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The latest U.S. documents released by the WikiLeaks organization include a number of eye-raising revelations including charges that the U.S. has stepped up efforts to spy on United Nations officials and other diplomats from other countries. They also shed light on North Korea's continued role as a world arms dealer, including smuggling missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload to Iran.
Other red flags raised by U.S. diplomats include the security of Pakistan's nuclear program. which was described as vulnerable to smuggling and corruption.
U.S. Spying on United Nations Chief, Diplomats?
The U.K. Guardian reports Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.
A classified directive which appears to blur the line between diplomacy and spying was issued to U.S. diplomats under Hillary Clinton's name in July 2009, the Guardian reports, demanding forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications.
The New York Times also interprets the newly-released diplomatic documents as showing an expanded role of American diplomats in collecting intelligence overseas. Including orders to State Department personnel to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, work schedules and other personal information of foreign dignitaries.(CBSNews.com)
WikiLeaks Defies U.S., Releases Embassy Cables
Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels (NYT)
The US Embassy Cable (Guardian)
A Superpower's View of the World (Spiegel, in English)
Los papeles del Departamento de Estado (El Pais)
Wikileaks: Dans les coulisses de la diplomatie americaine (Le Monde)
Iran's Neighbors Want Military Action Against Iran
The U.K. Guardian reports King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.
Leaders in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt referred to Iran as "evil", an "existential threat" and a power that "is going to take us to war," the Guardian reports from the released documents.
North Korea Providing Nuclear-capable Missiles to Iran
Secret American intelligence assessments reported that Iran has obtained a cache of advanced missiles, based on a Russian design, that are much more powerful than anything Washington has publicly conceded that Tehran has in its arsenal, diplomatic cables show, according to a New York Times reading of the documents.
Iran obtained 19 of the missiles from North Korea, according to a cable dated Feb. 24 of this year, the Times reports.
On the same subject, Politico notes the shipment of missiles to to Iran was widely known in intelligence circles, but the WikiLeaks disclosures represent the first confirmation that Iran now possesses complete missile systems.
Planning for North Korea's Collapse
The New York Times reports that American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North's economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul, who told Washington in February that South Korean officials believe that the right business deals would "help salve" China's "concerns about living with a reunified Korea" that is in a "benign alliance" with the United States.
Security Concerns for Pakistan's Nuclear Program
Intelligence reports from U.S. diplomats raise red flags over the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, reports the U.K. Guardian. Officials warned that as the country faces economic collapse, government employees could smuggle out enough nuclear material for terrorists to build a bomb.
Want a Meeting with Obama? Take a Prisoner
The New York Times reports on pressure tactics used by American diplomats pressing other countries to resettle detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison, the closing of which was one of President Obama's unfulfilled campaign pledges.
The Times reports several diplomatic tactics used to unload the prisoners:
-- Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama
-- The island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in Chinese Muslim detainees
-- Belgium was told accepting more prisoners would be "a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe."
Chinese Gov't OKs Hack of Google
A Chinese contact tipped off the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that China's Politburo OK'd a huge effort to hack and eavesdrop on Google computers as part of a nearly decade-long cyber-sabotage effort aimed at American companies and supporters of the Dalai Lama, reports Politico.Yemen to Petraeus: We'll Take the Blame for Missile Strikes
Politico reports on U.S. documents in which the President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, told Gen. David Petraeus that he would continue to take the blames for U.S. missile strikes on suspected al Qaeda operatives in Yemen.
"We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," Saleh is quoted as saying in a recent summary of the talk.