover some dirt. A Machiavellian if there ever was one, Clinton is surely capable of playing political hardball and engaging in diplomatic intrigue.

For far too long, the U.S. public has remained ignorant of its government's overseas efforts to turn back Latin America's leftist Pink Tide. Though scant thus far, Wikileaks' release of documents pertaining to Latin America is telling. From Brazil to Argentina, American officials have emerged as an imperious and cynical lot. Hopefully in the days ahead we may learn more about the Bush and Obama administration's handling not only of Brazil and Argentina but also Venezuela, Bolivia, and Honduras.

****


TONY PEYSER FOR BUZZFLASH

A drumroll if you please --- this
Would appear to be the Saudis
Who Bush often held hands with
And offered his warmest howdys

WikiLeaks documents reveal sensitive U.S. cables: report
REUTERS
Reuters US Online Report Politics News

Nov 28, 2010 14:04 EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - State Department documents released by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks provided candid views of foreign leaders and sensitive information on terrorism and nuclear proliferation, the New York Times reported on Sunday.


The documents show Saudi donors remain chief financiers of militant groups like al Qaeda and that Chinese government operatives have waged a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage targeting the United States and its allies, according to a review of the WikiLeaks documents published in the Times.

The WikiLeaks documents also show Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes any military strike on Iran would only delay its pursuit of a nuclear weapon by one to three years, the Times reported on its website on Sunday.

The Pentagon immediately condemned WikiLeaks' "reckless" dump of classified State Department documents and said it was taking steps to bolster security of U.S. military networks.

"The (Defense) Department has undertaken a series of actions to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

The White House said the leak of the diplomatic cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders and may put at risk the lives of named individuals living "under oppressive regimes."

The pending documents release had been widely reported for more than a week and expected on Sunday.

The U.S. government, which was informed in advance of the contents, has contacted governments around the world, including in Russia, Europe and the Middle East, to try to limit any damage. Sources familiar with the documents say they include corruption allegations against foreign leaders and governments.

WikiLeaks had reported earlier on Sunday that its website was under attack, but said later that media outlets would publish some of the classified documents it had released even if the group's website crashed.

"El Pais, Le Monde, Speigel, Guardian & NYT will publish many U.S. embassy cables tonight, even if WikiLeaks goes down," the website said in a Twitter posting an hour after it tweeted that its site was under attack.

The State Department had warned WikiLeaks that the expected release would endanger countless lives, jeopardize American military operations and hurt international cooperation on global security issues.

The department's top lawyer urged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a letter on Saturday to keep classified documents off the website, remove records of them from its database and return any material to the U.S. government.

(Reporting by Ross Colvin, Phil Stewart and Doina Chiacu; editing by Mohammad Zargham)



WikiLeaks Honduras: State Dept. Busted on Support of Coup

By July 24, 2009, the U.S. government was totally clear about the basic facts of what took place in Honduras on June 28, 2009. The U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa sent a cable to Washington with subject: "Open and Shut: The Case of the Honduran Coup," asserting that "there is no doubt" that the events of June 28 "constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup." The Embassy listed arguments being made by supporters of the coup to claim its legality, and dismissed them thus: "none... has any substantive validity under the Honduran constitution." The Honduran military clearly had no legal authority to remove President Zelaya from office or from Honduras, the Embassy said, and their action -- the Embassy described it as an "abduction" and "kidnapping" -- was clearly unconstitutional.

It is inconceivable that any top U.S. official responsible for U.S. policy in Honduras was not familiar with the contents of the July 24 cable, which summarized the assessment of the U.S. Embassy in Honduras on key facts that were politically disputed by supporters of the coup regime. The cable was addressed to Tom Shannon, then Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Harold Koh, the State Department's Legal Adviser; and Dan Restrepo, Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council. The cable was sent to the White House and to Secretary of State Clinton.

But despite the fact that the U.S. government was crystal clear on what had transpired, the U.S. did not immediately cut off all aid to Honduras except "democracy assistance," as required by U.S. law.

Instead, a month after this cable was sent, the State Department, in its public pronouncements, pretended that the events of June 28 -- in particular, "who did what to whom" and the constitutionality of these actions -- were murky and needed further study by State Department lawyers, despite the fact that the State Department's top lawyer, Harold Koh, knew exactly "who did what to whom" and that these actions were unconstitutional at least one month earlier. The State Department, to justify its delay in carrying out U.S. law, invented a legal distinction between a "coup" and a "military coup," claiming that the State Department's lawyers had to determine whether a "military coup" took place, because only that determination would meet the legal threshold for the aid cutoff.

QUESTION: And so - sorry, just a follow-up. If this is a coup - the State Department considers this a coup, what's the next step? And I mean, there is a legal framework on the U.S. laws dealing with countries that are under coup d'état? I mean, what's holding you guys [back from taking] other measures according [to] the law?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I think what you're referring to, Mr. Davila, is whether or not this is - has been determined to be a military coup. And you're correct that there are provisions in our law that have to be applied if it is determined that this is a military coup. And frankly, our lawyers are looking at that exact question. And when we get the answer to that, you are right, there will be things that - if it is determined that this was a military coup, there will be things that will kick in.

As you know, on the ground, there's a lot of discussion about who did what to whom and what things were constitutional or not, which is why our lawyers are really looking at the event as we understand them in order to come out with the accurate determination.

But the July 24 cable shows that this was nonsense. The phrase "military coup" occurs nowhere in the document, a remarkable omission in a cable from the Embassy presenting the Embassy's analysis of the June 28 events, their constitutionality and legality one month after the fact, if that were a crucial distinction in assessing U.S. policy. And indeed, initial press reports on the statements of top U.S. officials in response to the coup made no such distinction, using the descriptions "coup" and "military coup" interchangeably.

Why did the State Department drag its feet, pretending that facts which it knew to be clear-cut were murky? Why didn't the State Department speak publicly after July 24 with the same moral clarity as the July 24 cable from the Embassy in Honduras? Had the State Department shared publicly the Embassy's clear assessment of the June 28 events after July 24, history might have turned out differently, because supporters of the coup in the United States -- including Republican Members of Congress and media talking heads -- continued to dispute basic facts about the coup which the US Embassy in Honduras had reported were not subject to reasonable dispute, and U.S. media reporting on the coup continued to describe these facts as subject to reasonable dispute, long after the Embassy had firmly declared that they were not.

As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted in an August 2009 report, in the previous 12 months the U.S. had responded to other coups by cutting U.S. aid within days. In these cases -- in Africa -- there was no lengthy deliberation on whether a "coup" was a "military coup."

What was the difference?

A key difference was that Honduras is in Central America, "our backyard," so different rules applied. Top officials in Washington supported the political aims of the coup. They did not nominally support the means of the coup, as far as we know, but they supported its political end: the removal of the ability of President Zelaya and his supporters to pursue a meaningful reform project in Honduras. On the other hand, they were politically constrained not to support the coup openly, since they knew it to be illegal and unconstitutional. Thus, they pursued a "diplomatic compromise," which would "restore constitutional order" while achieving the coup's central political aim: removal of the ability of President Zelaya and his supporters to pursue a meaningful reform project in Honduras. The effect of their efforts at "diplomatic compromise" was to allow the coup to stand, a result that these supporters of the coup's political aims were evidently content with.

Why does this matter now?

