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November 28, 2010



Hm, the Groan's first bites include:

"Grave fears in Washington and London over the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme

• Alleged links between the Russian government and organised crime.

• Devastating criticism of the UK's military operations in Afghanistan.

• Claims of inappropriate behaviour by a member of the British royal family."

We await news on ursine defecationary habits in forested areas.

john b

On ursine defecation and Papal religion, see also "Arab governments urge the US to attack Iran".

Richard J

The Americans particularly asked for information on the relationship between Mr Duncan and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, with whom he used to share a flat, and also Mr Cameron.

Good old Torygraph. Subtle as ever.


Totally worth reading: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/28/world/20101128-cables-viewer.html#report/cables-06MOSCOW9533


cable from the US embassy in teheran circa 1979

"¶3. perhaps the single dominant aspect of the persian psyche is an overriding egoism. its antecedents lie in the long iranian history of instability and insecurity which put a premium on self-preservation. the practical effect of it is an almost total persian preoccupation with self and leaves little room for understanding points of view other than one's own. thus, for example, it is incomprehensible to an iranian that u.s. immigration law may prohibit issuing him a tourist visa when he has determined that he wants to live in california. similarly, the iranian central bank sees no inconsistency in claiming force majeure to avoid penalties for late payment of interest due on outstanding loans while the government of which it is a part is denying the vailidity of the very grounds upon which the claim is made when confronted by similar claims from foreign firms forced to cease operations during the iranian revolution."

¶4. the reverse of this particular psychological coin, and having the same historical roots as persian egoism, is a pervasive unease about the nature of the world in which one lives. the persian experience has been that nothing is permanent and it is commonly perceived that hostile forces abound. in such an environment each individual must be constantly alert for opportunities to protect himself against the malevolent forces that would otherwise be his undoing. he is obviously justified in using almost any means available to exploit such opportunities. this approach underlies the socalled "bazaar mentality" so common among persians, a mind-set that often ignores longer term interests in favor of immediately obtainable advantages and countenances practices that are regarded as unethical by other norms. an example is the seemingly shortsighted and harassing tactics employed by the pgoi in its negotiations with gte."

and so on in a similarly reflective vein...


"Inappropriate behaviour by a member of the British royal family".

Only one member?


I think this pricks the balloon of America's imperial pretention. The arrogance of its diplomats, the unbelievable laxness of their internal security measures which allows hundreds of thousands within the bureaucracy to, for no reason, view and download this material.

My favourite piece still is the US arming the PKK. With this and other examples in Wikileaks, the US/Turkey relationship has gone even further down the pan.


"Gaddafi accompanied everywhere by voluptuous blonde Ukrainian nurse" is great. It has that unfakeable mixture of prurience, obsessive detail and utter operational irrelevance that runs through the output of the US intelligence community like letters in Blackpool rock. They may not have known that Kim Il Sung was going to invade the South in 1950, but I bet they knew his collar size.


My favourite piece still is the US arming the PKK.

So far its the only thing that's made my jaw drop. So that's the army and the far right pissed off in Turkey... what were they thinking?

Richard J

My favourite entry in the 'Things That Shouldn't Surprise Me' category so far.

Netanyahu commented that Israel currently faces
three principal threats: Iran's nuclear program, missile
proliferation and the Goldstone Report


When you start to believe your own propaganda...


My favourite piece still is the US arming the PKK.

I'm finding that a bit difficult to back up, actually. The Graun doesn't have anything on it yet. Neither does the BBC. Neither does the NY Times. The Indy quotes Al-Hayat quoting an unnamed Wikileaks source saying that the US has been "allowing" PKK to stage in northern Iraq for cross-border attacks, which is an incredibly flimsy chain. Everyone else seems to be reporting on the Al-Hayat report.

Also, "allowing PKK to stage in northern Iraq" could mean anything. Northern Iraq's been more or less self-administering for years, with a very small US military presence outside Mosul. Quite possible that the US didn't know, or couldn't act.
And I can't (though have only looked briefly) find anything about the US actually arming PKK, which would be a huge step more serious.

If anyone has a link to something that isn't the al-Hayat report, carry on.


I am in awe of that Dagestan text. It's Kusturica's Underground with an extra serving of drunken Chechnyan Mujahedin.

Richard J

Congressman Peter King has been calling Wikipedia terrorists, I see. Well, he should know.

Richard J

Assume I meant Wikileaks there, of course.


The royal is Andy.

Richard J

Supposed to have said rude things about a foreign government and British law enforcement agencies. It's unclear whether this is just once incident - 'The fucking Met are worse than the Gestapo, Frau Merkel.'


said rude things about a foreign government and British law enforcement agencies

And what on earth, I ask you, is wrong with that?


I’m a bit taken aback at US diplomats being instructed to collect biometric details of various African warlords.

Actually this has rich comic potential, especially if they've been asked to do it without the subject's knowledge.
"Let me just measure your head, General. Why? Oh, I was, er, thinking of giving you a very nice hat for your birthday. And I'll just take a photo of your iris, so I can, um, make sure the colour matches your eyes."

Richard J

Demarcation, Alex. That's Phil the Greek's job.


On the PKK thing - it is based, via Jason Ditz at AntiWar:


on a Jerusalem Post piece quoting an Al_Hayat article quoting a Wikileaks administrator stating that this would be published:

"Other documents show that the US has supported the PKK, which has been waging a separatist war against Turkey since 1984 and has been classified by the State Department as a terrorist organization since 1979. The US military documents call the PKK "warriors for freedom and Turkish citizens," and say that the US set free arrested PKK members in Iraq. The documents also point out that US forces in Iraq have given weapons to the PKK and ignored the organization's operations inside Turkey."



Hmm. As I thought. Al-Hayat is probably not the most reliable source, and I have to say that if there was a bombshell in the cables like "The US is arming a group that it has declared to be terrorists, and that has mounted attacks on a Nato ally", I think the Graun or someone might have picked it up rather than going with the slightly less dramatic headlines that they chose.

Chris Williams

Well, antiwar.com told _me_ that the Jerusalem Post told them that Al-Hayat told them that a wikileaks administrator told them that the USA had (subs: fill in something designed to split the Turkish army from the US and its allies here).


Laura Kuenssberg told BBC News a couple of times this morning that Gordon Brown had appealed in vain on behalf of Gary McAllister. Didn't realise things were going so badly at Villa.
Hillary Clinton has termed it an attack on the "international community", a phrase I seem to recall her being quite fond of, and which I'm sure I've seen Chomsky somehwre point out is generally meant be mean (im particular by Israeli politicains) the US administration and its closest allies.

john b

Presumably Israeli politicians use it to mean "Israel, and whoever's shilling for Israel". Presumably Hillary's using it to mean "me, and whoever's with me". I don't think you need to raise Zionist conspiracies to interpret what HC is saying - especially as not much of the stuff we've seen so far is particularly WeLoveIsraelbonkers.


The China-North Korea stuff is interesting, and I think also potentially the most damaging - both because it'll lead to increased friction between North Korea and China, which isn't good for anyone, and because China may feel a need to offer even more public support as a result.

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