Wikileaks’ release of US diplomatic documents has shocked the world with revelations that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulla urged the US to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and scathing criticisms of some of the world’s leaders.
The US has reacted in anger, accusing Wikileaks of endangering lives. A Republican congressman has called for Wikileaks to be designated a terrorist organisation.
However, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has defended the publications, claiming that the US is just frightened of being held accountable.
What were the Wikileaks revelations?
Wikileaks has only posted some 200 of the 251,287 classified cables, from US embassies around the world, that it says it has obtained. However, the entire cache of messages has been made available to five publications, including the New York Times and the Guardian newspaper.
At a glance, here’s what the latest Wikileaks documents contain.
Ex US president Clinton ordered diplomats to spy on UN, apparently asking for credit card numbers, email addresses, phone, fax and pager numbers, frequentflyer account numbers and “biographic and biometric information” of senior players. If this is true, it could constitue a breach of international law.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the US to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme “and cut the head off the snake”.
A Labour government minister was described as a “hound dog” around women and was ordered to apologise after sexually harassing a female, according to the messages. He was also said to be a “manic depressive” prone to mood-swings.
Prime minister Cameron shows ‘lack of depth’, according to Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy was compared with an “emperor with no clothes” with a “thin-skinned and authoritarian personal style”.
Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi is called “feckless, vain and ineffective as a modern European leader”.
Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is compared to Adolf Hitler.
The Russian government is accused of employing mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations – and the country is described as a “virtual mafia state”. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is labelled an “alpha-dog”.
Obama aides apparently offered deals in return for countries taking Guantanamo Bay detainees. Slovenia was told to take a prisoner in return for a Presidential visit.
Claims that Prince Andrew behaved inappropriately and “rudely” while abroad. (Don’t think anyone will be too shocked by this one.)
China is accused of hacking Google as part of a campaign of computer sabotage.
US anger over Wikileaks
The US has slammed Wikileaks’ decision to publish the information.
Spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Obama supports open and accountable government, but the WikiLeaks was being “reckless and dangerous”.
“By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals,” Gibbs said.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”
Today, desperate attempts are underway to patch up damaged relationships. Hardest to get past will be US’ alleged calls for UN figures to be spied on, the revelations that the King of Saudi Arabia called for attacks on Iran and the suggestion that he Russian government has links to organised crime.
Do you think that Wikileaks was right to publish this information?