First, the constitutional and political crisis in Honduras is ongoing, and the failure of the U.S. to take immediate, decisive action in response to the coup was a significant cause of the ongoing crisis. After nominally opposing the coup, and slowly and fitfully implementing partial sanctions against the coup regime in a way that did not convince the coup regime that the U.S. was serious, the U.S. moved to support elections under the coup regime which were not recognized by the rest of the hemisphere, and today the U.S. is lobbying for the government created by that disputed election to be readmitted to the Organization of American States, in opposition to most of the rest of the hemisphere, despite ongoing, major violations of human rights in Honduras, about which the U.S. is doing essentially nothing.

Second, the relationship of actual U.S. policy -- as opposed to rhetorical pronouncements -- to democracy in the region is very much a live issue from Haiti to Bolivia.

Yesterday there was an election in Haiti. This election was funded by the U.S., despite the fact that major parties were excluded from participation by the government's electoral council, a fact that Republican and Democratic Members of Congress, in addition to NGOs, complained about without result. The Washington Post reports that the election ended with "nearly all the major candidates calling for the results to be tossed out amid 'massive fraud.'": "12 of the 19 candidates on Sunday's ballot appeared together at a raucous afternoon news conference to accuse the government of President Rene Preval of trying to steal the election and install his chosen candidate, Jude Celestin."

Yesterday's election in Haiti had the fingerprints of the U.S. government all over it. It was funded by the U.S. "Security" for the election was purportedly provided by UN troops, paid for by the U.S. And the crucial historical context of the election was the 2004 coup that deposed democratically-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide, a coup engineered by the U.S. with years of economic destruction clearly intended to topple the elected government.

Last week, Bolivian President Evo Morales called out the U.S. for its recent history of supporting coups in the region.

AP's treatment of President Morales' remarks was instructive:

Morales also alleged U.S. involvement in coup attempts or political upheaval in Venezuela in 2002, Honduras in 2009 and Ecuador in 2010.
"The empire of the United States won," in Honduras, Morales said, a reference to the allegations of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya that the U.S. was behind his ouster.

"The people of the Americas in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, we won," Morales continued. "We are three to one with the United States. Let's see what the future brings."

U.S. officials have repeatedly denied involvement in all of those cases and critics of the United States have produced no clear evidence. [my emphasis]




It's certainly true that critics have produced "no clear evidence" of U.S. "involvement" in any of these cases -- if your standard for "clear evidence" of U.S. "involvement" is a US government document that dictated in advance everything that subsequently happened. But this would be like saying that critics have produced "no clear evidence" for the Armenian Genocide because researchers haven't yet found a Turkish Mein Kampf. [Some who dispute that there was an "Armenian Genocide" do actually claim something like this -- "there is no proof of a plan" -- but claims like this are generally not taken seriously by U.S. media -- except when the U.S. government is an author of the crime, and the crime is recent.]
In the case of the coup in Venezuela in 2002, we know the following:

- Groups in Venezuela that participated in the coup had been supported financially and politically by the U.S.

- The CIA had advance knowledge of the plans for a coup, and did nothing to warn the Venezuelan government; nor did the US do anything meaningful to try to stop the coup.

- Although the US knew in advance about the plans for a coup, when these events played out, the US tried to claim that there was no coup.

- The US pushed for international recognition of the coup government.

- The International Monetary Fund, which would not take such action without advance approval from the United States, announced its willingness to support the coup government a few hours after the coup took place.

These facts about U.S. government "involvement" in the coup in Venezuela are documented in Oliver Stone's recent movie, South of the Border. This is why it's so important for as many Americans as possible to see this movie: because there are basic facts about the relationship of actual U.S. government policies -- as opposed to rhetoric -- to democracy in Latin America that major U.S. media simply cannot be counted upon to report straight. In order to successfully agitate for meaningful reform of U.S. government policy in Latin America, Americans have to know what the actual policy of the U.S. government has been, something they are unlikely to learn from major U.S. media.

And this is why Just Foreign Policy is urging Americans to organize house parties on December 10 -- Human Rights Day -- to watch South of the Border. You can sign up to host a screening here.

Here is a clip from South of the Border, in which Scott Wilson, formerly foreign editor of the Washington Post, describes the "involvement" of the U.S. in the coup in Venezuela:


And here is a clip from South of the Border in which President Morales talks with Oliver Stone about the role of the media:

Oliver Stone: "Now [Morales] is joining the Hugo ranks, becoming more the 'bad left' in the American media."
President Morales: "The media will always try to criminalize the fight against neoliberalism, colonialism, and imperialism. It's almost normal. The worst enemy I have is the media."
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:04 am

State Department cables: PAKISTAN: MUMBAI SITUATION UPDATE

Monday, 01 December 2008, 11:04
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 003733
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR MGN01 MUMBAI TASK FORCE
EO 12958 DECL: 08/04/2018
TAGS PREL, PTER, PGOV, PK
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN: MUMBAI SITUATION UPDATE
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, for reasons 1.4 (b)(d)
1. (C) Ambassador has returned and will see Chief of Army Staff General Kayani at 3 pm local time. Zardari is unavailable for meetings today.

2. (C) UK PM Gordon Brown is trying to call President Zardari today.

3. (C) NSA Durrani advised DCM that Zardari is meeting this evening with all of the Pakistani military chiefs to bring them up to date on the Mumbai reaction. Given recent disconnects between civilian and military leaders, this is a welcome step.

4. (U) PM Gilani has called for an All Parties Conference on December 2 to discuss Indo-Pak relations in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. Invitees will include Zardari, NSA Durrani, Interior Minister Malik, Foreign Secretary Bashir, and political party leaders plus representatives from the Azad, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Gilani plans a press conference after the meeting.

5. (U) Gilaini has canceled his planned trip to Hong Kong today. It is not clear if either Zardari or Gilani will attend the planned tripartite meeting in Ankara with President Karzai on December 5.

6. (U) The press announced that the President, PM and Chief of Army Staff had agreed on a three-pronged policy to handle the situation:

--foster domestic political unity --plead Pakistan's case and clarify Pakistan's position (nfi) to the world --continue doing business with India at various levels

7. (C) Post continues to monitor GOP military activities. COAS Kayani told Ambassador December 1 that the Pakistani military has not increased is alert levels, but we have reporting indicating they are taking some measures to increase readiness. We have no/no indications it has moved any troops to the Indian border.

8. (S) We received a readout from the UK Embassy on their meetings/calls over the weekend. High Commissioner Brinkley and UK COS met President Zardari on Sunday, November 30; during the meeting FM Miliband called Zardari. UK passed the same Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) info to Zardari that they previously had passed to ISI.

9. (S) Zardari's response was positive; he said ISI had to follow up and this was an opportunity. He criticized the Indians for statements that pushed Islamabad to make a defensive response and "made my job harder." Zardari said he thought it was not possible that terrorists could have launched attack boats from Karachi and the operation could not have been implemented without insider help from Indians.

10. (C) In the conversation with Miliband, Zardari said he saw the attacks as an "opportunity to strike at my enemies." The attack, he said, was aimed as much at Pakistan as at India, but India had reacted in an unfortunate way. Miliband said that public messaging would be particularly important to link the Mumbai atrocity with Zardari's own campaign against militants.

11. (C) Zardari told Miliband that "my people" had not brought specific information to him about the individuals named in the information passed to ISI (on the day before). Miliband said that LeT needed to "feel the full force of the law." Zardari responded by saying he was setting up special courts, was contacting all political parties, and would take action (nfi) immediately.

