Members of Haiti's elite complained to the U.S. Embassy in 2005 about eroding security in the country.
A Taliban representative told U.S. officials in 1996 that the Taliban had shut down "Arab" training camps in Afghanistan, and had no idea where Osama bin Laden was. A U.S. embassy official met with a Taliban representative the following year to discuss the Afghan drug trade and the group's sheltering of bin Laden.
A 1999 State Department meeting with future Afghan President Hamid Karzai, identified here as the "son of an important Afghan tribal leader."
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad sizing up the Taliban's Mullah Omar, circa 1997.
Beijing was unhappy about North Korean nuclear tests in 2006, but powerless to stop them.
The Japanese island of Okinawa, host to a longstanding U.S. military presence, is tilting toward China and away from the United States.
Bahrain's recent crackdown on its Shiite minority came out of Saudi Arabia's playbook.
Julian Assange is reportedly backing off of plans to publish his memoirs.
A medic in Britain's Royal Navy has been sentenced to seven months' detention for refusing to train on account of WikiLeaks-inspired moral objections.
An excellent telling of the sad saga of Pfc. Bradley Manning from New York. (The online friend whose chats with Manning provide much of the new information in the piece has also made their correspondence available for download.)
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The U.S. government, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil joined forces to kill a Venezuelan oil deal in Haiti.
The frightening state of the developing world's nuclear energy programs.
China told U.S. officials it wasn't selling nuclear reactors to Pakistan, then did it anyway.
The British government worried that Russian gas behemoth Gazprom was being run by spies.
Julian Assange says WikiLeaks "played a significant role" in the Arab Spring, but that "there are no official allegations in the public domain" of anyone being hurt by the site's document dumps.
President Barack Obama nominates a replacement for the WikiLeaks-deposed U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the U.S. government to officially release WikiLeaked cables about the war on terror.
Al Jazeera's WikiLeaks-inspired document-sharing site isn't much safer than the Wall Street Journal's.
The Swedish Bar Association chastises Assange's lawyer.
Of course you want to know what Jesse Ventura thinks about WikiLeaks.
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More than 700 files on Guantánamo Bay detainees obtained by WikiLeaks are released. Extensive coverage is here, here, here, and here. The Huffington Post has the backstory on the release. Also check out FP's roundup of the coverage and roundtable discussion of the cables with Karen Greenberg, Robert Chesney, Morris Davis, and Matthew Alexander.
Someone should tell the U.S. Department of Defense that World Net Daily is a somewhat less-than-credible source of information.
The Guantánamo file on former detainee and Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj suggests just how suspicious the U.S. government was of the network.
Did the Ecuadorian government manipulate the country's bond market?
U.S. diplomats worry about Muammar al-Qaddafi's relationship with Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega.
Embassy officials don't think much of Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.
The U.S. government apparently considers Pakistan's intelligence agency a terrorist (or at least terrorist-supporting) organization.
The arrest of Hmong guerrilla leader Vang Pao did wonders for the U.S.-Laos relationship.
WikiLeaks received nearly $2 million in donations last year.
Most people in 24 countries surveyed by Ipsos don't think Julian Assange is a criminal (though a lot of Americans disagree).
London's Telegraph newspaper is in hot water for publishing the name of a 15-year-old rape victim contained in the Guantánamo papers.
WikiLeaks' document cache is now pretty solidly out of the organization's control.
THE BIG PICTURE
What the Guantánamo documents tell us about mission creep in the War on Terror.
The Guantánamo papers aren't likely to change much of anything for the detainees themselves.
The New York Times owes WikiLeaks big time.
