WikiLeaks US embassy cables: as it happened

• Julian Assange's account frozen by Swiss bankers
• Burmese general considered buying Manchester United
• Qatar accused of using al-Jazeera as tool of diplomacy
Full coverage of the WikiLeaks cables
Today's WikiLeaks US embassy cables live updates

wikileaks us blocks federal access
WikiLeaks has been blocked from being accessed by federal employees of the US, because the files are still seen as classified. Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

7.45am: A second working week of WikiLeaking kicks off with yet more controversy. WikiLeaks has published a list of "critical infrastructure and key resources" across the world. The Times dubs it a "targets for terror" list.

The BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus also sees it as a potential hit list: "If the US sees itself as waging a 'global war on terror' then this represents a global directory of the key installations and facilities - many of them medical or industrial - that are seen as being of vital importance to Washington," he writes.

He describes the cable as "probably the most controversial document yet from the Wikileaks".

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks continues to make ripples across the world. The Daily Beast tracks the personnel changes forced on the US diplomatic service by disclosures.

The Obama administration is planning a major reshuffling of diplomats, military officers and intelligence operatives at US embassies around the world out of concern that WikiLeaks has made it impossible – if not dangerous – for many of the Americans to remain in their current posts, writes Philip Shenon.

"In the short run, we're almost out of business," a senior US diplomat told the Reuters news agency, according to a follow-up of the Daily Beast article in the Independent.

The fate of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, continues to attract much attention. The New York Times reports that hundreds of WikiLeaks mirror sites have sprung up to prevent efforts to censor its disclosures. Similarly the Guardian reports on an online backlash to shut the site down.

Australia's attorney general, Robert McCelland, said that Australia would provide consular assistance to Assange if he returned to Australia. But at the same time he said his country was providing ''every assistance'' to US authorities in their investigation against WikiLeaks.

Here are the headlines from the Guardian's latest trawl through the cables:

Al-Jazeera changed coverage to suit Qatari foreign policy
Cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists
Lebanon told allies of Hezbollah's secret network
Brazil denied existence of Islamist militants
WikiLeaks cables blame Chinese government for Google hacking

You can follow all of last week's disclosures and reaction on our live blogs on the cables. And for full coverage go to our US embassy cables page or follow our US embassy cable Twitter feed @GdnCables.

8.06am: A new edition of the weekly German magazine Der Spiegel is published today with a slew of new stories from the cables.

The magazine, one of the five media organisations – including the Guardian – to have had early sight of the cables, focuses on what they reveal about the conflict in Iraq.

The Americans allowed themselves to get entangled in the Sunni-Shia conflict while being systematically outmanoeuvered by the Iranians, according to 5,500 about the war and its aftermath.

It also looks at what the cables say about Xi Jinping, China's probable future leader and the inner workings of the Chinese politburo.

In an interview with the magazine, Prince Turki bin Faisal of Saudi Arabia, says America's "credibility and honesty" has been damaged by the leaks. He describes the cables as "a hodgepodge of selectivity, inaccuracy, agenda pursuit, and downright disinformation".

8.24am: The Today programme presenter Jim Naughtie is in all sorts of trouble after substituting a crucial letter in the surname of culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, and then corpsing his way through the headlines.

James Naughtie

Before the gaffe Naughtie sneered at the Guardian's WikiLeaks coverage. In a review of the papers at 6.12am he sarcastically described today's Guardian's splash as "another story that will make us all fall off our chairs with astonishment".

8.49am: Much of the media continues to portray Julian Assange as a Bond villain holding the world to ransom.

Here's today's Daily Mail:

Julian Assange has distributed to fellow hackers an encrypted 'poison pill' of damaging secrets, thought to include details on BP and Guantanamo Bay.

He believes the file is his 'insurance' in case he is killed, arrested or the whistleblowing website is removed permanently from the internet.

The release of the "terror targets" plays into that view.

8.59am: The broadcaster al-Jazeera has denied that it is being used as a tool of Qatari diplomacy, as one of the cables claims.

In a statement it said:

"This is the US embassy's assessment, and it is very far from the truth. Despite all the pressure Al Jazeera has been subjected to by regional and international governments, it has never changed its bold editorial policies which remain guided by the principles of a free press."

9.21am: More evidence that the release of the cable about the key infrastructure sites is being used as stick to beat WikiLeaks.

Here's a tweet from Times columnist David Aaronovitch.

Live blog: Twitter

I don't see how the strategic sites cable fits into J Assange's heroic rubric of disclosure. It looks more like like vandalism. #wikileaks

9.39am: The Guardian took a weekend break from liveblogging the cables, but the Nation didn't. They work harder in America. Here's Greg Mitchell's roundup of Sunday's WikiLeaks news.

My colleague Peter Walker is working on a summary of the WikiLeak revelations from today and over the weekend. While we wait for that, the respected analyst, Juan Cole, has a roundup of the weekend's top 10 disclosures about the Middle East.

9.58am: While US students have been told that reading the cables could harm their careers, students in Indian are being told the opposite. Trainee diplomats at India's Foreign Services Institute (FSI) have been urged to emulate the prose style displayed by the diplomats in the cables.

