2011-03-07 100 Revelations to Mark 100 Days Since Cablegate Began

*Special thanks to C-Cyte for recording my tweets and posting them online in a post for people to view if they do not normally use Twitter.

One hundred days ago, WikiLeaks began to release the US State Embassy cables. The release event, which continues, became known as Cablegate.

A future post will include a look at Cablegate and what its impact on journalism, international diplomacy, and human rights has been and what its role has been in world events like the uprisings and revolutions the world that are currently unfolding. For now, it is worth recounting what has actually been revealed because of the release.

One common denominator can be found in a majority of the cables: corruption. For all the talk of this country and that country being corrupt and that country being so corrupt it's gone, the plain fact is that between all the countries of the world, perhaps as a result of American coercion and/or threat of force, the world is one corrupt planet.

WikiLeaks has managed to partner with 50 media outlets over the course of the past months. 5,287 of 251,287 cables have been released so far. This not only means there will likely be a 200th, 300th and 400th Day of Cablegate but also means there will be many more revelations to come in the next year.

2011-03-07 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

ImageNext: Supreme Court judges took bribes to validate Yar'Adua/Jonathan election

"We had just had elections in 2007 that, by most accounts, were possibly worst ever, and the legitimacy of the presidential poll that the authorities had declared won by Umaru Yar'Adua and his running mate, Goodluck Jonathan, hung in the balance.

Justices of our Supreme Court, the final arbiters of the disputed election, immediately became the objects of affection of interested politicians, who proceeded to shower them with cash to make sure they confirmed the legitimacy of the election of Messrs Yar'Adua and Jonathan, according to secret US diplomatic cables leaked to the whistleblower site Wikileaks and made available to NEXT."

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Next: EFCC not worth a penny, says Bankole

"Mr. Bankole's conversation with the then U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Robbin Sanders, did not only indict the top echelon of the judiciary, the Speaker also derided the country's foremost anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr. Bankole said that the chairman of the EFCC, Farida Waziri, with the complicity of the president, was working hand-in-hand with the Attorney General of the Federation to ensure that the corruption charges brought against Mr. Ibori by the former chairman of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, were quashed."

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Next: Selling justice to the highest bidder

2011-03-06 Julian Assange to speak at Cambridge Union

Julian Assange has agreed to address the Cambridge Union on 15 March, reports the student paper The Tab.

The Union, officially the Cambridge Union Society, is a debating society founded in 1815 and is distinct from the student union. In addition to its weekly debates, it welcomes distinguished speakers from around the world.

The event will be open to Union members only. There is no word yet whether it might be otherwise transmitted.

Via @MarksLarks on Twitter

2011-03-05 Cables: The Vulnerability of Black African Migrant Workers in Libya

ImageA cable from December 2007 features Gaddafi Development Foundation Executive Director Dr. Yusuf Sawani discussing trans-national terrorism threats and security with US diplomats. The director talks about the fact that a million sub-Saharan African guest workers are resident in Libya and says it should be a “cause of concern.” The workers are a concern because Dr. Sawani believes any of those individuals could possibly commit an act of terrorism. In recent days, many of those guest workers have fled, as Libyans have grown suspicious and attacked a number of black Africans due to reports that Leader Muammar Gaddafi hired “black African mercenaries.”

The latest from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicates 191,000 or more have fled Libya to Egypt, Tunisia and Niger. A previous report estimated around 80,000 Pakistanis, 59,000 Sudanese, 50,000 Bangladeshis, 26,000 Filipinos, 2,000 Nepalese and other African and Asian migrant workers are hosted by the country.

OCHA reports have been tracking the risk of violence migrant workers face. In a March 3 update, OCHA notes, “Sub-Saharan nationals remain at risk of violence from local populations on suspicion of being Government-recruited mercenaries.” A report on March 2 detailed the needs of those fleeing Libya highlights the need for protection. It reads:

