WLCentral will be providing news coverage from Spain on the ongoing #spanishrevolution through this liveblog. Contact us at @wikileaks_world or firstname.lastname@example.org to help us with footage, information and opinion.15MayRevolution.com provides information in English about the 15M movement. An updated agenda of related protests around the world can be found here.
May, 27th 2011
After surrounding the camp in early morning, the local police forces in Barcelona evicted the people staying in Plaza Catalunya at around 11:00 AM with the excuse of cleaning up. The reason, they say, is that because Football Club Barcelona plays the Champions League Final (an important football match) the area might be flooded by a massive celebration if they win. They stated that if this happens, then the tents and objects placed there could be used during the celebration for violent purposes, which they say is a “security risk”, making it necessary to evict so as to let cleaning brigades in the square. They also said they want to make clear it is not an eviction and that the protesters will be allowed to return after the operation is ended. While the police violence was taking place on the outskirts of the square, 300 people were surrounded in the center and sitting down peacefully they called for non-violence and asked the police to explain themselves. Official government channels have stated that 15 people suffered minor injuries during the operation, although this number could be much larger, as much as 45 or 65 according to El Pais and other independent media. Ironically, the spokesperson for the Catalan police said, on national television that the operation had been non-violent. On Twitter the #acampadabcn and #bcnsinmiedo hashtags have been very active and many videos as the ones below have been posted to show the un-called-for brutality with which the police evicted the peaceful protesters. In response to these actions, social media sites have been buzzing with anger, with many people around the world sending their support and others swearing they will return.
As the main camps in Puerta del Sol (Madrid) and Plaza Catalunya (Barcelona) prepare to pack their tents and leave on Sunday, organizers have started to spread their message to the rest of Europe. From the beginning the Internet was abuzz with proposals of a European revolution or a #globalcamp, and for that purpose thousands of blogs and independent websites have been opening, planting the roots of the protests happening now in over twenty major cities in France, Italy (full agenda and aditional information in English here) and Portugal. Greece has also taken the streets and an estimated 30 thousand people are protesting outside of Athen's Parliament as we can see from this live feed. Here you can find a live streaming of the General Assembly in Paris.
Election day has ended in Spain after last night the protest that started at 8:00 pm, planned as the most important yet, managed to occupy most of the squares and streets in around Sol. Many of them went with there families and many others came in from neighbouring towns and cities. The result of the elections, however, is a very pronounced swing to the right. Partido Popular (PP) has claimed victory in most of Spain’s autonomous communities and provinces, with 37.54% of votes, over the 27.80% obtained by PSOE (leading center-left party and currently in Government). Esperanza Aguirre, winning PP candidate in Madrid for the third time in a row, made her majority even bigger, and shortly after claimed that the Government should call for anticipated elections so that they would not “prolongue the agony of the country”. These results were expected by most analyists, who concurred that on top of the effects of the economic recession, the 15M movement had divided the mass of left wing voters.
WLCentral will be providing coverage from Spain on the ongoing #spanishrevolution, happening now in over eighty cities, inside and outside Spain, with thousands of people camped out claiming the streets. Contact us at @wikileaks_world or email@example.com to help us with footage, information and opinion.15MayRevolution.com provides information in English about the 15M movement. An updated agenda of protests around the world can be found here.
In the Puerta del Sol, Madrid, the 15May movement is getting stronger every day. And more organized too. On Friday the police estimated that 25 thousand people were there at the same time, at around 8:00 PM, at the beginning of the daily protest. Some neighbours argued that the square at full capacity can hold more than 30 thousand people, and not only was the square full, but the streets around it were also crowded. Adding up, it is fair to say that well over 60 thousand people have passed through the camp throughout the whole day, where they could participate in debates, paint signs, volunteer for work, ask for information on the movement, sign petitions of various kinds or just relax in the rest area. There is a free restaurant, a nursery and even a library where visitors are encouraged to pass the day in the independent city in the middle of Madrid.
WLCentral will be providing coverage from Spain on the ongoing #spanishrevolution, happening now in over eighty cities, inside and outside Spain, with thousands of people camped out claiming the streets. Contact us at @wikileaks_world or firstname.lastname@example.org to help us with footage, information and opinion.15MayRevolution.com provides information in English about the 15M movement. An updated agenda of protests around the world can be found here.
What started out as a programmed march on the the 15th of May, held in major and minor cities around Spain with regional elections happening on the 22nd, has grown massively: well over ten thousand people have taken the Puerta del Sol, a large square in the center of Madrid (www.soltv.tv for live streaming). The initial demonstration was planned by the apolitical platform, Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now!) with a manifesto claiming an end to corrupt politicians, harsh election laws for smaller parties, financial regulation, transparency and free media. The demonstration was very successful and thousands of people, of different age groups and nationalities, showed up. Afterwards however, there was a great feeling of unrest, caused by the impotence of not knowing what to do next or how to catalyze the social movement gathered there. This led many young people to vandalism and some of them even tried to block main streets in a wild attempt to make themselves heard, resulting in rough police intervention (below) and several detained protesters.
New US International Cybersecurity Strategy Aims to Institute 'Rule of Law' on the Internet
The United States officially launched its international cyber security strategy in a White House event on Monday, May 16. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined by the following administration officials: John Brennan, the president's counterterrorism and homeland security adviser; Howard Schmidt, White House cybersecurity coordinator; Attorney General Eric Holder; Secretaries Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security and Gary Locke of Commerce; and Defense Deputy Secretary William Lynn.