"The Ministry of External Affairs is asking its youngsters to read them [the cables] and get a hang of the brevity with which thoughts and facts have been expressed," the Indian Express reports.

I'd recommend cables written by former US ambassador in Moscow William Burns, especially this one about a drunken wedding in Dagestan.

The cable is described as an "insightful, literate, and wry field report" by Reuel Marc Gerecht in the New Republic. He also likes the cables by Tatiana Gfoeller, the ambassador to Kyrgystan who reported on Prince Andrew's rudeness.

10.23am: This is useful – a search engine for all the hundreds of cables already published by WikiLeaks. You can use it to see what everyone else is searching for too.

10.36am: Vancouver police have been asked by a lawyer to investigate whether a former aide to the Canadian prime minister broke the law when he called for the assassination of Julian Assange.

Last week Tom Flanagan called for the contract killing of the WikiLeaks founder in a live TV discussion. He later said he regretted the remarks.

Gail Davidson, a co-founder of the group Lawyers Against the War, has made a formal complaint to the police in Canada, according to the Vancover Sun.

In his online chat with Guardian readers last Friday Assange said those who called for his killing should be charged with incitement to murder.

11.09am: The Yemeni government faces some awkward questions later this week about why it lied about US attacks against al-Qaida.

"We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh told David Petraeus in a now infamous cable in January this year.

Yemen's parliament will question the deputy prime minister over the cables, MPs told Reuters.


Rashad al-Alimi, Deputy Prime Minister for Security and Defence Affairs, has been asked to attend parliament on Wednesday to discuss the content of the secret U.S. documents, several MPs confirmed.

A government official told Reuters Alimi would go to parliament to answer parliamentarians' questions, but said the information in the leaked documents were inaccurate.

"Of course this (information in the cables) is not true. Everyone in the world is complaining about the inaccuracies of these documents," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

11.30am: The company behind @Tweetbackup, the only Twitter account followed by WikiLeaks, has become the latest Tech provider to consider cutting off support to the whistleblowing stie.

"We just became aware of the Wikileaks account on Friday," vice-president of marketing at Backupify told Networkworld. "We're currently evaluating the situation."

12.12pm: Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former UK foreign secretary and chair of the intelligence and security committee, has spoken out against the release of the cable listing those key infrastructure sites and resources.

Speaking to BBC News, he said:

Malcolm Rifkind MP

This is a gift to any terrorist organisation trying to work out what are the ways in which it can damage the United States. It is grossly improper and irresponsible of Mr Assange and his WikiLeaks organisation to allow that information into the public domain.

For things that reveal Nothing New™, the WikiLeaks documents sure are generating a lot of news headlines around the worldless than a minute ago via web

12.58pm: Salon's Glenn Greenwald continues to be one of the biggest cheerleaders for WikiLeaks and the disclosure of the these documents.

1.37pm: The United States needs to work "put in a lot of hard work" to re-establish confidence with the international community, according to Afghanistan's foreign minister.

Speaking at news conference Zalmai Rassoul said: "Confidence should come back at all levels, it's going to be a difficult job, but it's necessary."

1.43pm: David Leigh, the Guardian's investigations' editor who has done much of the reporting on the cables, responds to the Times story about "terror sites". He says the Guardian chose not to publish the story.

Live blog: Twitter

Strange to see the Times publishing a sensitive #Wikileaks cable which the #Guardian declined to do. Murdoch is helping terrorists?

1.51pm: The foreign secretary William Hague said WikiLeaks' publication of those vital global sites was "reprehensible," according to the BBC.

Was the Times also reprehensible for highlighting it? Was it being irresponsible by trying to highlight the irresponsibility of WikiLeaks? And were the Guardian right not to publish it? This is tricky stuff and way beyond my pay grade. Please help me out in the comments section.

While you ponder all that here's that summary of what's we've learned today, with links to summary's of the revelations for each of the previous seven days.

2.21pm: Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has repeated his suggestion that those responsible for the leaks should be executed.

Last week he called for the death penalty for the whistleblower. At a Bet El Dinner for the Jewish community in New York last night he said whoever leaked the material should be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law". His comments were greeted with applause.

Huckabee is trying to have it both ways. He went on to say that Israel should draw comfort from what the cables revealed about the the Arab world's hostility to Iran.

2.36pm: James Ball an investigative journalist working with WikLleaks, asks why hasn't The Guardian been hit by tech companies in the same way as WikiLeaks.

In a defiant post for the Index of Censorship, he writes:

Duplicate copies of Wikileaks are now loaded hundreds of different servers worldwide. Even PayPal's closure of Wikileaks' account has so far proved little more than an annoyance.

But even these could all vanish tomorrow, thanks to an even more traditional fallback: old media. The New York Times, Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais are all running Wikileaks material.

All shared the same editorial judgement as Wikileaks having seen the material: they judged it in the public interest and chose to run it. At this point, these sites are running the same cables as Wikileaks. They have contributed to the redactions.

The Guardian website, at the time of writing, actually contains more US material than Wikileaks' own. None have faced the political or technical backlash of the main Wikileaks site, yet all would have to be taken offline to bury the Embassy Cables story.

2.44pm: Wow, we certainly didn't know this:

General Than Shwe

The leader of Burma's military junta was considering buying Manchester United for $1bn, according to the latest cable seen by the Guardian.