2011-03-04 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage


"A lengthy standoff between the franchise-holder for Coca Cola-Libya, Ka´Mur Bottling Company-U.K., and two of Mu´ammar Qadhafi´s sons, Mu´tassim and Mohammed, appears to have stabilized in the wake of a compromise agreement. The problem became public on December 28, 2005 as security troops controlled by Colonel Qadhafi´s son Mu´tassim encamped at the Tripoli Coca-Cola plant, owned jointly by Ka´Mur Bottling Company and the Libyan Olympic Committee (LOC) through their joint venture, the Global Beverage Company (GBC). With the plant shut for more than three months, Colonel Qadhafi´s daughter Aisha may have intervened to broker a compromise, according to which LOC would--at an unspecified future date--sell its shares in GBC to the Libyan Social Security Fund. Mu´tassim´s men left the plant in late February, shortly after USLO sent a strongly-worded diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressing concern over the legality of the plant shutdown and urging a swift resolution to the conflict. Coca Cola´s General Manager for Libya credits USLO support for helping keep the incident under control as Ka´Mur, GBC and Coca Cola worked their own channels."

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El País: El embajador norteamericano en México, noqueado por los papeles de Wikileaks (The U.S. ambassador to Mexico, knocked out by Wikileaks papers)

2011-03-03 Rampant, nationwide corruption in Vietnam; how people fight back on the web

Systematic Corruption ruptures Vietnam with inequality

Since the mid-1980s, the time when Vietnam launched the ‘Doi Moi (industrialization)’ project to boost the national economy, Vietnam has recorded remarkable GDP increase rate, 7 to 8% a year. However, the economic inequality gap and government debts are huge, and show no sign of shrinking.

Primary reasons for the problems lie in the structure of the ‘industrialization’. The only legal political party, the Vietnam Communist Party, utilized state owned enterprises(SOE) as useful tools which enable the government to take a firm grip on the state economy. In a rare thesis discussing the privatization of the Vietnamese economy, Fredrik Sjöholm pointed out that it’s actually a state takeover of economy in disguise of ‘privatization’; about one-quarter of state revenues come from SOEs and the state can take control of any SOEs by having ‘minority state ownership share’(Sjöholm, 2006)

Commonplace collusion between politics and economy, interwoven through shares, squandered bailout money and venal practices in the name of ‘industrialization’, generated astounding breeding ground for corruption and rapidly increasing debts. The ‘industrialization’ process had few constructive plans behind it, which produced obfuscated ownership responsibility while working on ad hoc economic strategies. This opened the door for private, often political, actors to ‘hijack’ the real control of the firms.

2011-03-03 Meeting on 2nd March in Parliament House Canberra with MPs re Julian Assange.

On 2nd March 2011 at 9.15am a meeting was held, organised by Andrew Laming (Liberal Party MP Bowman Qld) at Parliament House Canberra to allow federal parliamentarians who wished to attend, some insights into the matters of Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden, and facing (subject to that extradition process) a possible trial in Sweden and another possible extradition to the USA thereafter.

Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.

Three speakers made themselves available for oral presentations and questions: Greg Barns, barrister from Tasmania; former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin and Peter Kemp, solicitor from NSW. The latter two made written material available for the parliamentarians, reprinted below with their permission. Written material was also provided by Jennifer Robinson, UK counsel for the Julian Assange. That material is reprinted with permission here.

After short addresses by each of the three speakers, the meeting was opened for questions and summaries of each speaker in the proceedings appears below, after biographies.

Character Assassination of Julian Assange

The actions of WikiLeaks sparked a worldwide media barrage and has changed the face of journalism. Julian Assange,the leader of this organization quickly rose to prominence,initially because of the unprecedented public attention from the WikiLeaks revelations. Then sex scandals and smear campaigns, along with threats from the Pentagon threw him further into the eye of the typhoon of public attention. Rhetoric from some US right wing politicians and punditsescalated to calling for his murder. Many eyes have been glued to the news feed reporting on the progress of his extradition to Sweden, all the while the leaks have continued unabated.

Assassination is the intentional killing of a prominent person for political purposes. The death of John F. Kennedy shocked the world with newspapers and the TV broadcasting his tragic end. Soon after Dr. Martin King delivered a speech speaking out against the Vietnam War at New York’s Riverside Church, his voice was also shut down by an assassin’s bullet.

2011-03-01 WikiLeaks Statement on Israel Shamir

Responding to the controversy today arising out of a publication by Private Eye, Wikileaks made a statement concerning its relationship with the journalist Israel Shamir, the subject of concerted speculation and rumour over the last few months.

