Cables reveal US disapproval of Bulgarian arms deals. A book analyzing cables from Turkey instigates a large media reaction over several cables revealing a police investigation into the Ergenekon group. Maldives President resigns after reputation tarnished by cables on the Copenhagen climate accord. Former Liberian President on trial for crimes against humanity is denied use of cables as record for his defense.
|A Bulgarian Air Force AS532 Cougar. source|
Cables reveal details behind arms deals in Bulgaria: A December 2006 cable from Sofia reports on a meeting between US officials and Nikolai Gigov at his arms trading company Delta Group. Gigov told the US that he had recently accepted part of a large order from the Egyptian Ministry of Defense and “emphasized the sense of urgency that he perceived from the Egyptian side.” The cable reports that the US suspected Gigov of trying to gain favor with the US by passing along this information, and that the officials had no way of verifying his claims. Another cable from January 2005 shows the US’ alarm when Bulgaria Defense Minister Svinarov signed a 400 million USD deal for 18 Cougar and Panther helicopters from EADS – the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company. The cable complains that the US ambassador had already expressed concerns over the lack of transparency throughout the bidding process, and suggests talking points for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld during his next meeting with Svinarov. The cable includes a letter sent by ambassador Pardew before the bid was settled, which threatens, “A major procurement handled in such a rushed manner inevitably leads to questions about the legitimacy of the process and damages Bulgaria’s reputation in the American business community.” Bulgaria still has not paid for most of the 12 helicopters they have received out of the initial 18.
Boko Haram extremism deemed a threat in Cameroon: Nigeria has closed its border with Cameroon, which has had a devastating effect on the economy. Cables have shown that President Biya was concerned about Islamic extremism spreading to Cameroon from Nigeria.
Canada Prime Minister visits disgraced Chinese hardliner Bo XiLai: Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 7 February 2012 visit to China included a meeting with Former Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, who was demoted over international outcry against of his persecution of Falun Gong. 2007 cables say that Premier Wen had argued that Bo’s “significant negative international exposure” made him a poor candidate for promotion. The Epoch Times cites David Matas, who is a lawyer in a suit against Bo in Canada, as saying that Harper’s meeting with Bo at this time is meant to help recover Bo’s disgraced reputation.
Cameroon Post Line reports on WikiLeaks cables from Cameroon discussing the government lack of planning for HIV/AIDS patients, a 2009 cable from Ambassador Janet Garvey details Cameroon’s political and economic decline, and ambassador meetings with Cameroon officials on plans for economic growth.
- A 2008 cable describes neglect and suffering in Cameroon’s North West region and cites leading opposition leader Ni John Fru Ndi as being skeptical about the country’s ability to overcome ethnic conflict.
- Another cable from Cameroon reports that the government spends no resources on the diaspora and confirms a brain-drain as professionals leave the country for better job opportunities.
- A 2007 cable from Cameroon reveals US attempts to convince President Biya not to change the term limits of his tenure in the constitution. Ultimately, the steps taken by the US were not enough, as Biya has remained President for the past three decades.
Further Las Vegas Sands Corp corrupt business practices?: Sheldon Adelson, a hotel and casino businessman who recently donated at least 11 million USD to the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign, was mentioned in a September 2009 cable in relation to his business practices in Macau. Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp is under federal investigation in the US for potentially violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The cable shows that Adelson had lobbied Chinese officials in Beijing on issues including “foreign labor visas, gaming oversight and regulation, infrastructure development, and perceived interference in personnel management decisions affecting Macau resident workers.” The cable also mentions a proposed “Adelson Center for U.S.-China Enterprise,” which would have been financed with 100 million USD.
Turkey – Police investigation into Ergenekon group presented in detail to US embassy: A recently published Turkish book analyzing WikiLeaks cables included a 2008 cable on an investigation into the Ergenekon group, which Turkish police said were linked to a number of attacks and an alleged coup attempt. The Turkish police made an extensive presentation on Ergenekon to US embassy officials and “appeared strikingly confident that they have compiled the necessary proof for a successful prosecution” of the group. The cable reported that police emphasized how Ergenekon was anti-American, perhaps in an attempt to win favor with the US government. A number of articles in the Turkish media have focused on a cache of information that Turkish Police found, including classified documents with “proposed methods of psychological warfare against the EU and the Turkish Government,” evidence of the Turkish CHP party leader Baykal being bribed, and photos and documents related to sexual activities of former Chief of General Staff Büyükanit’s daughter. Baykal has denied the accusations of corruption.
Sri Lanka wanted US help for improving human rights in 2006: An October 2006 cable describes a meeting between a US ambassador and Sri Lankan Presidential Adviser Basil Rajapaksa, also brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The ambassador urged for peace talks between the Sri Lanka government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as well as improving Sri Lanka’s “human rights capability.” While Basil admitted that the Sri Lankan Air Force had bombed several LTTE targets since September and said the Ministry of Defense wished to purchase US Bushmaster cannons, he also claimed that President Rajapaksa “genuinely seeks…to improve Sri Lanka’s human rights capability by lending experts, assisting with inquiries, and building up the indigenous Human Rights Commission (HRC).”
Morocco King Mohammed promises to improve conditions for military veterans: The Moroccan King recently chaired a cabinet meeting in which a draft law was adopted to cover legal, material, and social rights of soldiers following protests. A 2008 cable had described the Moroccan military as corrupt with inefficient bureaucracy.
The president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, who had come into disrepute after a WikiLeaks cable implied that part of his adamant warnings about climate change were motivated by a USD 50 million deal for his country at the Copenhagen summit, resigned in the course of this week.
Charles Taylor defense lawyer request for use of two US diplomatic cables denied: Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, continues to await the outcome of his trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. Taylor is accused of war crimes from his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War, and his lawyer Courtenay Griffiths had requested that two US diplomatic cables be included in the defense. The request was denied by the judges.
Obama returns major donations tied to fugitive: US President Obama has refunded over 200,000 USD in election campaign donations given by the family of Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, known as Pepe, who jumped bail in the US in 1994. Cardona has been in the casino trade in Mexico, and WikiLeaks cables say he was suspected of illegally funneling five million USD to 2006 Mexican political campaigns.
On a tour of talks through Canada, Kim Ives – editor of Haïti Liberté – spoke about the slow pace of reconstruction and political turmoil in Haïti as part of a ‘WikiHaïti’ series. WikiLeaks Press has covered the extensive reporting of Cablegate Haiti in previous weeks.