The presentation of the cyber security presented several principles, outlined the approach the US intends to take in the further development of cyber security protections, and indicated how the US might use the Internet to preserve its status as a superpower in the world.
Featured during the presentation were seven principles, which appear in the framework: economic engagement, protecting networks, law enforcement, military cooperation, multi-stakeholder Internet governance, international development and Internet freedom. Within the presentation, Clinton sought to explain that cyber crime, Internet freedom and network security could no longer be “disparate stovepipe discussions.”
At no time during the launch of the strategy was WikiLeaks mentioned. Not even Clinton bothered to mention it, despite the fact that she heads a State Department that had their department’s classified information leaked and published by media organizations and continue to have new information published each day.
El País: La corrupción policial en Ecuador es generalizada (Police corruption is widespread in Ecuador)
"La corrupción "es generalizada" en las filas de la Policía Nacional de Ecuador y quien fuera su comandante, Jaime Aquilino Hurtado, utilizó su poder como la máxima autoridad del cuerpo para extorsionar, acumulando así dinero y propiedades, facilitar el tráfico de personas y obstruir las investigaciones contra compañeros corruptos. (Corruption is widespread "in the ranks of the National Police of Ecuador and who was their commander, Jaime Aquilino Hurtado, who used his power as the ultimate authority to extort the police, accumulating money and property, to facilitate the trafficking and to obstruct investigations against corrupt colleagues.)"
El País: El fiasco de las pruebas de la CIA (The fiasco of the CIA evidence)
"El CD Rom facilitado por Microsoft Corporation a la CIA con los correos electrónicos de varios sospechosos de enviar desde España suicidas a Irak contenía información explosiva, pero en los tribunales españoles no sirvió de nada. (The CD Rom supplied by Microsoft Corporation to the CIA with the emails of several suspected suicide bombers sent from Spain to Iraq containing explosive information, but in the Spanish courts to no avail.)"
El País: Clinton y Moratinos sugirieron que Juan Carlos I llamara a Mohamed VI para resolver el 'caso Haidar' (Moratinos suggested that Clinton and Juan Carlos I called Mohamed VI to solve the 'case Haidar')
"En diciembre de 2009, con una opinión pública conmocionada por la huelga de hambre en la que se había embarcado la activista saharaui Aminetu Haidar, arreciaban las peticiones de que el Rey Juan Carlos mediara en la crisis que había comenzado cuando la autoridades marroquíes impidieron a la líder saharui aterrizar en El Aaiún, le requisaron el pasaporte y la confinaron en el aeropuerto de Lanzarote. (In December 2009, with a public shocked by the hunger strike in which the Sahrawi activist Haidar had embarked, the requests grew for King Juan Carlos to mediate in the crisis that began when the Moroccan authorities prevented the Sahrawi leader landed at Laayoune, seized her passport and confined her at the airport of Lanzarote.)"
El País: La exministra de Salud argentina comunicó a la Embajada de EE UU las carencias de la atención médica (Argentina's former Minister of Health informed the U.S. Embassy about gaps in health care)
Manning's Forced Nudity at Quantico and Spanish Guantanamo Investigation Continues; Plus, 100 Days Since Cablegate Began
This week's guest was freelance investigative journalist, author and filmmaker Andy Worthington, who is known for covering Guantanamo Bay prison, torture and the wider "war on terror." [For Worthington's full bio click here.]
Worthington discussed the forced nudity that former Pfc. Bradley Manning (the whistleblower alleged to have leaked classified information like the "Collateral Murder" video to WikiLeaks) is being subjected to by the US military at Quantico Brig in Virginia and the 22 additional charges, which the military filed against Manning. [To read Worthington's article on Manning published this week, click
Worthington also talked about an article he recently published on a Spanish Guantanamo investigation into Bush administration officials' involvement in the torture and abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo. WikiLeaks revelations in the cable that showed US government officials interfered and worked to halt a Spanish investigation have pushed the national court to renew its efforts to bring those involved in torture to justice. And so, Worthington also talked about WikiLeaks' impact so far on helping detainees at Guantanamo get one step closer to justice and acknowledgment of the torture and abuse they experienced.
To listen to the podcast, just click play on the widget below. Or, you can go download the .mp3 file here. (Or, find it on iTunes by searching for "CMN News.")
Spanish Special Prosecutor for Corruption and Organized Crime Jose “Pepe” Grinda Gonzalez, in charge of the prosecution of Zahkar Kalashov, a "vor v zakone" (highest echelon in Russian Mafia or Eurasian mafia leadership), recently gave a detailed assessment of Spain’s operations against Russian Organized Crime (OC) in a closed door meeting with experts on the subject, where he explained he considers Belarus, Chechnya and Russia to be virtual “mafia states” and Ukraine a soon-to-be-one (10MADRID154).
Grinda also quoted a “thesis” by Alexander Litvinenko that he believes is accurate. Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence official who worked on OC issues, died mysteriously in London from poisoning by radioactive polonium-210 in late 2006. He believed that “the Russian Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and its military intelligence (GRU) – control OC in Russia”.
The cable also mentions Grinda saying that “he believes the FSB is “absorbing” the Russian mafia but they can also “eliminate” them in two ways: by killing OC leaders who do not do what the security services want them to do or by putting them behind bars to eliminate them as a competitor for influence. The crimelords can also be put in jail for their own protection.”
