Cable analysis reveals the US’ struggle to maintain its influence around the globe, particularly in Russia, China, and Iran. In Africa, politicians criticize each other in private and an Ethiopian journalist translates and analyzes the cables in Amharic. US ambassador criticizes human rights toll during Sri Lanka civil war. Chinese telecommunications company Huawei was under investigation by Australian authorities in 2008.
The Secret Life of a Superpower (Part II): The BBC part two documentary on WikiLeaks’ Cablegate release analyzes the US relationship with Russia, China, and Iran. The cables show details of Russia’s attempts to retain influence over Central Asia, particularly in its 2008 war with Georgia. The cables also showed that secret NATO defense plans, “Eagle Guardian,” were being formed for defense against further Russian attacks on Central Asian NATO countries. The December 2010 release of Cablegate revealed the existence of these plans to the public.
Publicly, the US has attempted to maintain warm relations with China, but cables reveal US anger over a 2007 event when the Chinese army shot down its own satellite in a demonstration of its anti-satellite technology. Other cables describe private US efforts to convince China to pay attention to human rights issues, and China’s retaliatory remarks.
Although the US fears Iranian development of a nuclear weapon, it has no embassy in Iran, and has thus created the structure for an “Iran Watchers Network,” which gathers intelligence from a web of informers around the globe who have connections to Iran. BBC claims that this network has succeeded in gathering important intelligence, including a confrontation between President Ahmedinejad and the head of the Revolutionary Guard Gorps, Jafari, in 2009.
Zimbabwe elections: In 2000 elections, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister noted the MDC party’s ease in winning the elections, informing Tom McDonald in a diplomatic cable, “The MDC could have put up a frog in those areas and still would have won against the ruling party.”
Mugabe Insulted Kabila: Public photos of an amicable meeting between Mugabe and Kabila portray a different reality than that recorded in the Wikileaks cable. The ambassador stated at the time, “Mawapanga also acknowledged that Mugabe had insulted DRC President Kabila when he visited Harare, but the young Kabila, unlike his father, does not believe in answering insult with insult.”
Journalist Abyi Afework – analysis of Wikileaks files on Ethiopia: Abyi Afework, a journalist who has been translating Wikileaks files on Ethiopia, discusses in an interview the impact of Ethiopian politics upon the release of the cables (video in Amharic).
Sri Lanka – Alles Had Been Providing Free After-School Tutoring To Rajapaksa’s Son: Tiran Alles, arrested for suppressing the Tamil votes in the 2005 presidential election, admitted having a secret meeting with the Tamils. Alles’ parents educated many of Sri Lanka’s elite, including providing free after school tutoring to President Rajapaksa’s youngest son. Robert Blake wrote in the cable, “The family was bitter about the Rajapaksa’s ingratitude. They pointed out there is little doubt that the arrest of Alles was politically motivated.”
Rajapaksas Were Set On A More Authoritarian Course: Speculation surrounding the arrest of Sri Lankan presidential candidate Fonseka led ambassadors to disengage from Sri Lanka until after the elections. Intimidation in the media, increase of military and police, threats to NGOs and INGOs suggested that Sri Lanka’s deterioration may be on a permanent course towards an authoritarian regime. One ambassador commented in the original cable, “The plane seems to be heading for Singapore, but it might land in Burma.”
Palace, embassy and military junta coordinate: Analysis on a cable reveals coordination surrounding the 2006 coup in Thailand, when the Thai Royal Army overthrew the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. In a post-coup cable, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Krit Garnjana-Goonchorn is quoted as saying, “people as a whole seem to have welcomed the military intervention,” and “because the transition was peaceful, Thailand hopes to ‘win back the trust of the international community in our economy and in our deep commitment to democracy.’”
“We All Want An End To LTTE Terror, But Not In A Way That Kills Thousands Of Civilians”- Blake: In an attempt to end the civil war in Sri Lanka, Ambassador Blake discussed options and strategies towards persuading the LTTE to surrender peacefully. The cable says, “Ambassador noted he and others had held many bilateral meetings with senior Sri Lankan officials, including Army Commander Fonseka, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, and Foreign Secretary Kohona, all of whom had denied that Sri Lankan forces were shelling the safe zone. Ambassador stated that these denials were not credible.” The safe zone 48 hour threshold was intended to transfer 600 wounded civilians and provide much needed supplies.
Sri Lanka’s New Friends Cannot Compete With Her Old Ones – Butenis: Sri Lanka is revealed in a cable to be one of China’s fastest growing trading partners. Imports from China, however have resulted in a trade deficit with US of 1.44 billion. It is pointed out by Ambassador Patricia Butenis, “Though at times the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) asserts it does not need the U.S. and the West since it can turn to new friends such as China, there is no indication that China can replace Western export markets.”
