One of the US diplomatic cables revealed that New Zealand threatened Fiji’s Army Chief Bainimarama and his wife with preventing them visiting their grandchildren living in New Zealand if he staged a coup to dethrone the government of Laisenia Qarase. Stuff.co.nz quoted the cable as saying that Bainimarama and his wife Meli came to New Zealand in November 2006 to attend a granddaughter’s First Holy Communion in Wellington.
His statement prompted then New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to set up urgent meetings with Bainimarama and, later, Qarase to discuss the issue. Unusually, New Zealand’s "talking points" were then put to Bainimarama by the British Defence Attache based in Wellington, Nigel Lloyd, at a lunch. "I gather you are down here on a private visit for your grand-daughter’s first communion – a significant family occasion. I hope you enjoy your visit," the cable says Lloyd was instructed to say.
Lloyd further warned that if Bainimarama did not listen, New Zealand would change its travel advisory to discourage tourism to Fiji. Bainimarama returned to Fiji, staged his coup and has since then expelled at various times three New Zealand diplomats. His grandchildren are reportedly backed in Fiji.
Article first published as The ‘Star Leakerâ€™ Becomes a Leak Victim on Blogcritics.
The man shot up to Celebrity status through leaking massive classified “unpopular war” logs and diplomatic cables between the deteriorating superpower USA and its ambassadors around the world, has himself become a victim to a supposedly officially unofficial leakage of Swedish police report on his alleged sexual offences. Julian Assange, 39, reportedly complained that he was a victim of a targeted leakage by Swedish authorities while speaking with The Times.
Incidentally, the same British newspaper, The Guardian, which helped Assange publishing diplomatic cables, brought to light the report prepared by the Swedish police on Assange’s sexual abuse of his two women admirers, a charge denied by Assange. Assange claimed the newspaper was selective parts of the report on selected dates by which his release by bail might have been adversely affected.
“The leak of the police report to The Guardian was clearly designed to undermine my bail application. It was timed to come up on the desk of the judge that morning. Someone in authority clearly intended to keep Julian in prison, and shopped (the report) around to other newspapers as well,” Assange was quoted as saying in Tuesdays The Times.
Assange is contesting a bid to extradite him to Sweden for participating in unprotected sex with two women. He says there is clear evidence that the two women were motivated by money, police pressure and revenge. If what Assange says is right, the third motivation, revenge, reveals that there was something to be considered guilty from Assange side too.
One of the cables from the US ambassador to Bangladesh sent to the state department reveals that the UK’s Policing Improvement Agency is providing training to Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in crime scene management and investigation through officers from West Mercia Police and Humberside Police. RAB is accused of violating human rights by Human Rights Watch.
British High Commission officials have confirmed the news, BBC reported. They were quoted as saying that the training program had begun in early 2008 and will conclude by March 2011. They emphasised the training focused on human rights and it provided the RAB with skill-set to conduct law enforcement duties in an ethical manner. However, they declined to comment on whether training is meant as counter terrorism effort in Bangladesh.
They said the areas covered include basic human rights training; interview skills, investigation skills, basic scene of crime skills, inclusion on a range of legal and human rights focused events. Human Rights Watch said in its report last year that RAB had an operating culture of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by its members with impunity.
BBC News | 18 December 2010
Bank of America has stopped handling payments for whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, joining several other major financial institutions. It said it acted because "Wikileaks may be engaged in activities that are… inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments". In response, Wikileaks urged its supporters to stop doing business with the bank – one of the world’s largest.
MasterCard, PayPal and other companies earlier cut off Wikileaks’ payments. The financial institutions acted after Wikileaks – together with several major media organisations – began publishing thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, causing tension between Washington and some of its allies.
Mr Assange, 39, dismissed the claims as part of a "smear" campaign. He also said he was worried about an attempt to extradite him to the United States, adding that Washington was conducting an "aggressive" and "illegal" investigation into him and the website.
Wikileaks’ latest revelations have pointed to Monarchy’s uncertainty in Thailand. According a cable sent by the US ambassador to Thailand to Washington, three top political figures of Thailand expressed concerns about prospects of the crown prince assuming monarchy.
Two of the three figures are said to be senior advisers to the king. The ailing 83-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world’s longest-reigning current head of state. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn is in his late fifties. The ambassador’s cable quotes alleged conversations with General Prem Tinsulanonda, the head of the Privy Council, and two former prime ministers, Anand Panyarachun and Air Chief Marshall Siddhi Savetsila.
