WikiLeaks: What we've learned so far
November 30th, 2010
08:03 PM ET

WikiLeaks: What we've learned so far

[Updated at 9:12 p.m.] After posting thousands of secret government documents, WikiLeaks came under an electronic attack designed to make it unavailable to users, the website said Tuesday.

It was the second attack since the site began publishing the first of what it says are 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world, documents that the website said represented the largest-ever disclosure of confidential information. Those documents give the world "an unprecedented insight into the U.S. government's foreign activities," the site said.

WikiLeaks drew widespread condemnation for publishing the confidential cables that, in some instances, detailed with unusual frankness Washington's diplomatic interactions with other countries. Former President George Bush called the leaks "damaging," saying WikiLeaks will hurt U.S. relations with the rest of the world.

So far, the leaks have provided us with a look at tensions between China and North Korea - a topic of discussion these days given concern over clashes between North and South Korea. Apparently, cables reveal China was weary of North Korea behaving like a "spoiled child."

We've also learned a little bit more about China's role in other global affairs - including Iran - and how China has been talking to the United States about containing Iran's nuclear program. But the cables also reveal the role of Chinese enterprises in Iran's strategy to obtain materials for its missile programs and the U.S. State Department's efforts to counter that strategy.

And with widespread concern about nuclear capabilities of Iran and North Korea, it makes sense that WikiLeaks documents show there was a focus on the health of leaders in both countries.

Speaking of North Korea's weaponry, the country apparently had Mongolia pass a message to the United States in 2009 about possible disarmament talks, which North Korea suggested that Mongolia could host.

Weaponry - and nuclear capabilities - naturally are of concern to countries around the world. Which may be why there are stacks of documents discussing the must-have weapons and the countries that want them.

Regarding Iran, one 2009 cable said that the predominantly Shiite Islamic nation was facing increased unrest in a largely Sunni province, Sistan-Balochistan, and that Iranian security forces were losing effective control over parts of the province, citing Iranian contacts.

We've also learned other tidbits from the documents, including that Brazil tried to distance itself from U.S. war on terror. Elsewhere in Latin America, the U.S. Embassy in Honduras unequivocally found that the forced removal of that nation's president last year was a coup that ushered in an illegitimate government, despite Washington's more measured tone in public. And U.S. State Department analysts asked the U.S. Embassy in Argentina for information on the mental state and health of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, according to a December 2009 cable.

Diplomatic cables about Pakistan reveal U.S. anxiety about Pakistan's uranium stockpile, its role in the stuggle against Islamic militants and its economic crisis, according to a New York Times review of the documents.

Some of the cables address how certain countries felt about taking in Guantanamo Bay prisoners that the United States wanted to move. When the United States wanted Kuwait to accept four Kuwaiti prisoners, Kuwait's minister of the interior responded that the country couldn't successfully hold them, and suggested instead that America drop them off in the middle of a battlefield in Afghanistan - where they were picked up - so they would die there, according to one released cable. Another document praised a former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg of Britain, for  "barnstorming throughout Europe pushing governments to accept" Guantanamo detainees for resettlement."

One of the documents says Saudi Arabia expressed concern over the fact that Saudis were temporarily on a U.S. list of nationalities that warranted additional screening at airports after a failed December 25 airplane bombing attempt.

Several cables paint an unflattering and somewhat unexpected portrait of Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. British Prince Andrew was called rude following some blunt words with U.S. officials,  and there's also some intel on how some world leaders and other operatives view other royals.

soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. KBinMN

    Wife asks Assange if she looks fat in her new dress. Assange – "Of course you do honey, you have a fat a*s". Assange – The hero of transparency and truth telling! Of course some truths are better left unsaid but don’t tell that to all his worshipers. They don’t get nuance.

    November 30, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. purtbrwowniz

    These leaks suck... you want to talk about corrupt and lying folks?! how much did the person get paid to give up this info on their own country? and they really werent that good at leaking super top secret stuff any way.. treasons what i see. not some enlightening of american knowledge. its like " julie said jane is a nut... read the text...".

    November 30, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jackal&jester

    I find it strategically viable to have these cables leaked. It will force the hands of our allies to act against threats like Iran and north Korea.

    November 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JC

    Poorly designed site, hard to access anything. wouldn't waste my time. Come on we all know whats going on without your site anyways. wikiidiots

    November 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    Why is the WH sitting on its hands? This is, in fact, a threat to our national security, and that of our allies...that alone warrants the arrest of those responsible for leaking the information, and those who publish it. In the Kremlin (you know, the place all those who seem to be amused by this devastation yearn to live), Assange would go into Lubyanka, and never be heard from again!

    November 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Have you tried to access the site? It should be called weakyleaks. Weakest website I've ever come across. They are looking for donations.