12. (C) Miliband described ISI MG Pasha as a welcome "new broom" and expressed UK support for ISI reform. Zardari said the new ISI leaders were "straightforward" and their roles were proscribed by the constitution, but it would take time for real conversions. Brinkley and Miliband pressed for

ISLAMABAD 00003733 002 OF 002

Pasha to go to India. Zardari gave Brinkley a long answer about various levels of directors in ISI but finally confirmed that the Army had vetoed the decision to send Pasha. Zardari told Miliband that it might be possible to send NSA Durrani, as he outranked Pasha. It would not be possible, said Zardari, to send Pasha immediately as Zardari needed to work public opinion first.

13. (C) Zardari commented that he had a gut reaction that the attacks were the beginning rather than the end and went on to talk about Muslim-Hindu differences and attempts to split India. He urged the UK to push back on New Delhi and calm the situation. Miliband said they would do so, but India needs to see real action from Pakistan. India was asking for short-term actions, and this could buy some time for the GOP.

14. (C) Miliband later called FM Qureshi and said the UK would be sure he saw the intelligence passed to ISI. He pressed that India needs actions not words from Pakistan. Qureshi said he would follow up on the intelligence but reiterated the GOP request for the UK to counsel restrain on the part of the Indians.

15. (C) High Commissioner Brinkley also called on Chinese Ambassador to Islamabad Hui over the weekend. Zardari had called Hui, and Hui said he had met with Kayani but did not share much in the way of information gleaned from the meeting. Hui was cagey on how much or what kind of assistance China has provided to help with Pakistan's economic crisis. On the Friends of Pakistan, Hui expressed continuing skepticism that the group did not have a clear enough mandate, is not focused, and will turn into a "talk shop." Hui was noncommittal when Brinkley raised concern about China's reported decision to assist Pakistan build two additional civilian nuclear reactors (Chasma II and III).

16. (C) See septel for special media reaction. Overall, the Pakistani public remains in denial about any culpability for the Mumbai attacks and believes India is unfairly and prematurely accusing Pakistan. PATTERSON



State Department cables: MUMBAI ATTACKS UPDATE: DIPLOMATS IN DELHI DELIVER

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 1 December 2010 05.30 GMT
Tuesday, 02 December 2008, 15:09
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 003044
SIPDIS
EO 12958 DECL: 12/02/2018
TAGS PGOV, PTER, PHUM, PREL, PINR, KDEM, KISL, PK, IN
SUBJECT: MUMBAI ATTACKS UPDATE: DIPLOMATS IN DELHI DELIVER
UNITED MESSAGES
REF: A. NEW DELHI 3025 B. NEW DELHI 3024 C. NEW DELHI 3018 D. MUMBAI 550
Classified By: PolCouns Ted Osius for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) Summary: Diplomatic missions in Delhi have agreed to offer a more sympathetic message to the Indians rather than pound on the government for its massive intelligence failure. Evidence that Pakistani-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) was the culprit is still not out in the open, although the question being asked now is whether Pakistan's Intelligence Agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was directly involved in the attack. Dipomatic missions in Delhi are praising Delhi for its restraint while advising Pakistan that now is the time to collaborate. End Summary.

Offering Only Sympathy and Support

----------------------------------

2. (C) At a 2 December meeting with counterparts from the Australian, British, Canadian, and New Zealand High Commissions, these diplomats communicated details of the controlled approach their respective missions in Delhi have taken in their responses to India's reaction to the Mumbai attacks. They concluded that any offers of assistance should be made carefully to avoid being interpreted by the Indians as politically motivated or attempts to monitor their actions. Delhi-based missions are taking extra care at this stage to not get sucked into the blame game Pakistan and India are currently playing.

3. (C) The EU (diplomatic mission heads) are scheduled for a strategic dialogue with India on 5 December to discuss what type of support India would feel comfortable receiving; in addition, the EU plans to send to Delhi a counter-terrorism coordinator in January.

4. (C) The French Ambassador, according to the British High Commission, called the French, German, and Italian Ambassadors (unbeknownst to other EU partners) to discuss assistance to the Indians. President Sarkozy is expected to call Prime Minister Singh to express his sympathy and to offer cooperation at a suitable level.

5. (SBU) The Australian Prime Minister in his speech to his parliament said Australia "stands with India at this time" and offered any assistance that their "friends" in New Delhi may require. He stressed the importance of tracking down those responsible for the planning and execution of the Mumbai attacks, singling out LeT as an separatist militant group which has been a threat to India for a long time, but saying it is too early to speculate on who the perpetrators were.

The Million Dollar Question

---------------------------

6. (C) While Indian press continues to pin blame on Pakistan, observers and diplomats in Delhi are asking the same question: was the ISI behind the Mumbai attacks? While there are clear links between the attacks' perpetrators and the extremist group LeT, and likewise, there are links between LeT and the ISI, there is no clear evidence yet to suggest that ISI directed or facilitated the attacks, according to the British High Commission.

Demarching the Indians and Pakistanis

-------------------------------------

7. (C) A British diplomat told us that UK Foreign Secretary Miliband urged restraint to External Affairs Minister

NEW DELHI 00003044 002 OF 002

Mukherjee when they spoke on 1 December. The call took place only after many delays on the GOI's part. Mukherjee apparently disavowed any interest in raising tensions further, but insisted that Pakistan must take action in response to India,s demands. Our contact stressed that the UK had been very direct in presenting India and Pakistan with specific information regarding those responsible for the attacks. She also noted that the list of names the Indians had put on the "Most Wanted Criminals List" that had been passed to Islamabad included figures such as fugitive crime lord Dawood Ibrahim and Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Maulana Azhar, who had been on prior lists the Indians had submitted. In her view, this took away from the focus on LeT members implicated in the Mumbai attacks.

8. (C) Narayanan, according to British diplomats, delivered the message that he understands Pakistan's civilian government has no control over the ISI or the army. He said India is not blaming the Pakistani government. The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still waiting on the Pakistanis to provide the name of the ISI Director they plan to send as well as a date.

9. (C) The Australian High Commission delivered the message to the Pakistanis that this is a watershed and cooperation with the Indians now is crucial. The Australians have praised the Indians for the past restraint they have shown toward Pakistan and offered assistance, which was "politely denied", according to an Australian diplomat.

Zardari Cornered

----------------

10. (C) An official in the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi told Poloff that he held the Indian press responsible for any deterioration in the Indo-Pak relationship. Following the Indian press coverage which misrepresented the potential visit of the ISI Chief and complicated potential cooperation between the two governments, this diplomat said Zardari's options became more limited and the GOP felt it had no other choice than to backpedal on its initial offer, made before the Mumbai attacks, to send its ISI Chief to India. MULFORD


WikiLeaks cables: Pakistan opposition 'tipped off' Mumbai terror group
US embassy cables say President Zardari alleged warning let Lashkar-e-Taiba empty bank accounts before UN sanctions

Declan Walsh in Islamabad
The Guardian, Wednesday 1 December 2010

WikiLeaks cables relay allegations that Nawaz Sharif’s government in Punjab province helped the group responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks evade UN sanctions. Photograph: BK Bangash/AP
Pakistan's president alleged that the brother of Pakistan's opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, "tipped off" the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) about impending UN sanctions following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, allowing the outfit to empty its bank accounts before they could be raided.

Six weeks after LeT gunmen killed more than 170 people in Mumbai, President Asif Ali Zardari told the US of his "frustration" that Sharif's government in Punjab province helped the group evade new UN sanctions.