It says all three had quite negative comments about the crown prince and two of them – while asserting that the crown prince will become king – implied that the country would be "better off if other arrangements could be made" as per BBC news. The cable also cited concerns about the crown prince’s private life.
The ambassador’s conclusion in the cable is that "on the two most difficult and sensitive issues of the day in Thailand – ousted Prime Minister Thaiksin
Julian Assange, founder of whistle-blower website was granted conditional bail on Thursday, November 16 by a British court. The Australian is fighting extradition to Sweden over sex charges involving two Swedish women. Assange’s supporters put up sureties worth 240,000 pounds.
Gemma Lindfield, representing the Swedish authorities, had told the judge there was "a real risk" Assange would abscond and pointed to his nomadic lifestyle. She said he had "the means and ability" to go into hiding among Wikileaks’ many supporters in this country and abroad.
However, Mr Justice Ouseley pointed out Mr Assange had offered to meet the police in London when he heard the Swedish matter was still live and he said, "That is not the conduct of a person who is seeking to evade justice."
The US used backstage diplomatic manoeuvres to help block the appointment of a scientist from Iran to a key position on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a leaked diplomatic cable reveals. The US privately lobbied IPCC chair Dr Rajendra Pachauri, as well as the UK, EU, Argentina and Mali representatives, and had put its embassies to work from Brazil to Uzbekistan. It wanted to prevent the election of Dr Mostafa Jafari as one of two co-chairmen of a key working group.
The other co-chair was to be an American scientist, Prof Christopher Field. The US state department noted that sharing the IPCC position with an Iranian would be "problematic" and "potentially at odds with overall US policy towards Iran". The jobs often involved travel to and extended residencies in each other’s countries, the cable said. The appointment of an Iranian would also "significantly complicate" US funding for the IPCC secretariat for that working group. US diplomats recognised Jafari as "a highly-qualified scientist … but he is also a senior Iranian government employee".
Pachauri today rejected any suggestion he had colluded with the US private approaches, which apparently ended in another candidate, an Argentinian, being appointed to the position to which Jafari had been nominated. A spokesperson for Pachauri said that he, "neither influenced, nor agreed to influence, the election. Not only would such an agreement be outside his mandate as chairman of the IPCC, but it would also be impossible to achieve."
The cable claims: "Prior to arrival in Geneva, the [US delegation] contacted IPCC chairman Dr Rajendra Pachauri (please protect) who agreed to work on this issue to avoid the potential for disruption to one of the organisation’s three core working groups." The phrase "please protect" is used to tell the cable’s recipients not to use a contact’s name publicly.
Guardian.co.uk | 02/12/2010
The US state department’s wish list of information about the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, and other senior members of his organisation was drawn up by the CIA, the Guardian has learned. The disclosure comes as new information emerged about Washington’s intelligence gathering on foreign diplomats, including surveillance of the telephone and internet use of Iranian and Chinese diplomats.
One of the most embarrassing revelations to emerge from US diplomatic cables obtained by the whistleblowers’ website WikiLeaks has been that US diplomats were asked to gather intelligence on Ban, other senior UN staff, security council members and other foreign diplomats – a possible violation of international law.
US state department spokesperson PJ Crowley, in interviews since the release, has tried to deflect criticism by repeatedly hinting that although the cables were signed by secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, they originated with another agency. However, he refused to identify it.
The Guardian has learned that the intelligence-shopping list is drawn up annually by the manager of Humint (human intelligence), a post created by the Bush administration in 2005 in a push to better co-ordinate intelligence after 9/11. Humint is part of the CIA, which deals with overseas spying overseas and is one of at least 12 US intelligence agencies. The manager of Humint sets out priorities for the coming year and sends them to the state department. The actual form of words used in the diplomatic cables is written by the state department but a US official confirmed tonight that the original directives are written by the "intelligence community".
The US has been keen to stress that its diplomats are not acting as spies, a label that could endanger their lives. A senior US intelligence official said: "It shouldn’t surprise anyone that US officials at the United Nations seek information on how other nations view topics of mutual concern. If you look at the list of topics of
Guardian.co.uk | 03/2/2010
Close reading of the cables released by WikiLeaks reveals in excruciating detail the US tactics deployed to achieve its aim of overwhelming the opposition to the Copenhagen accord.
