Wikileaks leaks US diplomatic cables

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Wikileaks newest leak, promised to be seven times larger than the Iraq War Logs, have been revealed to be the diplomatic communications between the United States and its allies. The site, similar its previous leak, has given first access to the New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and Der Spiegel, who all released the news at the same time.

More than 250,000 diplomatic cables between its allies from the US’ network of 250+ embassies and consulates have been published online at its site, ranging from unclassified to “secret”. The cables range from 1966 to the end of February of this year.

Wikileaks plans to release all the cables in stages in the next few months. Writing in its introduction, Wikileaks says that the cables reveal the extent of US spying on its allies among other “contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors”:

The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in “client states”; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

Currently, the cables have revealed that it was China’s Pultiburo that coordinated the attack on Google’s computer systems after the one person typed his name into the global version of Google and found disparaging results. The cables have also revealed that China has broken into American government computers and its western allies (Australia is an ally, but there is no evidence to suggest Australia was a target), the Dalai Lama and American businesses.

It has also revealed that the United States have spied on the United Nations, including on its secretary-general and key Security Council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK (the latter two key allies in Europe); Saudi Arabia wants America to attack Iran; that Hamid Karzai (President of Afghanistan) is motivated by paranoia and suspicions that there is corruption in Afghanistan; allegations of Russia has links to criminal organisations and request for information about individual MPs in the United Kingdom.

The newspapers have told the United States government of their intent to publish. The United States is also doing some damage control by contacting foreign officials about the leaks. The Whitehouse has condemned the move in a statement released on Sunday:

To be clear — such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government…. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorised disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.

Image: Alex Covic/Flickr

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