The Obama administration urged McCain and Lieberman not to bring up the Lockerbie bomber at the meeting. (They did anyway.)
Qaddafi's weird inauguration letter to Barack Obama.
The U.S. Embassy in Manama requested talking points for answering questions about an allegedly tortured Bahraini Guantanamo detainee in 2005.
Meet the Coast Guard officer who serves as a back-channel emissary to Havana.
A U.S. diplomat went undercover as a Korean tourist to visit a Chinese tiger farm.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou told U.S. embassy officials in 2009 that People's Liberation Army activity in the Taiwan Strait could push Taiwan and China toward political talks.
An April Fools Day cable from the U.S. Embassy in Delhi.
WikiLeaks drops a giant tranche of nearly 100,000 new cables -- we're still working through them -- and is reportedly unhappy with the media's mounting disinterest in its work. (A bit of advice from your humble Wikiblogger: Not releasing thousands of cables during the fall of Tripoli might help.)
WikiLeaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg tells Wired he destroyed thousands of WikiLeaks documents "in order to ensure that the sources are not compromised."
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.)
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images
Was the former Chinese finance minister caught in a Taiwanese honey trap?
A Cuban cardinal pushed to close a Cuban magazine critical of the Castro regime.
The journalists who could make a fortune off of WikiLeaks.
FP rounds up WikiLeaks' recent greatest hits.
A theatrical adaptation of the WikiLeaks saga (above) debuts in Australia.
WikiLeaks parodies MasterCard's "Priceless" ads:
TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. diplomats condemned the "appalling greed" of Moroccan King Mohammed VI's inner circle.
The George W. Bush administration supported Catholic clergy in Venezuela who protested against Hugo Chávez (and defied the pope in so doing).
A 2008 survey found that half of Cubans couldn't identify any of the major dissidents on the island that receive U.S. backing.
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman was an influential player in Obama's China policy during his tenure as ambassador.
Gaming out the internal power dynamics of China's Politburo Standing Committee.
Julian Assange revamps his legal team.
GOP presidential hopeful and former Arizona Gov. Gary Johnson is pretty much the only Republican willing to defend WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks thinks Bitcoin is too dodgy for donations.
Remember those cameras that Assange supporters claimed were being used to spy on him? They're actually there to monitor traffic.
THE BIG PICTURE
Has WikiLeaks ushered in an era of no government secrets?
Sierra Leonean military officials blew $1.9 million in British aid money on big-screen TVs and hunting rifles.
U.S. officials helped in a corruption case against Tanzanian banking executives.
Kenyan officials told U.S. diplomats that an investigation into the country's 2007-2008 election violence would risk provoking civil war.
Nigerian politician Joseph Ibori wanted to create a "trust fund" with his stolen wealth.
The owner of Japan's currently imperiled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant falsified inspection records for the facility.
U.S. diplomats say British defense contractor BAE bribed a Saudi prince to secure a fighter jet deal.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley
is fired quits after
calling the Defense Department's treatment of alleged WikiLeaks source Pfc.
Bradley Manning "ridiculous
and counterproductive and stupid."
The Pentagon says its own security weaknesses enabled the leaking of the WikiLeaks documents.
Mexican President Filipe Calderón is "barely on speaking terms" with the U.S. ambassador to Mexico over WikiLeaks disclosures.
A federal judge rules that Twitter must hand over its records in WikiLeaks case.
Gawker goes inside Anonymous's war room.
Jihadist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki praises WikiLeaks.
The top lawmaker on the U.S. House of Representatives' intelligence committee says WikiLeaks have been "devastating" to diplomacy.
THE BIG PICTURE
Julian Assange: WikiLeaks sparked the Arab revolt.
How the WikiLeaks documents helped reporters covering Japan's nuclear woes.
WikiLeaks suffers the most damaging leak of them all: pictures of Julian Assange dancing.
How Coca-Cola got embroiled in a fight between Muammar al-Qaddafi's sons.
An aide to Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki tells U.S. diplomats that Kibaki is soft on corruption.
The Kenyan president's mistress also has alleged links to mercenaries.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the "George Steinbrenner of Iran."