Than Shwe, commander in chief of the armed forces and a fan of United, was urged to mount a takeover bid by his grandson, according to a cable from the US embassy in Rangoon. It details how the regime was thought to be using football to distract its population from ongoing political and economic problems.


Would the general have got through the Premier League's fit and proper persons test?

My boss tweets:

"Would've been better than the Glazers", grumbled one Man U fan not far from the Guardian newsdesk.

Assange-poster

3.00pm: Interpol have issued this online wanted poster for Julian Paul Assange.

Here's the notice. It confirms that Assange is wanted by the Sweedish authorities in connection with allegations about "sex crimes".

He denies the charges.

Yesterday, Assange's lawyers they were being watched by the police.

Jennifer Robinson and Mark Stephens of the law firm Finers Stephens Innocent told the Guardian they had been watched by people parked outside their houses for the past week.

"I've noticed people consistently sitting outside my house in the same cars with newspapers," said Robinson. "I probably noticed certain things a week ago, but mostly it's been the last three or four days."

Stephens said he, too, had had his home watched. Asked who he thought was monitoring him, he said: "The security services."

3.15pm: Here's that William Hague outrage in full.

Speaking to BBC radio he said:

There is great concern of course about disclosing a list of targets that could be of use to terrorists or saboteurs.

I think it is absolutely reprehensible the publication is carried out without regard to wider concerns of security, the security of millions of people

Live blog: substitution

Time to call it a day again. Come in Richard Adams.

Richard Adams

3.32pm: Thank you Matthew, and good morning from a chilly Washington DC, where many State Department officials are returning to work with jetlag after their hurried trips abroad to "explain" the contents of the US embassy cables to their foreign counterparts.

3.47pm: Triumphs in journalism, part 874 (Washington Post edition): as we blogged here last week, on Thursday the Washington Post's Al Kamen buried a story in his column that the Federal government was forbidding employees to access the WikiLeaked US embassy cables since they were still classified. By Sunday the Post finally got around to reporting the same fact in a news story.

Are standards slipping at the Post? Well, today's front page manages two cliches and a mixed metaphor in the space of one six-word headline (seen here in the top left corner): "Customs pushed envelope to hit goal".

Columbia University library Columbia University. Well, the nice-looking bit. Photograph: Corbis

4.06pm: Last week there was consternation after a section of Columbia University sent an email to its students warning them against accessing or tweeting the leaked US embassy cables because of the future repercussions for their career in the US government. Now the dean of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs sends a clarification to the "SIPA community":

Last Tuesday, SIPA's Office of Career Services received a call from a former student currently employed by the US Department of State who pointed out that the US government documents released during the past few months through WikiLeaks are still considered classified. The caller suggested that students who will be applying for federal jobs that require background checks avoid posting links to these documents or making comments about them on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter.

OCS emailed this cautionary suggestion to students, as it has done many times with other
information that could be helpful in seeking employment after graduation. We know that many students today share a great deal about their lives online and that employers may use that information when evaluating their candidacy. Subsequent news stories have indicated that the Department of State has issued guidelines for its own employees, but has not issued any guidelines for prospective employees.

Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our institution. Thus, SIPA's position is that students have a right to discuss and debate any information in the public arena that they deem relevant to their studies or to their roles as global citizens, and to do so without fear of adverse consequences. The WikiLeaks documents are accessible to SIPA students (and everyone else) from a wide variety of respected sources, as are multiple means of discussion and debate both in and outside of the classroom.

Should the US Department of State issue any guidelines relating to the WikiLeaks documents for prospective employees, SIPA will make them available immediately.

Sincerely, John H Coatsworth, Dean

Fact: Columbia University was originally named King's College when it was founded in 1754 by George II.

4.31am: Time magazine is running its annual poll of readers for its Person of the Year award – and Julian Assange is currently number one in the ratings, with more than 200,000 votes. He's even leading Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan – and every year Turks for some reason try and game this poll – which is saying something.

Oh, Glenn Beck's fifth and Sarah Palin is in 10th place. Link bait, anyone?

4.34pm: Switzerland's PostFinance bank announces it has closed an account belonging to Julian Assange, saying: "The decision comes after it was revealed that Assange provided false information regarding his place of residence when opening the account." Here's the statement:

PostFinance has ended its business relationship with Wikileaks founder Julian Paul Assange. The Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process. Assange entered Geneva as his domicile. Upon inspection, this information was found to be incorrect. Assange cannot provide proof of residence in Switzerland and thus does not meet the criteria for a customer relationship with PostFinance. For this reason, PostFinance is entitled to close his account. If there is any indication that the information provided by an account holder may not comply with the detailed valid provisions, PostFinance investigates the circumstances in detail and draws the appropriate conclusions.

4.52pm: In response to the PostFinance bank's announcement, WikiLeaks sends out its own press release:

The Swiss Bank Post Finance today issues a press release stating that it had frozen Julian Assange's defense fund and personal assets (€31,000) after reviewing him as a "high profile" individual.

The technicality used to seize the defense fund was that Mr Assange, as a homeless refugee attempting to gain residency in Switzerland, had used his lawyer's address in Geneva for the bank's correspondence.