The statement is as follows:

On Tuesday 1st March 2011, @wikileaks said:

WikiLeaks statement that was given to, but not used by, the UK satirical current-affairs magazine, Private Eye:

Israel Shamir has never worked or volunteered for WikiLeaks, in any manner, whatsoever. He has never written for WikiLeaks or any associated organization, under any name and we have no plan that he do so. He is not an 'agent' of WikiLeaks. He has never been an employee of WikiLeaks and has never received monies from WikiLeaks or given monies to WikiLeaks or any related organization or individual. However, he has worked for the BBC, Haaretz, and many other reputable organizations.

It is false that Shamir is 'an Assange intimate'. He interviewed Assange (on behalf of Russian media), as have many journalists. He took a photo at that time and has only met with WikiLeaks staff (including Asssange) twice. It is false that 'he was trusted with selecting the 250,000 US State Department cables for the Russian media' or that he has had access to such at any time.

Shamir was able to search through a limited portion of the cables with a view to writing articles for a range of Russian media. The media that subsequently employed him did so of their own accord and with no intervention or instruction by WikiLeaks.

We do not have editorial control over the of hundreds of journalists and publications based on our materials and it would be wrong for us to seek to do so. We do not approve or endorse the the writings of the world's media. We disagree with many of the approaches taken in analyzing our material.

2011-03-01: Wikileaks & Private Eye

Wikileaks posted a press release responding to the rumour of the day, namely, the one published by Private Eye, and republished here, that Julian Assange attributes The Guardian's recent demonstrable and disproportionate enmity towards his person to a "Jewish conspiracy."

Despite the main thrust of the Private Eye article, the last few paragraphs of it (now excised from the post above, and only available by purchasing the issue of Private Eye) expresses remorse for Assange, in light of the fact that the journalism sector is so constituted as to force him to deal with every futile and irrelevant canard available, all while he is trying to perform activities of genuine benefit to both the public and the media. In short, the end of the article betrays guilt over the balance of it.

Suddenly I got the impression Mr Assange was bored. Bored of me. Bored of answering questions. The energy and anger seemed to have gone from his voice. He was almost weary when he told me that he was not powerful, but had been crushed by powerful global interests and the least I could do was not support them by running pieces critical of him.

I did feel guilty. Briefly. I told him that I would email him the whole piece and that I would happily run a letter from him, answer his points in full, or put him in contact with out lawyers if he wanted. He gave me an address and I sent him the article. I heard nothing back. In the circumstances, I thought the best thing to do was to publish as much as I could remember of our conversation in Private Eye. As a "mode of information flow."

2011-02-28 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage


"In the latest chapter of a two decade-long saga which has long soured Thai-Saudi relations, the Royal Thai Government (RTG) Office of the Attorney General on January 12 indicted five police officers in connection with the 1990 murder of a Saudi Arabian businessman with family ties to the Saudi royal family, just weeks before the expiration of the 20-year statute of limitations. In 1989, a Thai worker in the Saudi Arabian royal palace stole a large quantity of jewelry and smuggled it back to Thailand, including a 50-carat blue diamond. The graft, murders, and kidnappings that followed this incident resulted in a rift in the Saudi-Thai relationship that has lasted to the present day, compounded by the murder of four Saudi diplomats in 1989-1990 in circumstances never clearly explained publicly. In their effort to respond to Saudi demands for justice, the RTG seeks to hold senior members of the Royal Thai Police (RTP) accountable for their part in the drama and, in doing so, normalize relations with Saudi Arabia and possibly reap economic benefits through expanded trade and investment with gulf states."

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(Image Credit: Dali Rău)

2011-02-11 The problems of the presidential succession in Egypt

The struggle for democracy, unleashed indirectly in Egypt by the leaking of thousands of secret documents from the U.S. Diplomatic service, is particularly complicated due to Egypt’s political situation in the Middle East. The necessary succession of the Mubarak regime results in a very fragile state of affairs, as the important players in area, Israel and the U.S. on one hand, and Palestine, Syria and Iran on the other, all know how important it is to count the future Egyptian president as an ally. Precisely because of this, in a 2007 cable 07CAIRO1417 the U.S. ambassador in Cairo says that “Presidential succession is the elephant in the room of Egyptian politics. Despite incessant whispered discussions, no one in Egypt has any certainty about who will succeed Mubarak, or how the succession will happen”.