In the cable requesting intelligence from UN diplomats, it names specific countries of interest, including China, France, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the European Union, and seeks biographical details of individuals such as credit card and frequent-flyer numbers. It also seeks compromising intelligence on the officials running the climate negotiations, such as "efforts by treaty secretariats to influence treaty negotiations or compliance".
Despite pushing the accord hard, America’s deputy climate-change envoy, Jonathan Pershing, revealed some concerns about it in the meeting with the EU climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard. The cable notes Pershing saying the national action plans to cut emissions submitted, "by some major economies were ‘opaque’". Hedegaard agrees – "China’s submission was open to interpretation" and Pershing says, "Brazil’s and India’s submissions were as well".
In the other key cable from Brussels, the US deputy national security adviser, Michael Froman, gives an admiring assessment of the Basic countries’ tactics of opposition: "It is remarkable how closely co-ordinated the Basic group has become in international fora, taking turns to impede US/EU initiatives and playing the US and EU off against each other. Basic countries have widely differing interests, but have subordinated these to their common short-term goals. The US and EU need to learn from this co-ordination and work much more closely and effectively together ourselves, to better handle third country obstructionism and avoid future train wrecks on climate, Doha or financial regulatory reform."
Wikileaks supporters hacked the websites of the Swedish prosecutor and MasterCard in retaliation over arrest of Julian Assange, who published secret US diplomatic cables. The Swedish prosecution authority, whose arrest order for Assange over accusations of sexual offences led a British court to remand the 39-year-old WikiLeaks website founder in custody, said it had reported the online attack to police. MasterCard website also was attacked for blocking donations to the Wikileaks website. A twitter post by AnonOps posted this information.
Assange, who has lived periodically in Sweden, was accused this year of sexual misconduct by two female Swedish WikiLeaks volunteers. The pair’s lawyer said their claims were not a politically motivated plot against Assange. "It has nothing to do with WikiLeaks or the CIA," said lawyer Claes Borgstrom, whose website also came under cyber-attack, according to officials.
"Mr Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorised release of 250,000 documents from the U.S. diplomatic communications network," Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd told Reuters in an interview. "The Americans are responsible for that," said Rudd, who had been described in one leaked U.S. cable as a "control freak".
Assange has prominent supporters including campaigning Australian journalist John Pilger and British filmmaker Ken Loach as defender of free speech. Some supporters appear to want to help him. While most denial of service attacks involve botnets, programs that hijack computers and use them to target individual websites and bring them down, the current cyber-attacks seem to be different. "In this case… they seem to be using their own computers," he said. Asked what that said about how many individuals might be involved: "Probably hundreds at the least could be thousands," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finnish software security firm F-Secure.
After Canadian ambassador offering his resignation over the disclosure of his assessment on Afghan president Hamid Karzai and his family by Wikileaks, now it is Germany’s turn. Philip Murphy, US ambassador to Germany was asked to be recalled by the US government over his unseemly behaviour, revealed by Wikileaks.
Philip Murphy reportedly described Free Democratic Party leader Guido Westerwelle as “arrogant, vain and critical of America.” Chancellor Angela Merkel was described as “risk averse and rarely creative” in diplomatic cables sent to the US state department.
An aide to Mr Westerwelle resigned earlier for passing information to the UN envoy. They said that he had admitted supplying details of the negotiations that brought the formation of the centre-right coalition led by Angela’s Christian Democrat Party. Later, the party said the aide, Mr Metzner had only passed publicly accessible information and no legal action would be initiated against him.
In the US cables sent by US’ diplomats, disclosed by Wikileaks, Russia was described as a virtual mafia state. The cables were published by New York Times, Guardian and other three newspapers. The cables painted a picture of a corrupt Russia centred on the leadership of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Bribery in the political system totals an estimated $300 billion a year, The Guardian newspaper said.
The cables quoted National Court Prosecutor Jose “Pepe” Grinda Gonzalez, a Special Prosecutor for Corruption and Organized Crime in Spain, who conducted extensive research on Russian Mafia. Grinda presented his remarks on January 13 at the new US-Spain Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Experts Working Group meeting in Madrid. He provided a 17-page English language handout entitled, “The Organised Crime and the Russian Mafia.”
Some Excerpts of the cable are:
“…He (Grinda) is forward-leaning in his cooperation with the USG and grateful for USG assistance. His work places him under considerable stress, which make him suspicious of penetration attempts by intelligence services and causes him to have heightened sensitivities regarding his physical security.”