A month earlier, Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister of Punjab, "tipped off" the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), LeT's charity wing, "resulting in almost empty bank accounts", Zardari claimed in a conversation with the US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson.

US diplomats were unable to confirm the allegation and noted that they came at a time of rising political tension between Zardari and Sharif. But they conceded that JuD did appear to have received a warning from somewhere. "Information from the ministry of the interior does indicate that bank accounts contained surprisingly small amounts," said the cable in January 2009. A Punjab government spokesman vigorously denied the charge. "There's nothing true in it," said senator Pervaiz Rashid, an adviser to Sharif. "Zardari is our political opponent and he wants to topple our government." Sharif couldn't have known about the UN sanctions, he said, because the UN co-ordinated its action with the federal government and not the provincial one.

The accusation, which has never been publicly aired, is one of several dramas that unfolded behind the scenes after the November 2008 attacks, now revealed by the embassy cables.

US diplomats and CIA spies found themselves playing the role of harried intermediaries to prevent Pakistan and India from going to war. One week after the bloodbath an Indian official said his government was distinguishing between Pakistan's civilian government, "which India believed was not involved in the attacks", and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). We are not yet ready to give ISI a clean chit," he said.

Four weeks later the US embassy grew alarmed by Indian plans to release a "sanitised" intelligence dossier that, they feared, could scupper intelligence sharing or thwart efforts to prevent a second attack.

"There are still Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) sleeper and other cells in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as many law enforcement leads which need to be pursued," the note said.

Pakistan's generals, usually antagonistic towards India, appeared unusually conciliatory. Six weeks after the attack Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said he was "determined to exercise restraint in his actions with India". "If there is any clue about another attack," he told General David Petraeus at his Rawalpindi headquarters, "please share it with us."

His intelligence chief, General Shuja Pasha, went even further, acting as a regional fixer for some of his most bitter enemies. In late 2009 Pasha travelled to Oman and Iran to "follow up on reports he received in Washington about a terrorist attack on India".

He sent warnings to Israel – a country that Pakistan does not officially recognise – "about information about attacks against Israeli targets in India". Earlier in the year, he reminded Patterson, information about a second attack on India had "come his way", which he conveyed to Delhi via the CIA.

The cables suggest Pakistan's ardour for bringing the alleged Mumbai masterminds to justice appears to have wilted as time went on. The secretive trial of Lashkar leader Zakhi ur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects "is proceeding, though at a slow pace", US diplomats noted in February.

The secretive trial of Lashkar leader Zakhi ur Rehman Lakhvi, and six other suspects "is proceeding, though at a slow pace" [id:249966] lastin February 2010.

ThePakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI) refused access to Abdur Rehman Syed, a retired army major and alleged LeT accomplice. Instead the FBI was told it could "submit questions for Syed through the ISI".

American officials say there is "no smoking gun tying the Mumbai LeT operation to ISI" but are less sure if the spy agency has, as promised, cut all its ties.

"Despite arrests of key LeT/JuD leaders and closure of some of their camps, it is unclear if the ISI has finally abandoned its policy of using these proxy forces as a foreign policy tool," notes a briefing to the US special envoy Richard Holbrooke in February 2009. Dealing with LeT has long been a vexed issue for American diplomats in Pakistan. In March 2006 the US ambassador Ryan Crocker id:55604requested the US government to delay by two weeks the designation of JuD.

American helicopters were still delivering aid to earthquake victims in Kashmir, he explained, and they risked attack if still in the area when the designation was approved.

That same month, embassy officials met with Pakistan foreign office director Tasneem Aslam, who told her that Pakistan had "no evidence" linking JuD to terrorism – a conclusion US officials judged "dubious".

Later, in November 2007, the US ambassador presented the foreign secretary, Riaz Khan, with evidence that senior government ministers were publicly helping militant groups, including a declaration from the ministry of defence parliamentary secretary "that he was proud to be a member of LeT and that he seeks to extend support to jihadi organisations when they seek his 'co-operation.'"

"Each of these reports is disturbing in itself, the ambassador said, as they seriously damage Pakistan's image in the international community."

JuD denies that it is a front for LeT.


Massive Wikileaks disclosure involves Vatican cables
By Marianne Medlin, Staff Writer

Washington D.C., Nov 30, 2010 / 06:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As the uproar increases over Wikileaks publishing hundreds of thousands of confidential U.S. State Department cables online, the latest reports show that 852 of the communications involve the Vatican.

U.S. leaders are decrying Wikileaks founder, Australian Julian Assange, for incrementally publishing over 250,000 cables on his non-profit website. The cables are suspected of being leaked to Assange by 23 year-old U.S. army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, among others. Manning is currently being held at a military base in Virginia.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blasted the move Nov. 29 as “not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests” but an “attack on the international community.”

Documents involve U.S. correspondence with dozens of countries all over the globe, with the highest number of cables – 16,000 – involving Iraq. Not all cables have been released, given that the sheer number requires incremental publishing. However, cables involving North Korea, China and Argentina have already been shown online.

According to Wikileaks, 852 of the documents slated to be published involve correspondence between the U.S. and the Vatican.

CNA contacted the U.S. State Department Nov. 30 for more information on the nature of the documents. Spokesperson Megan Mattson said that “as a policy we don't comment on documents that purport to contain classified information.” Mattson added that the State Department condemns “in the strongest terms the deliberate and unauthorized disclosure of classified materials by individuals and organizations” which she said “puts lives and risk and jeopardizes national security.”

Already public, however, is a 2005 document published by Italy's La Stampa which shows U.S. diplomats expressing surprise over the election of Pope Benedict XVI. According to the paper, U.S. officials said they thought a papal candidate from a developing country would be selected instead.

Although the document is not part of the 852 cache of cables, La Stampa ran an article with the document, saying that they obtained the information by filing a Freedom of Information Act.

The Vatican daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano stressed that the release of the cables does nothing to change diplomatic relations between the U.S and the Holy See.

Leaked correspondence does “not appear sufficient to substantially modify the relations” the U.S. has with various world governments, the paper said on Nov. 29.

The entire batch of the Vatican-related cables is expected to be published in the upcoming weeks.
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:41 am

WikiLeaks cables, day 3: summary of today's key points
There are no fewer than 251,287 cables from more than 250 US embassies around the world, obtained by WikiLeaks. We present a day-by-day guide to the revelations from the US embassy cables both from the Guardian and its international media partners in the story

Haroon Siddique
Day 3, Wednesday 1 December

The Guardian

• 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 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

• 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.

Der Spiegel

• 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.
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:01 pm

WikiLeaks cables on Afghanistan show monumental corruption
By Tim Lister, CNN
December 2, 2010 7:24 p.m. EST

One cable says Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi is the only minister "about whom no allegations of bribery exist."