As of now, Egypt is entering its third week of paralysis; protests and riots are still widespread across the country and without a sign of relent. President Mubarak has hidden himself and even though he has come out to assure the nation that he will not run for President again, the government’s stance on the matter indicates that he does not want to step down from his office, but rather that he prefers to stall and see if the situation calms down. To relieve some tension he shifted power toward Omar Suleiman, the vice-president and the strong arm currently in charge of running the country. This political maneuver is revealing after taking into account the strategic interest from Egypt’s allies, Israel and the U.S. It is obvious that even though the Obama administration has publicly asked Mubarak to step down and allow a democratic transition, they did this knowing that they could never permit a figure such as Amre Moussa’s, the secretary of the Arab League, to lead the country.

2011-02-27 A Cablegate Farewell to Tunisia Interim PM Mohammed Ghannouchi

ImageTime for a Cablegate farewell to interim PM Mohamed Ghannouchi. The revolution wanted Ghannouchi gone the moment he stepped into power. His ties to the Ben Ali regime could not be overcome.

Tunisian youths were allegedly throwing rocks breaking windows right after the resignation speech. Reuters reports security forces "fired tear gas and rounds in the air to disperse them. There was no sign of any wounded."

Ghannouchi was one official the US State Department thought might succeed Ben Ali if he ever became fatally ill. This is how Ghannouchi was described in a January 9, 2006 cable titled, "Succession In Tunisia: Finding A Successor Or Feet First?":

Prime Minister Ghannouchi: (8/18/1941) A career technocrat and trained economist, Ghannouchi has served as Prime Minister since 1999. Ghannouchi is rumored to have told many that he wishes to leave the GOT but has not had the opportunity. The length of his service as PM also suggests that Ben Ali does not view him as a threat and that he is unlikely to be viewed as a qualified successor. However, average Tunisians generally view him with respect and he is well-liked in comparison to other GOT and RCD officials.

Average Tunisians' attitudes (whatever that demographic is to US officials) appear to have been made insignificant by the revolutionary organizers who continue to move Tunisia closer to the society they envision.

2011-02-27 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

ImageLa Jornada: Sócrates Rizzo: imposible, prevenir que cárteles financien a candidatos (Sócrates Rizzo: "Impossible to prevent cartels from financing candidates")

"El ex gobernador señaló posibilidad de que el narco proveyera dinero para sobornar a votantes. En sus cables, el consulado en Monterrey incluyó opiniones sobre atentado contra Televisa. Se afirmó que ataque perpetrado contra la televisora buscaba dañar imagen de Rodrigo Medina. (The former governor said that the drug can provide money to bribe voters. In their cables, the consulate in Monterrey included views about the attack against Televisa. It said the attack against the broadcaster wanted to damage the image of Rodrigo Medina.)"

Read more (Spanish) Google Translate

(Image Credit: Dali Rău)

2011-02-25 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage


"In a series of meetings with senior Libyan officials during his August 22-24 trip to Libya, Congressman Tom Lantos, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee, reviewed bilateral achievements since his first visit to the country in January, 2004 and set new goals for enhanced future cooperation. The Congressman, accompanied by Charge Berry, House International Relations Committee (HIRC) Senior Professional Staff Member Alan Makovsky, HIRC Professional Staff Member Mike Beard, and Poloff, met with the Libyan Leader Moammar Qadhafi, Director of the Qadhafi Development Foundation Seif Al-Islam Qadhafi, Libyan Director of Military Intelligence Abdullah Sanussi, Director of the External Security Organization Musa Kusa, Secretary of the General Peoples Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation (Foreign Minister equivalent) Abdurrahman Shalgam, Secretary of American Affairs Ahmed Fatouri and Secretary for European Affairs Abdelati Obeidi of the General Peoples Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation. The Congressman´s trip partially overlapped with visit of Senator Arlen Specter (septel) and several official meetings were combined."

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(Image Credit: Dali Rău)

2011-02-25 Paramilitary organizations inside Colombian government: human rights violations continue

Over the last decade, the Colombian government has tried hard to free itself from the bonds between government officials, congressmen and military leaders and right wing paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. The group is sponsored by a wide range of people: from high profile corporations and politicians to small landowners looking to protect their interests from opposite guerrilla formations such as FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and ELN (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional). Their actual political and economic power is a matter of concern and in the past even ex-President Alvaro Uribe has been questioned about his and his government’s involvement in illegal activities related to the organization. During these years violence has been widespread and thousands of people –civilians, businessmen and politicians have been killed or kidnapped.