Twenty-two new charges have been filed against Pfc. Bradley Manning, including capital offenses -- enough to send him to jail for life.
The Department of Defense won't let Rep. Dennis Kucinich visit Manning in jail.
Did a WikiLeaks cable finally push the director of the London School of Economics to resign over the Saif al-Islam al-Qaddafi affair?
Mexican President Felipe Calderon says WikiLeaks disclosures have caused "severe damage" to U.S.-Mexico relationship.
Julian Assange appeals his extradition to Sweden on sex assault charges.
PayPal has a change of heart about letting people give Assange money.
Anonymous manages to force its nemesis HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr out of his job, moves on to bugging the Koch brothers.
Julian Assange wants to trademark his name.
Assange is, or maybe isn't, an anti-semite.
THE BIG PICTURE
What's at stake for American journalists if Assange is prosecuted.
Why Assange is ruining WikiLeaks.
Why the best way for the U.S. government to prevent the next WikiLeak is less secrecy.
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Qaddafi worried about a U.S. military presence in Africa.
Bernie Madoff once discussed investment opportunities with Qaddafi.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe OK'd "clandestine operations" against FARC rebels across the border in Venezuela.
U.S. Ambassador to Colombia (and later Afghanistan) William Wood was not aware of the top Colombian military leader's dodgy résumé.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce tried to take down Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega.
China used U.S. debt obligations to pressure the United States on arms sales to Taiwan.
For the first time since World War II, Japan is building a full-blown foreign intelligence agency.
U.S. diplomats pushed Norway to buy American-made fighter jets.
Britain blocked an arms sale to Swaziland over fears the weapons could end up in Iran.
Bahrain's crown prince is not a big fan of the whole democracy thing.
A British judge rules in favor of Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden.
George W. Bush doesn't like the idea of sharing a stage with Assange.
Gaddafi's "voluptuous nurse" has had enough of Libya.
WikiLeaks cable revelations are factoring in Peru's 2011 elections.
PayPal freezes the account of a group raising defense funds for Pfc. Bradley Manning.
More on HBGary, the cybersecurity firm that tried to take down WikiLeaks' supporters.
WikiLeaks now has a gift shop.
Anonymous makes "The Colbert Report" (slightly NSFW)
THE BIG PICTURE
U.S. diplomats in 2008 called the Libyan city where protests erupted this week "a locus of extremist activity" not really under the control of Muammar Qaddafi's government.
What U.S. diplomats have to say about Xi Jinping, China's next leader.
NATO on Russia's military: Meh.
Inside the United States' cozy relationship with Bahrain.
Bahrain's king told U.S. officials that his country's opposition was trained by Hezbollah.
The U.S. government's WikiLeaks probe makes its courtroom debut in the United States.
The preposterously complex hacking and counter-hacking saga engulfing WikiLeaks' online allies.
Australia wants to make sure Julian Assange is treated justly in Sweden.
Anonymous is now going after Iran.
THE BIG PICTURE
Free speech advocate and celebrity attorney Alan Dershowitz, now Julian Assange's lawyer, tells FP why WikiLeaks is "the Pentagon Papers case for the 21st Century."
WikiLeaks' Asia cables could be a whole lot worse.
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images
The Libyan frogman who couldn't swim.
The FBI pursues a team of alleged Qatari would-be 9/11 conspirators in the United States.
The rift between Washington and Beijing is deeper than either government would like you to think.
The United States' secret space arms race with China.
A Croatian man tries to get back at his ex-girlfriend by telling U.S. embassy officials that she's hanging out with Osama bin Laden.
Making an oil and gas deal in Russia is really complicated.
Newly appointed Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman is close to Mubarak and foreign intelligence agencies, but not Mubarak's son. And a lot of people seem to think Mubarak's new deputy prime minister is a bureaucratic dinosaur.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accuses Syria and Iran of arming Iraqi militants.
Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh wants his money.
U.S. diplomats doubt reforms are on the way in Jordan.
Did WikiLeaks hack into New York Times reporters' email accounts?
