Australia sought to undermine reduce of ban on cluster munitions. Cables also reveal the ties to Shell of the new director of Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources. The U.S. helped promote sanctions against Eritrea. Companies complained of unfavorable business climate in Libya during years preceding intervention. Sri Lankan government sought to prevent U.S. talk with opposition leader, later imprisoned.
Arms and war^
|Plane dropping cluster bombs. Image from http://bit.ly/tbZdGY|
An inventory of Australian WikiLeaks cables relating to cluster munitions negotiations: Crikey cites a number of cables providing evidence that Australia, while being one of the countries that pushed for the International convention banning torture, in fact sought to make sure it would not present an obstacle to Australia, should it want to cooperate with non-signatory countries. One of many cables on the issue states that
Dr. Ada Cheung, Executive Director, Arms Control and Counter-Proliferation Branch, suggested separately that Australia will withdraw after Wellington if the core group successfully changes the declaration language to ban all cluster munitions.
WikiLeaks Cable: U.S. and Israel kept lid on bomb sale to ‘avoid any allegations’ of preparations To strike Iran: In 2007, Israel ordered 55 bunker-busting bombs from the US government, expected for 2009. A cable published in November 2009 reveals that the Obama administration was trying to hide the delivery, fearing that it would be interpreted as a “green light” for attacks on Iran.
Cables on Lord’s Resistance Army leader: Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a group known to have carried out violent attacks on civilians in the Congo and elsewhere, is described by former allies cited in cables in cables as being opposed to peace agreements, but was rather using negotiations as strategical tools.
Tense ties plagued US operation in Africa: An embassy cable sent from Ethiopia in December 2006 indicates that the U.S. was not behind the Ethiopian incursion into Somalia around that time. Ethiopia “may have been prompted to act by the feels ever more compelled to intervene in southern Somalia to counter what it sees as the growing threat of an extremist Islamic regime in Mogadishu”, the cable states.
Contextualizing the intervention in Libya: The Angry Arab highlights an article analyzing NATO’s intervention in Libya through seven State Department cables and human rights and IMF reports. While international aid to Libya was increased Following Gaddafi’s abandoning of nuclear ambitions in 2003, cables show that international firms continued to encounter barriers to making profit in the country. They report that foreign firms were required to hire one Libyan for each foreigner working in Libya, that work visas needed to be renewed every six months, and emphasize the disadvantageous business climate. These factors help understand the position taken by NATO. Cables also highlight the pro-privatization and pro-free market outlook of Libya’s former Justice Minister Mustafa Abduljalil, who now acts as leader of the ruling National Transition Council (NTC).
Eritrea, Africa, and the US: A journalist sympathetic to the Eritrean government writes that contrary to claims by the US, the sanctions imposed on Eritrea in 2009 were largely an American initiative. Only days after a May 2009 meeting between US representative to the UN Susan Rice and Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi, the African Union called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Eritrea. Yet another cable report on how Prime Minister Meles pointed to the threat posed by Ethiopia against Djibouti as a reason for the US to support the sanctions. Susan Rice during a meeting with Ugandan president Museveni “emphasized that the U.S. strongly supports a resolution addresses the issue of Eritrea invading Djibouti”, and that “if Burkina Faso and Uganda co-sponsor this resolution, the British will support, the French will ‘keep their heads down’, as reported in a cable sent in late September 2009.
Democracy and human rights^
Sri Lankan government sought to prevent U.S. talk with opposition leader
Sri Lankan government urged the US not to interview Fonseka: Foreign Minister Bogollagama called on the US embassy not to interview opposition leader Sarath Fonseka, citing concerns that the interview was intended to touch on alleged war crimes by Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Bogollama made the argument that the information was classified.
Another article reports on a cable stating that General Fonseka at a meeting at the US embasssy testified to the accuracy of claims ascribed to himself, that Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had ordered the killing of any LTTE leaders trying to surrender during the end of the war. This claim was likely one of the reasons behind a court ruling finding him guilty of spreading disinformation. Two weeks after his loss at the 2010 polls, Fonseka was arrested, charged, and convicted of corruption. He is currently serving out a 30 month prison sentence.
The Colombo Telegraph reports on a cable describing how monks after the arrest of Fonseka called a “Sangha Sabha” council to discuss the state of democracy in the country. The cable says the monks’ rebellion against the Rajapaksas was unprecedented insofar as the monks disregarded their traditional caste differences to come together against what they saw as abuses by the Rajapaksas.
Sri Lankan government had intercepted LTTE communications: An article at The Colombo Telegraph cites a cable which describes US assessments of peace negotiations between the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) and the Government of Sri Lanka. In addition to detailing conflicts within the LTTE over the negotiation process and stances to take, the cable reveals that “Milinda Moragoda, a key Sri Lankan government official involved in peace process issues, told us that the GSL had intercepted LTTE communications indicating that there was some dissonance toward LTTE spokesman Anton Balasingham’s management of the peace process.”