Cables describe Afghan President Karzai as paranoid and weak
Heroin trade profits and money-laundering are difficult to confront
In one instance, only $30 million in fees reached the government out of $200 million collected
(CNN) -- Hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks paint a picture of corruption in Afghanistan at every level of government and society.
Cables from the U.S. ambassador in Kabul portray Afghan President Hamid Karzai as paranoid, with an "inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state-building."
Many of the cables were sent from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul over the last two years. The New York Times, which had advance access to the estimated 250,000 documents leaked to WikiLeaks, reported the documents showed corruption's "pervasive nature, its overwhelming scale, and the dispiriting challenge it poses to American officials."
One cable from the U.S. mission in Kabul earlier this year noted that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi, "appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist."
At the same time, Dr. Sayed Fatimie, the minister of health, told American diplomats that members of Parliament wanted cash to confirm his appointment. "Fatimie said MPs had offered their own votes and the votes of others they could purportedly deliver for $1,000 apiece," a cable said.
Another Afghan minister warned U.S. diplomats that Karzai was "under great pressure from political leaders to accept a number of ministerial candidates whose technical skills are lacking." The minister "argued that these political leaders are only thinking of dividing up the spoils rather than the quality of government needed to tackle Afghanistan's problems."
The cables also demonstrate an often difficult relationship between NATO allies and Karzai. At a meeting described in a cable in October 2008, a British official said the United Kingdom "continues to feel 'deep frustration' with Karzai. But he added: "I remind people that we -- the international community -- selected him."
Some months later, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry drew up a candid psychological profile of Karzai. In a cable dated July 7, 2009, Eikenberry wrote that one portrait of Karzai that emerged was "of a paranoid and weak individual unfamiliar with the basics of nation-building and overly self-conscious that his time in the spotlight of glowing reviews from the international community has passed." At the same time, he was "an ever-shrewd politician who sees himself as a nationalist hero who can save the country from being divided by the decentralization-focused agenda of Abdullah [his leading rival for the presidency], other political rivals, neighboring countries, and the US."
Eikenberry concluded: "In order to recalibrate our relationship with Karzai, we must deal with and challenge both of these personalities."
The following week, Eikenberry reported that "the President's manner was significantly more relaxed and warm than in meetings the previous week when he was often agitated, accusing the US of working against him." But again, the ambassador warned: "His inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state-building and his deep-seated insecurity as a leader combine to make any admission of fault unlilely, in turn confounding our best efforts to find in Karzai a responsible partner."
The ambassador concluded: "I will begin a frank, collaborative (and perhaps, at times, confrontational) dialogue with Karzai. No alternative approach is now evident. Karzai's current vision for Afghanistan's future relies too strongly on warlords, tribal chiefs, and other personalities of the past who would be difficult to reconcile with our commitments to build strong government institutions and professional security forces."
The cables from Kabul also underline the difficulty in confronting money-laundering of profits from the heroin trade and other criminal enterprises. One from October 2009 claimed that one hawala (informal cash) network "is facilitating bribes and other wide-scale illicit cash transfers for corrupt Afghan officials and is providing illicit financial services for narco-traffickers, insurgents, and criminals through an array of front companies in Afghanistan and the UAE."
But an investigation of the hawala network proved difficult. One cable reported that Afghanistan's interior minister asked that the U.S. take a low profile on the case to avoid the perception that investigations were being carried out "at the behest of the United States."
In another cable, a senior Afghan official told the U.S. Embassy that of the $200 million collected in fees on truck traffic, just $30 million reached government coffers.
And in October 2009, a cable from the U.S. Director of Development said "vast amounts of cash come and go from the country on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. Before the August 20 election $600 million in banking system withdrawals were reported." More than $190 million in cash had been taken through Kabul Airport to Dubai alone.
The New York Times cites another cable in which an Afghan official explained the "four stages" at which his colleagues skimmed money from development projects: "When contractors bid on a project, at application for building permits, during construction, and at the ribbon-cutting ceremony."
But one cable from earlier this year graphically demonstrated the dilemma facing U.S. and allied officials as they try to grapple with corruption. It talks about one Afghan Border Police Commander "accused constantly of illegal trafficking and taxing activities." But at the same time the officer had been careful to "maintain a co-operative relationship with the ISAF (NATO-led International Security Assistance Force) leadership" in a district crucial for the safe passage of NATO convoys.
The cable concluded that both ISAF and the U.S. government "walk a thin tightrope when working with this allegedly corrupt official who is also a major security stabilizing force."
It's a dilemma that's echoed on an almost daily basis across Afghanistan, if these cables are any guide.


How the US media is dumping on WikiLeaks - and censoring the cable disclosures

In a hard-hitting piece in defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange - now officially named as a fugitive - Alexander Cockburn contends that American newspapers have colluded with the US government to conceal some of the leaked embassy cables.

He cites research by Gareth Porter, who identified a cable released by WikiLeaks that provides a detailed account of how Russian specialists countered official US claims that Iran had missiles capable of reaching Europe, or that Iran intended to develop such a capability. Porter wrote:

"Readers of the two leading US newspapers never learned those key facts about the document. The New York Times and the Washington Post reported only that the United States believed Iran had acquired such missiles... from North Korea.

Neither newspaper reported the detailed Russian refutation of the US view on the issue or the lack of hard evidence...

The Times, which had obtained the diplomatic cables not from WikiLeaks but from The Guardian... did not publish the text of the cable.

The Times story said the newspaper had made the decision not to publish 'at the request of the Obama administration'. That meant that its readers could not compare the highly distorted account of the document in the Times story against the original document without searching the WikiLeaks website."

Aside from this self-censorship, Cockburn also remarks on the distaste among the "official" US press for WikiLeaks after its previous releases of documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He writes:

"The New York Times managed the ungainly feat of publishing some of the leaks while simultaneously affecting to hold its nose, and while publishing a mean-spirited hatchet job on Assange by its reporter John F Burns, a man with a well burnished record in touting the various agendas of the US government."

As for TV coverage, he cites Glenn Greenwald, writing on the Salon.com:

"On CNN, Wolf Blitzer was beside himself with rage over the fact that the US government had failed to keep all these things secret from him...

Then - like the Good Journalist he is - Blitzer demanded assurances that the government has taken the necessary steps to prevent him, the media generally and the citizenry from finding out any more secrets...

The central concern of Blitzer - one of our nation's most honoured 'journalists' - is making sure that nobody learns what the US government is up to."

Some of that Blitzer rant (no longer available on the CNN site) deserves quoting. Here's a sample:

"Are they doing anything at all to make sure if some 23-year-old guy, allegedly, starts downloading hundreds of thousands of cables, hundreds of thousands of copies of sensitive information, that no one pays attention to that, no one in the security system of the United States government bothers to see someone is downloading all these millions - literally millions of documents?...

It's amazing to me that the US government security system is so lax that someone could allegedly do this kind of damage just by simply pretending to be listening to a Lady Gaga CD and at the same time downloading all these kinds of documents...

Do we know yet if they've [done] that fix? In other words, somebody right now who has top secret or secret security clearance can no longer download information onto a CD or a thumb drive? Has that been fixed already?"

Journalists who oppose WikiLeaks are opposed to journalism. Here's Jack Shafer offering some sense:

"Information conduits like Julian Assange shock us out of that complacency. Oh, sure, he's a pompous egomaniac sporting a series of bad haircuts and grandiose tendencies.

And he often acts without completely thinking through every repercussion of his actions.

But if you want to dismiss him just because he's a seething jerk, there are about 2,000 journalists I'd like you to meet."

Quite so. Too many "seething jerks" who also deny the point of their own trade - disclosure!
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:16 am

U.S. flew spy missions over Lebanon: WikiLeaks

BEIRUT | Fri Dec 3, 2010 8:52am EST
(Reuters) - U.S. spy planes flew reconnaissance flights over Lebanon from a British air base in Cyprus, leaked U.S. documents show, in a counter-terrorist surveillance operation requested by Lebanese officials.

