2010-12-08 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Consult us before using intelligence to commit war crimes, US tells Uganda

"The US told Uganda to let it know when the army was going to commit war crimes using American intelligence – but did not try to dissuade it from doing so, the US embassy cables suggest.

America was supporting the Ugandan government in its fight against rebel movement the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), providing information and $4.4m (£2.8m) worth of military hardware a year.[...]

[US Ambassador Jerry] Lanier continued: "Uganda understands the need to consult with the US in advance if the [Ugandan army] intends to use US-supplied intelligence to engage in operations not government [sic] by the law of armed conflict. Uganda understands and acknowledges that misuse of this intelligence could cause the US to end this intelligence sharing relationship."

Nowhere, though, does it appear that the ambassador directly told the Ugandans to observe the rules of war."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Shell's grip on Nigerian state revealed

"The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians' every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

The company's top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew "everything that was being done in those ministries". She boasted that the Nigerian government had "forgotten" about the extent of Shell's infiltration and was unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: US 'lobbied Russia on behalf of Visa and MasterCard'

"The US lobbied Russia this year on behalf of Visa and MasterCard to try to ensure the payment card companies were not "adversely affected" by new legislation, according to American diplomats in Moscow.

A state department cable released this afternoon by WikiLeaks reveals that US diplomats intervened to try to amend a draft law going through Russia's duma, or lower house of parliament. Their explicit aim was to ensure the new law did not "disadvantage" the two US companies, the cable states.

The revelation comes a day after Visa – apparently acting under intense pressure from Washington – announced it was suspending all payments to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website. Visa was following MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon, all of which have severed ties with the site and its founder, Julian Assange, in the past few days."
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The New York Times: Pirates’ Catch Exposed Route of Arms in Sudan Conflict

"It was September 2008 and a band of Somali pirates made a startling discovery. The Ukrainian freighter they had just commandeered in the Gulf of Aden was packed with weapons, including 32 Soviet-era battle tanks, and the entire arsenal was headed for the regional government in southern Sudan. The Ukrainian and Kenyan governments vigorously denied that, insisting that the tanks were intended for the Kenyan military.

“This is a big loss for us,” said Alfred Mutua, a spokesman for the Kenyan government, at the time.

But it turns out the pirates were telling the truth — and the Kenyans and Ukrainians were not, at least publicly. According to several secret State Department cables made public by WikiLeaks, the tanks not only were headed to southern Sudan, but they were the latest installment of several underground arms shipments."
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The New York Times: Officials Pressed Germans on Kidnapping by C.I.A.

"American officials exerted sustained pressure on Germany not to enforce arrest warrants against Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in the 2003 kidnapping of a German citizen mistakenly believed to be a terrorist, diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks show.

John M. Koenig, the American deputy chief of mission in Berlin, issued a pointed warning in February 2007 urging that Germany “weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.” in the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese descent. Mr. Masri said he was held in a secret United States prison in Afghanistan and tortured before his captors acknowledged their mistake and let him go."
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Sydney Morning Herald: Yank in the ranks

"THE federal Labor minister and right-wing powerbroker Mark Arbib is one of the US embassy's valued confidential contacts, providing inside information and commentary on the workings of the government and the ALP.

Secret embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available exclusively to this website reveal that Senator Arbib has been in regular contact with US embassy officers. His candid comments are incorporated in reports to Washington with requests that his identity as a ''protected'' source be guarded.[...]

Last June Senator Arbib threw his hand in with other Labor Right figures moving to depose Mr Rudd from the leadership, thereby precipitating the events that led to Ms Gillard's becoming prime minister. In recent months there have been media reports that Senator Arbib has been undermining Ms Gillard but Labor insiders deny this."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Lockerbie bomber freed after Gaddafi's 'thuggish' threats

"The British government's deep fears that Libya would take "harsh and immediate" action against UK interests if the convicted Lockerbie bomber died in a Scottish prison are revealed in secret US embassy cables which show London's full support for the early release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, made explicit and "thuggish" threats to halt all trade deals with Britain and harass embassy staff if Megrahi remained in jail, the cables show. At the same time "a parade of treats" was offered by Libya to the Scottish devolved administration if it agreed to let him go, though the cable says they were turned down."
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Sydney Morining Herald: Missile defence language aimed to deceive Labor Left

"The federal Labor Left faction was deliberately ''deceived'' by the language used in last year's Defence White Paper to describe Australia's position on missile defence co-operation with the United States, a secret US embassy cable reveals.

The cable, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and released to the Herald, quotes the then Defence Department deputy secretary and white paper co-ordinator, Mike Pezzullo, as telling US embassy officials how the language in the missile defence section had been ''governed by [former defence minister Joel] Fitzgibbon's desire to avoid party divisions at the ALP's national conference'' in May last year."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Whitehall told US to ignore Brown's Trident statement

"Two senior Whitehall officials assured US diplomats that the renewal of Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent would go ahead, apparently contradicting then prime minister Gordon Brown's public statements proposing some disarmament by the UK, according to leaked US embassy cables.

The London embassy sent a secret cable back to Washington last autumn reporting conversations with the two civil servants, Richard Freer and Judith Gough, in which they cast doubt on the significance of Brown's announcement at the UN general assembly that Britain might cut the number of planned new Trident submarines from four to three."
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El País: Uribe buscó en secreto el diálogo directo con las FARC (Uribe secretly sought a direct dialogue with FARC)

"El estruendo de los ataques aéreos y de los coches bomba ocultó los movimientos de aproximación entre las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) y el Gobierno de Álvaro Uribe, que en los últimos meses de su mandato intensificó los contactos para establecer un diálogo directo con la guerrilla. Así se desprende de los cables de la Embajada de EE UU en Bogotá, que dan cuenta, además, de la reunión mantenida con el enviado de uno de los máximos comandantes guerrilleros, que quiere entablar "una relación" con los diplomáticos norteamericanos."
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El País: Rusia vendió a Chávez al menos 100 sistemas antiaéreos muy sofisticados (Russia sold Chavez at least 100 highly sophisticated anti-air missiles)

"Altos funcionarios del Gobierno de Rusia confesaron el año pasado a una delegación de Estados Unidos que habían vendido a Venezuela, hasta ese momento, 100 misiles antiáereos de manejo individual, una de las armas que Washington considera más desequilibrantes en la región, según prueban los cables del Departamento de Estado. Aunque Hugo Chávez anunció personalmente la adquisición de ese armamento, nunca se había revelado la cifra ni se sospechaba que fuese tan alta."
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