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British diplomatic officials don't exactly mince words about Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. From a WikiLeaked U.S. State Department cable sent from the London embassy several days before Zardari -- who had replaced his wife, Benazir Bhutto, on the ballot following her assassination the previous year -- won Pakistan's 2008 presidential election:
[British Foreign and Commonwealth Office] Pakistan Team Leader Laura Hickey told us September 3 that HMG [the British government] fully expects Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Asif Zardari to win Pakistan's presidency on September 6, but it is unlikely he will retain the position for long. In HMG estimation, Zardari has no popular support, is strongly disliked within his own party, is not trust-worthy, and is unable to deliver on the countless promises he has recently made to win support in his bid for the presidency. Absent popular support or military backing, Zardari will be unable to hold onto the presidency. HMG projects that he will encumber the top position for six to 12 months, and there will be elections before Zardari completes his term.
The cable goes on to note that "As far as [counterterrorism] and security cooperation are concerned, Zardari is not at odds with UK and U.S. interests. [The British government], however, finds it unlikely that he will be able to deliver because he is an ineffective leader who has 'no plans and no strategy.'"
Of all the shoes we've been waiting to see drop in as the cables slowly -- slowly -- trickle out of the WikiLeaks vault, few seemed as inevitable as India. Considering the country's intractable standoff with Pakistan, domestic and border conflicts, politically sensitive (for the United States, at least) economic rise, and place in Asia's delicate new balance of power, the odds of someone in the New Delhi embassy writing something headline-worthy seemed to be -- oh, about 100 percent.
And surprise surprise, someone did:
US officials had evidence of widespread torture by Indian police and security forces and were secretly briefed by Red Cross staff about the systematic abuse of detainees in Kashmir, according to leaked diplomatic cables released tonight.
That's the lede on today's Guardian story parsing a handful of newly released State Department documents out of Delhi. (As has been the case over recent days, WikiLeaks itself has been slow and erratic in actually posting the material on which the newspapers entrusted with the whole stash are reporting, but the new ones are available here, here, and here on the Guardian site.) The worst of them concerns a briefing given to embassy officials in April 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in which the (unnamed) Red Cross representative lays out in appalling detail the acts of torture committed by Indian security forces in their prosecution of the quarter-century-long conflict in Kashmir.
Following 1,491 interviews with Kashmiris who had been detained at Indian government facilities in Kashmir from 2002 to 2004, the cable says, "The continued ill-treatment of detainees, despite longstanding ICRC-[government of India] dialogue, have led the ICRC to conclude that ... New Delhi condones torture."
In 852 cases, detainees reported what ICRC refers to as "IT" (ill-treatment): 171 persons were beaten, the remaining 681 subjected to one or more of six forms of torture: electricity (498 cases), suspension from ceiling (381), "roller" (a round metal object put on the thighs of sitting person, which prison personnel then sit on, crushing muscles -- 294); stretching (legs split 180 degrees -- 181), water (various forms -- 234), or sexual (302). Numbers add up to more than 681, as many detainees were subjected to more than one form of IT. ICRC stressed that all the branches of the security forces used these forms of IT and torture.
The Red Cross representative calls this a "representative sample," but he also makes clear that the organization hadn't had access to all of the Indian detention facilities. The cable notes that this kind of briefing from the Red Cross was uncommon, and reflected the organization's sense of desperation in dealing with the Indian government -- as well as the hope, if not an outright request, that the embassy might bring some pressure to bear.
(A poignant footnote here is that, according to the 2007 Red Cross report on the CIA's own horrific treatment of detainees in the war on terrorism that was leaked to the New York Review of Books last year, the Red Cross had filed its first report on the United States' own detention program five months before the Delhi briefing detailed in the cable -- meaning that at least someone in the organization was aware that the country to which the Red Cross was appealing for support in Kashmir was complicit in similar activities elsewhere in the world.)