WikiLeaks' release process has become so complicated that even the papers involved don't know what's a scoop anymore.
Amnesty International wants Britain to pressure the U.S. government over the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning.
THE BIG PICTURE
George W. Bush administration Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith thinks Assange will be prosecuted in the United States.
New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller and Guardian Editor in Chief Alan Rusbridger talk WikiLeaks.
Forty-two percent of Americans have no idea what WikiLeaks is.
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Not much is known about Xi Jinping, the expected next president of China, but according to a newly public WikiLeaks cable, Xi has been complaining to America's neighbors about "well fed foreigners" pointing fingers at China.
In a February 2009 trip to Mexico, the first stop in Xi's six-country tour of Latin America, the current vice president of China blurted out his feelings about criticisms of Chinese diplomacy, according to a diplomatic cable classified by acting deputy chief of mission James Williard.
"There are some well fed foreigners who have nothing better to do than point fingers at our affairs," Xi blurted out at a lunch meeting, appropriately. "China does not, first, export revolution; second, export poverty and hunger; third, cause troubles for you."
Xi showed up with representatives of 20 Chinese companies in tow and made the case that China and Mexico have common cause to cooperate economically, as both are developing countries facing the consequences of a global financial crisis they didn't cause. The embassy cable noted that Xi's outburst seemed to reveal the Xi's true feelings about America despite a more diplomatic message during the rest of his visit.
"It should be noted that his criticism of 'well-fed foreigners' sharply contrasted from the overarching cooperation theme of his visit and were delivered on the first leg of his trip in a country with strong ties to the United States," the cable said.
The cable reported that Mexico was trying to correct its huge trade deficit with China and that Mexican officials were wary of China's tactic of expanding economic activity in developing countries.
"We don't want to be China's next Africa," a Mexican official told a U.S. Embassy economics officer, according to the cable, referring to the oft-cited criticism that China has pursued a strategy of seizing the continent's huge natural resources while dumping cheap industrial and manufactured products into foreign markets. "We need to own our country's development."
Two other recently released WikiLeaks cables also detailed China's charm offensive in Latin America and skepticism on that continent of Chinese motives and practices.
"China's strategy in Latin America is clear: it wants to 'control the supply of commodities,' said the Brazilian consul general in Shanghai," according to one cable sent to Washington from the U.S. Shanghai Consulate in April 2009.
"Colombia is wary of Chinese motives and what it sees as lax Chinese environmental and labor standards. However, Colombia needs new economic partners, particularly given the lack of progress on a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade agreement (FTA)," said another cable, conveying the views of Colombian diplomats as reported by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
The cables paint a picture of an aggressive Chinese effort to insert state-owned companies into America's backyard while Latin American countries have few options but to go along in the face of American neglect.
Xi, who is expected to succeed President Hu Jintao in 2012, has been intimately involved in those efforts, the cables show.
So how did his trip to Mexico go? The cables report the results as mixed.
"Xi's visit intensified the Mexico-China dialogue," the cable said. "However, Mexico's trade deficit with China and concerns over China's approach to investment continue to color Mexico's perception of China as a true partner."
AFP / Getty Images
Britain's New Statesman has an interview with Julian Assange in its new issue out tomorrow, and the magazine is teasing a few excerpts from it today. While there's no love lost between the WikiLeaks founder and the U.S. government -- which is still trying to figure out how to extradite and charge him -- Assange says that China, not the United States, is his true "technological enemy":
China has aggressive and sophisticated interception technology that places itself between every reader inside China and every information source outside China. We've been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get information through, and there are now all sorts of ways Chinese readers can get on to our site.
Asked about his relationship with alleged document source Bradley Manning -- whose interactions or lack thereof with Assange prior to Manning's acquisition of the State Department documents is central to the question of whether the U.S. government has a case against the Australian hacker -- Assange says that "I'd never heard his name before it was published in the press," adding that "WikiLeaks technology was designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never knew the identities or names of the people submitting material."
Assange also claims to have State Department documents concerning the parent company of his media bête noire Fox News, telling the New Statesman's John Pilger that "There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on [Rupert] Murdoch and News Corp."
LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir allegedly has $9 billion in oil money stashed in Britain.
American diplomats at the United Nations don't like to talk much about human rights anymore.
Joking about Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, or even above Venezuela, is ill-advised.
How Brazil got pharmaceutical companies to hand over cheap HIV/AIDS drugs.
WikiLeaks is banned there.
The Red Cross reported extensive torture of Kashmiris at Indian detention centers in Kashmir to the U.S. embassy in New Delhi in 2005.
Singapore's government owes an apology to basically every major country in Asia.
The Dalai Lama says fighting climate change is more important for Tibet than political independence.
The heir to the Gandhi family political dynasty thinks Hindu extremists are a bigger threat to India than Muslim ones.
Turkmen strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov doesn't like people who are smarter than him.
Eric Clapton's weirdly persistent influence on North Korean politics.
Silvio Berlusconi for the win?
The German government is still not digging L. Ron Hubbard.
The Stockholm embassy discusses Sweden's WikiLeaks-enabling Pirate Party in a particularly meta cable.
The Azeri first lady's plastic surgery creates confusion among U.S. diplomats in Baku.
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is "bizarre" and "disturbed."
Do Arab leaders actually care about the Palestinians?
Hosni Mubarak thinks his son is a perfectionist.
Is the Egyptian military in "intellectual and social decline"?
The Arab League doesn't like Steven Spielberg.
Julian Assange is released on bail after a media-circus-attracting hearing, but not before Michael Moore manages to get involved. Now that he's out of jail, Assange is pretty chatty -- as is Vaughan Smith, the journalist and WikiLeaks supporter who's hosting him until his next court date.
Things are not going nearly so well for alleged Assange document source Bradley Manning.
Someone posts a manifesto on behalf of Anonymous, the ad-hoc group of hackers that has cyber-attacked an array of targets in solidarity with WikiLeaks over the past two weeks. The manifesto quotes KISS bassist Gene Simmons. A Greek web designer is arrested for it.
A lot of people think Assange should have been Time's 2010 person of the year. Richard Stengel, the magazine's managing editor, isn't one of them.
Would Henry David Thoreau join Anonymous?
Congress considers WikiLeaks.
Mark Prendergast, ombudsman for the U.S. military's official Stars and Stripes newspaper, argues that military personnel should be allowed to read the cables.
If WikiLeaks doesn't get things rolling a little faster, we'll be writing this blog for another 7.6 years.
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Officials in Singapore are sweating the release Sunday of a fresh batch of cables that show top leaders of the tiny island nation being a little too candid about the neighbors.
The cables themselves don't seem to be out yet, but Australia's The Age newspaper reports that they make for pretty good reading.
The new cables are summaries of meetings between U.S. diplomats and three top Singaporean officials: Peter Ho, Bilahari Kausikan, and Tommy Koh (shown above in Amritsar, India).
In one cable, Koh is quoted describing Japan as "the big fat loser" in ASEAN, the Southeast Asian regional body, and attributing Japan's shrinking status in the region to "stupidity, bad leadership, and lack of vision."
"He was equally merciless towards India, describing his 'stupid Indian friends' as 'half in, half out' of ASEAN,'' the cable reportedly says.
Koh has warm words for Beijing, however: "I don't fear China. I don't fear being assimilated by China,'' the cable quotes him saying, pointing to how the Chinese go about their business in Africa ''without lecturing them about human rights and democracy as the West does."
Kausikan, meanwhile, rips neighboring Malaysia's "lack of competent leadership" and connects current Prime Minister Najib Razik to a 2006 murder scandal.
Kausikan also has some colorful things to say about Thailand, dismissing former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as ''corrupt,'' just like ''everyone else, including the opposition." He claims that Thaksin paid off the gambling debts of the Thai crown prince, whom he describes as "very erratic, and easily subject to influence."
Another recent story, in the Sydney Morning Herald, cites a leaked State Department cable relaying that Singaporean officials told their Australian counterparts that Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim committed sodomy as he has long been accused of doing but that it was a "set up job," according to Australian intelligence. Ibrahim denies it, and his party is demanding an explanation from the Singaporeans.
NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images
Dear Lead Guitarist? WikiLeaks' latest batch of cables includes a 2007 dispatch from the U.S. embassy in Seoul relaying an unidentified informant's suggestions for improving communication with North Korea. Among them:
BOOK ERIC CLAPTON
¶9. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX passed on the suggestion from his North Korean interlocutors that the USG arrange for Eric Clapton to perform a concert in Pyongyang. As Kim Jong-il's second son, Kim Jong-chol, is reported to be a great fan, the performance could be an opportunity to build good will.
We knew this -- the Financial Times reported in February 2008 that Pyongyang had invited Clapton to perform around the same time it had invited the New York Philharmonic, and that Clapton was receptive to the idea. But in light of Kim Jong Un's recent anointment as his father's successor, it's worth noting the weirdly outsized role that Clapton has played in North Korean politics: Kim Jong Chul reportedly began to fall out of favor as a prospective heir to the Kim dynasty after he and his girlfriend were spotted at a Clapton concert in Germany in 2006. (Eldest son Kim Jong Nam infamously took himself out of the running five years earlier.)
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Is China through with North Korea? That's the Guardian's takeaway from the exchanges between American diplomats and their Chinese and South Korean counterparts in the first batches of State Department cables released by Wikileaks on Sunday and Monday. "China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime," Simon Tisdall writes, and goes on to note evidence of "China's shift:" Nods of approval from Chinese officials for a single Korea governed from Seoul, expressions of alarm from Beijing about Pyongyang's 2009 missile tests, and a Chinese official's complaint that Kim Jong-il's regime is behaving like a "spoiled child."
It's all in there -- but sifting through the Wikileaks cables, that reading strikes me as a bit breathless. It's true that there are a couple of significant nods toward the idea of reunification. One comes in a 2009 meeting between Richard E. Hoagland and Cheng Guoping, respectively the American and Chinese ambassadors to Kazakhstan, at a hotel restaurant in the capital city of Astana. (Hoagland, incidentally, is a great reporter -- his account of the meeting is some of the best reading in the Wikileaks files.) "When asked about the reunification of Korea," Hoagland writes, "Guoping said China hopes for peaceful reunification in the long-term, but he expects the two countries to remain separate in the short-term."
The other is some intelligence relayed from South Korean then-Vice Foreign Minister Chun Yung-woo, who told U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens that Chinese officials "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." The breaking point, Chun reportedly told Stephens, was North Korea's 2006 nuclear test, after which Chinese officials were increasingly willing to "face the new reality" that North Korea had outlived its usefulness as a buffer between Chinese and American forces. Chun (in Stephens's paraphrase) notes that the "tremendous trade and labor-export opportunities for Chinese companies" in a newly opened North Korea might would make reunification easier to swallow, and points out that in any case, "China's strategic economic interests now lie with the United States, Japan, and South Korea -- not North Korea."
Otherwise, Beijing's sharpest words -- such as Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei's remark that the Kim regime is acting like a "spoiled child" trying to get the attention of the "adult" United States -- came mostly in the wake of Pyongyang's April 2009 missile test, in the context of Beijing's efforts to engage Washington in bilateral talks with Pyongyang, Kim Jong-il's principal diplomatic goal at the time. Beijing's emissaries mostly just seem to be trying to keep the Americans at the table.
David E. Sanger's take in the New York Times better captures the essence of the cables, which is to say their ambiguity -- based on the selective evidence here, Beijing seems only somewhat less in the dark about what exactly is going on in Pyongyang than North Korea's enemies. Other corners of the Wikileaks trove are rich in plot and detail: the Obama administration's slow disenchantment with Turkey, byzantine Azeri-Iranian money laundering schemes, Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh's entanglements with the U.S. military. The North Korean cables are mostly a lot of chatter around the edges of a giant question mark. As Sanger writes, they "are long on educated guesses and short on facts, illustrating why their subject is known as the Black Hole of Asia." The dominant mood of the Chinese diplomats who appear throughout them is exhaustion -- a sense, plenty familiar in Washington and Seoul, that no one really knows what to do next.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images