Factbox: Main revelations of WikiLeaks diplomatic cables

WASHINGTON Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:56pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government said it would tighten security after WikiLeaks released more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables that include candid views of foreign leaders and blunt assessments of security threats.

Here are the main revelations in the cables:

IRAN

-- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program and is reported to have advised Washington to "cut off the head of the snake" while there was still time.

-- The Bahraini king told U.S. diplomats that Iran's nuclear program should be halted by any means, and the crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi saw "the logic of war dominating" when it comes to dealing with the Iranian threat.

-- Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia offered to promote energy ties with China if Beijing backed sanctions against Iran, U.S. diplomatic cables said.

-- The top diplomatic adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a senior U.S. diplomat last year that Iran was a "fascist" state and the time had come to decide further steps.

-- A non-Iranian businessman traveling often to Tehran told U.S. diplomats last year one of his contacts had been told by former President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had terminal leukemia and could die in a few months.

-- Iran has obtained sophisticated missiles from North Korea capable of hitting western Europe, and the United States is concerned Iran is using those rockets as "building blocks" to build longer-range missiles.

CHINA

-- China's Politburo directed the intrusion into Google's computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the U.S. Embassy in January, as part of a computer sabotage campaign carried out by government operatives, private experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into U.S. government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.

KOREA

-- Some Chinese officials do not regard North Korea as a useful ally and would not intervene if the reclusive state collapsed, a South Korean official told the U.S. ambassador to Seoul citing conversations with high-level officials in Beijing.

-- In April 2009, He Yafei, then China's vice foreign minister, told a U.S. diplomat in Beijing that North Korea acted like a "spoiled child" to attract U.S. attention through steps such as firing a three-stage rocket over Japan.

-- U.S. and South Korean officials discussed the prospects for a unified Korea should the North's economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode.

-- The South Koreans considered commercial inducements to China to "help salve" Chinese concerns about living with a reunified Korea that is in a "benign alliance" with Washington, according to the American ambassador to Seoul.

UNITED NATIONS

The State Department asked U.S. envoys at U.N. headquarters and elsewhere to procure credit card and frequent flyer numbers, mobile phone numbers, email addresses, passwords and other data from foreign diplomats and top U.N. officials, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

RUSSIA

-- Russian Prime Minister Russia's Vladimir Putin is an "alpha-dog" ruler of a deeply corrupt state dominated by its security forces, U.S. diplomatic documents said. By contrast, President Dmitry Medvedev "plays Robin to Putin's Batman.

AFGHANISTAN

-- U.S. diplomats described Afghan President Hamid Karzai as "an extremely weak man who did not listen to facts," but was easily swayed by conspiracy theories. They said his brother was widely believed to be corrupt and a drug trafficker.

PAKISTAN

-- Since 2007, the United States has mounted a secret and so far unsuccessful effort to remove highly enriched uranium from a Pakistani research reactor out of fear it could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device.

AL QAEDA

-- Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like al Qaeda, and the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar was the "worst in the region" in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December.

GUANTANAMO

-- American diplomats have bargained with other countries to help empty the Guantanamo Bay prison by resettling detainees. Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Barack Obama, and Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in Chinese Muslim detainees. In another case, accepting more prisoners was described as "a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe," a cable said.

TURKEY

-- U.S. diplomats cast doubts on the reliability of NATO ally Turkey, portraying its leadership as divided and permeated by Islamists and said advisers to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had "little understanding of politics beyond Ankara.

ITALY

-- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is "feckless, vain and ineffective" and his "frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest," a U.S. diplomat said.

SYRIA

-- The United States has failed to prevent Syria supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has amassed a huge stockpile since its 2006 war with Israel, the cables said.

ARGENTINA

-- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton questioned the mental health of Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, asking U.S. diplomats to investigate whether she was on medication.

(Compiled by Jon Hemming)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (6)
wilmar12 wrote:
Amateur Hour in DC. AMATEUR HOUR!! Unbelievable. Not once, but twice the Obama team has been played for fools. And this only as it applies to National Security and Classified Information. The whole rest of their suite of domestic incompetence soundly acknowledged by voters in the last election. Hillary Clinton’s statements on this debacle so telling of an inept Secretary of State who is not qualified to function in the international diplomatic arena. And Eric Holder ‘we’re going to get them’ interview is another laughable example of playground bravado. Holder hasn’t got it right yet on anything he’s done. The man is a laughing stock in the country except his actions are anything but laughable regard enforcing our laws. 2 more years of these nincompoops. 2 more years of bufoonery. If we’re lucky, we’ll survive their grostesque incompetence.

Nov 30, 2010 6:53am EST  --  Report as abuse
omsudrania wrote:
I am not quite sure how to react to this WikiLeaks business. Quite obviously, US is disenchanted with it because she is exposed and alongwith it a number of several other countries (houses) has been implicated sending a wave of shudder across almost the whole globe. Some are rejoicing in it while others are in melancholy and busy in damage repair exercise.

Julian Assange is being labelled as a truant and vagabond because “Rex non potest peccare”. The world security sentiment is being invoked to rally round the wolrd opinion for or against something to prove one’s point. Let us see, what transpires in this bull fight. We better watch the circus from the audience gallery.

God bless
Dr. O. P. Sudrania

Nov 30, 2010 8:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
JWhiteMD wrote:
We have a press who could find every cow with mad cow disease, and find out where they came from. Do we not have a government that can find and eliminate this threat. Secrets win or lose wars. These people should be in their graves, already.

Nov 30, 2010 10:08am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures