HOW 250,000 US EMBASSY CABLES WERE LEAKED

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Via IP
28. Nov, 2010

From a fake Lady Gaga CD to a thumb drive that is a pocket-sized bombshell – the biggest intelligence leak in history


US soldier Bradley Manning, left, who is accused of stealing the classified files and handing the database to the WikiLeaks website of Julian Assange, right. Photograph: Associated Press/AFP/Getty Images

by: David Leigh –  The Guardian

An innocuous-looking memory stick, no longer than a couple of fingernails, came into the hands of a Guardian reporter earlier this year. The device is so small it will hang easily on a keyring. But its contents will send shockwaves through the world’s chancelleries and deliver what one official described as “an epic blow” to US diplomacy.

The 1.6 gigabytes of text files on the memory stick ran to millions of words: the contents of more than 250,000 leaked state department cables, sent from, or to, US embassies around the world.
What will emerge in the days and weeks ahead is an unprecedented picture of secret diplomacy as conducted by the planet’s sole superpower. There are 251,287 dispatches in all, from more than 250 US embassies and consulates. They reveal how the US deals with both its allies and its enemies – negotiating, pressuring and sometimes brusquely denigrating foreign leaders, all behind the firewalls of ciphers and secrecy classifications that diplomats assume to be secure. The leaked cables range up to the “SECRET NOFORN” level, which means they are meant never to be shown to non-US citizens.

As well as conventional political analyses, some of the cables contain detailed accounts of corruption by foreign regimes, as well as intelligence on undercover arms shipments, human trafficking and sanction-busting efforts by would-be nuclear states such as Iran and Libya. Some are based on interviews with local sources while others are general impressions and briefings written for top state department visitors who may be unfamiliar with local nuances.

Intended to be read by officials in Washington up to the level of the secretary of state, the cables are generally drafted by the ambassador or subordinates. Although their contents are often startling and troubling, the cables are unlikely to gratify conspiracy theorists. They do not contain evidence of assassination plots, CIA bribery or such criminal enterprises as the Iran-Contra scandal in the Reagan years, when anti-Nicaraguan guerrillas were covertly financed.

One reason may be that America’s most sensitive “top secret” and above foreign intelligence files cannot be accessed from Siprnet, the defence department network involved.

The US military believes it knows where the leak originated. A soldier, Bradley Manning, 22, has been held in solitary confinement for the last seven months and is facing a court martial in the new year. The former intelligence analyst is charged with unauthorised downloads of classified material while serving on an army base outside Baghdad. He is suspected of taking copies not only of the state department archive, but also of video of an Apache helicopter crew gunning down civilians in Baghdad, and hundreds of thousands of daily war logs from military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was childishly easy, according to the published chatlog of a conversation Manning had with a fellow-hacker. “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labelled with something like ‘Lady Gaga’ … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing … [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga’s Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history.” He said that he “had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months”.
Manning told his correspondent Adrian Lamo, who subsequently denounced him to the authorities: “Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public … Everywhere there’s a US post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. Worldwide anarchy in CSV format … It’s beautiful, and horrifying.”

He added: “Information should be free. It belongs in the public domain.”

Manning, according to the chatlogs, says he uploaded the copies to WikiLeaks, the “freedom of information activists” as he called them, led by Australian former hacker Julian Assange.

Assange and his circle apparently decided against immediately making the cables public. Instead they embarked on staged disclosure of the other material – aimed, as they put it on their website, at “maximising political impact”.

In April at a Washington press conference the group released the Apache helicopter video, titling it Collateral Murder.

The Guardian’s Nick Davies brokered an agreement with Assange to hand over in advance two further sets of military field reports on Iraq and Afghanistan so professional journalists could analyse them. Published earlier this year simultaneously with the New York Times and Der Spiegel in Germany, the analyses revealed that coalition forces killed civilians in previously unreported shootings and handed over prisoners to be tortured.

The revelations shot Assange and WikiLeaks to global prominence but led to angry denunciations from the Pentagon and calls from extreme rightwingers in the US that Assange be arrested or even assassinated. This month Sweden issued an international warrant for Assange, for questioning about alleged sexual assaults. His lawyer says the allegations spring from unprotected but otherwise consensual sex with two women.
WikiLeaks says it is now planning to post a selection of the cables. Meanwhile, a Guardian team of expert writers has been spending months combing through the data. Freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke obtained a copy of the database through her own contacts and joined the Guardian team. The paper is to publish independently, but simultaneously with the New York Times and Der Spiegel, along with Le Monde in Paris and El País in Madrid. As on previous occasions the Guardian is redacting information likely to cause reprisals against vulnerable individuals.

Source: The Guardian

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Wikileaks: Yemeni President Agreed To Cover up US Attack in Yemen Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels

By SCOTT SHANE and ANDREW W. LEHREN

“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Mr. Saleh said, according to the cable sent by the American ambassador, prompting Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling Parliament” that Yemeni forces had carried out the strikes.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26927.htm
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Saudi King: US Should Plant Chips in Gitmo Detainees.
By Full US Embassy Cable
The King, proposed implanting detainees with an electronic chip containing information about them and allowing their movements to be tracked with Bluetooth. This was done with horses and falcons, the King said.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26928.htm

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Pakistan – China – Iran
Wikileaks Cables: Key Issues

By BBC
Pakistan stand-off: The cables show the US has been attempting to remove highly enriched uranium from a research reactor in Pakistan since 2007.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26929.htm
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US Embassy Cables Leak Sparks Global Diplomacy Crisis
By David Leigh
More than 250,000 dispatches reveal US foreign strategies · Diplomats ordered to spy on allies as well as enemies · Hillary Clinton leads frantic ‘damage limitation’
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26926.htm
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WikiLeaks Under Attack; No Comment From State Department
By Chris Good
Scanned front page of Monday’s Der Spiegel quotes officials calling Ahmadinejad ‘Hitler’.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26924.htm
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Israel Manufacturing Consent For Attack On Iran
WikiLeaks: Netanyahu Warned U.S. Iran ‘Months Away’ From Nuclear Bomb

By Haaretz Service
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in 2009 that Iran was months away from achieving military nuclear capability, classified documents released by WikiLeaks on Sunday quote a State Department official as saying.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26925.htm
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Oceans of Blood and Profits for the Mongers of War
By Robert Fisk
Coming soon to a war near you; oceans of blood, bodies torn to shreds, of course. But bring your credit card. Or a cheque book. It’s big business. And there may be profits.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26930.htm
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FBI Thwarts Own Car Bomb
Will Americans recoil in yet more contrived fear?

By Tony Cartalucci
The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claims to have thwarted their own car bomb Friday, November 26, 2010 at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26923.htm
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The Day the Dollar Died
Video
A hypothetical look at how the collapse of the US dollar may affect the world.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26931.htm
===

The American Ruling Class
Video

This “astonishing,” “coruscating” satire poses the question: Is it better to rule the world, or to save it?
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26932.htm
===