There is certainly other documentation of similar crimes in Kashmir out there, even if it doesn't carry the same weight as the Red Cross's condemnation. In 1993, Physicians for Human Rights released a report on torture of detainees by the Indian government in Kashmir; the 2005 cable notes that "officials have maintained that the human rights situation in Kashmir is ‘much better than it was in the 1990s,' a view [the Red Cross briefer] also agreed with." But there have been no shortage of accusations leveled at the Indian government (and, in fact, the Red Cross) in more recent years, as well as the occasional news report. Another cable, signed a year after the Red Cross dispatch by the same author, Charge d'Affaires Robert Blake, matter-of-factly notes that India's "terrorism investigations and court cases tend to rely upon confessions, many of which are obtained under duress if not beatings, threats, or, in some cases, torture. These factors, along with a creaky and corrupt judiciary, contribute to cases lingering in the courts for years."
The Guardian teases a few more tidbits in yet-to-be-released India cables, most notably that "Rahul Gandhi, the crown prince of Indian politics, believes Hindu extremists pose a greater threat to his country than Muslim militants, according to the American ambassador to India." Given Gandhi's family name and relationship with India's National Congress Party -- whose efforts to play religious politics have gotten a gimlet-eyed treatment from the U.S. embassy in Delhi elsewhere in the WikiLeaks files -- that one ought to be good.
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A front-page story in Pakistan's The News today reports that new WikiLeaks cables have confirmed what reads like a laundry list of Pakistani suspicions and grievances against India:
A cable from US Embassy in Islamabad leaked by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks disclosed that there were enough evidences of Indian involvement in Waziristan and other tribal areas of Pakistan as well as Balochistan.[...]
An earlier cable ruled out any direct or indirect involvement of ISI in 26/11 under Pasha's command while Mumbai's dossier, based on prime accused Ajmal Kasab's confessional statement was termed funny and "shockingly immature."
WikiLeaks revealed that a cable sent from a US mission in India termed former Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor as an incompetent combat leader and rather a geek.
His war doctrine, suggesting eliminating China and Pakistan in a simultaneous war front was termed as "much far from reality." Another cable indicates that General Kapoor was dubbed as a general who was least bothered about security challenges to the country but was more concerned about making personal assets and strengthening his own cult in the army. The cable also suggested that a tug-of-war between Kapoor and the current Indian Army chief had divided the Indian Army into two groups. [...]
An earlier cable described Indian Army involved in gross human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir while some Lt Gen HS Panag, the then GOC-in-Chief of the Northern Command of the Indian Army, was equated with General Milosevic of Bosnia with regard to butchering Muslims through war crimes.
The only problem is that none of these cables appear to be real. The Guardian, which has full access to the unreleased WikiLeaks cables, can't find any of them. The story, which ran in four Pakistani newspapers, isn't bylined and was credited only to Online Agency, an Islamabad-based pro-army news service.
It's actually surprising this hasn't happened yet. The vast majority of the cables are still unreleased, but the newspapers which have access to them have often reported on some of the more salacious details before the original cables are actually available. (Take for instance, the famous "Batman and Robin" description of Putin and Medvedev, which appeared in newspapers days before the actual cable was available).
So, it's pretty easy to just make up cables to serve your political agenda. If the Pakistani forgers had been more sophisticated they would have invented quotes or even mocked up fake cables rather than just paraphrasing. This, in my opinion, is an argument for just releasing the full archive now rather than trickling them out at the newspapers' pace. It will be a lot easier to fact check false claims if we no longer have to rely on the Guardian as WikiLeaks' gatekeeper.
On another note, while the Pakistani revelations seem cartoonish, it wouldn't be surprising if some damaging cables from New Delhi are coming soon. In working to improve the political and economic relationship with India, both the Bush and Obama administrations have papered over a number of unpleasant facts, from India's tacit support to the Burmese military junta to still rampant governmental corruption. I'm guessing the embassy staff in New Delhi has probably been a lot blunter.
The WikiLeaks revelations about Pakistan mostly just confirmed how both governments not-so-privately already feel about each other. In the case of U.S.-India relations, there's a lot more to lose.
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If there was a protagonist in the WikiLeaks cables released last week, it would be a petite, blond, Arkansas-born career diplomat, Anne Patterson, who until recently had been the U.S ambassador to Pakistan.
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