The documents, which did not specify what the 2008 flights were monitoring, revealed Britain feared that if the imagery from the flights was used by the Lebanese army to capture and mistreat suspects, Britain could be seen as complicit.

British officials were also concerned that the Lebanese request for the intelligence flights, known as "Cedar Sweep," had come solely from Lebanon's Defense Ministry without endorsement from the government as a whole.

Britain's concern had been heightened by revelations in February 2008 that the United States used its military base on the British Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia to transfer captives, without British permission.

"(Britain) expects the United States to monitor use of the CEDAR SWEEP intel and ensure the LAF (Lebanese army) lives up to its commitment to maintain high human rights standards," a U.S. diplomat reported back to Washington in May 2008, according to one cable released by the WikiLeaks website.

The cables also showed that American U2 flights from Britain's Akrotiri base in Cyprus gathered intelligence over Turkey and northern Iraq.

"In both cases, intelligence product is intended to be passed to third party governments, and it is important for us to be satisfied that (Britain) is not indirectly aiding the commission of unlawful acts by those governments," one cable quoted Britain's Ministry of Defense as saying.

MONITORING CAMPS

The release of the cables has fueled speculation that the flights over Lebanon were targeting Hezbollah militants.

The powerful Shi'ite group, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, is now part of Lebanon's fragile unity government. But in May 2008 it seized parts of Beirut after the Sunni-led government shut down its private telecommunications network and dismissed a Hezbollah official in charge of Beirut airport.

However another cable, obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar from WikiLeaks, said the United States shared material with Defense Minister Michel Murr aimed at supporting "counter-terrorism" operations in Palestinian refugee camps.

"The recent imagery that is being provided to the LAF gives them a capability they did not have; in fact, 'We used to be blind,' said Murr," the April 2008 cable from the U.S. embassy in Beirut said.

"...As for any future counter-terrorism action in the camps, Murr affirmed that the imagery would only be used for lawful purposes.."

A month earlier, Murr had expressed fears of an imminent war between Hezbollah and Israel, and revealed contingency measures which he hoped would allow Lebanon's army to stay out of the fight, according to another leaked cable.

"For Murr, the LAF's strategic objective was to survive a three-week war 'completely intact' and able to take over once Hizballah's militia has been destroyed. 'I do not want thousands of our soldiers to die for no reason'," the cable quoted Murr as telling an embassy official.


WikiLeaks cable warns of 'widening crime war' in Israel
The cable is signed by Ambassador James Cunningham, but appears to have been written by the American consul in Tel Aviv as a note on visa restrictions for members of Israel's organized crime syndicate.

By Haaretz Service
Tags: Israel news WikiLeaks Israel crime

The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv expressed concern to the State Department over the "sharp increase" of organized crime in Israel, in an unclassified diplomatic cable dispatched in May 2009 and revealed by WikiLeaks this week.

Entitled "Israel, a promise land for organized crime?", the cable notes that while organized crime has "long-standing roots" in Israel, certain factors indicate that a "widening crime war" has begun to spiral.


Police cordon off a Tel Aviv crime scene

Photo by: Archive

"In seeking a competitive advantage in such lucrative trades as narcotics and prostitution, Israeli crime groups have demonstrated their ability and willingness to engage in violent attacks on each other with little regard for innocent bystanders," said the cable.

The cable cites the death of 31-year-old Margarita Lautin, who was killed in the cross-fire of an attempted mob hit in Bat Yam, and also car bomb that killed a driver and two pedestrians while targeting crime boss Yossi Alperon.

The document also details the web of crime families in Israel, and expresses concern that the number of syndicates was growing.

The cable is signed by Ambassador James Cunningham, but appears to have been written by the American consul in Tel Aviv as a note on visa restrictions for members of Israel's organized crime syndicate.

The cable details worry that Israeli crime syndicates were playing a "significant role in the global drug trade, providing both a local consumer market and an important transit point to Europe and the United States."

"Given the volume of travel and trade between the United States and Israel, it is not surprising that Israeli OC has also gained a foothold in America," says the cable.

"The consular section has revoked several visas for those who have been convicted of crimes in Israel, but many OC figures have no prior criminal convictions and carry no visa ineligibilities," says the cable. "As a result, many hold valid nonimmigrant visas to the United States and have traveled freely or attempted to travel for a variety of purposes."

The author of the cable seems most worried by the fact that unlike members of crimes families from other countries, "Israelis who are known to work for or belong to OC families are not automatically ineligible for travel to the United States."

The cable also notes a lack of law enforcement against organized crime, though it said police seemed to have been cracking down more in recent years.

"[Organized Crime] figures have generally been viewed as a nuisance to be handled by local police," writes the cable. "Law enforcement resources were directed to more existential security threats from terrorists and enemy states," writes the cable.

"In recent years, however, the rules of the game have changed… The old school of Israel OC is giving way to a new, more violent, breed of crime," says the cable."… The new style of crime features knowledge of hi-tech explosives acquired from service in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a willingness to use indiscriminate violence, at least against rival gang leaders."

Despite the police crackdown and harsher sentences for members of crime syndicates, the cable warns that "increased efforts by Israeli authorities to combat OC have engendered retaliatory threats of violence."

"Recent press reports indicate that as many as 10 Israeli judges are currently receiving 24-hour protection by the police against the threat of violence from members of crime organizations.

"Israeli OC appears to be intent on intimidating judges personally, as a way of influencing the legal process. Judges in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa have been assigned police protection, underscoring the depth of the problem."


WikiLeaks: Irish Government blocked arms shipments to Israel and Iraq

Published Friday, December 3, 2010, 6:08 AMUpdated Friday, December 3, 2010, 6:17 AM

The Irish Government acted to prevent weapons being transported from the US to Israel via Shannon Airport after the 2006 bombing of Lebanon, WikiLeaks documents have revealed this week.

In a cable from the US embassy in Ireland the Irish government's actions were described as a cause for concern as the US attempted to bolster Israel's military might.

The leaked cable between the US embassy and Washington read: "Although supportive of continued US military transits at Shannon Airport, the Irish Government has informally begun to place constraints on US operations at the facility, mainly in response to public sensitivities over US actions in the Middle East."

James Kenny, the then US ambassador to Ireland, wrote that the Irish government was making it deliberately difficult for munitions to get to Israel via Ireland.

Kenny added that the Irish government had been angered when Apache helicopters were passed through Ireland to Israel without the required prior notification and exemption waivers.

The cable added that ambassador Kenny believed segments of the Irish public saw the airport as a symbol of "Irish complicity in perceived US wrongdoing in the Middle East."