NATO soldier, 12 Afghan police forces killed in blasts:
At least 12 Afghan policemen were killed Saturday when two suicide bombers wearing police uniforms attacked their headquarters in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.
http://bit.ly/eUgMCI
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Senior provincial official, three others killed in Afghanistan:
A senior member of a provincial council and three others were killed in separate attacks in eastern and northern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said.
http://bit.ly/i5rZ4a
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US Kills 3 People In Pakistan: :
The drones struck a vehicle in Hasan Khel village, about 20 miles east of Miranshah in the North Waziristan tribal district, Geo News reported.
http://bit.ly/eRWZzw
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Airport worker shot dead by US soldiers:
US troops killed an Iraqi airport employee today as he drove near a military convoy on his way to work.
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/98168
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Iraqi leader: No need for U.S. troops after 2011:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that an agreement requiring U.S. troops to leave by the end of 2011 will stand because Iraqi forces are capable of taking care of the country’s security.
http://bit.ly/evQz5q
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South admits firing first shells in row with North Korea :
South Korea has admitted it fired artillery shells that triggered an early morning clash with North Korea.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O33sfN00oDk&feature=player_embedded
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Manufacturing Consent For Attack On Iran:
Saudi Arabia urges US attack on Iran to stop nuclear programme:
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, according to leaked US diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-saudis-iran
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Wikileaks: Intelligence Directives Blur Lines Between Diplomacy and Spying: –
The United States has expanded the role of American diplomats in collecting intelligence overseas and at the United Nations, ordering State Department personnel to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, work schedules and other personal information of foreign dignitaries.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29spy.html?_r=1
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US embassy cables: browse the database:
Use our interactive guide to discover what has been revealed in the leak of 250,000 US diplomatic cables. Mouse over the map below to find stories and original documents by country, subject or people
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-wikileaks
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Der Spiegel: US officials called Ahmadinejad ‘Hitler’:
According to the German daily, while French President Nicolas Sarkozy is the emperor who has no clothes. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is “motivated by paranoia”, the report says.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3991029,00.html
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UK fears for citizens in Muslim countries over WikiLeaks:
Britain has expressed its fear for the wellbeing of its citizens in Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and other Muslim countries following “anti-Muslim” comments expected to appear in documents slated to be published Sunday evening by the WikiLeaks website, the Sunday Times reports.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3990917,00.html
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How 250,000 US embassy cables were leaked:
From a fake Lady Gaga CD to a thumb drive that is a pocket-sized bombshell – the biggest intelligence leak in history
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/how-us-embassy-cables-leaked
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The job of the media is not to protect power from embarrassment:
It is for governments – not journalists – to guard public secrets, and there is no national jeopardy in WikiLeaks’ revelations
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-wikileaks?
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FBI apparently set up US teen blamed for fake car bomb:
Teenager was apparently set up by federal law enforcement officials who posed as radical Islamic fighters and lured the young man into a plot he believed would lead him to detonate a car bomb at an Oregon Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/fbi-apparently-set-teen-blamed-fake-car-bomb/
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Court asked to order probe of Gitmo psychologist:
A court was asked Wednesday to force an investigation into whether an Army psychologist developed abusive interrogation techniques for detainees at Guantanamo Bay and should be stripped of his license.
http://online.wsj.com/article/APb5fba66db06c46db8fc47fe01ae98597.html
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A billion people will lose their homes due to climate change, says report:
British scientists will warn Cancún summit that entire nations could be flooded
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/28/cancun-climate-summit-weather
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Thousands protest against Irish bailout:
More than 100,000 people gather in Dublin to demonstrate against four-year austerity plan to reduce debts
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/27/ireland-bailout-angry-demonstrators-dublin
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Iceland Is No Ireland as State Free of Bank Debt, Grimsson Says:
Iceland’s President Olafur R. Grimsson said his country is better off than Ireland thanks to the government’s decision to allow the banks to fail two years ago and because the krona could be devalued.
http://bit.ly/gB26Sd
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China, Russia Quit Dollar: –
China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced
http://nation.foxnews.com/china/2010/11/24/china-russia-quit-dollar
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FDIC’s Bair fears federal debt will be ‘next crisis’:
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairwoman Sheila Bair would seem to have enough to worry about, with 149 bank failures so far this year and 860 more banks on the agency’s “problem” list.
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2010/11/sheila-bair-fdic-federal-debt-oped-banks.html
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U.S. new-home sales down 8.1% for October:
Sales fell in most regions, declining by 23.9% in the West, by 20.4% in the Midwest and by 12.1% in the Northeast. In the South, the month’s sales increased 3.1%.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/october-new-home-sales-down-81-us-says-2010-11-24
===

The American Ruling Class: Video –
This “astonishing,” “coruscating” satire poses the question: Is it better to rule the world, or to save it?
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26932.htm
===

“Let us be peace and joy”
Tom Feeley
Source: Information Clearing House

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

 
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