MADRID - Today the auditorium of the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid hosted a debate between the chief editors of the five major newspapers involved in cablegate: Javier Moreno from El Pais, Alan Rudbridger from The Guardian, Sylvie Kauffmann from Le Monde, Georg Mascolo from Der Spiegel and Bill Keller representing The New York Times. The theme was the future of journalism in the new global context set by Wikileaks.
We live tweeted the event here.
There was plenty of expectation, and early on in Twitter trends users were wondering if we would see a true discussion and not an orchestrated charade. This was important as most of the audience was made up of young reporters and students on assignment from their Universities: if the debate was to be centered on the future of journalism and its new model then the way it was to be carried out had to be convincing for the future players present. It seemed, however, that the organizers had planned on trying to have a big impact on the future generations, as they lined up students of a journalism Master sponsored by El Pais behind the main participants, though it was still unclear if they would be allowed to join in the debate. As they went in, the viewers were given a piece of paper each, in which they were supposed to write down a question addressed to one of the five editors. It is a shame that even though the scene was perfectly set for an interesting and enriching discussion, full of young people ready to carry the torch when their time comes, it turned out to be sterile: no participation was allowed from and the master students were a little bit more than a stage prop.
El Fiscal de la Fiscalía Especial contra la Corrupción y la Criminalidad Organizada Jose “Pepe” Grinda González, que trabajo en el proceso de Zahkar Kalashov, un vor v zakone -el rango más alto en la jerarquía de la mafia rusa-, presentó recientemente un detallado análisis de las operaciones del Gobierno Español en contra del Crimen Organizado ruso (CO) o mafia Eurasiatica en una reunión a puerta cerrada con expertos en el tema, en donde explica que considera a Rusia, Bielorrusia y Chechenia como “estados-mafia”, y señala que Ucrania sigue el mismo camino. Cable:10MADRID154.
Grinda también cita notablemente la tesis mantenida por Alexander Litvinenko, el ex agente de los servicios de inteligencia rusos, que trabajaba en temas relacionados con el CO y que murió envenenado en Londres por polonio-210 radioactivo en 2006. Litvinenko sostenía que “el Servicio de Seguridad Ruso (FSB), el Servicio de Inteligencia Extranjero (SVR) y el GRU (servicio ruso inteligencia militar) – controlan el crimen organizado en Rusia”.
El cable también menciona a Grinda diciendo que “cree que el SSR está “absorbiendo” la mafia Rusa, pero que también puede ‘eliminarla’ de dos maneras: matando a los líderes de la mafia que no hacen lo que los servicios de seguridad les piden, o encerrándolos para eliminarlos de la competición por influencia. Los jefes podrían también ser encarcelados para su propia protección”. Argumenta, además, que el “Partido Democrático Liberal (PDL) fue creado por la KGB – el viejo comité para las seguridad del estado, fuerza a la que pertenecía Vladimir Putin – y que contiene muchos criminales de gran escala. Grinda añade que existen lazos comprobados entre los partidos políticos rusos, el crimen organizado y el tráfico de armas. Sin elaborar demasiado, cita el enigmático caso del "Barco del Océano Ártico” como un “claro ejemplo de tráfico de armas”.
The Telegraph: Suleiman told Israel he would 'cleanse' Sinai of arms runners to Gaza
"Omar Suleiman, the new vice-president of Egypt, told the Israelis he wanted to start “cleansing the Sinai” of Palestinian arms smugglers, according to leaked cables."
The Telegraph: Egyptian 'torturers' trained by FBI
"The US provided officers from the Egyptian secret police with training at the FBI, despite allegations that they routinely tortured detainees and suppressed political opposition."
The Telegraph: Mohamed ElBaradei was 'too soft on Tehran’
"The United States and Israel warned that Mohamed ElBaradei, a key leader of the Egyptian opposition, was soft on Iran and was becoming “part of the problem” in the Middle East, according to leaked diplomatic cables."
The Telegraph: Hosni Mubarak told US not to topple Saddam Hussein
"Hosni Mubarak told Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, “three or four times” not to depose Saddam Hussein, according to leaked cables."
El País: Frei, un perdedor con cara de perdedor (Frei, a loser with the face of a loser)
Gaspar Llamazares, a Spanish politician and member of the Communist Party of Spain, is the focus of part of a recent cable released by WikiLeaks.
The cable from Madrid covers a meeting between Ambassador Solomont and Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba that touched on several topics including Haiti, Al Qaeda, training of security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and Guantanamo detainees. It also featured a conversation on Llamazares, whose photo had days ago been reported to have been used by an FBI forensic artist “to create an age-processed image of Osama bin Laden" for a "Rewards for Justice" website featuring photos of most wanted terrorists.
From 10MADRID49 on January 18, 2010:
New York Times: Cables Show How U.S. Privately Pressured Egypt
"It was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first meeting as secretary of state with President Hosni Mubarak, in March 2009, and the Egyptians had an odd request: Mrs. Clinton should not thank Mr. Mubarak for releasing an opposition leader from prison because he was ill.
In fact, a confidential diplomatic cable signed by the American ambassador to Egypt, Margaret Scobey, advised Mrs. Clinton to avoid even mentioning the name of the man, Ayman Nour, even though his imprisonment in 2005 had been condemned worldwide, not least by the Bush administration."
