Cables show NASDAQ evicted Chinese broadcasting company following pressure by China over Falun Gong coverage. Danish government failed to investigate CIA rendition flights. US imposed stringent confidentiality for ACTA agreement. US influences in Armenia and Malta for enforcing Iran sanctions. More on Human Rights Watch and the 2006 coup in Thailand. Tens of thousands of Dominican Republic workers exported, many victims of human trafficking. Court case over a EUR 500 million solar panel which was discussed in cables.

Subject index

Human rights^

Wikileaks: more on HRW and the coup III: In the fourth of a series of articles about Human Rights Watch in Thailand, the blog Political Prisoners in Thailand cites cables that indicate that the human rights organization had close relations with the planners of the military coup that took place in the country in 2006. One cable states that HRW’s Sunai Phasuk in an effort to investigate a number of suspected extrajudicial killings in the country had told “Privy Council President Prem that, if Thaksin were to be removed from power, a group of activists intended to push for  re-examination of [extrajudicial killings] during the War on Drugs. Sunai said that this information was ‘received positively.’” The re-examinations were launched only after it had been ensured that the military would not become implicated, the cable states.

US says that the Dominican Republic exports prostitutes, exotic dancers, and domestic workers: According to a cable from 2004, it is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 Dominicans were working abroad as prostitutes, dancers, or domestic servants, many of whom were victims of human trafficking. The cable singled out Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Belgium, Germany, Venezuela, Argentina and Costa Rica as destinations for trafficked persons. The cable also mentions a high-profile incident in which Radhamés Ramos Garcia, deputy of the Dominican La Vega party, was caught acting as intermediary in trafficking of persons from Haiti.

Chinese regime forced Nasdaq to ban television broadcaster: The Chinese broadcasting company New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television writes that embassy cables published by WikiLeaks provide hints as to why it was evicted from Nasdaq’s New York studio in 2007. A cable shows that shortly before NTD was evicted by Nasdaq, Chinese security officials had “detained and questioned American citizen Lawrence Pan, NASDAQ’s chief representative in China, on the morning of January 26 in connection with NASDAQ’s alleged ‘support’ for Falun Gong activities in the United States.” According to the cable, Pan “may have pledged to Chinese authorities that NASDAQ would no longer  allow the Falun Gong-operated television network New Tang Dynasty News to cover NASDAQ from the electronic stock exchange’s New York  headquarters.”

Guantanamo prisoners on a rendition flight.

Denmark cooperation with US CIA rendition flights never investigated?: Embassy cables from the US embassy in Copenhagen revealed that CIA rendition flights over Greenland and the Faroe Islands were not investigated by the Danish government as promised. An inquiry was commissioned in early November 2011, but some experts claim that the report’s conclusions could have a negative impact on US-Denmark relations.

Secret ACTA pacts: US embassy cables sent from Sweden, Italy and Japan contain information about the currently much debated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) provide insights into the the early negotiation process surrounding the agreement, Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita writes. They show that Fabrizio Mazza, head of the Intellectual  Property Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, noted that the US had imposed very stringent confidentiality, and that it was  “impossible for member states to conduct necessary consultations with IPR stakeholders and legislatures under  this level of confidentiality. He said that before the next round of ACTA discussions, this point will have to be  renegotiated.” In Poland, even those that are in favor of ACTA have expressed concerns about the lack of transparency and democratic process.

Yoani Sanchez: Blogger of mercenary: Many cables describe how the Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez has often met with US officials at the US embassy in Havana. In the cables, recommendations are made to the US State Department to increase support for Sanchez and other dissident bloggers. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has personally praised Sanchez on at least one occasion. Surveys show, however, that overall, there is very little public interest in her blog among Cubans.

Cameroon: President Biya told-off foreign officials for criticizing elections:  US Ambassador Janet Garvey writes of a letter written by president Biya and addressed to a group of foreign diplomats, warning them against “interfering in Cameroons domestic affairs.”  Western diplomats and the private press had criticized Biya’s appointment of members of his own party to key positions in Cameroon’s electoral commission (ELECAM).

War and military^

Egypt: The history of the April 2011 uprising: In March and April of 2011, protesters in Egypt were increasingly beginning to express discontent with the way the Egyptian military was governing the country following the toppling of Mubarak. An analyst cited in a cable sent from Cairo said that there was also discontentment within the army, over leadership and wages.

