Today, Sunday 28th November 2010, WikiLeaks released over 250,000 classified cables leaked from US embassies, a move that’s left the United States in what can only be described as a “diplomatic crisis”.
The controversial site, WikiLeaks, has been periodically released classified documents and secret information pertaining to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been heavily criticised by both government and military leaders. However, today the website has released thousands of documents from United States embassies containing secret information relating to American intelligence gathering, political and military strategies, foreign policies, and details of secret meetings between foreign leaders.
WikiLeaks has leaked the files to five international media publications, including the Guardian, on the condition that the cables are released within common deadlines. At present, 220 cables have been released. The current release is the result of dispatches from over 250 US embassies worldwide, and already the US is scrambling for damage control – alerting allies and foreign diplomats of the potential impact of the disclosures.
The documents that have already been released detail information and reports on sensitive international issues, including:
- The US giving $30 billion to Israel for “security assistance”
- A shift in relations between China and North Korea
- Fears of Iran’s movement toward a nuclear weapons programme
- The US requesting “biometric data” from African leaders including: iris scans, fingerprints, DNA, facial images, etc.
- US spying on its allies: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting US diplomats to spy on United Nations diplomats, to collect information ranging from credit card information, e-mail and telephone accounts, “biometric information”, “passwords”, “personal encryption keys”…
- The US sending arms to the Middle East to combat the threat from Iran
- Criticisms of various foreign ministers and leaders as well as reports of confidential meetings with foreign diplomats
- Private calls from Arab leaders to launch an air strike on Iran
…to name but a few examples. As these are only from the first 220 cables out of an estimated 251,287 the US should be bracing itself for more embarrasment and diplomatic crises. It is claimed that a cable yet to be released criticises UK prime minister David Cameron, whilst others request specific intelligence about individual MPs. The documents range from “confidential” to “secret”, with many of them marked “NOFORN” – Not for foreign eyes.
WikiLeaks has released a “dump” of the cables released thus far at cablegate.wikileaks.org. Expect more humiliation and revelation in the coming days/weeks/months
- ‘Cablegate’ embarrasses US diplomats (theage.com.au)