THE UNITED STATES has found itself in the centre of a potential international storm after the first of over 250,000 internal documents, sent from its international network of embassies, were published on whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The documents – leaked in advance to a handful of global news agencies – extend from February of this year as far back as 1966, and reveal that the US had ordered surveillance on senior United Nations figures, as well as indicating that Middle Eastern leaders had asked for the US’s intervention in the growth of Iran as a major nuclear power.
The leaked documents also show that the relationship between China and North Korea had grown frostier, that senior members of the Afghan government are suspected of siphoning public cash into their personal possession, and how China’s hacking attack on Google had come about as a result of a senior Chinese official ‘Googling’ his own name and being dismayed at the results.
The Guardian – one of the agencies given advance access – reports that much of the leak comprises of documents sent to and from the US Embassy in London, and include political criticisms of then-opposition leader David Cameron as well as requests for intelligence on, and surveillance of, individual MPs.
The New York Times, which was also given access, adds that the US State Department, led by Hillary Clinton, had been liaising with ambassadors around the world trying to prepare them for the damaging revelations that may have been uncovered.
Among the aspects of the documents it focusses on is the revelation that individual countries – Slovenia being a named example – were being asked to house Guantanamo Bay inmates in exchange for a visit from Barack Obama.
It also adds that the US and South Korea had liaised on a plan for Korean reunification, to be pursued if North Korea’s economy was to totally implode.
Der Spiegel, the German news magazine to which the documents were supplied, focusses on the description of world leaders in the documents, with:
- German chancellor Angela Merkel seen as “seldom creative” and a risk avoider
- Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad compared to Adolf Hitler
- Russian president Dmitry Medvedev seen as “hesitant”
- Kim Jong-il as regularly suffering from epileptic fits
- Afghani president Hamid Karzai as being paranoid
- French president Nicolas Sarkozy seen as an ‘emperor without clothes’, and
- Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi as having a penchant for ‘Wild parties’.
Among the documents obtained by WikiLeaks are 910 messages sent from the US Embassy in Dublin, though none of those documents have yet been leaked.
The eldest of those documents dates from June 24, 1985, the day after an Air India flight carrying 329 people exploded over Irish airspace.