US forces expenses questioned: A US embassy cable sent from Seoul focusing on US military costs in South Korea shows that the US refused to provide details about these costs after South Korea expressed concerns that its contribution was not accurately reflected in US calculations. South Korea’s contribution rose in 2011 and are expected to rise further in 2013.

Saudi Arabia cautious on possible Afghan talks: There are reports that the Afghan government and the Taliban are to hold negations in Saudi Arabia. The latter country may, however, be reluctant to host such talks, for a number of reasons. A US embassy cable shows that it refused to host a similar initiative in 2010 due to concerns over the Taliban’s links to Al-Qaeda.

President Obama confirms Pakistan drone strikes: US President Obama has admitted that US drone attacks are taking place in Pakistan, a year after leaked diplomatic cables showed that the Pakistan’s military and civilian leadership privately supported the attacks.

15 Al Qaeda deaths after series of US military raids: A series of raids in Southern Yemen killing fifteen Al Qaeda fighters is said to have been conducted by the US military, according to the AFP. The US has not acknowledged conducting raids in Yemen, but WikiLeaks cables have shown that a network of US bases have been formed to allow for drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia.

Waning support for the fight in Afghanistan and more evidence of Pakistan connections to the Taliban: Recent revelations by the BBC indicate that Pakistan’s intelligence services, the ISI, support the Taliban in Afghanistan, which was also indicated in US  State Department cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010.

International relations^

Argentina, the Falkland Islands, and Cameron’s desperation: While Britain is seeking dialog over the issue of the Falkland Islands, Argentina has increasingly questioned the legality of the UK’s economic presence in the region. US embassy cables show that the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were concerned that the Argentinian government might adopt a tougher stance towards British companies active in the region, and also feared an escalation towards war. The former of these concerns now appears to have been justified.

Iran Sanctions^

Armenia plays the Iran card: Iran has faced increasingly stringent sanctions in recent years, with Europe threatening to impose embargoes on Iran in January.  For Armenia, however, Iran is an important partner. A US embassy cable from 2006 notes that it would be hard for Armenia to join the sanctions, “given the critical energy links between the two counties and Armenia’s geo-political situation.” The US has indicated that it will exempt Armenia from the sanctions against Iran in order to avoid increasing dependency on Russian energy.

In response to new EU sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry: Iran has withdrawn large amounts of its money from European banks, but an EU economic advisor says that Iran still has several billion euros stashed in Malta and other European countries. A 2009 cable has shown that a Maltese Finance Minister informed the US that Iran was attempting to invest several billions of euros in Malta’s banking system. The US chargé d’affaires was confident that Malta would not accept the investment, and reported that the Maltese Chief of Staff to the Finance Minister was “helpful in our successful attempt to persuade Malta to go beyond UN- and EU-approved sanctions in preventing Iran from establishing a presence  in Malta’s financial sector.”

Political insights^

Amadou Ali Says Anglo-Bamilekes Can Never Succeed Biya: This cable, written in March of 2009, summarizes the US embassy in Yaounde’s attempt to discern President Biya’s succession plans (Biya has held the office of President of Cameroon since 1982) through a series of discussions with vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali.  Reflecting on the discussions, Ambassador Garvey concluded that “Cameroon’s political elite is increasingly focused on jockeying for the post-Biya era” and that “the struggle for Cameroon’s future, including President Paul Biya’s succession, should be viewed through ethnic and regional lenses.”

Biya hires party disciples to run new elections agency: On 30 December 2009, while most papers in Cameroon were on holiday, President Paul Biya appointed twelve members of his own party to the board of the newly created elections committee known as Elections Cameroon (ELECAM). In a cable from the US Embassy to the State Department, US Ambassador Janet Garvey wrote: “we are struck that Biya apparently felt unconstrained to provide even a fig leaf of inclusiveness or independence to ELECAM’s leadership.”

Sri Lanka: It “Looked like” EPDP and SL navy burnt the Uthayan: Basil Rajapaksa, adviser to the president of Sri Lanka, told the US embassy in Colombo that it looked like the leadership of the political parties EPDP and SLN were behind the burning of a newspaper that was supportive of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ecelam.

Impact^

Courts investigate solar energy field contract award: A court case has been launched over a tender for a EUR 500 million solar panel plant which was won by the US company CSP Solar Reserve. Acciona, the company that has appealed the decision, points to a cable showing that the US ambassador to Madrid discussed the issue with the Spanish Ministry of Industry.