“He said that what we are confronting is the "Russian mafia" even if the term "Eurasian mafia" is more socially acceptable and what the Russians certainly prefer. He acknowledged that the term Russian mafia could be a misnomer since these criminal groups sometimes involve Ukrainians, Georgians, Belarusians or Chechens. He nevertheless questioned the stigma surrounding the phrase "Russian mafia" and noted it is acceptable to say ‘Sicilian mafia.’”
In one of the latest cables to be released by Wikileaks, senior UK Foreign Office official Mariot Leslie told US diplomats in September 2009 that Britain had "deep concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons".
In another cable seven months earlier, then-US ambassador Anne Patterson told Washington: "Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in the government of Pakistan facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon."
Another cable concerning a US intelligence briefing in 2008 said: "Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world."
Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told Agence France-Presse news agency the fears expressed in the leaks "were misplaced and doubtless fall in the realm of condescension". He said they reflected "historical biases against Pakistan".
In the leaked material, Ms Patterson also said there was "no chance" of Pakistan "abandoning support for [militant] groups". The Pakistan government, she added, saw militant groups "as an important part of its national security apparatus against India". The US also expressed concern about tensions between the powerful Pakistani army and Mr Zardari.
China is frustrated with North Korea’s attitude, Wikileaks third despatch reveals. One of the cables released on Monday says, China’s Vice Foreign Minister, He Yafei, told the US charge d’affaires in Beijing that North Korea was behaving like a "spoiled child" to get Washington’s attention in April 2009 by carrying out missile tests. Another cable in September 2009 says Mr He Yafei downplayed the visit of China’s premier Wen Jiabao to Pyongyong saying US deputy secretary of state Mr James Steinberg, “We may not like them… (But) they are a neighbour.” He also said Wen would push for denuclearisation and a return to talks.
Another cable reveals a discussion in February 2010 between former South Korean vice foreign minister Chun Yung-Woo and the US ambassador to Seoul Kathleen Stephens. The minister was quoted as saying that the new younger generation in China would not regard North Korea as a reliable ally and they would not risk another war in Korean peninsula. Ms Stephens added, "The PRC would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a ‘benign alliance’ – as long as Korea was not hostile towards China."
Six party talks to defuse the nuclear ambitions of North Korea were stalled in April 2009 after North Korea test fired missiles. The US and South Korea say talks cannot be resumed until North Korea makes a genuine offer on stalling its nuclear tests.
Reuters | Nov 29, 2010 | 5:57pm IST
Saudi King Abdullah has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran’s nuclear program and China directed cyber-attacks on the United States, according to a vast cache of U.S. diplomatic cables released on Sunday in an embarrassing leak that undermines U.S. diplomacy. The more than 250,000 documents, given to five media groups by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, provide candid and at times critical views of foreign leaders as well as sensitive information on terrorism and nuclear proliferation filed by U.S. diplomats, according to The New York Times.
The White House condemned the release by WikiLeaks and said the disclosures may endanger U.S. informants abroad. WikiLeaks said its website was under attack and none of the underlying cables was visible there Sunday night, though some were posted by news organizations. Among the revelations in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which also received an advance look at the documents along with France’s Le Monde, Germany’s Der Spiegel and Spain’s El Pais, King Abdullah is reported to have "frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program."
"Cut off the head of the snake," the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, quotes the king as saying during a meeting with U.S. General David Petraeus in April 2008. The leaked documents, the majority of which are from 2007 or later, also disclose U.S. allegations that China’s Politburo directed an intrusion into Google’s computer systems, part of a broader coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by Chinese government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws, the Times reported.
MEDVEDEV "PLAYS ROBIN TO PUTIN’S BATMAN"
As described by German news weekly Der Spiegel, the cables contain tart comments such as a U.S. diplomat’s description of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as someone who "avoids risk and is seldom creative." Another document described by The New York Times cites a U.S. embassy cable raising the possibility that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi may have had a romantic relationship with his Ukranian nurse, who is described as a "voluptuous blonde."
The newspaper said many of the cables name diplomats’ confidential sources, from foreign lawmakers and military officers to human rights activists and journalists, often with a warning: "Please protect" or "Strictly protect." Comments such a description of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s head of state, as playing "Robin to (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin’s Batman," are sure to embarrass the Obama administration and to complicate its diplomacy.