Late last week, the internet payment giant PayPal, froze €60,000 of donations to the German charity the Wau Holland Foundation, which were targeted to promote the sharing of knowledge via WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks and Julian have lost €100,000 in assets this week.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Cablegate exposure is how it is throwing into relief the power dynamics between supposedly independent states like Switzerland, Sweden and Australia.

WikiLeaks also has public bank accounts in Iceland (preferred) and Germany.

Please help cover our expenditures while we fight to get our assets back.

5.05pm: Latest from the US embassy cables – the Guardian's Damian Carrington reports that the US used diplomatic moves to block an Iranian scientist from a post on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, because sharing the position with an American scientist would look bad:

The US privately lobbied IPCC chair Dr Rajendra Pachauri, as well as the UK, EU, Argentina and Mali representatives, and had put its embassies to work from Brazil to Uzbekistan. It wanted to prevent the election of Dr Mostafa Jafari as one of two co-chairmen of a key working group.

The other co-chair was to be an American scientist, Prof Christopher Field. The US state department noted that sharing the IPCC position with an Iranian would be "problematic" and "potentially at odds with overall US policy towards Iran".

5.20pm: Here we go: the US attorney-general says he has unspecified "significant" actions in the works against WikiLeaks regarding a criminal investigation, although he won't say what they are exactly they may be:

Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that he has authorized "significant" actions related to the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks as the website faces increasing pressure worldwide for publishing sensitive US diplomatic cables.

"National security of the United States has been put at risk," Holder said. "The lives of people who work for the American people have been put at risk. The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I believe are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way. We are doing everything that we can."

Holder, speaking at a news conference on financial fraud, declined to answer questions about the possibility of the US government shutting WikiLeaks down, saying he does not want to talk about capabilities and techniques at the government's disposal.

The great difficulty for the US authorities is that WikiLeaks and Assange haven't actually broken any US laws, according to most legal observers. Which makes the whole prosecution thing a bit tricky.

5.41pm: So Eric Holder has a Secret Plan to fight WikiLeaks?

More detail from Holder's press conference at the Department of Justice just now, with some useful quotes via Reuters:

US Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday the Obama administration was considering using laws in addition to the US Espionage Act to possibly prosecute the release of sensitive government information by WikiLeaks.

"That is certainly something that might play a role, but there are other statutes, other tools at our disposal," Holder told reporters.

The Espionage Act dates back to 1917 and was focused on making it illegal to obtain national defense information for the purpose of harming the United States. Holder described the law as "pretty old" and lawmakers are considering updating it in the wake of the leak....

Holder also said that he authorised a number of unspecified actions as part of the criminal probe the Justice Department is conducting into the WikiLeaks matter.

"I authorised just last week a number of things to be done so that we can get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable," Holder said. He repeatedly refused to elaborate whether that would include search warrants.

"I personally authorised a number of things last week and that's an indication of the seriousness with which we take this matter and the highest level of involvement at the Department of Justice," he said.

6.09pm: Did you know that in the US there's a Progressive Librarians Guild? Neither did I, but there is and it has a statement out in the wake of the Library of Congress blocking access to WikiLeaks's website:

The Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) condemns in the strongest possible terms the blocking of WikiLeaks by the Library of Congress and rejects on all grounds their arguments in defense of this move.

The action is a violation of American librarianship's historic commitments to the public's right to know, to freedom of the press, and to the very essence of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. It is also in violation of the American Library Association's most fundamental commitments to intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights.

6.21pm: The Guardian reports on the Swiss action to close Julian Assange's bank account (in which we also learn that Assange's middle name is Paul) and some of the latest details:

It was also reported this afternoon that Scotland Yard had received the paperwork required to arrest Assange over allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

But the [London] Metropolitan police declined to comment on the claim, attributed by Press Association to unnamed sources.

The BBC is more certain, writing:

Britain has received a European arrest warrant from Sweden for the Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange. The warrant is being processed by the Serious Organised Crime Agency and will be sent to the Metropolitan Police as he is thought to be in the London area.

6.40pm: Another entry for the "WikiLeaks needs to grow up" club: info-guru Clay Shirkey has just published an "on the one hand, on the other hand" analysis of the WikiLeaks cables – and concludes by just wringing his hands:

Over the long haul, we will need new checks and balances for newly increased transparency – Wikileaks shouldn't be able to operate as a law unto itself anymore than the US should be able to. In the short haul, though, Wikileaks is our Amsterdam. Whatever restrictions we eventually end up enacting, we need to keep Wikileaks alive today, while we work through the process democracies always go through to react to change.

6.53pm: It's delightful that the Swiss have suddenly become so fastidious about stopping non-residents from opening Swiss bank accounts. The AP reports:

PostFinance spokesman Alex Josty told The Associated Press the account was closed Monday afternoon and there would be "no criminal consequences" for misleading authorities. "That's his money, he will get his money back," Josty said. "We just close the account and that's it."

Live blog: Twitter

7pm: Hot off the Twitter-press, Heather Brooke has posted an alarming tweet on her@newsbrooke account: "Rumour is that arrest is imminent and that Julian Assange is going to turn himself in".

Similar rumours went around on Friday so take with a pinch of salt.