El País: EE UU pone en duda la capacidad de Repsol para desarrollar su mayor proyecto petrolero en Venezuela (The United States doubts the abilities of Repsol to develop its major oil project in Venezuela)
"Washington se esfuerza por intensificar la relación entre la estadounidense Chevron y Caracas. Las multinacionales abogan por un boicot general para arrancar mejores condiciones a Chávez. (Washington makes an effort in order to intensify the relation between the American company Chevron and Caracas. The multinational oil companies request a general boycott to gain better conditions from Chavez.)"
El País: Estados Unidos considera que Chile afrontó la muerte de Pinochet mejor que España la de Franco (The United States believes that Chile faced Pinochet's death in a better way than Spain the death of Franco)
"Washington celebró la forma en que Chile afrontó la muerte del dictador, en oposición al caso de España. (Washington celebrated the way chile faced the dictator's death, in opposition to the case of Spain.)"
Aftenposten: Does Hamas have a cash flow problem in Gaza?
"Hamas was more than a week late in paying January salaries and, according to Post´s Gaza contacts, has not yet paid those salaries in full. While most contacts report that Hamas faces a liquidity crisis, they disagree on the cause. Hamas reportedly relies heavily on foreign assistance to support its budget, and the current cash flow problem is most likely a result of Egyptian anti-smuggling efforts. Gaza-based contacts report that Hamas is cutting costs and increasing its internal revenue collection, through taxes and fees. The amount of extra revenue that these efforts can generate is limited, however. Gazans speculate that recent real estate investments may also have tied up some of Hamas´s available cash."
Aftenposten: Rail Projects Underway, But a Uniform Network Remains Elusive
"While two rail construction projects in Afghanistan are underway and several more are under discussion, the dream of a nationwide rail network remains remote. Small-scale projects sponsored by neighboring countries require different rail gauges, matching those of the countries these projects border; while the security situation is delaying two projects and likely deterring proposals for more. The enforcement of a single rail gauge is not practical since it would fail to make connections with at least half of Afghanistan´s neighbors. The Afghan Government must obtain funding f´ and build gauge changing stations if it is serious about connecting Afghanistan´s major population centers and industrial areas by train."
EL PAÍS editor, JAVIER MORENO, explains the decision to publish the State Department cables, which expose on an unprecedented scale the extent to which Western leaders lie to their electorates. MORENO provides some of the best analysis of Cablegate yet.
Cynics will argue that none of what we have learned from WikiLeaks differs from the usual way in which high-level international politics is conducted, and that without diplomatic secrets, the world would be even less manageable and more dangerous for everyone. Political classes on both sides of the Atlantic convey a simple message that is tailored to their advantage: trust us, don't try to reveal our secrets; in exchange, we offer you security.
But just how much security do they really offer in exchange for this moral blackmail? Little or none, since we face the sad paradox that this is the same political elite that was incapable of properly supervising the international financial system, whose implosion triggered the biggest crisis since 1929, ruining entire countries and condemning millions of workers to unemployment and poverty. These are the same people responsible for the deteriorating quality of life of their populations, the uncertain future of the euro, the lack of a viable European project and the global governance crisis that has gripped the world in recent years, and which elites in Washington and Brussels are not oblivious to. I doubt that keeping embassy secrets under wraps is any kind of guarantee of better diplomacy or that such an approach offers us better answers to the problems we face.
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: US keeps Uzbekistan president onside to protect supply line
"The post-Soviet state of Uzbekistan is a nightmarish world of 'rampant corruption', organised crime, forced labour in the cotton fields, and torture, according to the leaked cables.
But the secret dispatches released by WikiLeaks reveal that the US tries to keep President Islam Karimov sweet because he allows a crucial US military supply line to run into Afghanistan, known as the northern distribution network (NDN)."
Der Spiegel: 'Bridges to Nowhere': America's Unsavory Friends in Central Asia
"The US is anxious to broaden its influence in Central Asia -- and limit that of Russia. The result, however, are questionable alliances with some of the strangest despots in the world.
The secret country assessment from the US Embassy in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe, prepared for General David Petraeus on Aug. 7, 2009 ahead of his visit later that month, described a country on the brink of ruin. Tajikistan, a country of 7.3 million people on the northern border of Afghanistan, is a dictatorship ruled by Emomali Rakhmon, a former collective farm boss and notorious drunkard. "Parliament acts as a rubber stamp, barely discussing important legislation such as the national budget," the dispatch noted.
Some of the state's revenues were from criminal sources: "Tajikistan is a major transit corridor for Southwest Asian heroin to Russia and Europe." The country had "chronic problems with Uzbekistan," its neighbor, and the impoverished former Soviet republic faced the prospect of civil war fomented by Islamists in the east of the country."
Le Monde: Le Pérou face à ses démons : le terrorisme et la corruption (Peru faces its demons: terrorism and corruption)
"A en croire des télégrammes diplomatiques américains obtenus par WikiLeaks et révélés par Le Monde, le Pérou n'arrive pas à conjurer ses vieux démons, le terrorisme et la corruption. La menace représentée par la guérilla maoïste du Sentier lumineux (SL) "a été contenue mais pas éliminée, et elle pourrait s'épanouir à nouveau", estime une note confidentielle de novembre 2009.
