Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WikiLeaks cables: US feared Turkish military backlash in 'coup plot' arrests

Turkish arrests of senior military officers last year could trigger 'unpredictable reaction', US embassy cable warned
A Turkish soldier stands guard while police search the residence of a retired army
general in Istanbul in February last year. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters
US diplomats in Turkey feared that a wave of arrests of senior military officers last year over an alleged plot to topple the country's Islamist-rooted government could trigger an "unpredictable military reaction", according to a leaked diplomatic cable.

About 200 active and retired Turkish military officers, including former chiefs of the air force and dozens of generals and admirals, went on trial in December on charges of "attempting to topple the government by force" as part of a plot dubbed Sledgehammer.

WikiLeaks: US advised to sabotage Iran nuclear sites by German thinktank

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, inspecting the Natanz nuclear plant,
the target of the Stuxnet worm. Photograph: Handout/EPA
The United States was advised to adopt a policy of "covert sabotage" of Iran's clandestine nuclear facilities, including computer hacking and "unexplained explosions", by an influential German thinktank, a leaked US embassy cable reveals.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops

US embassy cable recommends drawing up list of countries for 'retaliation' over opposition to genetic modification
The US embassy in Paris wanted to penalise the EU after France moved to ban a
Monsanto GM corn variety. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features
The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

Republicans prioritise WikiLeaks investigation

Republican party plans to hold congressional inquiry into organisation following release of classified cables
Darrell Issa has suggested that Congress will have to pass new legislation to try to
prevent acts of whistleblowing similar to WikiLeaks.
Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP
The Republicans plan to hold a congressional inquiry into WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, following the organisation's release of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.

The party, which will wrest control of house committees from the Democrats tomorrow, has included WikiLeaks in a list of priorities for investigation.

Anonymous hackers target Zimbabwe government over WikiLeaks

Robert Mugabe's wife Grace is suing the Zimbabwe Standard
newspaper for publishing information released by
WikiLeaks that links her to the alleged trade in illicit diamonds.
Photograph: Nasser Nasser/AP
Cyber attacks follow Grace Mugabe's decision to sue newspaper for publishing allegations contained in US embassy cables

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, has become the latest victim of online attacks by supporters of WikiLeaks, it was claimed today.

Cyber activists said they had brought down government websites after Mugabe's wife sued a newspaper for publishing a WikiLeaks cable that linked her with the alleged trade in illicit diamonds .

The Zimbabwean government website was unavailable today, while the finance ministry website displayed a message saying it was under maintenance.

US cable leaks' collateral damage in Zimbabwe

If Morgan Tsvangirai is charged with treason, WikiLeaks will have earned the ignominy of Robert Mugabe's gratitude
Zimbabwe's PM Morgan Tsvangirai faces a treason inquiry after
WikiLeaks revealed his talks with US embassy officials about possible sanctions.
Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images
When WikiLeaks whistleblowers began circulating in April footage of a 2007 Iraq war incursion in which US military personnel unwittingly killed two war correspondents and several civilians, the international community was aghast at the apparent murder. With sobering questions on the material's full context largely falling on deaf ears, the group was free to editorialise the scene as it pleased: "collateral murder".

Monday, December 27, 2010

The US embassy cables enigma

Don't want people to read your stuff? Easy – send it in code. So why didn't the state department make itself WikiLeaks-proof?
An original German Enigma code encryption machine, at Bletchley
Park Museum, England. The efforts of Alan Turing and others to crack the code,
using early computers, was crucial to the Allied war effort.
 Photograph: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico
When I was an undergraduate at Harvard, an astronomer from Berkeley came over to the physics building to give a talk. His name was Cliff Stoll, and he didn't give a talk about astronomy. He gave a talk about accounting.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

US Pressured Italy to Influence Judiciary

The CIA rendition of cleric Abu Omar in 2003 turned into a headache for Washington when a Milan court indicted the agents involved. Secret dispatches now show how the US threatened the Italian government in an attempt to influence the case. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was apparently happy to help.

In 2007, a court in Milan started trying several CIA agents in absentia for their roles in the 2003 kidnapping of Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric who had been living in the northern Italian city. When the indictments first came down, the US government tried to intervene -- first in Milan and then in Rome -- so as to influence the investigations of the public prosecutor's office.

At first, the efforts were conducted via diplomatic channels. But, later, they also took place during top-level talks with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. American diplomats and even the US secretary of defense were assured that the Italian government "was working hard to resolve the situation." And they also got to hear Berlusconi vent his rage at his own country's judicial system.