7.20pm: US news organisations including the Associated Press have begun dropping the "whistleblower" adjective in describing WikiLeaks, as Michael Calderone reports at The Cutline blog:

The Associated Press, for one, used "whistleblower" as late as last Thursday in describing WikiLeaks but has since opted against it.

"We've had 'whistleblower' in some copy but have decided not to use it any longer," AP spokesman Paul Colford told The Cutline. "Our description now reflects the site's own name: a website that specialises in displaying leaked information."

Colford didn't say whether or not the AP considers "whistleblower" to be inaccurate, but simply said that "we think we have a better, clearer description, and that's what we're using."

Meanwhile NBC News spokeswoman Lauren Kapp also told The Cutline that the network was retiring "whistleblower" in its WikiLeaks reports, even though it called WikiLeaks a "whistleblower" on last Monday's "Nightly News with Brian Williams." Reuters, which used "whistleblower" following the State Dept. leak, no longer uses it, either. "Our style guidelines ask that reporters not describe WikiLeaks as a whistleblower," Reuters spokeswoman Erin Kurtz said.

As Calderone notes, the term "whistleblower" is likely to be viewed positively, as an individual speaking out against wrongdoing.

7.41pm: Peter Alexander of NBC News tweets:

Assange's lawyer tells @NBCNews time & place being negotiated for mtg w #Assange. Unclear if he'll be arrested.

7.49pm: It looks as if Julian Assange is going to hand himself in – Heather Brooke tweets:

UK police have extradition request from Sweden. Assange's lawyer making arrangements to meet with police for interview

8.05pm: Julian Assange's lawyer said tonight that he and his client were in the process of arranging to meet British police for a question and answer session.

"Julian Assange has not been charged with anything," Mark Stephens told BBC television. "We are in the process of making arrangements to meet with the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of that question and answer that's needed."

Stephens could not give details about when that might be arranged.

8.10pm: As the possibility of Julian Assange turning himself in looms, we're going to close this live blog and hand things over to my colleagues in London – so for all the latest WikiLeaks news click here.


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  • Salongvaenster

    6 December 2010 8:10AM

    To anyone out there who can actively help keep WikiLeaks afloat in the face of the face of Establishment bombardment, here is a link on how to set up a mirror site:

    http://213.251.145.96/mass-mirror.html

    Please do this if you can!

  • jezza10

    6 December 2010 8:10AM

    Really? The internet cable to New Zealand is vital to the US?

    Or are these undersea comms cables not what they seem?

  • cheekychimp

    6 December 2010 8:24AM

    Is The Guardian going to be covering the French bank run? There are are 36,000 people on Facebook who say they are going to take part on the 7th December here

    REVOLUTION ! LE 7 DECEMBRE ON VA TOUS RETIRER NOTRE ARGENT DES BANQUES !

    Will The Guardian be keeping an eye out to see what happens?

  • BenCaute

    6 December 2010 8:30AM

    Frankly anyone who doesn't know the whereabouts of Goonhilly, Chorley, Madley, Loanhead or BAe lives in a box.

    What's more interesting is what is not on the list of what the US considers important - e.g. Fairford (Iraq war stopover for B52s/B2s), Hereford, GCHQ, and UK based arms manufacturers other than BAe.

  • Gederts

    6 December 2010 8:31AM

    To save precious Typing-Time, a simple paste from another site:

    Nothing gets altered via Wikileaks. It’s all true and truth runs the show.
    So who didn’t know the Afghan government were self-serving, the Russians the same barbarians as ever or the Middle-Eastern nations ready to get at each other’s throats?

    No falling Governments, no broken alliances, no cancelled contracts.

    Addendum: Calm down. Nothing's changed, in reality.
    This little pale ###f taking advantage, in the West, of the freedom given to him by centuries of Western effort in instituting the freedoms which he uses to damage the West , the only provider of any freedoms, is a conundrum, no question.

  • BenCaute

    6 December 2010 8:36AM

    Incidentally, will there be any comment about what we once again find when lifting the lid on the bureaucracy of power? Once again not the mystique of omnipotence and hi-tech put about by Hollywood etc., but the usual administrative incompetence of bored people who want to knock off early.

    Because I mean, some of these cables look like they were drafted by vacation students who googled stuff and cut n pasted. If this is US military intelligence, it explains so much (not that British intelligence is any better - cf. the dodgy dossier, or the meetings with the Tailor of Kabul).

  • lakewashington

    6 December 2010 8:46AM

    A terror hit list? Really? Is this man still to be afforded the protection given to journalists?

    He's publishing the identities of agents whom the Taliban may assassinate, and suggested places where Al Qaeda can places its bombs. Elsewhere, he has published details of the countermeasures used against Al Qaeda bombs in Iraq (anti-IED technology)

    It would almost seem that Assange is deliberately trying to implicate himself under the US's espionage act.

    Now, there is news that it has brought global US diplomacy almost to a halt as personnel are reshuffled. This is an enormous drain on resources and time that could be spent doing the actual job of national security.

    If his organization is put on the list of terrorist organizations, then, all these mirror sites could be held accountable for making an in-kind donation.