Pendant les années 1980 et 1990, le conflit armé interne provoqué par le SL avait fait 70 000 morts. Le principal dirigeant maoïste, Abimael Guzman, est emprisonné depuis 1992. En dépit de bons résultats macro-économiques, les causes sous-jacentes – la pauvreté, la corruption et les inégalités – n'ont pas disparu, reconnaissent les diplomates américains."
El País: La retirada de Kosovo desató una crisis entre España y EE UU (The withdrawal from Kosovo sparked a crisis between Spain and the U.S.)
"Cuando las relaciones entre España y Estados Unidos parecían recuperadas tras la llegada de Obama a la Casa Blanca, una intempestiva retirada militar, esta vez de Kosovo, provocó la mayor crisis que han vivido los dos países en mucho tiempo. Los primeros resquemores comenzaron cuando Madrid se negó a reconocer la independencia de este territorio, bajo control de la comunidad internacional desde los bombardeos de la OTAN de 1999. Washington no aprobaba pero comprendía la posición española: la independencia en Europa de un territorio por motivos étnicos es un precedente preocupante. Pero, cuando la ministra Carme Chacón anunció el 19 de marzo 2009 la retirada de las tropas españolas sin haber consultado con los aliados, de resquemor se pasó a la crisis. Aunque en público se mantuvieron las formas, los despachos del Departamento de Estado muestran que la procesión iba por dentro: el vicepresidente Joseph Biden reprendió la retirada en su primer encuentro con el presidente Zapatero mientras que Hillary Clinton no dudó en hablar de "irritación" ante el ex ministro Moratinos."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: MI5 offered files on Finucane killing to inquiry
"MI5 has said that it is prepared to hand over sensitive files on one of the most high-profile murders during the Northern Ireland Troubles carried out by loyalist gunmen working with members of the British security forces.
The offer in the case of the Pat Finucane, the well-known civil rights and defence lawyer murdered in front of his wife and three young children in 1989, is contained in confidential US embassy cables passed to WikiLeaks.
Supporters of Finucane welcomed the revelation of the offer as "highly significant" and believe it could pave the way for a fresh inquiry into the killing that would be acceptable to the family."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: IRA used Irish boom to turn 'respectable'
"The IRA used the Celtic Tiger economic boom in the Irish Republic to diversify into "more sophisticated business enterprises" by buying up properties in London, Dublin and Spanish resorts, according to leaked US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
A senior Irish police officer told the American embassy in Dublin that the IRA used the booming Irish economy to move on from 1970s-style racketeering as it turned to "apparently respectable businessmen" to raise funds.
The cables also show that the growth of the Celtic Tiger was so admired in Washington that the US treasury secretary travelled to Dublin in 2004 to discover the "secrets" of Ireland's success.
The IRA's changing business practices are revealed in a cable by Jonathan Benton, the then deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Dublin, which reported on meetings with senior Irish police officers and senior officials from the department of justice."
Der Spiegel: 'Boys and Their Toys' The US Befriends Azerbaijan's Corrupt Elite
"Azerbaijan is rife with corruption and comparisons to European feudalism in the Middle Ages are hardly a stretch. But with vast reserves of oil and natural gas at stake, the US is willing to risk the embarrassment that comes with courting the country.[...]
Azerbaijan, which lies in the Caspian basin and has a population of 9 million, is one of the US's strategic energy partners, despite being located within Russia's sphere of influence. The country boasts proven energy reserves of roughly 7 billion barrels of oil and 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Millions of barrels of these natural resources flow to the West each year via a pipeline connecting the Azerbaijani capital with Ceyhan, a Turkish port on the Mediterranean Sea.[...]
The American documents leave no doubt that the diplomats know exactly who they are courting. Cables bear titles like 'Who owns what?' in which they provide portraits of the country's most powerful families. 'Observers in Baku often note that today's Azerbaijan is run in a manner similar to the feudalism found in Europe during the Middle Ages,' one such cable reads. 'A handful of well-connected families control certain geographic areas, as well as certain sectors of the economy.'"
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Russia 'was tracking killers of Alexander Litvinenko but UK warned it off'
"Russia was tracking the assassins of dissident spy Alexander Litvinenko before he was poisoned but was warned off by Britain, which said the situation was "under control", according to claims made in a leaked US diplomatic cable.
The secret memo, recording a 2006 meeting between an ex-CIA bureau chief and a former KGB officer, is set to reignite the diplomatic row surrounding Litvinenko's unsolved murder that year, which many espionage experts have linked directly to the Kremlin."
El País: Perú pide ayuda a EE UU ante el rebrote de Sendero Luminoso (Peru asks for US help, facing the resurgence of the Shining Path)
"Estados Unidos prestará asistencia militar a Perú para acabar con el terrorismo de Sendero Luminoso, que causó buena parte de los más de 69.000 muertos registrados en las décadas de los ochenta y noventa, según muestran los cables del Departamento de Estado. Esa guerrilla colocó al Estado contra las cuerdas, y ha resurgido en el Alto Huallaga y Valles del Apurímac y Ene, donde cobra peaje al narcotráfico y adoctrina a los empobrecidos habitantes de esas regiones andinas.
El salvajismo de la milicia maoísta fue tan intenso, y los nuevos ataques, tan alarmantes, que la Embajada norteamericana ha pedido a Washington más colaboración con el Ejército peruano y un programa contra las minas detonadas por Sendero Luminoso en las rutas transitadas por el Ejército, según un cable del pasado año. La prioridad del Gobierno es liquidar a Sendero en el Apurímac y para ello firmó un contrato de nueve millones de dólares con un especialista israelí, según otro despacho."