An El Faro article reports on a cable on voting intentions of Salvadorans prior to the March 2009 election. The cable criticizes the polling results of various El Salvadoran polling firms, saying that many have political affiliations which make their results unreliable.
Degradation of youth culture in Cambodia: An article on the current difficulties facing Cambodia’s youth which lead to frequent drug abuse cites a cable from Phnom Penh reporting on “‘drug parties’, domestic violence, rape, and gang activity,” and youths who were spending $1,000 per month on drugs “in a country where the average family lives on less than a dollar a day.” Other cables mention a “culture of bribery” in the educational system.
International relations and cooperation^
Huawei: Will China conquer the world?: The Chinese telecom company Huawei has rapidly established itself in some 140 countries. Concerns over some of its practices have tarnished the company’s reputation in the US. One such case was Huawei failure to meet the terms of its contract with the Kenyan company Safaricom. The contract was eventually cancelled, which, in turn caused fear in Kenya that support from China would be withdrawn.
Rare US-China partnership could salvage hydro Plant in Liberia: a cable from 2005 shows that the US at the time may have been willing to work with China to reconstruct the Mount Coffee Hydro plant, which was destroyed in the 90′s. The cable suggests that the issue of funding may have been what caused the plans not to proceed. Responding to the cable, the Chinese embassy says that it remains willing to pursue the project.
To Afghanistan, on the slow train: A CNN article looks at the alternative railroad routes developed by the United States for shipping nonlethal equipment into Afghanistan, starting from Riga, Latvia and arriving in Afghanistan via Central Asia. Cables illuminate the geopolitical challenges of dealing with corruption and delays at border-crossings, and the investment in the alternative line as a means of decreasing dependence on transit routes passing through Pakistan, as insurance in the case of eventual degradation of US-Pakistan relations.
A blog post analyzes the many cables revealing US uncertainty over the benefits of the its relationship with Pakistan. Pakistan has accepted financial aid from the US, but the country remains a source of militant Islamic extremism. Cables show India’s concerns over Pakistani militants and further US accusations form the U.S. that the US is training and financing the Afghan insurgency.
US views on domestic politics^
New director of Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources has ties to Shell: While many are optimistic about the new director of the authority, Augustine Olorunsola, others are skeptical about his history in Shell, a company that is described in cables as having infiltrated the government.
Liberia: Congress for Democratic Change job hunters “unfit for public office”: After a meeting with George Weah, Standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change in Liberia, the US ambassador to the country wrote that Mr Weha’s public statements on the need to reduce unemployment were largely prompted by a wish to secure political position for himself and his allies. Other sources say the same concerns dictate the policies of the party’s leadership today.
Philippines: Hacienda Luisita case affects other landowners: The US embassy in Manilla in 2005 wrote that plans to redistribute the large Hacienda Luisita property, as part of a land reform would have far-reaching consequences in the country. Citing military sources, one cable argues that extremist left-wing groups were behind the social unrest at Hacienda Luisita, and yet another cable argues labour unions helped spark violence.
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- Former president of Phillippines Arroyo opposed birth control bill to shore up support from Catholic church
- Egypt: Cairo embassy supports Bush’s “Freedom Agenda”
- Nigera: Former President Ibrahim Babangida Exposed By Wikileaks Cable
- 70% of Yemen’s wealth invested abroad because of complex tax system
- Australian government “delivers” on mining tax
Impact and reaction^
Zimbabwe government websites shut down: After President Mugabe’s wife began a lawsuit against a newspaper over its publication of WikiLeaks cables on her involvement in illicit diamond trades, activists from the group Anonymous have attacked Zimbabwe government sites.
US ambassador on Foreign Policy Top 100 global thinkers list for writing embassy cable: Foreign Policy points to five ambassadors as having written particularly important cables: Gene Cretz, for describing the Gaddafi regime; Elizabeth Dibble, for her descriptions of former Italian prime minister Berlusconi; Robert Godec, for describing Ben Ali’s rule of Tunisia; Carlos Pascual, for criticizing Mexico’s failure to reduce homicide rates; Anne Patterson, for describing the deteriorating US-Pakistan relations.
Ethiopia, terrorism and Wikileaks: Mesfin Negash, one of the five founders of the Ethipian newspaper Addis Neger, has worked with Argaw Arshine who had to flee the country after his name was published in a Wikileaks cable. If Mr Arshine had stayed in the country, would have been charged with spying on the government, with a possible ten year sentence, Mr Neshar says. Mr Neshar, who himself has fled the country after government prssure, criticizes Wikileaks for the publication of Mr Arshine’s name, saying he should have been protected as a whistle-blower. Wikileaks has claimed that the publication of the name was forced by the Guardian, which published a password to the encrypted cable catalog.
Former Al Jazeera Director denies ties to the US were behind his dismissal: On the same day that Wadah Khanfar left the position of director of Al-Jazzeera, cables suggesting that Mr Khanfar had modified coverage according to requests from the US. Speaking recently at a media conference in Hongkong, Mr Khanfar rejected any connection between his dismissal his alleged close relations with the US.