    Mid-level people in the WikiLeaks organization could also be held with the intent finding and arresting their sources of espionage, with a view towards deterring future espionage.

    WikiLeaks has promised its spies that secrecy will allow them to evade accountability. This has to be put to the test.

  • newredlion

    6 December 2010 8:57AM

    If his organization is put on the list of terrorist organizations, then, all these mirror sites could be held accountable for making an in-kind donation.

    This is half the trouble with the US at the moment.

    They are trying to fight terrorism by terrorising everyone.

  • Plataea

    6 December 2010 9:02AM

    Interesting list - some obvious - some less so. Having prepared a critical infrastructure report for a G8 country the list was a bit ho hum.

    Most trrists seem to be more interested in "meat targets" (you me everybody) than lumps of infrastructure. This in itself makes me wonder a bit about their motivations. My report pointed to some infrastructure that is highly vulnerable and yet has never been attacked.

    As for LukeWshington - grown out of short trousers yet have we?

  • EuropeNoWar

    6 December 2010 9:07AM

    Julian Assange's lawyers say they are being watched WikiLeaks founder's lawyers also accuse US state department of inappropriate behaviour in not respecting attorney-client protocol

    Another Guardian heading yesterday advises that Columbia University has warned its students that their futures are jeopardised should they comment on sites concerning Wikileaks activity, or should they read the Wikileaks content...

    Do we really need to know anything more about US "diplomacy", "liberty",
    "human rights"... and - dare I say it again - "democracy" ?

    Why would anyone want to go near the place???

    Join the universal boycott of US, Sweden, Amazon, Pay-Pal and E-bay... the list will grow...

    We have a voice... we don't like your corruption, we don't like your terrorism.

    SUPPORT FOR JULIAN ASSANGE AND WIKILEAKS! TRUTH WILL PREVAIL!

  • kizzy1155

    6 December 2010 9:23AM

    Diogenes, the original Cynic, spent most of his life wandering Greece in search an honest man. He is reputed never to have found one.

    Why aren't other journalists, intl bodies and govts, defending what Wikileaks and Julian Assange have brought to light? The US govt has never refuted that these are real cables written by US officials.

    Since when has it been a crime for journolists to reveal facts? Is it a crime to tell the truth? We are no better than the islamic mulahs that place a death sentence on free thinking. Where are the honest men that will expose lies and self serving deceit?

    America is embarressed but they should be ashamed.

    The US govt misled the World after 9/11 when they invaded Iraq looking for WMD. They found none but they did secure some level of oil supply to support the US economy.

    Wake up and come to the support of people who have risked everything for truth and a free democracy.

    I am proud of this Australian but I am not a proud Australian with respect to my government abandoning Assange.

  • Tempelhof

    6 December 2010 9:25AM

    This one - I do NOT agree should be published:

    "Cables reveal key infrastructure and potential terror targets "

  • ratherbehappy

    6 December 2010 9:27AM

    Gone too far tjis time.with publishing key infrastructure and facilities. This is getting more and more dangerous. Hate to say it, but it does look like it needs to be stopped. This a genie that has no master.

  • Gederts

    6 December 2010 9:28AM

    EuropeNoWar yearned for a Democracy- Deleted Workers' Paradise:

    "Do we really need to know anything more about US "diplomacy", "liberty",
    "human rights"... and - dare I say it again - "democracy" ? "

    No we don't.
    By now we've all picked our sides. There's clearly nothing to discuss between the Workers' Paradise believers and the rational.
    The thing now is to let it rip.
    As quickly as possible.

  • NeilKitson

    6 December 2010 9:30AM

    And yet, somehow, Prince Turki bin Faisal of Saudi Arabia, managed to make himself available to Steve Coll for extensive interviews about Afghanistan for Ghost Wars. How did that happen?

    And yet, the actual American diplomatic cables turn out to be rubbish, in his view.

  • whizgiggle

    6 December 2010 9:31AM

    No we don't.
    By now we've all picked our sides. There's clearly nothing to discuss between the Workers' Paradise believers and the rational.
    The thing now is to let it rip.
    As quickly as possible.

    This isn't about communists, perhaps you posted on the wrong article?

    I apologise if I misunderstood you

  • wiggyuk

    6 December 2010 9:40AM

    It was one thing to shine a light where the US would rather you didn't, its completely wrong to put the security of the whole US, many other countries infrastructure and even innocent people doing good, peaceful work, that happens to be of importance to the well being of all mankind.
    Rot in jail (if an executive order doesn’t get you first) wikileaks personnel. You have lost all perspective and deserve all that is coming to you.

  • IntelliSearch

    6 December 2010 9:40AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

  • lakewashington

    6 December 2010 9:57AM

    @Plataea

    You stated:

    As for LukeWshington [sic] - grown out of short trousers yet have we?

    I disagree with the implication. I think that our conversation, so far, is on a very adult footing.


    Regarding the rest of your post, the espionage act forbids releasing critical war information, for example troop movements and details of militarily important facilities. As far as I'm aware, having a low opinion of the documents being stolen is not a mitigating factor.

  • Stanojevic

    6 December 2010 10:02AM

    how does this count as 'terrorist targets'? list of resources around the world.. food, oil, medicine, telecomm.. i could make this list in 15 minutes.