Le Monde: Washington s'inquiète d’un possible programme nucléaire birman (Washington worried about a possible nuclear programme in Burma)
"Depuis 2002, les diplomates américains en poste à Rangoun reçoivent des indications sur la construction possible d'une installation nucléaire près de Minbu, dans la division de Magway, sur le fleuve Irawaddy. Plusieurs télégrammes diplomatiques, obtenus par WikiLeaks et consultés par Le Monde, font état de témoignages dans ce sens, émanant tantôt d'un homme d'affaires expatrié, tantôt d'un collaborateur birman ayant recueilli les confidences d'un proche.
Il a d'abord été question d'une coopération russe, puis, plus récemment, de la présence de "300 Nord-Coréens" pour participer à cette tâche. Chaque fois, l'ambassade prend les plus grandes précautions en rapportant ces témoignages, précisant qu'elle n'est pas en mesure de les confirmer de manière indépendante, ou que le chiffre de 300 lui paraît excessif."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables paint bleak picture of Tajikistan, central Asia's poorest state
"Tajikistan is losing the battle against the flow of drugs from neighbouring Afghanistan and is characterised by "cronyism and corruption" emanating from the president downwards.
A series of leaked US diplomatic dispatches released by WikiLeaks paint a bleak picture of Central Asia's poorest state. They note that it suffers from 'earthquakes, floods, droughts, locusts and extreme weather' and is situated next to 'obstructive Uzbekistan', 'unstable Afghanistan' and the 'rough, remote' Pamir mountains next to western China.
But Tajikistan's worst obstacle is the country's venal president Emomali Rahmon, diplomats say. A secret cable dated 16 February 2010, from the US embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan's capital, describes how Rahmon runs the ex-Soviet republic's economy for his own personal profit: 'From the president down to the policeman on the street, government is characterized by cronyism and corruption.'"
Le Monde: WikiLeaks: dictatures et mafias d'Asie centrale (Dictatorships and mafias in Central Asia)
"L'Asie centrale: ses ressources naturelles, ses régimes autoritaires, ses aéroports essentiels pour le transit vers l'Afghanistan. Pas évident, pour les Etats-Unis – après étude par Le Monde des télégrammes diplomatiques américains obtenus par WikiLeaks – de défendre ses intérêts nationaux dans cette zone sensible, arrière-cour traditionnelle de la Russie."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables name UK banker as middleman in Kazakh corruption ring
"A British tycoon is identified by US diplomats as the man at the centre of one of America's worst recent corruption scandals, in which large bribes were allegedly handed over in the ex-Soviet state of Kazakhstan.
Robert Kissin, a UK banker and commodity trader, is alleged to be the key middleman who handled a $4m (£2.5m) secret payment.
According to leaked US diplomatic dispatches released by WikiLeaks, the cash was moved through a Barclays bank account set up in London on behalf of an offshore shell company registered in the Isle of Man, where true ownerships are easier to conceal.
The money was designed to help Texas oil services company Baker Hughes make corrupt payments to Kazakh state oil chiefs in return for a lucrative $219m contract, according to the company's subsequent admissions."
Der Spiegel: Copenhagen Climate Cables: The US and China Joined Forces Against Europe
"Last year's climate summit in Copenhagen was a political disaster. Leaked US diplomatic cables now show why the summit failed so spectacularly. The dispatches reveal that the US and China, the world's top two polluters, joined forces to stymie every attempt by European nations to reach agreement.[...]
The cooperation began under the last US president, George W. Bush. In 2007 Bush's senior climate negotiator, Harlan Watson, organized a 10-year framework agreement with China on cooperation on energy and the environment. The two countries also agreed to hold a "Strategic and Economic Dialogue" -- backroom talks that neither the Americans nor the Chinese were willing to admit to at first.
Bush's successor, President Barack Obama, and the new secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, continued this dialogue. During Clinton's inaugural visit to China, Beijing agreed to the formation of a "new partnership on energy and climate change," according to a US embassy dispatch dated May 15, 2009. Here too the aim was to ensure the outcome of the climate talks in Copenhagen would be favorable to Washington and Beijing."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Vatican refused to engage with child sex abuse inquiry
"The Vatican refused to allow its officials to testify before an Irish commission investigating the clerical abuse of children and was angered when they were summoned from Rome, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks reveal.
Requests for information from the 2009 Murphy commission into sexual and physical abuse by clergy "offended many in the Vatican" who felt that the Irish government had "failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations", a cable says."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Pope wanted Muslim Turkey kept out of EU
"The pope is responsible for the Vatican's growing hostility towards Turkey joining the EU, previously secret cables sent from the US embassy to the Holy See in Rome claim.
In 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger, the future pope, spoke out against letting a Muslim state join, although at the time the Vatican was formally neutral on the question.
The Vatican's acting foreign minister, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, responded by telling US diplomats that Ratzinger's comments were his own rather than the official Vatican position.
The cable released by WikiLeaks shows that Ratzinger was the leading voice behind the Holy See's unsuccessful drive to secure a reference to Europe's 'Christian roots' in the EU constitution. The US diplomat noted that Ratzinger 'clearly understands that allowing a Muslim country into the EU would further weaken his case for Europe's Christian foundations'."