2011-02-24 Former Guantanamo Detainee Denies Islamic Emirate Has Been Set Up in Eastern Libya [UPDATE:1]

ImageLibya’s deputy foreign minister, Khaled Khaim, has reportedly told European Union ambassadors in Tripoli that al-Qaeda has set up an Islamic emirate in Derna in Eastern Libya. He allegedly said a former Guantanamo Bay detainee is heading the emirate. Residents in Derna deny this has happened.

Residents in Derna deny this has happened. Al Jazeera posted this exclusive with the "man accused by the Libyan government of leading an Islamist emirate in Derna, Libya." Abdul Hakeem Al Hasadi said reports of an "emirate" were the result of pure propaganda and said the Gaddafi  is circulating this propaganda because he is a former political prisoner:

"I am, Abdul Hakeem Al Hasadi, a Libyan citizen and a former political prisoner. I would like to read the following statement in response to lies made by Dictator Gaddafi and his propaganda machine. I tell them that I am one of the participants in the revolution of Feb 17th along with the youth and people of Derna against the corrupt regime of Gaddafi. 

"Gaddafi is trying to divide the people of the nation. He claims that there is an Islamist Emirate in Derna and that I am its Emir. He is taking advantage from the fact that I am a former political prisoner."

Despite the fact that this may not be true, prepare for this latest report from a Libyan official to become a self-perpetuating thread in the story of the Libyan revolution. As WL Central waits for more information on whether this Islamic emirate has been established or not, let's consider what Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Leader Muammar Gaddafi have said since the uprising began (and the various WikiLeaks cables from Libya which we have available).

2011-02-24 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

ImageEl País: Israel pidió a España que investigara los vínculos de sus bancos con Irán (Israel asked Spain to investigate links with Iranian banks)

"El Gobierno de EE UU no es el único que mostró su preocupación por la relación que varias empresas españolas desarrollaron con Irán. En una reunión celebrada a principios de 2009 en la embajada estadounidense en Madrid, un representante del Ministerio de Exteriores español informó de los movimientos que había hecho Israel para informarse de hasta dónde llegaba el vínculo Madrid-Teherán. (The U.S. government is not the only one who was concerned about the relationships developed between Spanish companies with Iran. At a meeting in early 2009 at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, a representative of the Spanish Foreign Ministry informed of the movements that Israel had to find out how far the link between Madrid and Tehran went.)"

Read more (Spanish) Google Translate

El País: EE UU: Los sandinistas robaron las municipales de 2008 (USA: The "Sandinists" stole the 2008 municipal elections)

2011-02-23 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

ImageEl País: EE UU veía al actual jefe de las FARC como el hombre más dispuesto a firmar la paz (U.S. saw the current head of the FARC as a man more willing to make peace)

"Alfonso Cano, el jefe de las guerrillas de las FARC, el hombre más buscado de Colombia, anda estos días con el Ejército pisándole los talones. El presidente de Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, declaró el jueves 17 de febrero que los militares andan "respirándole en la nuca". Poco tiene que ver ahora este Alfonso Cano con el que ingresó en la guerrilla a finales de los setenta y se hizo un hueco entre sus dirigentes cuando Manuel Marulanda, alias Tirofijo, ejercía de jefe indiscutible en la montaña. En aquella época Alfonso Cano era la persona en la que Estados Unidos depositaba sus esperanzas de paz, según confirman los documentos del Departamento de Estado filtrados por Wikileaks. (Alfonso Cano, the leader of the guerrillas of the FARC, Colombia's most wanted man, come these days with the army at his heels. The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday Feb. 17 that the military walk "breathing down your neck." Has little to do now this Alfonso Cano with the one who joined the guerrillas in the late seventies and obtained his position between the leaders when Manuel Marulanda, alias "Sureshot", was the undisputed boss on the mountain. At that time, Alfonso Cano was the person in which the United States deposited their hopes for peace, as confirmed by State Department documents leaked by Wikileaks.)"

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