  • JackFalstaff

    6 December 2010 10:12AM

    I've read the list of critical infrastructure and key resources located outside the US; and in all fairness, I have to ask: What secret does it reveal?

    I don't see that any of the assets listed is secret. It's no secret that the Congo has cobalt, nor where the Southern Cross Cable is. That information is already available on Wikipedia.

    The only other information in the cable is that the US considers these assets vital to itself.

    OK. Well, that wasn't exactly difficult. If you can't work out that the German company which manufactures the US's mortars is important to the US, you're just not thinking.

    So how, exactly, does that help terrorists? I guess it might help the really stupid ones who hadn't already realised the above. But if they're that stupid, they're more than likely to blow themselves up while putting on their suicide belts.

    So while politicians are bellowing and blustering about how dangerous this list is...I don't see how that's a reasonable opinion.

  • sealedwins

    6 December 2010 10:19AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

  • thelawofaverages

    6 December 2010 10:23AM

    Job Advert - Guardian Journalist

    Essential. Able to:
    - Copy and paste comments from Twitter and Facebook
    - Read diplomatic cables and fashion them into a news story
    - Insert as many hyperlinks as possible into articles
    - Find lookalikes for political figures
    - Know what time it is to the exact minute

    Desirable
    - Write without typos

  • MoreTears

    6 December 2010 10:27AM

    BenCaute,

    "If this is US military intelligence..." I'm sorry, but you apparently have completely misunderstood what these cables are. They are the reports of civilian diplomats working for the State Department, i.e., the US equivalent of the UK's Foreign Office. Neither the US military's reports nor CIA's reports were leaked; they BOTH use more secure means of communicating their reports. Civilian diplomats are not intelligence experts; they simply report their impressions or whatever information has come into their hands and those reports are left for the intelligence analysts to weigh and consider.

  • KrustytheKlown

    6 December 2010 10:29AM

    Assange: Netanyahu said leaks would help peace

    Source?

    And wa 'Bibi" also referring to the leak which described him telling a US committee that any future Palestnian 'state' will not have control over its airspace, borders or foreign policy. In other words, it won't be a state at all.

    Like many of the leaks, this doesn't tell us anything we dont' already know. But it does confirm, to use the Israelis' favoured phrase, that 'Bibi" is not a 'partner for peace' and any 'negotiations' with him on the issue of a Palestinian peace are nothing but a farce.

  • Leninovich

    6 December 2010 10:30AM

    @lakewashington
    Yesterday you commented on the donations thread _ Donating to a terrorist organization is a crime. Contributing to a criminal organization may or may not be, I'm not sure.

    Now you seem to suggest that Wikileaks should be put on the list of terrorist organisations which suggests that it has not yet been been classified terrorist additionally the only criminal charges raised so far - and the governments have known of the leak for a year - are against the government employee who leaked the data - were you trying to scare people yesterday by implying things that were not true.

    Are you a Diplomat?

    Funny really - If the governments leak sensitive info that they want you to hear, then the originator of the leak is never found no matter how many inquiries they have - just as well another hacker gave him away. in this case.

    Face it people if you want to live in a world where you are allowed to remain oblivious of people acting in a duplicitous manner on your collective account then there are many instances in history where the populace said after the event - OH I didn't know they were doing that - its not MY fault!

  • mistahanta

    6 December 2010 10:31AM

    It's interesting that it's hard to find the leak about the vital targets etc on this website. Are you only going to report on the "good" ones? I'm still a fan of wikileaks and all but I wonder what good could come from publishing it. Indeed... I'm sure there is little risk to insulin factories the world over but still...

  • Tempelhof

    6 December 2010 10:40AM

    Gated Communities are getting more and more popular in the US.

    They now start to "gate" their southern border as well with a fence.

    They "gate" the entrances into their country with hurdles at airports.

    They "gate" their "partners" and alliances as well - and now they intend and try to "gate" the web and media.

    In their "perfect" World, I am sure that a "gated" mind would be their goal.

    Luckily, I have my own key.

  • Leninovich

    6 December 2010 10:44AM

    Why is this not a major news story - A dispatch sent by Ellen Tauscher, the US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, describes a conversation with Jon Day, the MOD Director General for security policy, in which he "promised that the UK had ’put measures in place to protect your [US] interests’ during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq War.

    So much for Mr Browns Gordon Brown’s claim that it would be both "fully independent of Government" and "unprecedented" in scope.

  • ontheotherhand2010

    6 December 2010 10:51AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

  • DazedConfused

    6 December 2010 10:59AM

    Rather unimpressed by the Guardian's coverage. From the comments it is clear that the infrastructure leaks is the story everyone is interested in, yet the Qatar story is firmly stuck on the front page, generating almost no interest, it seems. (Every other major news source on the planet is leading with the infrastructure leak.)

    As one of the select few to have full access to Wikileaks in advance, is the Guardian hesitant to show Wikileaks in a bad light, in order to secure future releases from Mr Assange?

  • WillC

    6 December 2010 11:02AM

    Up until now I had not heard too much on the wikileaks that made me worry too much. I think that they have gone too far now in revealing the strategic places vital for the US around the world. It seems to make Julian Assange purely anti-US rather than pro open government. I can see no reason why he shouldn't be arrested and prosecuted. And if he has set up a "trap" to release even more stuff on his arrest then that is blackmail - pure and simple. His lost my sympathy.