Le Monde: Wikileaks : les Américains se demandent où se trouve le cœur du pouvoir en Algérie (Americans ask who holds real power in Algeria)
"Qui détient le pouvoir en Algérie? Les militaires ou les civils? Une poignée de généraux qui ont la haute main sur l'armée et les services de renseignements ou le président de la République élu au suffrage universel, Abdelaziz Bouteflika?
La question continue à diviser les chancelleries étrangères tant le cœur du pouvoir à Alger est impénétrable depuis des décennies. Pour le chef de l'Etat algérien, la réponse est évidente : l'armée algérienne respecte "absolument" l'autorité d'un président qui est un civil et non un militaire. "Ça n'est pas du tout comme en Turquie", assure-t-il lors de sa première entrevue avec le général William Ward, le chef de l'Africom, la structure de commandement américaine pour l'Afrique, en novembre 2009."
The New York Times: China Resisted U.S. Pressure on Rights of Nobel Winner
"It was just before Christmas 2009, and Ding Xiaowen was not happy. The United States ambassador had just written China’s foreign minister expressing concern for Liu Xiaobo, the Beijing intellectual imprisoned a year earlier for drafting a pro-democracy manifesto. Now Mr. Ding, a deputy in the ministry’s American section, was reading the riot act to an American attaché.
Mr. Ding said he would try to avoid “becoming emotional,” according to a readout on the meeting that was among thousands of leaked State Department cables released this month. Then he said that a “strongly dissatisfied” China firmly opposed the views of the American ambassador, Jon Huntsman, and that Washington must “cease using human rights as an excuse to ‘meddle’ in China’s internal affairs.”"
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer 'used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout'
"The world's biggest pharmaceutical company hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis, according to a leaked US embassy cable.
Pfizer was sued by the Nigerian state and federal authorities, who claimed that children were harmed by a new antibiotic, Trovan, during the trial, which took place in the middle of a meningitis epidemic of unprecedented scale in Kano in the north of Nigeria in 1996."
Der Spiegel: 'No and No Again': The Rocky US Relationship with Little Austria
"Austria may be small, but according to US Embassy dispatches from Vienna, the country causes big headaches in Washington. Not only are Austrian leaders seen as disconnected from international affairs, the country's neutrality means it is willing to do business with America's enemies.
The tone used by the US envoys in their reports to Washington ranges from resigned to openly hostile. Is it possible, they ask in bewilderment, for a tiny Alpine republic only half the size of the US state of Washington to ignore the primary objectives of American foreign policy? It would seem that it is."
El Pais: EE UU considera Cataluña el "mayor centro mediterráneo del yihadismo" (The US considers Catalonia the "biggest mediterranean center for jihadism")
"La Embajada de EE UU en Madrid cree que Cataluña es el punto más caliente del islamismo radical en España , un escenario que debe vigilar y controlar como puente hacia el Mediterráneo. La fuerte implantación de la comunidad paquistaní y marroquí en Barcelona y la efervescente actividad de islamistas en localidades como Tarragona, Hospitalet, Badalona y Reus preocupan a los servicios de inteligencia estadounidenses que han convertido a esa comunidad en su primer objetivo de investigación. Los documentos secretos del departamento de Estado definen Cataluña como el principal centro mediterráneo de los islamistas."
Le Monde: Guinée : Comment France et Etats-Unis ont écarté le chef de la junte (Guinea: How France and the US neutralized the chief of the junta)
"L'occasion était trop belle pour neutraliser un chef de l'Etat devenu très embarrassant. Français et Américains cherchaient à écarter le capitaine Moussa Dadis Camara depuis le massacre par des militaires de la garde présidentielle d'au moins 156 opposants à Conakry, en Guinée, le 28 septembre 2009.
Les événements du 3 décembre vont forcer le destin. Ce jour-là, le chef de la junte militaire au pouvoir depuis moins d'un an est victime d'une tentative d'assassinat. Grièvement blessé à la tête, le chef de la junte est envoyé d'urgence vers le Maroc pour y être hospitalisé. Dans la foulée, un diplomate américain en poste à Ouagadougou écrit : "La communauté internationale est d'une façon générale sur la même position. L'absence de Dadis a ouvert une fenêtre d'opportunité pour faciliter une transition démocratique."
"Bien qu'il ait été chassé de la scène violemment plutôt que par des moyens constitutionnels, il serait mieux pour la Guinée qu'il ne rentre pas dans son pays", ajoute l'ambassadrice américaine en poste à Conakry, Patricia Moller, dans un des télégrammes diplomatiques obtenus par WikiLeaks et révélés par Le Monde."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Former Croatia PM flees over corruption claims
"The former prime minister who dominated Croatian politics for most of the past decade fled the country today as state prosecutors moved to have him arrested in connection with a major sleaze investigation.
According to cables from the US Zagreb embassy released by WikiLeaks, Ivo Sanader, the centre-right politician who stood down suddenly as prime minister in summer last year, features in several of the corruption cases currently terrorising the Croatian political class.
The country's chief prosecutor told US diplomats in Zagreb this year he had evidence that Sanader had arranged a bank loan for a business crony in return for a kickback."
