Leaked data reveal countries' stark opinions and dramatic plans of aggression
More than a quarter of a million leaked documents provide the frank assessments of US diplomats on a range of issues, from behind the scenes negotiations to terrorist threats and even spying on allies:
Deep suspicions of corruption: accounts from US officials' meetings with President Hamid Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, in February 2010, a powerful figure in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, describe him as a "narcotics trafficker" who "demonstrated that he will dissemble when it suits his needs". Another communique alleged that the Afghan vice president, Zia Massoud, was stopped by local authorities working with the US Drug Enforcement Administration on a trip to the UAE in September 2009 with US$52million (Dh191m) in cash. The cable said that Mr Massoud "was ultimately allowed to keep [the money] without revealing the money's origin or destination".
Internet sabotage: a Chinese contact told the US Embassy in Beijing in January 2010 that a senior member of the country's Politburo was responsible for the hacking of Google's computer systems in China, according to an embassy cable dated the same month. The cyber attacks forced the company to quit its operations in China. The cable also alleged that the hacking was part of a wider computer sabotage operation carried out by the Chinese government.
Nation's leader: a cable sent to Washington in August 2006 by the US deputy chief of mission in Moscow describes a wedding party he attended in the volatile North Caucasus republic of Dagestan with Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Mr Kadyrov, the cable alleged, danced "clumsily with his gold-plated automatic stuck down in the back of his jeans". The groom, identified as Dagestan Oil Company chief and current member of parliament Gadzhi Makhachev, and Mr Kadyrov also "showered the dancing children with hundred dollar bills" and that he gave the "happy couple a 'five kilo lump of gold' as his wedding present".
Growing military co-operation with Iran: according to secret US intelligence reports, North Korea gave Iran 19 advanced new missiles more powerful than anything previously acknowledged to be in Tehran's possession, a diplomatic cable from February 2010 revealed. The New York Times noted that with a range of 3,200km the missiles, known as BM-25s, could for the first time give Iran the ability to strike at capitals in Western Europe.
Air strikes: a cable from the US ambassador to Yemen and dated January 2010 confirms the widespread belief that the US had carried out missile strikes against the local branch of al Qa'eda, an assertion Sana'a denies. In a meeting between Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Gen David Petraeus, the leader of US military forces in the Middle East at the time, Mr Saleh says, "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," according to the cable. Yemen's deputy prime minister then joked that "he had just 'lied' by telling parliament" that Yemen had carried out the strikes.
Nuclear proliferation: secret American efforts to remove enriched uranium from a Pakistani research reactor have been unsuccessful and officials warned that if the country collapsed, government employees could smuggle out enough nuclear material for an illicit bomb. Then US ambassador, Anne Patterson, reported in May 2009 that Pakistani officials were refusing to allow American technical experts to visit nuclear facilities because "if the local media got word of the fuel removal, 'they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan's nuclear weapons', [a Pakistani official] argued".
Published: November 30, 2010 04:00 AM