In response to the Irish governments strong stance Kenny replied that the US military would stop using Shannon Airport with the loss of millions of Euro to the Irish economy in favor of another European Airport, if the government's policy was not reversed.
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:44 pm

WikiLeaks Exposes Israeli Mafia’s Growing Influence
Cable reveals Mafia-government connection -- But US media don't care to dig for the story

by Justin Raimondo, December 03, 2010

I love how the pundits are yawning over the latest WikiLeaks revelations: oh, there’s nothing to see here, it’s all so boring, no "smoking gun," so let’s just move right along. These people are just plain lazy: they want "scoops" delivered to their front doors, all neatly packaged and labeled as such. In short, they don’t want to have to do any work, beyond the usual cut-and-paste. Which is why a lot of the really juicy stuff coming out of WikiLeaks continues to elude them.
Take, for example, this excerpt from a cable dated May 15, 2009 — entitled "Israel, A Promised Land for Organized Crime?" – sent by our embassy in Tel Aviv, which deals with the rising influence of Israeli organized crime:
"As recently as March 2009, Zvika Ben Shabat, Yaacov Avitan, and Tzuri Roka requested visas to attend a ‘security-related convention’ in Las Vegas. According to local media reports, all three had involvement with OC. Post asked the applicants to provide police reports for any criminal records in Israel, but without such evidence there is no immediate ineligibility for links to OC. Luckily, all three have so far failed to return for continued adjudication of their applications. Nevertheless, it is fair to assume that many known OC figures hold valid tourist visas to the United States and travel freely."
What are organized crime figures doing showing up at a "security-related convention" in Las Vegas? Well, it seems Mr. Zvika Ben Shabat is the President of "H.A.Sh Security Group," an Israeli company that offers security services worldwide. Indeed, they just signed an agreement to start a joint venture with India’s giant Micro-Technologies, a company which is described as follows:
"Micro Technologies was established by Dr. [P.] Shekhar, who served as the person in charge on behalf of the Indian Government for advancement and development of the technology and software field in India (First Director Software Technology Park in India), and his company deals with the development of technologies and is already active in many markets around the world, amongst which are: Denmark, Brussels, Italy, New York, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and more. The company has security technologies for identification and monitoring of cell phones, vehicles, structures, computers, infrastructures and WIFI technologies."
In other words, they specialize in snooping, otherwise known as spying. The first Micro Technologies/H.A. Sh Security Group project is a "command and control center" to be built in Mumbai, India. As for what theH.A.Sh Security Group specializes in, well, take a look at these Youtube videos: here, here, and here, for starters. And get a load of who is the Chairman of H.A.Sh Security: none other than retired Major General Dan Ronen, whose resume appears here:
"2001-2003 – Israel Police: Head of the Operations Division, with the rank of Major General; Coordination of activities of all police units in the operational field; Coordination with the General Security Service and IDF units in the battle against terrorism; 2004-2007 – Israel Police: Commander of Northern Region (the largest of the police regions); Responsible for liaison and coordination vis-à-vis heads of local authorities; Responsible for leading and commanding the overall forces and systems during the second Lebanon War, in missions involving defense of the residents in the northern home front; Areas of Expertise: Combat against terrorism and suicide bombers coordination and operation of emergency and rescue organizations Combat against crime and crime organizations."
Gen. Ronen is listed as the Chairman of H.A.Sh Security Group, with Mr. Ben Shabat, variously described [pdf] as the President, Vice-President, and Director. So why is one of Israel’s former top cops in a business relationship with a known member of the Israeli Mafia?
Enquiring minds want to know!
Ominously, the cable goes on to bemoan the fact that Israeli organized crime figures are no longer automatically prevented from entering the US due to a change in the rules. As the author, someone named Cunningham, notes in an appended comment entitled "OC [Organized Crime] Slipping Through the Consular Cracks":
"Given the growing reach and lethal methods of Israeli OC, blocking the travel of known OC figures to the United States is a matter of great concern to Post. Through collaboration with Israeli and U.S. law enforcement authorities, Post has developed an extensive database and placed lookouts for OC figures and their foot soldiers. Nevertheless, the above visa cases demonstrate the challenges that have arisen since the termination of the Visas Shark in September 2008. Unlike OC groups from the former Soviet Union, Italy, China, and Central America, application of INA 212(a)(3)(A)(ii) against Israeli OC is not specifically authorized per Foreign Affairs Manual 40.31 N5.3. As such, Israelis who are known to work for or belong to OC families are not automatically ineligible for travel to the United States."
"Visas Shark" was apparently a program that effectively excluded organized crime figures from the US, and its termination is noted here: instead, the embassy must go through a complex bureaucratic procedure in order to exclude a suspected organized crime member. First, the consular official must determine that a "reasonable suspicion" exists to identify a visa applicant as a member of an organized crime syndicate, and then the matter goes back to the State Department’s "Office of Legislation, Regulations, and Advisory Assistance," which will then determine if a "reason to believe" the derogatory information on the applicant exists. A whole laundry list of possible "reasons to believe" are listed, including
"Acknowledgement of membership by the individual, …actively working to further the organization’s aims in a way to suggest close affiliation; Receiving financial support or recognition from the organization; Determination of membership by a competent court; Statement from local or U.S. law enforcement authorities that the individual is a member; Frequent association with other members; Voluntarily displaying symbols of the organization; and participating in the organization’s activities, even if lawful."
Yet it was due to media reports that the author of the cable determined the connection of Messrs Ben Shabat, Avitan, and Roka to organized crime. Is this good enough to have a "reason to believe"? Ask the Office of Legislation, Regulation, and Advisory Assistance – which is what our embassy in Tel Aviv (and, indeed, our embassies all around the world) must do before they can refuse a visa to an applicant on that basis.
Not that the Israeli Mafia has had any problem entering the United States in the past – and making its presence felt. As Fox News’ Carl Cameron reported on December 17, 2001:
"Los Angeles, 1997, a major local, state and federal drug investigating sours. The suspects: Israeli organized crime with operations in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Canada, Israel and Egypt. The allegations: cocaine and ecstasy trafficking, and sophisticated white-collar credit card and computer fraud.

"The problem: according to classified law enforcement documents obtained by Fox News, the bad guys had the cops’ beepers, cell phones, even home phones under surveillance. Some who did get caught admitted to having hundreds of numbers and using them to avoid arrest.

"This compromised law enforcement communications between LAPD detectives and other assigned law enforcement officers working various aspects of the case. The organization discovered communications between organized crime intelligence division detectives, the FBI and the Secret Service.

"Shock spread from the DEA to the FBI in Washington, and then the CIA. An investigation of the problem, according to law enforcement documents, concluded, ‘The organization has apparent extensive access to database systems to identify pertinent personal and biographical information.’"
Israel’s hi-tech military sector is booming in the midst of a world economic downturn, and the "homeland security" industry is something they’ve jumped into head first, as Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania knows all too well. It was Rendell who hired them to oversee Pennsylvania’s security – until it was revealed they were spying on legal citizens groups who were protesting the construction of a local power plant. Israeli "security" firms are operating all over the US, as well as abroad, in airports, and government facilities, and if Israeli organized crime is now a factor in that booming industry, then surely that’s a major security concern – or ought to be.
Cameron’s four-part Fox News investigation into Israeli spying in the US seemed to posit a connection between the Israeli government and the Israeli Mafia, and, thanks to WikiLeaks, we can now see the link made visible. The Gen. Ronen-Ben Shabat connection, through the H.A.Sh Security Group, shows Cameron’s reporting was based on more than a mere suspicion. Given the additional information provided by this cable, it is reasonable to believe a corrupted segment of the Israeli military-law enforcement establishment has literally gone into business with Israeli organized crime.

If that isn’t scary — and newsworthy — I don’t know what is. Yet our laid-back pundits, and "journalists" — who want a story delivered on a silver platter — complain that there’s nothing really new to be found in the WikiLeaks cables.
That’s because they aren’t looking.
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby Nordic » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:04 pm


Quote:
WikiLeaks cable warns of 'widening crime war' in Israel


Not to conjure up the Manatee, but my eyes first saw this as "widening war crime"

Which may be the purpose of the headline after all ....?

(I trust no one).