Der Spiegel: The Nigeria Report: A Cesspool of Corruption and Crime in the Niger Delta
"The leaked US diplomatic cables reveal just what multinational oil companies are up against in the Niger Delta. Security forces are ineffective and involved in dubious oil deals. The government demands millions in bribes. Even university students have earned pocket money by working as kidnappers.
Bombs used against civilians; millions paid to corrupt officials; and a kidnapping industry that employs students during university vacations: The US diplomatic cables from the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Lagos paint an unusually bleak picture of the situation in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Hardly any of the international oil companies active in the delta publishes production figures, kidnappings and hostage-taking are a daily occurence and the civilian population is suffering -- not least because they too are occasionally targets of the Nigerian Army's special forces."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Serbia suspects Russian help for fugitive Ratko Mladić
"Russia may be withholding vital information about the whereabouts of the fugitive Bosnian Serb general and genocide suspect, Ratko Mladić, who faces war crimes charges in The Hague, senior Serbian government officials have privately told American diplomats in Belgrade.
In discussions detailed in a diplomatic cable marked "secret" and sent to Washington by US chargée d'affaires Jennifer Brush in September 2009, Miki [Miodrag] Rakić, chief of staff to the Serbian president, Boris Tadić, tells Brush it remains likely Mladić is hiding somewhere in Serbia.
But Rakić also suggests the fugitive is being assisted by "foreign sources" and hints darkly that Moscow may have better information about Mladić's exact situation than does the Serbian government."
El Pais: Palomares: 50.000 metros contaminados con plutonio (50,000 sq.meters contaminated with plutonium)
"España y Estados Unidos tienen un problema enquistado desde 1966: el accidente nuclear en Palomares, en el que cuatro bombas atómicas cayeron en la pedanía almeriense. España decidió en 2004 descontaminar la zona e insiste en que EE UU pague parte de la limpieza y se lleve la tierra contaminada con plutonio. Así se lo transmitió el 14 de diciembre de 2009 el entonces ministro de Exteriores, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, a la secretaria de Estado, Hillary Clinton, en Washington. Moratinos reclamó, según un cable confidencial, que Clinton hiciera lo posible "para ayudar desde el punto de vista de la opinión pública española, de la que temió que se volviera en contra de EE UU si se divulgaran los resultados de un reciente estudio sobre la contaminación". Clinton no contestó. El estudio, a cuyas conclusiones ha tenido acceso EL PAÍS pero que no ha sido hecho público, concluye que en Palomares queda medio kilo de plutonio que ha contaminado unos 50.000 metros cúbicos de tierra -el volumen de 27 piscinas olímpicas-."
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables cast Hosni Mubarak as Egypt's ruler for life
"Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's long-serving president, is likely to seek re-election next year and will "inevitably" win a poll that will not be free and fair, the US ambassador to Cairo, Margaret Scobey, predicted in a secret cable to Hillary Clinton last year.
Scobey discussed Mubarak's quasi-dictatorial leadership style since he took power in 1981; his critical views of George Bush and American policy in the Middle East; and the highly uncertain prospects for a succession."
For the complete list of current events, please click here.
Wikileaks National Rally for Transparency
Washington DC, other locations: Saturday, January 15
Location: To be announced
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wikileaks-National-Rally-for-Transparency/...
Miami FL:: Monday, December 13, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: U.S. Attorney's Office Building, 99 Northeast 4th Street, Miami, FL
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=175854382432344
San Jose, CA: Friday, December 10, 2010, 12pm - 3pm
Location: In front of San Jose City Hall
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=178828535463159
San Jose, CA: Thursday, December 16, all day
Location: San Jose State University
London:, Monday, December 13, 4pm
Location: Swedish Embassy, 11 Montagu Place, London W1H 2AL
Topic: Against extradition to Sweden (JusticeforAssange.com Campaign)
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-Assange-UK/169102599797422?v=wall
Campaign website: http://www.justiceforassange.com
For freedom, say no to state terrorism
Madrid: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Embajada británica en Madrid (British Embassy), Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellana 259D, 28046 Madrid
Event page: http://freewikileaks.eu/
A Coruña: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Location: Embajada de Suecia en A Coruña (Swedish Embassy): Sale del Cantón Grande a las 18.00 en el Obelisco hacía la Avenida de Linares Rivas 18-21, A Coruña, Spain
Event page: http://freewikileaks.eu/
Barcelona: Saturday, December 11, 6pm
Julian Assange: "Geopolitics will be separated into pre and post 'Cablegate'"
El País features an interview with Julian Assange in the December 5th edition. He talked about the numerous death threats he has been receiving, the attacks against WikiLeaks, the significance of the Cablegate release, and fighting the Swedish case allegations.
On death threats: "We have hundreds of specific death threats from US military militants. That is not unusual, and we have become practiced from past experiences at ignoring such threats from Islamic extremists, African kleptocrats and so on. Recently the situation has changed with these threats now extending out to our lawyers and my children. However it is the specific calls from the elites of US society for our assassination, kidnapping and execution that is more concerning. These range from a US senate bill by John Ensign which seeks to declare us a "transnational threat" to assassination calls from former Bush speechwriters such as Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News."
On the consequences of Cablegate: "It is too early to say yet. The ripples are just starting to flow throughout the world. But I believe geopolitics will be separated into pre and post Cablegate phases."
On the Swedish charges: "We will fight them and expose them, naturally. That there is something "wrong" with this case is now obvious to everyone."
Photo credit: AFP