  • east33rd

    6 December 2010 11:04AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

  • cheekychimp

    6 December 2010 11:12AM

    These cables should have been published.

    Why?

    They reveal key infrastructure- NOT top secret infrastructure. Anyone with an internet connection could have found these out.

  • BenCaute

    6 December 2010 11:13AM

    MoreTears

    You're right. No government has ever used its foreign embassies as a base for military intelligence operations. What could I have been thinking? Indeed, so rigorous are they in this practice that the military refuse to look at any of the data produced by mere diplomats.

    /sarcasm

  • BenCaute

    6 December 2010 11:15AM

    I a fascinated how Google is being played in this. Are they assisting the US or remaining neutral? Anyone know?

    I am sure the US has realised that having hammered China for mucking around with Google searches, it is on swampy ground doing the same this time.

  • KinaKina

    6 December 2010 11:18AM

    infrastructure leaks

    None these are secret and anybody with half a brain would know all the important bits of infrastructure. Because they are in a list doesn't mean anything. They are listed by the US simply to gauge how much of the stuff they have.

    The location of communications, oil, power, water and so on infrastructure is ALL on the public record, even military establishments.

    This is a deliberate dramatisation to get viewers.

  • KinaKina

    6 December 2010 11:21AM

    lakewashington you are telling a deliberate and direct lie.

    He's publishing the identities of agents (THIS IS YOUR LIE) whom the Taliban may assassinate, and suggested places where Al Qaeda can places its bombs. (THIS IS ALSO YOUR LIE)

    Please desist with your dishonesty.

  • KinaKina

    6 December 2010 11:23AM

    All names of people are being redacted - removed from the cables.
    ALSO the files being leaked have already by sent to the USA govt and they were requested to state what was inappropriate. The USA knows exactly what will be leaked.

  • skipper1001

    6 December 2010 11:27AM

    how can anyone possibly condone jullian assanges possition on this? these are official goverment files, confidential to them only,
    whether there RIGHT or WRONG in there content, there still CLASSIFIED. simple

    if one member of the public should be harmed by terrorists or any other persons who would see fit to use this infomation in any way to target us and who use these latest leaks as a source of infomation as to where to target

    then he and anyone else who helped him should be imediatly arrested and stand trial for accesory to murder and treason.

    the mans a disgrace and a danger to all of us, the reason somethings are classified is because of the danger they can expose us all to,

    he claims goverments should be held accountable for there actions
    I WONDER MR ASSANGE IF YOU WILL BE PREPAIRED TO DO THE SAME IF ANYONE GETS HURT BY YOUR IRRESPONCIBILTY?

  • FrankBanker

    6 December 2010 11:30AM

    How clever Wikileaks are for publishing a list of US terror targets, and how clever The Guardian are for acting as their willing little puppet in disseminating such information.

    This used to be a decent newspaper. Now it's turned into nothing more than an anarchist's handbook. Shame on you.

  • JackFalstaff

    6 December 2010 11:32AM

    @WillC

    I think that they have gone too far now in revealing the strategic places vital for the US around the world.

    If you'll read earlier comment by myself and others, you'll see that we don't see much if anything of a revelation. Wikipedia already had far more detail on those assets than the very thin, general data in the list. If you haven't read the list, take a look. I think you might see what I mean.


    It seems to make Julian Assange purely anti-US rather than pro open government.

    WikiLeaks releases what it's given. It was given a cache of documents about the US. Hence, that's what it releases. If you were to give WikiLeaks evidence of abuse of power in the Vatican, or France, or Antarctica, I'm sure it would release those too.


    I can see no reason why he shouldn't be arrested and prosecuted.

    Under what sections of what laws? The US is not ignorant of its own laws, and it had advance warning of these releases. It hasn't issued an arrest warrant nor any other legal authority against WikiLeaks or Assange. I suspect that means the US doesn't have a legal case against them.


    And if he has set up a "trap" to release even more stuff on his arrest then that is blackmail - pure and simple.

    If you were to put a copy of your last will and testament where it could be released in the event of your death, would that be blackmail? Or would you simply be ensuring that your important communication was delivered regardless of what happened to you?

  • Hamiedog

    6 December 2010 11:47AM

    I think it cannot be said often enough that the general public - at least the people who are still capable of thinking - have long since been aware of the assets mentioned in the cable, and of others that are not mentioned.

  • godlesstobefree

    6 December 2010 11:48AM

    There are going to be a a lot xxxxxx's or [name removed] attacked now eh? How do the terroists find them? Phone book?

    The people here claiming people have been identified have obviously either not looked at the files themselves or are just listening to chinese whispers or even the voices in their heads.

  • jamiehannon

    6 December 2010 11:59AM

    Although I agree with the release of some of this information to make people realise how bad some of the people that represent us are...

    ...the release recently of what will become terrorist targets has annoyed me. This information could directly put peoples lives at risk. I'm not naive enough to think that the intelligence services of other countries don't already know about these locations, but surely this incites the independent terrorist with a grudge to take action ...with awful concequences.

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