WikiLeaks Snippets

By Chris Good

WikiLeaks dropped its 250,00+ leaked diplomatic cables, and there are some quite juicy bits, which may or may not, as the London Telegraph advertised in its headline "spark a worldwide diplomatic crisis."

The White House readied the public early Sunday afternoon for any pending controversy with this statement, which warned of the "candid" nature of some diplomatic communiques:

We anticipate the release of what are claimed to be several hundred thousand classified State department cables on Sunday night that detail private diplomatic discussions with foreign governments. By its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information. It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions. Nevertheless, these cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world. To be clear -- such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government. These documents also may include named individuals who in many cases live and work under oppressive regimes and who are trying to create more open and free societies.  President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal. By releasing stolen and classified documents, Wikileaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.

Find below just a few offerings from the WikiLeaks file.

Saudi King Abdullah repeatedly urged the U.S. to attack Iran, The Guardian reports:

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, according to leaked US diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.

The revelations, in secret memos from US embassies across the Middle East, expose behind-the-scenes pressures in the scramble to contain the Islamic Republic, which the US, Arab states and Israel suspect is close to acquiring nuclear weapons. Bombing Iranian nuclear facilities has hitherto been viewed as a desperate last resort that could ignite a far wider war.

The New York Times leads with a nuclear standoff with Pakistan:

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

The London Telegraph surmises that the U.S. may have been "spying" on UN personnel:

A classified directive under the name of Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, in July 2009 called for email addresses, phone, fax and pager numbers, credit card details and frequent-flyer numbers for UN personnel.

Technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General, such as passwords and encryption keys involved in UN communications were sought.

It also demanded "biographic and biometric information on UN Security Council permanent representatives" from Britain, China, Russia and France. Similar instructions were issued by Condoleezza Rice, Mrs Clinton's predecessor in the Bush administration.

And Israel tried to coordinate its Gaza assault with Mahmoud Abbas, Haaretz reports:

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."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/11/wikileaks-snippets/67095/