Security concerns over Huawei flagged years before NZ embraced them: Australia and America knew there were security concerns with the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei before New Zealand deepened its relations with the company. Wikileaks 2008 cables reveal Australian Intelligence agencies were investigating Huawei due to national security concerns over Chinese cyber attacks and the company’s investment in China’s Ultrafast Broadband fibre network. Another article notes that as a NBN provider, there were doubts as to whether the security risk was sourced from competitors. One cable says, “The NBN process gets even uglier. There is speculation that Telstra leaked this story, coming so soon after Telstra’s bid was disqualified”. The company denies that it is a security risk as its spokesman stated, “The company’s record speaks for itself. ”
Americas and Europe^
|Graffiti calling for a raise in the minimum wage. The letters UN are crossed out, ostensibly in protest of the UN MINUSTAH peacekeeping force. (Photo by Ansel Herz).|
Wikileaks Shine light on US Role in Haiti: Police Chief Standoff Reflects Fierce Class Struggle: The Director of Haitan National Police(HNP), Mario Andresol, is refusing to step down after President Michel Martelly tried to fire him. Prior to WikiLeaks’ release of diplomatic cables, the deep ties forged between Mario Andresol and Washington that have shaped Haitian politics for nearly a decade were not publicly known. One cable says,
Our role in supporting the HNP and the reform plans remains central. Though MINUSTAH maintains primary responsibility for providing technical assistance, and other donors, notably Canada and France, have also discussed providing technical support, our material support for the HNP, which ranges from arms and ammunition to the uniforms on their backs and the food their cadets eat at the academy, is the critical factor enabling the HNP to assume greater responsibility for basic security and to even contemplate utilizing MINUSTAH resources in implementing more ambitious reform.
Norway on Mullah Krekar Extradition: A cable reveals that although there is a deportation order to send Ansar al-Islam figure Mullah Krekar to Iraq and face the death penalty, Norway cannot legally abide. The journalist union has called for his extradition to Australia for war crimes and murder of an Australian cameraman. Cherrie S. Daniels wrote in the cable, “Moran’s journalist colleagues are exasperated at the Australian government which has made no efforts to bring the issue to a resolution, but instead let Krekar remain in Norway “and mock the Australian government,” as Mark Corcoran puts it.”
The McCann’s Have Not Been Cleared: British girl Madeline McCann disappeared at the age of four in 2007 from a resort in Portugal. In contrast to media reports, a 2007 Wikileaks cable says that the police had a great deal of evidence against Madeleine McCann’s parents. Advising officials to avoid the media frenzy and keep comments private, “Ellis admitted that the British police had developed the current evidence against the McCann parents, and he stressed that authorities from both countries were working cooperatively. He commented that the media frenzy was to be expected and was acceptable as long as government officials keep their comments behind closed doors.”
Global Intelligence Files^
Obama Allegedly Took Russian Money: Stratfor analysts allege President Obama accepted a large donation from the Russians during the elections. Fred Burton stated in an email, “A little bird told me it was a “nice six-figure donation.”
Private Intelligence Company Paid to Monitor Activists’ Activities: WikiLeaks reveals how a private intelligence firm monitored legal activities of political groups around the world. Especially disturbing was the pattern of conduct within its organizational culture that promoted intimidating and harassing activists with the goal of censoring and inhibiting peaceful protest. Two of the most prominent examples are those associated with the Bhopal Medical Appeal and the interference with PETA activists.
US Security Firm helping Syrian rebels: Stratfor emails reveal how an American private security company helped Syrian opposition in its efforts to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Chief Executive of SCG James Smith, a former CIA employee, stated he had “air cover from a US congress woman Myrick to engage Syrian opposition” who was on a “fact finding mission for congress.”
Azerbaijan “terrified” by potential Armenian attack: Growth in military spending and support from Russia has not eased concerns of hostilities surrounding energy security. Stratfor Analyst Reva Bhalla stated that Azerbaijan, under the influence of Russia, is terrified of an Armenian attack. Adjacent to the warning made by Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev in a Wikileaks cable, “the threat of conflict with Armenia was rising fast.”
Gülen community organization busiest in the U.S.: Stratfor analysis on the Gulen movement and its infiltration in the US education system presents a perplexing picture. Analyst Reva Bhalla states in a report on FGC(Fethullah Gulen Community), “The FGC’s influence in the Emniyet and a significant part of Turkish domestic intelligence apparatus is a contentious issue, challenging the movement’s claim to be a spiritual organization. Critics and opponents of the FGC and the AKP, even some top brass in the Turkish military, fear that they are under surveillance by the FGC through the Turkish police. Giving credit to such claims, intelligence leaks involving the Turkish military often start in FGC-owned newspapers, such as Zaman.”