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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:17 pm

Okay, this is good so far! Proposing we make THIS the one thread for adding all stories that come out of the State Department cables and cables we find interesting. Meaning, as opposed to stories about Wikileaks itself and related uproar.

We can also start new threads to discuss specific issues in depth. What do you say SLAD and everyone else?

Here's a story (and a link to a separate discussion thread, if you want to talk about it) on Turkey and Greece, and "Operation Sledgehammer":

Turkish generals planned war on Greece to overthrow Erdogan

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=30427

JackRiddler wrote:This is today's headline story in the print version of New York-based Greek-language newspaper Ethnikos Kyrix (National Herald). It's from their own Athens bureau and not on either of their two websites (in Greek and English). It is based on a State Department cable of 27 January 2010 released by Wikileaks, which is currently down again (including wikileaks.ch). According to the Herald, the cable describes a plot of Turkish "Kemalist" deep-state generals in 2003, codenamed "Sledgehammer," to orchestrate false-flag bombings of targets including mosques inside Turkey and connect these to Greek support, prompting a bombing and invasion of Greece and the occupation of a northern Greek province. The primary goal was domestic: to topple the new government under Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Despite the Ergenikon arrests and prosecutions of key deep state actors, the cable expresses fears that elements within the Turkish military may still be formulating such plans today. (Imagine the general chaotic possibilities if such a plan had been attempted at the same time as the American invasion of Iraq.)

I found this story in a Turkish paper. I don't think the part about the Sledgehammer plot has been revealed before.

http://medya.todayszaman.com/todayszama ... dursun.jpg

Leaked cables reveal close US interest in Turkish coup plans

30 November 2010, Tuesday

TODAY'S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

Image
US diplomats said Col.Çiçek’s alleged coup plan is a psychological operations campaign to discredit the government and the Gülen movement.

Leaked cables from the US Embassy in Ankara among the 250,000 confidential cables obtained by the website WikiLeaks have revealed that the United States is closely following anti-democratic attempts against the government in Turkey. The cables from the US Embassy in Ankara brief the Washington administration about coup plans in Turkey as well as probes into these coup plans.

“Reports of coup plots against Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s Islamist-leaning government have been a staple of the Turkish media since 2007. Despite protests by Turkey’s top brass that there is no substance to the allegations, a growing percentage of the population believes that at least some elements within the military have been plotting to undermine or even overthrow the [Justice and Development Party] AKP-led government.

The coup allegations have served as fodder for the Ergenekon prosecution team and some of the plots have been included in the formal indictments against senior retired military officers. The net result of these allegations has been a gradual erosion of the public trust toward the military,” say the cables. The Turkish agenda has been full of with allegations surrounding a number of coup plots revealed by prosecutors and journalists in the past few years. The diplomatic cables Wikileaks leaked late on Sunday show that the US Embassy in Ankara has also been following the news with utmost care.

The leaked documents make references to all the coup plans in Turkey, including the ones mentioned in the leaked diaries of retired Adm. Özden Örnek in addition to the “Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism,” “Cage” and “Sledgehammer” coup plans that all aimed to create chaos in the country with the ultimate goal of a military takeover.

About the “Cage” action plan, the cables said: “This plot involved senior navy flag officers and was uncovered during the April 2009 search of the home of retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Levent Bektaş, an Ergenekon suspect, and was revealed by Taraf in November 2009. The plot included plans to assassinate prominent non-Muslim figures and blame these attacks on the AKP in order to increase foreign and domestic pressure for the AKP to step down.”

About the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, which was uncovered by the Taraf daily last year, US Embassy officials in Ankara said: “The plan outlined a psychological operations campaign to discredit the ruling AKP as well as other ‘sources of fundamentalism,’ including the Fetullah Gülen movement. The action plan was allegedly drafted by Naval Infantry Colonel Dursun Çiçek in 2009 under orders of then-Deputy CHOD Hasan Iğsız, with the knowledge and tacit approval of [former chief of general staff] Gen. İlker Başbuğ himself.”

The Sledgehammer coup plan was also closely followed by US authorities in Ankara as revealed by the leaked cables. In the cables, some information was given about when and by whom the Sledgehammer coup plan was prepared. It said the Sledgehammer plot was prepared in 2003 by the Turkish First Army, under its then-commander Gen. Çetin Doğan. “The plan, which has been denied by both the military and retired General Dogan, involved false-flag bombing of mosques and efforts to provoke a military crisis with Greece in order to create the conditions for a military intervention,” it also read.

Mossad chief expects military’s meddling in politics

Meanwhile, the classified documents also revealed that in a meeting with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns in August, Israeli Mossad Director Meir Dagan said he expects the Turkish military to meddle in politics.

“It [Israel] looks at Turkey and sees Islamists gaining momentum there. The question, he asked, is how long Turkey’s military -- viewing itself as the defender of Turkey’s secular identity -- will remain quiet.”


Secular, my ass.
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby Simulist » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:22 pm

Personally, I find that the number of WikiLeaks threads makes keeping up with the material very difficult.

I'd like to see the number of threads on WikiLeaks either reduced or limited somehow — perhaps consolidated, if possible.
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:24 pm

.

I think there should be two: one for embassy cables stories (this one) and one for Wikileaks stories. We kind of have that already, if people want to go along.

.
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:27 pm

Simulist wrote:Personally, I find that the number of WikiLeaks threads makes keeping up with the material very difficult.

I'd like to see the number of threads on WikiLeaks either reduced or limited somehow — perhaps consolidated, if possible.


I tried that at Jack's request


Didn't seem to work, gave up and went with the flow
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Re: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels WIKI!

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:29 pm

.

We can stick stories from the cables here and also start new threads to discuss the ones we find most interesting in detail. Like this:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=30419

Jeff wrote:
Foreign contractors hired Afghan 'dancing boys', WikiLeaks cable reveals


Episode fuelled Afghan demands that private security firms be brought much more under government control

Jon Boone
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 December 2010 21.30 GMT

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 and "quash" the story, according to one of the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.

In a meeting with the assistant US ambassador, a panicked Hanif Atmar, the interior minister at the time of the episode last June, warned that the story would "endanger lives" and was particularly concerned that a video of the incident might be made public.

The episode helped to fuel Afghan demands that contractors and private security companies be brought under much tighter government control. However, the US embassy was legally incapable of honouring a request by Atmar that the US military should assume authority over training centres managed by DynCorp, the US company whose employees were involved in the incident in the northern province of Kunduz.

There is a long tradition of young boys dressing up as girls and dancing for men in Afghanistan, an activity that sometimes crosses the line into child abuse with Afghans keeping boys as possessions.

...

Two Afghan policemen and nine other Afghans were arrested as part of investigations into a crime described by Atmar as "purchasing a service from a child", which the cable said was against both sharia law and the civil code.

He insisted that a journalist looking into the incident should be told that the story would endanger lives, and that the US should try to quash the story. But US diplomats cautioned against an "overreaction" and said that approaching the journalist involved would only make the story worse.

"A widely-anticipated newspaper article on the Kunduz scandal has not appeared but, if there is too much noise that may prompt the journalist to publish," the cable said.

The strategy appeared to work when an article was published in July by the Washington Post about the incident, which made little of the affair, saying it was an incident of "questionable management oversight" in which foreign DynCorp workers "hired a teenage boy to perform a tribal dance at a company farewell party".

In fact, the episode was causing palpitations at the top of government, including in the presidential palace.

...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/de ... ncing-boys
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