      November 30, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Smith

      Maybe you would like to explain exactly HOW this affects security? When lies and spying on supposed "friends" are revealed, all that is affected is the job security of the arrogant jerks like Hillary Clinton and other diplomats who have no regard for honesty, ethics, or common decency.

      November 30, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Of course it has an affect on our "security" and "diplomatic relations" – the infomation released currently might not put any single person in danger but what about the future? What about conversations between US diplomats about other nations that might affect diplomacy and thus lives in the future. I also don't want to hear about the implications of spying, it's been going on forever both, us doing it to them and them doing it to us, because as we know nations always have alternative motives. I'm so sick of people, after 9-11 there was tons of outcry about us not knowing enough? So we bash our government and force them to go out and obtain information and now people are upset about the ways in which we obtain information, like the people were trying to get it from will divulge the information over a cup of coffee. Same with the new TSA regulation, all upset over a few pat downs until they or someone they love gets blown up and then there like, "how could this happen?" "where is our government?"

      This guy from wikileaks is a dirtbag trying to personally gain while putting other people, nations and the world community at risk. He obtained the information illegally and is disseminating it illegally and should be brought to justice just like any other citizen caught doing the same thing.

      November 30, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KBinMN

    Note to all government employees whether local, state or national. The e-mail systems you use are paid for by my tax dollars. Please make all of your accounts available for my review immediately. This would include personal e-mails sent using these systems. No hiding a quick off-color note to your buddy or a semi-steamy e-mail to the spouse.

    November 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIC13

      Umm, they already's called the Patriot's called hackers from all over the world...if you put it in a email you should be bright enough to understand you do not have privacy...I guess this rule does not apply to World Governments...including the U.S...

      December 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. James Smith

    When the US government want to infringe on personal privacy with wiretaps, no warrant searches, and video surveillance , their line is, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." Now that the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, what have they to fear Apparently, quite a lot.

    Still, not one person has been able to coherently explain how any of this "endangers lives" or affects security. Maybe what is affected is the credibility of the government and the security of the profits of companies like Haliburton?

    November 30, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. noBama

    None of you have figured it out. Wikileaks is the coup de grace of national sovereignty. This was designed to bring down all nations for the purpose of enforcing one central global government. You fools willingly surrender your freedom for some misguided ideology that your new masters will be more benevolent then your previous ones. Freedom is becoming an illusion to control the masses. Welcome to the new world order.

    November 30, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave in Ohio

      I'm no fan of Obama either, but your comment is quite ridiculous. Assange is after one thing only: profit. He would destroy anything and everything for his 30 shekels.

      November 30, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • O

      This is fantastically crazy stuff here.

      November 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fernando

    Skriv text, ange adressen till en webbplats eller översätt ett dokument.
    Översättning från spanska till engelska
    The U.S. must learn not to torture the helpless people not to send mercenaries to kill civilians not organizing coups to place puppet governments.
    Luckily there are courageous journalists do not sell U.S. gold that put at risk their lives for the freedom of the press. We already knew that the U.S. is ruled by murderers in the CIA but now we see printed thanks to the courageous journalist. Hopefully the American people to outlaw CIA and do not let the torture and killings of innocent hopefully not be dominated by the means of expression that the numb

    November 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave in Ohio

      Your comments show your gross ignorance of what the US is trying to do for the world, and such total anti-American comments destroy your credibility. Nobody could ever take you seriously when you make such stupid comments.

      November 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Very well put,Fernando. dave is the ignorant one here. I wonder if this dave ever got past the 5th grade.

      November 30, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mtrought

    I agonised over my support for what Wikileaks does in some ways but I also agonise that innocent people maybe hurt by these leaks. But wikileaks represents for me a break in the back of this business of diplomacy which is a word used many times to shroud indecency, corruption, bias and many dark sides of humanity. Person may recall how FDR and Chruchill managed to hide the truth about the Katyn masaacre even when overwhelming proof was at hand in their quest to keep STALIN on their side over that devil Hitler only to find that STALIN may have been an even more wretched soul. When will we as humans realise that supporting each other and not trying to overtly or subvertly violate each other cause our ultimate demise, WHEN?

    November 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Andreas Moser

    These cables show that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with an open and honest foreign policy:

    November 30, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. vince stermer

    Assange is a bad@ss. Way to stick it to the government! The government is made by the people and we deserve to know EVERYTHING thats going on. Dont lie to us.

    November 30, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. duke

    How can you decry the government and at the same time fiend outrage at someone exposing the same government??
    You tea-drinker/anarchist,will never be happy!!
    Release the Reagan papers,wiki leaks!!

    November 30, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sburg

    Americans should know exactly what the figures are for our wars. we are the ones that should decide if war is really worth all the deaths on either side. its the governments fault the leaks that were posted were posted anyway. should have protected them better.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. sburg

    the American people vote for our leaders so does it not make sense we should know these things. if they're doing things we don't agree with then how else are we supposed to know. make an educated vote for someone u know will do the right things.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5